A Year of Finding Happiness is the new novel from Lisa Hobman and Aria Fiction have kindly provided an extract from this amazing new book. I hope you enjoy.
“Afterwards, we lay there in each other’s arms for what felt like hours. I was unwilling to let her go, telling myself I’d hold her for a few minutes more. When she eventually withdrew from my embrace, I lay back and fought the fears niggling deep within me.
What if she meets someone who’s more her age? What if she meets someone who loves climbing the way she does? What if she doesn’t miss me as much as I miss her? What if she loves it so much out there that she decides to stay? What if? What if? What fucking if?
A couple of hours later we set off to the airport in Glasgow where she would board her flight and leave me behind, and for the first part of the journey we both sat in silent contemplation. Loch Lomond lay beside us, Ben Lomond visible across the water, reaching skyward. I wanted to stop the car and point it out to her. Tell her she could stay here. Climb these mountains again and again if it meant she stayed. But of course I couldn’t take her dream away like that.
I could see through the intermittent gaps in the trees that the calm glass-like surface displayed a mirror image of the vivid azure blue above. Only a few wisps of cloud like candy floss hung there to break up the vast expanse of sky and I remember thinking how the cheeriness overhead was the antithesis of the black cloud hanging over my heart.
There were so many things I wanted to say, but the words never came and I cursed myself for being so damned useless at expressing myself.
Luckily, she knew what I was like. I’d spent the day before looking for songs to express how I felt and I’d made a CD. The silence in the car was deafening and so I reached over and hit play. I made eye contact with her for a few moments as the opening chords to ‘I Will Remember You’ by Ryan Cabrera filled the small space between us. Turning my eyes back to the road, I saw her in my peripheral vision, wiping her eyes as her lip trembled. At least if I couldn’t find my own words to tell her how I felt I could use those of the songwriters.
At the airport I pulled her into my arms and held her against my chest. I knew she must have felt the rapid pounding of my heart as we stood inside the terminal. Tears threatened. My eyes were desperate to give them up, but I tried so hard not to make the situation more difficult than it already was. Swallowing the lump in my throat, I pulled away and gazed into her emerald eyes one last time.
My voice wavered as I told her, ‘I’m not going to say goodbye because I hate that word and we’ll be back together before we know it anyway. So I’m going to say have a great time and stay safe. And know that I’ll be thinking of you every moment whilst you’re gone.’
Pulling me towards her, she kissed me with a ferocity that took my breath away. I fisted my hands in her hair and returned the kiss with equal passion. When I eventually pulled away, I cupped her face in my hands and stroked the apples of her cheeks with my thumbs. ‘It’s just a few months, love. Go and show ’em what you’re made of, eh?’
She nodded and gripped my hands where they lay on her skin. Relentless tears spilled from her eyes as she let go and turned to walk away. All my fears bubbled to the surface again and I couldn’t hold back. ‘I love you, Mairi. And one day I want to marry you!’ I shouted.”
About the Book
Happiness doesn’t factor on the deliciously rugged but utterly heartbroken Greg’s radar much these days. Only his beloved Labrador Angus seems to understand his search for a way to make sense of tragedy, until he meets new neighbour Mallory Westerman.
Instantly they know that the other understands how they feel, and over time, as romance blossoms, they dare to wonder if they might one day, be truly happy again.
There are two sides of every story, and A Year of Finding Happiness is Greg’s journey back from the darkest depths to happiness.
About the Author
Lisa’s debut novel was shortlisted in the 2014 RNA. Her stories centre around believable, yet down to earth characters and the places in Scotland she has visited and fallen in love with. She is a happily married mum of one with two energetic dogs.