Dear Inglis

Dear Inglis,

There are so many things that will be different now that you are gone; no longer will I be greeted by your big head and your wagging tail when I go to mum and dad’s house; no longer will I be followed into the guest room where you will inevitably sleep on the floor next to me if I had to crash there; and no longer will I fuss about what to buy you for your birthday and for Christmas.

This will forever be my favourite photo I captured of you.

When you looked up at me with pain in your eyes as you took your last breaths on this earth, I have never felt a heartbreak worse than that. You were the love of my life. You are the love of my life. I always said that no matter whom was thrust into my life, they couldn’t compare to you, because no one would ever be as happy to see me as you were. And to see you go to sleep for the final time has completely destroyed me. I knew that you were in pain, and the only thing worse than seeing you fall to a final sleep, would be to see you try to get through every day as your body slowly succumbed to the cancer that had eventually brought an end to your happy, full life.

I still remember when we first got you as a little innocent puppy, and I thought I could get in before everyone else did, and I called you Zelda, even though you were a boy. I even tried to call you Zelda after we had officially named you Inglis Cronk Slater Smith just to see if you’d respond, and you didn’t. You were too clever for my little shenanigans.

Never too good to sleep on the bed.

And then you grew up, and you were an absolute rascal. I wondered if those flappy ears on that big noggin of yours were just for decoration; you would do things that would irritate us, and you knew it would irritate us, but you’d do it anyway. You would bark at nothing, and I would open the door to tell you to be quiet, and you’d look up at me sheepishly, knowing that you were in trouble. But as soon as that door was shut again, BARK BARK BARK.

I wouldn’t exactly call you the smartest dog in the canine species as well. You wore that participation award at puppy school with pride, probably because you knew deep down that you wouldn’t be as smart as the other dogs. I often compared you to the stereotypical jock of Hollywood high school movies: big, handsome, athletic, and stupid as hell. The permanent look on your face told me “I’m Inglis, I’m hungry, do you like food? Because I like food. My name is Inglis. Did I mention I like food?” I’m glad that of the few things that you retained in that beautiful big head of yours, you learned to do your toilet business outside, as taught to you by my handsome Border Collie x Kelpie, Stumpy.

My favourite thing about you was when you would know if you were in trouble if I used your full name. Inglis Cronk Slater Smith. I said it so many times when I was angry at you that it just slipped off the tongue so effortlessly. But you knew when it was a simple ‘Inglis’, you were in the clear, and you would waltz on over with a smile on your face.

Actually, no. My favourite thing about you was how you would know when I was upset, and you would fight tooth and nail to get to me and lick the tears off my face and give me as many kisses as you possibly could just to show that through all the heartache and pain I may had faced, you still loved me. And that was enough. And it really was. I’m just annoyed it took me a while to see that.

“Can you hurry up so I can eat my damn cake, please?”

Often when someone refers to someone as “the love of their life”, they go on dates, right? Well, we did that. In the last weeks of your life when I was housesitting to look after you, I would order in food – and not share with you, regardless of that look you gave me – and we would watch movies on Netflix. Remember how much you liked How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? I don’t think you left my side when we watched that. However, you weren’t so keen on Christmas With a View, which I don’t understand, because as your owner, you should’ve adopted my liking for terrible Christmas movies.

Some people may haven’t been as happy to see me as I would’ve liked, but you always were. And when I saw you in the last minutes of your life, and you saw the tears flowing out of my eyes, with your last ounces of energy, you raised your head and licked it away, because you knew that I needed your comfort at that moment more than I’ve ever needed it before.

Whenever I hear Don’t Stop by No Doubt, I won’t think of how it’s one of my favourite all-time songs; it will serve as a reminder of our bond. I remember it so clearly, as if it were yesterday; I held you in my arms, and belted out those Gwen Stefani lyrics, and watched in amusement as you tried to squirm out of my hold as I potentially rendered you partially deaf with my horrible singing voice squealing.

I will always love you, my baby.

