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Authors: C.J Duggan


BOOK: Ringer
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C.J Duggan



By C.J. Duggan


2014 by C.J Duggan

Amazon Edition



A Summer Series Novella, Book 3.5

Published by C.J Duggan

Australia, NSW


First Amazon edition, published April 2014

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or
by any electronic or mechanical means, including recording, scanning,
photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the
written consent of the author.


Disclaimer: The persons, places, things, and otherwise animate or
inanimate objects mentioned in this novel are figments of the author’s
imagination. Any resemblance to anything or anyone living (or dead) is unintentional.


Edited by
Marion Archer

Copyedited by Anita Saunders

Proofreading by Sascha Craig

Cover Art by
Taylor Indie Designs

This ebook formatted by
Hot Ebook Formatting

Author Photograph © 2014 C.J Duggan


is also available as a paperback at Amazon


Contact the author at
[email protected]



A Summer Series Novella: Book 3.5.


May be read as a stand alone or in the following order:

The Boys of Summer

An Endless Summer

That One Summer


Forever Summer


Look out for


Kiss the Girls (A Kincaid Brothers Novel)

Someone Like You

All the Right Moves

The Anita Bowman Diaries



Dedicated to all the misfits in the world.





The Boys of Summer


Summer Lovin'

This book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning because I
literally could not force myself to put it down – I just had to know what
happened. Everything about The Boys of Summer absolutely blew me away.

Claire – Claire Reads


Best Contemporary Read of your Life

I cannot begin to describe the love I have for this book. The Boys
of Summer is a story about self-discovery and first true love that will stay
with you for a long time after you read it.

Hannah – A Girl in a Café


Fun, Flirty, Fantastic

All in all, if you're looking for a lovable and intense read, then
this is for you. C.J Duggan has convinced me she belongs in the contemporary
market and I cannot wait to read more from her.

Donna – Book Passion for Life


An Australian Gem

You won't regret buying this one; you'll totally fall in love with
the story and all of the characters. C.J Duggan knows how to write a book
you'll just be drawn into! I'm already waiting for the next one – impatiently,
might I add! The Boys of Summer is an Australian gem!

Seirra – Dear, Restless Reader



Simply Perfect

Everything about The Boys of Summer was fantastic!!! C.J Duggan has
written an amazing story and she was able to perfectly capture the Aussie
summer, fun times with friends both new and old, and all the feelings of
falling in love with the boy of your dreams. Bring on book two!!!

Tracey – YA Book Addict


Sweet, Intoxicating, Exciting

The Boys of Summer is a wonderful example of just how deliciously
sexy, sweet and charming summer-fling books can be! A book that gives you goose
bumps, makes you swoon over its incredibly handsome male cast, gets you hooked
on the clever plot line and, ultimately, sends you out feeling all warm inside,
satisfied and with a wide smile on your face.

Evie – Bookish



They say it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about, and she was
quiet, very quiet – when she wasn’t busy despising me with a burning passion.


Ringo ‘Ringer’ James has a no-strings-attached policy.

Love them, leave them, and remain the eternal bachelor.

After a summer in which every one of his mates has succumbed to
settling down, or so it seemed, Ringer is on the lookout for a quick exit.
Having had enough of the stomach-turning love fest witnessed over the past
three months, Ringer jumps at the opportunity to help out his mate, Max, by
heading to Max’s dad’s property for a working holiday.


It’s just what he’s looking for. A remote, dusty homestead in
Ballan, with only hard work, a cold beer and a comfy bed to worry about – no

Until Miranda Henry.


The privately educated daughter of his boss has returned home from
overseas and things are about to get very complicated, very fast. As summer
draws to its end, Ringer is about to learn that sometimes attraction defies all
logic, and that there really is such a thing as ‘enemies with benefits’.


Chapter One





I was

I could feel it restricting my brain,
exhausting me in ways I could barely describe.

“Do I look fat in this?”

