Title: The Runaway Year
Author: Shani Struthers
Release date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary romance
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
Dumped by her hotshot boyfriend and boss, Layla Lewis quits her job and heads to Trecastle to house-sit for a friend. Trecastle isn’t new to her; it’s a place where she holidayed regularly with her now-estranged mother. It’s also the home of Hannah McKenzie,her childhood friend. Hannah has tempted her with a place to live and a job in the local pub. Needing time to nurse her battered heart and escape her “real life” for a year, Layla accepts.
Hannah is a talented artist as well as a barmaid. She lives in the village center with her boyfriend Jim, a singer in a local band. They are happy together, or as happy they can be, considering. Hannah loves Jim, but there is someone she loves more: her old boyfriend Joseph Scott, who is also Jim’s best friend and soon to be Layla’s neighbor.
Meanwhile, Layla’s fiery yet loyal friend Penny seeks revenge on her behalf, sending a forged email that could damage her ex’s business prospects. Penny wonders if she has gone too far but is soon preoccupied with her own problems: the sizzle has fizzled in her marriage, and she feels neglected. After getting frisky with Dylan one night, she confesses all to her husband—and he’s been like ice ever since.
Over the course of a year, there is laughter and heartache as all three endeavor to reign in their love lives—discovering you can run all you like, but you just can’t hide.
What happened next seemed to happen in slow motion. The rider tried to stop but couldn’t do so in time, although he did manage to avoid hitting her car. As he turned his handlebars hard to the right, his tires lost grip on the wet road and he flew off, sliding some way before coming to a halt.
Layla sat motionless in her car, paralyzed temporarily by the shock. At last she managed to galvanize herself into action and fumbled for the door handle, her shaking hands making it hard to get a grip. When the door finally opened, another dilemma hit. What if she couldn’t stand? Her legs felt like jelly, surely they wouldn’t support her. Forcing herself upward, she was relieved to discover they held firm. Once she was sure they would continue to do so, she bolted over to where the biker lay, placed one hand on his soaking leather-clad shoulder and said, “Are you okay?”
“No, I’m not bloody okay!” he replied, a pair of bright blue eyes meeting hers as he lifted his visor. “I’m a bit bruised and battered as it goes.”
Despite his belligerent words, relief flooded through her: he wasn’t dead!
“Oh, I’m so glad,” she said, letting out a huge sigh.
“Glad?” he said, sitting up now and brushing the mud and leaves off his left arm. “Charming.”
“Oh, no, no,” she stuttered, realizing what she’d just said. “I’m not glad that I knocked you over. I’m glad you’re alive.”
“Only just, I think,” he replied, needing a helping hand to stand up.
“Can I give you a lift somewhere, take you to the nearest hospital?”
“The nearest hospital? That would be in Bodmin, I think, about fifteen miles from here. I don’t fancy driving fifteen miles with you behind the wheel.”
Feeling a little indignant now, Layla replied, “I’m actually a very good driver, thank you. You’re the first accident I’ve ever had.”
“Lucky me,” he replied sarcastically.
One of those rare creatures—a true Brightonian—Shani was born and bred in the sunny seaside town of Brighton on the UK’s south-coast. One of the first literary conundrums she had to deal with was her own name: Shani can be pronounced in a variety of ways, but in this instance, it’s Shay-nee not Shar-ney or Shan-ni, although she does indeed know a Shanni—just to confuse matters further! Hobbies include reading, writing, eating, and drinking—all four of which keep her busy enough. After graduating from Sussex University with a degree in English and American Literature, Shani landed a job at a well-known holiday company. Although employed as a Brochure Production Executive, she promptly reinvented herself as a Copywriter, a new position they were happy (if a tad bewildered) to concede to. At twenty-four, Shani became a freelance copywriter and has been one ever since, in-between writing novels, that is. Contemporary romance The Runaway Year is her first book and set between Brighton and North Cornwall, the latter a home-from-home for Shani, her husband, and three lovely kids. She also has a penchant for Glastonbury, another magical place, and don’t even get her started on Scotland—we’d be here all day!