In your last moments with me, my baby, I could tell you knew what was going to happen. Your eyes were red and sad, because you knew you would be saying farewell to me and to the rest of your family. But we couldn’t let you live like that, my big boy. There was no way we could do that.

But what I wouldn’t give to wake up and see you on the floor next to me, laying on your back with your paws in the air, with your mouth drooping; or to see you look at me sitting on the sofa, and then you would place one paw on the couch, as if to ask me “So can I come up there and sit with you?”; or to just give me those kisses that I needed so much when I felt as broken as I do now. I really need those kisses now, Inglis, but I have to make peace with the fact that I will never get them again.

Rest easy, my beautiful baby boy. Tell Stumpy I miss him, and now I hope you can enjoy all the rope games, and eat all the chocolate guilt free like I do, knowing that it can’t harm you now. You have been the most beautiful, loyal and caring dog, and anyone who has come into contact with you over the years is that much better off having known you.

I love you so much Inglis Cronk Slater Smith, and I will never forget you. You will always hold a special place in my heart.

With love,

Noah/Nikki xoxo

Happy 35th Anniversary to My Parents!

My parents are honestly couple goals.

On this date 35 years ago, my parents got married. And what is amazing about this is that each day, they fall more in love with each other. If you hear that old trope that “marriage ruins relationships”, then let me be the one to tell you that is false because my parents are living proof of this.

This was taken exactly two years ago, when my sisters and I crashed their anniversary dinner. What legends.

In their time together, they’ve had five children, – one obviously better than the other and I am definitely talking about myself here – countless amounts of homes, about five dogs (correct me if I am wrong), and one hell of a journey together.

As a sort of present to them, and a way to celebrate their coral/jade anniversary, I gave them both a quick questionnaire to answer about the other. Here is what they had to say:

Mum
1. When and where did you meet dad? How old were you and how old was he? He was 14 and I saw him at a basketball game. I was 16.
2. What was your first impression of him? Didn’t think much of him.
3. When and where was your first date? At the movies on Queen Street in November 1976.
4. What did his parents think of you when they first met you? I never met them (when we were dating).
5. When and where was your first kiss? At the movie.
6. How did he propose? What was his first reaction? He proposed on the step of my house in November 1982.
7. What were your first thoughts when you saw him at your wedding? Grey. He was wearing grey.
8. How many kids did you plan to have? At least two.
9. What is your favourite memory with him? When Toni was sitting on the bed, she was sitting on the bed in her white dress and it took his breath away.
10. What is your favourite thing about him now? He is the most handsome man in the whole wide world.

Dad
1. When and where did you meet mum? How old were you and how old was she? Newmarket in Auckland, New Zealand. I was 16 and she was 18.
2. What was your first impression of her? I had no impression.
3. When and where was your first date? Movie on Friday night in Auckland city
4. What did her parents think of you when they first met you? I’m not too sure. They were very open and friendly.
5. When and where was your first kiss? The movie in Auckland on our first date.
6. How did you propose? What was her first reaction? I asked her in front of her home. She was happy.
7. What were your first thoughts when you saw her at your wedding? I’m getting married to her.
8. How many kids did you plan to have? No real number.
9. What is your favourite memory with her? In the temple when we got married and had Toni and Stacie sealed to us.
10. What is your favourite thing about her now? Her support for me and the family.

Besides some slight miscommunication on question one (looks at dad), and also I’m pretty sure both of their favourite memories together was having their fifth and final child, they are truly the most perfect couple! Happy anniversary mum and dad! I love you a bunch!

– by Noah La’ulu

Preview: Lighthouse

Jase and Devlin and the entire gang are back!

If you’ve read my debut novel The Heart Wants What It Wants and you are eagerly waiting for what happens next in the saga, then I have a treat for you! The sequel of the contemporary romance novel is set to release later this year and is entitled Lighthouse, and I’ve decided to share a portion of the first chapter for free! Just like the title of the first book made sense a bit into the story, Lighthouse will become clear as you read the sequel.