I rubbed my eyes, sighing in disbelief that
my best mate beside me was about to actually answer the question.


I rested my elbows on the clothes rack, in
the only women’s fashion outlet in Onslow. I raised my brows questioningly at
Sean who stood on the opposite side of the rack.
Ha! Sean.
six-foot-three grown man rubbing the back of his neck with guarded unease as he
half laughed his answer.

“Of course not.”

He only visibly relaxed when his
girlfriend, Amy, beamed a winning smile at him.

Ding-ding-ding – that’s the right

Amy’s adoring eyes glimmered with approval
until they shifted towards me.

Her shoulders slumped. “What’s wrong with
you, Ringer?”

Without too much emotional investment, I
lazily tore my eyes away from her accusing stare, casually running my hand down
the sleeve of the silky shirt that hung in front of me.

“Who, me?” I asked, examining the
overpriced tag before stepping aside with disgust. I returned my glance towards
my awaiting audience.

Nope, nothing wrong with this scene. When a
mate rings me up to say, “Do you want to catch up?”, what better way to do it
than waiting outside a women’s changing room while his girlfriend tries on the
latest fashion to hit Onslow?

I gave her my best sickly sweet smile. “I’m
just fine and dandy, but, hey, thanks for asking,” I offered sarcastically.

Amy shook her head. “You’re an idiot,” she
said, before she stepped back into the alcove, parting the curtains with a
diva-like flick.

My eye roll was short lived by an
unexpected whack to the back of my head.

“Hey, what was that for?” I said, clasping
the back of my skull, my outcry loud enough for the permed-hair shop lady to
dip her head with a squint of disapproval through her bifocals.

I tore my eyes away, annoyed at the
Judgy-McJudgment death stare; anyone would think we were in a fucking library.

Sean offered her his best dashing smile, as
if nothing untoward was happening. His demeanour changed somewhat when he fixed
his gaze on me and lowered his voice.

“Stop being such a snappy arsehole, Ringo.”

Here we go.

It would never be the words snappy or
arsehole that made my blood boil; I had become quite accustomed to those. It
was the fact he called me by my actual name—something he knew only my parents
used when I was in the shit. If I had learnt one thing about Sean Murphy in all
our years of friendship, he enjoyed deliberately winding me up. He knew I would
never actually tell him what was pissing me off unless he wound me up so bad, I
would explode.

Yeah, well, fuck that for a joke. I was out
of there.

I pushed off from the clothes rack,
refusing to stray from Sean’s challenging stare. It wasn’t entirely a pissing
competition; I could see a glimmer of something in his eyes, concern or
whatever. Not interested.

“Have fun shopping, I hear Beauty Bliss do
great bikini waxes if you’re interested.”

I flipped on my Oakleys from the top of my
head and offered my best ‘fuck-you grin’.

Sean shook his head, but a smile creased
the corner of his mouth.

“You need to get laid, Ringer, you’re
turning into a grumpy old prick.”

Before I could retaliate, a cough from
behind Sean sounded. The bifocal-devil granny’s lips were pursed in disgust.
She obviously wasn’t used to a couple of Onslow boys hanging out in the aisles
of the women’s department.

“Miss Henderson will take these.” She
motioned with an armful of clothing.

“Thanks Mrs C, just put them on my account,”
Sean said, before turning and pausing before me. “What?” He frowned.

I flicked my sunnies back on my head,
propping my elbow back onto the rack.

“You have an account at Carters?” I asked,
laughter threatening to rise in my chest.

Sean straightened. “Yeah, what of it?”

“No, nothing.” I shook my head. I had had
enough. I moved past him and Mrs C who was still holding the pile of clothes.

I paused, turning towards Sean, and said,
“But you really must look into getting your vagina waxed before the day’s out.”

I didn’t linger long, but it was long
enough to hear the gasp from Mrs C, and almost ran into Amy as she came out of
the changing room, still tucking her shirt in.

“Where are you going?” she called after me.

