Series: Left At The Crossroads #3
Author: Lisa Worrall
Cover Artist: Meredith Russell
Length: 45,000 words
Release Date: June 29, 2015
Blurb: Little Mowbury is a sleepy English village deep in the Cotswolds. The kind of village where you’re only a local if your lineage can be traced back to the dinosaurs. Where you can find everything in the single village shop from morning newspapers to dry-cleaning, and getting your shoes mended. And, of course, where everybody knows everybody else’s business. It’s easy to find… you can’t miss it… just ask anyone and they’ll tell you… “It’s left at the crossroads.”
Oliver Bradford has had enough of the hustle and bustle of the A&E department in a big city hospital. Not to mention the tension caused by the break-up of his three year relationship with one of the hospital’s top surgeons. When his sister urges him to apply for the position of GP in the quiet village of Little Mowbury, he wonders if this might be just the fresh start he needs. Unfortunately, hitting the post-mistresses’ dog with his car isn’t the best introduction to his patients.
A solitary soul, Deano Wells grew up in Little Mowbury and has been having lunch at the Thatcher’s Arms on a Thursday for the last thirty-five years. First with his father, who brought him to the pub at the tender age of ten after a hard morning in the fields, and then by himself after his father passed on. He runs the farm with a practised hand and minds his business mostly, but that doesn’t stop Oliver from being drawn to the big, quiet man and he knows the feeling is mutual, so why does Deano keep pushing him away?
“You jammy bastard!” she exclaimed and Oliver could see her now in his mind’s eye, sitting cross-legged on her red leather sofa in her one-bedroom studio flat, brown eyes alight with excitement. “How did you swing that? If I’d known that I’d never have shown you the ad. I’d have gone for it myself.”
“And if it weren’t for the teeny tiny problem of you being Becky Bradford WD, not Becky Bradford MD, I’m sure you’d have got it, too.”
“Don’t diss the window dresser, little brother,” Becky shot back. “I may not be able to treat the old biddies’ ailments, but I could sure as hell tell ‘em what shoes go with what dress.”
“Definitely a quality that’s missing in teaching hospitals today,” Oliver rebutted as he emptied a carried bag full of balled up socks into another drawer, then sent a carrier bag full of boxers to join them. “How’s Mum?”
“How do you think?” He didn’t just hear the sigh in Becky’s voice, he felt it. “She’s phoned me four times, three of which were in the fifteen minutes after you left this morning. And I’ve stopped answering her texts. That way I can be certain she’ll be fit and well to text again tomorrow.”
“Why wouldn’t she be fit and well?”
“Because I’m going to kill her if she doesn’t chill the fuck out.”
Oliver smothered a giggle and sat down on the end of the bed. “I’m sorry I left you to deal with that,” he apologised, and meant it. He loved his mother and so did Becky, but – well, let’s just say if you looked up the words smothering and protective in the dictionary, beneath them was their mother’s picture and bio.
“Meh, she’ll calm down,” Becky said brusquely. “It’ll just take a while for her to get used to her Golden Boy not being close enough to keep her beady little eye on. It’s like the time Dad painted the garage door without telling her all over again.”
“Oh God, really, that bad?”
“Yep. But enough about that. Details. I need details.” Becky swiftly changed the subject and Oliver would have been lying if he’d said he was sorry she did. But then, as much as he didn’t want to talk about his mother’s tantrum, he wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to discuss his auspicious entrance into Little Mowbury. Not that he was going to get out of it. Becky had some sort of special twin-dar where he was concerned, always had. “Come on, spill the beans.”
“Okay.” Oliver sucked in some air and delivered as much information as he could on one rush of breath. “Met a farmer, ran over a dog, was threatened by the post mistress, nearly fainted in the pub, Malcolm and his wife are lovely, cottage is beautiful, start work tomorrow.” Even though he’d mixed it in with everything else, he knew exactly what she would home in on first.
“You ran over a dog?”
“You ran over a dog?”
“Yes. The post mistress’ dog.”
“You ran over the post mistress’ dog?”
“Wait a minute… you ran—”
“Yes!” Oliver picked up the phone, held it to his lips and yelled the response into the speaker.
“A slight understatement but yes, wow.” Oliver flopped backwards onto the mattress and stared up at the ceiling. “I couldn’t have run over any old dog, it had to be Doris’.”
“The post mistress, haven’t you been listening?” Oliver sighed heavily. “If it hadn’t been for Big and Tall I don’t—”
“I’m sorry, who?” Becky sounded confused. Quite rightly.
“Big and Tall is what I called him before I knew his name was Deano,” Oliver explained.
“Isn’t that a dinosaur?”
“Deano,” Becky repeated. “The dog on the Flintstones.”
“No, that was Dino,” Oliver corrected.
“That’s what I just said.”
“No, Dino with an ‘i’. Big and Tall is Deano with an ‘e’ ‘a’. Can I continue?” Oliver asked, getting frustrated.
“If you can, please do,” was Becky’s caustic reply. The frustration was obviously mutual.
“Look, in a nutshell… I hit the dog, rushed in pub for help. Deano took dog back in pub. Doris arrived and called me a twat. She and Deano took Hugo to see Maguire, the vet in the next town and I’m waiting for Jason to come and let me know if he’s alright.”
“If who’s alright?”
“Who the fuck is Hugo?”
“The dog!” Oliver stared at the phone in disbelief. And Malcolm was concerned about his grasp of the English Language? Apparently it was hereditary.
“And is he?”
“Is who what?”
“For God’s sake, Oliver, keep up!” Becky snapped. “Is Hugo alright?”
“Oh, I don’t know yet.” Finally they were on the same page.
I live in Southend-on-Sea, a small seaside town just outside London on the South East coast of Essex, England that boasts the longest pier in the world; where I am ordered around by two precocious children and a dog who thinks she's the boss of me. I've been writing seriously for three years now and love giving voice to the characters warring to be heard in my head, and am currently petitioning for more hours in the day, because I never seem to have enough of them.
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