Now I should mention that if you choose to read further, there are OBVIOUS SPOILERS REGARDING THE FIRST BOOK of the series, so if you haven’t read The Heart Wants What It Wants and wish to, I highly suggest you don’t read any further. If you wish to purchase The Heart Wants What It Wants, follow this link for several e-book options.

The sequel to my debut novel will be released soon! Watch this space!

 

At the end of The Heart Wants What It Wants, Jase Morgan got his happy ending with Jordan McMahon, and Devlin Blackthorn wandered the world trying to find himself after suffering the heartbreak of his unrequited love. The friendship between the two main characters had been salvaged, but Devlin felt incomplete. After a drunken night in Las Vegas and one bad decision, Devlin found himself married to the arrogant and charming Atticus Brady. And this is where Lighthouse begins.

Similar to the format of The Heart Wants What It WantsLighthouse goes into a first person perspective of both of the main characters – Devlin Blackthorn and Atticus Brady. For the Jase fans, don’t worry; Prince Charming makes his presence well known in this sequel.

Without further ado, here is a sneak preview of Chapter One of Lighthouse! Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Devlin Blackthorn

Early-mid 2015…

 

I couldn’t imagine alcohol would be the cause of anything worse than last year – oh God, last year – but here I was, sitting in my apartment, staring at the impressive rock on my ring finger, wondering what the hell happened that fateful night in Las Vegas.

A handsome stranger – whom I admittedly despised from the get go – bought me a couple of drinks and after some very fuzzy details, I woke up next to him in bed legally married to him. Just another tragic wedding story to be added to Las Vegas’ archive.

If I needed a bigger slap in the face to stop drinking alcohol than almost losing my best friend, it was marrying someone I had only known for a few hours. Even though I was wrapped up on my warm bed in my sheets, I shivered. Married. I still didn’t know how to comprehend the fact that I was married.

Despite absolutely hating the idea of being married to someone I didn’t know – and I wasn’t exactly sure of his current whereabouts after leaving him in Vegas – I did quite like the ring he had chosen out for me. Sitting next to the more conservative platinum wedding band was a small yellow diamond surrounded by tiny, encrusted silver gems that complimented the modest, silver design; if it told me anything about my mysterious husband, it said that he had nice taste in jewellery, and a lot of money to irrationally spend on it.

I could barely make out the face of the man who had been lawfully wed to me in front of an Elvis impersonator and, God, I don’t even know who else. He was tall and handsome, with a lean, muscular build, and was arrogant as all hell. That’s all I could remember about Atticus.

Atticus…

Something told me I had to get used to that name for the foreseeable future. Well, of course I had to – he was my husband, after all.

I groaned out loud and sunk my head back into the soft cushioning of the pillow. I hadn’t told anyone of my Vegas wedding; not Jase, not Jordan, not my brother Garrett, not even my loyal confidante Monique. I could just imagine Jase’s reaction in my head, and it was enough to make me cringe.

“You what?!” he would shout at me. “Why on earth would you do something as careless and irresponsible as that? As a matter of fact, why were you drinking in the first place? You need to get your life together, Dev.”

I would be lying if I said a small part of me wasn’t still madly in love with Jase. In fact, I’d also be lying if I said a small part of me wasn’t about to use this surprise marriage as a way to show him that I was going to move on from him, as difficult as it was. The year 2014 had been hell for us, and I was glad that somehow, someway, we had come out of the other end of the tunnel barely functioning. I was going to let Jase live his life and hope that I would be in it as much as I was before.

Dwelling on my infatuation for Jase only briefly distracted me from my current situation. What on earth was I going to do?

I was sitting on my bed in Sydney, the evening before I was scheduled to move back to Velvet Springs, and this platinum circle was burning into my ring finger, reminding me of how awful my getaway escape had been. I couldn’t wait to get home and be in a familiar setting, even if it meant revealing to Jase what I had done in Vegas.