I waved without a backward glance. “To get
a drink.” Because, God knew, I needed one.




I twisted the top off my VB stubby and
turfed it into the tray at the base of the bar.

“Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in a
sea of goddamn love?” I asked Max as I took a deep swig of my beer, a sip that
still didn’t manage to lift the scowl from my face.

“Hmm? What’s that?” he asked
half-heartedly, lifting his eyes from his Nokia screen as he read through a
text. Max, the barman, and incidentally one of the last of the dying breeds
amongst men—yep, he was single—was one of the rare few I could hang around
comfortably. At least, so I thought.

Maybe he was texting some chick. Great.

You wouldn’t usually see Max hovering over
a phone, but it was the graveyard, Sunday shift. ‘Hotel California’ playing in
the background, and I, his sole company. That, and whatever had him frowning at
his screen.

I sighed. Surely not him, too? Against my
better judgment, I put down my beer, and asked the million-dollar question I
wasn’t really interested in. Still, I reasoned, he was a mate.

“Trouble in paradise?” I pressed.

Max’s eyes slowly broke away from the
screen. “Hmm? Oh shit, sorry, mate,” he said, shaking his head and pocketing
his phone.

It was as if he were seeing me for the
first time, instead of having agreed to every part of my insistent whining for
the past half hour. Had he heard a single thing I had said? Probably just as

“What’s up?” I asked.

Max ran his hand through his matted blond
locks. “It’s my dad.”

“Everything all right?”

“Yeah, yeah, no, he’s fine, it’s just that
…” His phone beeped. “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he growled, delving into his pocket
and pulling his phone out.

By then he had my full attention as I
rested my elbows on the bar top, watching intently as he read through another
message with a stony expression.

Max shook his head. “He is such a cranky
old bastard sometimes.”

I couldn’t help but smile, lifting my beer
to my lips.

Ha! Cranky old bastard, hey? Sounds like
my people.

He wants me
to drop what I’m doing and go man the farm, while he and Mum go to the Wahroo
Cattle Auction. As if I can just up and leave like that. Yeah, right, no

My eyes drifted over the lean, gangly frame
of the blond, baby-faced Max. He didn’t strike me as a farm boy and it was
certainly news to me that he was.

“Where’s your family’s farm?” I asked with
genuine interest.

“Ballan; it’s about five hours from here.”

I nodded. “Yeah, I know the place.” As in,
you would blink and miss it. It had a pub, a corner shop-slash-post
office-slash-petrol station, and a little school that probably had about twenty
students from surrounding properties.

If Onslow was a one-horse town, Ballan was
a no-horse town, and that was based on the horse who would probably die of
starvation. If memory served me well, Ballan was not famous for its rolling
grassy hills, either. It was as flat as a tack and drier than a biscuit. A
stark contrast to the rolling green ranges and lake that surrounded Onslow.

Yeah, Onslow was beautiful; it was also
bathed in romance. Sweet doe-eyed looks, hand holding, giggles, freakin’
sunshine and rainbows. It was enough to make your beer go flat.

“So, I take it you’re not tempted to obey
Dad’s orders?” I asked, motioning for another stubby.

Max scoffed. “No freakin’ way.”


I suppose I could understand; escaping the
dusty plains of Ballan to Onslow would seem like a massive inland sea change.
Hell, Onslow would seem like paradise. A great escape.


It was only the dull thud of Max placing my
stubby in front of me that shook me from my thoughts.

Max laughed. “What’s up with you, then?
Woman troubles?” he asked, seriously misreading my troubled expression. I now
had no doubt that he hadn’t listened to a bloody word I had said before.

I broke into a grin. “Not bloody likely,” I
said, twisting the cap off my beer.

“Look out. I’ve seen that look before.” Max
shifted uneasily, as he noted the devious glint of mischief in my eyes.

“Max, my old mate,” I said, toasting him
with my beer in the air. “I think I have just thought of an offer you simply
won’t be able to refuse.”

BOOK: Ringer
8.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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