After having months off work, I couldn’t wait to get back into my writing at the Velvet Chronicle. Although the sport reporter position had been filled after my quick departure, Harvey, my editor and friend, had found a spot for me on the features team for the newspaper after my moderate amount of success in the same role at Isla Bordeaux magazine. I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity handed to me, but it certainly wasn’t the first thing on my mind right now.

There was a feint knock on my door and, sighing with relief, I got up to answer it. I had ordered a box of greasy cheese pizza to be delivered after I had finished packing; I wanted to spend my last night in the state’s capital with no regrets.

I fished the twenty-dollar note out of my back pocket and opened the door.

“Devlin?”

Oh. No. It couldn’t be… no. There was no way.

I panicked and bounced off the spot, throwing my fist out in an uncharacteristic knee-jerk reaction. The shot caught him on his eye and he let out a quick yelp of pain, but remained rooted to the ground.

I just Superman punched my husband.

“Atticus? What the f-”

“You seem surprised to see me,” he said, his brows furrowing in anger.

Watch this space. As soon as Lighthouse is released on various e-book platforms, Widow’s Lure will be the first to let you know!

– by Noah La’ulu

Character Profile: Colby “Coop” Cooper

To make The Heart Wants What It Wants a bit more accessible and interactive, I have constructed profiles on the main characters from this novel for your entertainment.

It is important to note that these picture bases of the characters are the most accurate physical portrayal of the character out there and not the actual character. Without further ado, here is the fourth and final character profile!

Colby “Coop” Cooper
“The Gentle Giant”

Full name: Colby Cooper, but please just call me Coop
Age: 27*
Date of birth: September 27, 1987
Star sign: Taurus
Height: Six-foot-four
Weight: 244lbs
Hair colour: I just thought it was blond, but apparently it’s sandy blond
Eye colour: Brown
Occupation: Risk management consultant… in other words, I clean up other people’s shit.
Notable physical features: I worked long and hard for this big beard of mine. I’m very proud of – oh, you meant like tattoos or piercings? Then no, I don’t have any.
Hobbies include: If you asked me a few months ago, I would’ve said drinking. But now that I’m a changed man, I like working out and getting together with friends.
One day I wish to be: The most sought-after shit cleaner in all of Australia!
Favourite food: I love all kinds of food. I love a good chicken parmy – because it’s a bloody parmy, not a parma -, I love steak and ribs… oooh ribs! I could go for some ribs right now, with a side of fries and mashed potato… I’ve lost my train of thought… what did you want to know again?
Least favourite food: Not that I hate salad, but I will never understand why people eat out at restaurants and order salads. You can make that at home!
Favourite movie: The entire Godfather film series. Oh come on! Who doesn’t?
Least favourite movie: Marley and Me. If you can sit there and say that you can watch that movie without crying, then you aren’t human. Or you’re a bloody liar.
If I could be someone else for a day, I’d be: Marlon Brando, either when he was young and handsome, or old and the Godfather.
Favourite musician: Jason Aldean.
Favourite song: The Highwayman by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. Did you know that this was the song that made them become the Highwaymen? I guess it’s kind of suggested in the song title…
Favourite book: The Godfather by Mario Puzo… oh don’t act so shocked.
Favourite TV series: Mad Men. Always had a bit of a thing for Jon Hamm.
Likes: I love eating, because you don’t get this damn big by eating a salad. I love spending time with my friends and family… I’m a self-admitted mummy’s boy, and we go on dates every now and then. Hey! I’m a gentle giant! I can’t help it. Did I mention I love eating ribs?
Dislikes: I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but once I had this client who was adamant that I hadn’t done my job properly, even though I got them out of debt and put them back in the positive. If I wasn’t a calm gentleman, I swear I would’ve punched this moron in the face… oh, I guess that means I dislike stupid people.
Quote to live by: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” ~ Don Vito Corleone

To purchase The Heart Wants What It Wants, click this link here for several e-book purchasing options.

– by Noah La’ulu

*Age at the time of this novel