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A Brit Down Under

Book one in The Holiday Series.

What the hell made me think this was a good idea?
A Brit Down Under is a holiday romance by the USA Today Bestselling Author, Hanleigh Bradley.
They all said I’d regret it. They said something would go wrong. It always goes wrong. I am the world’s biggest clutz and yet I’d stupidly thought going on a backpacking holiday alone was a good idea.
I was wrong.
Mum told me I’d be bitten by a snake and Dad said I’d probably get mugged. My best friend Maddy thought I’d get lost and wind up in bed with a sexy Aussie… if only.
They all underestimated just how much of a clumsy idiot I am. No snake. No scary mugger. Unfortunately, no sexy Aussie… Just me and a shark.
Yup! A SHARK!
Worst day of my life.

Fans of the Holiday series can read special bonus scenes on Hanleigh's Patreon.

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A+ Broken Rules-1.jpg
A+ Broken Rules-1.jpg

What the hell made me think this was a good idea?

They all said I’d regret it. They said something would go wrong. It always goes wrong. I am the world’s biggest klutz and yet I’d stupidly thought going on a backpacking holiday alone was a good idea.

I was wrong.

Mum told me I’d be bitten by a snake and Dad said I’d probably get mugged. My best friend Maddy thought I’d get lost and wind up in bed with a sexy Aussie… if only.

They all underestimated just how much of a clumsy idiot I am. No snake. No scary mugger. Unfortunately, no sexy Aussie… Just me and a shark.

Yup! A SHARK!

Worst day of my fucking life.

One thing I’ve noticed on this trip is that tourists tend to stick together. That’s how I met my travel buddy, Martin. He heard my Scottish accent and rushed to my side on my first morning at the hotel, all excited to find another Brit. I didn’t bother to tell him that I’d been eager to escape Britain and all those Brits back home.

So much drama. Too much politics… I just wanted a couple of months in the sun without thinking about anything serious. No more questions about when I was going to join my dad’s private practice… or my parents wanting to know when I’m planning on settling down to have kids.

Seriously, I’m like twenty-five… Can’t they at least wait until I’m thirty before they ask those sorts of questions?

The one good thing about Martin is that he’s significantly less chatty than the other tourists staying at the small hotel on the seafront. It works. I like the quiet. Neither one of us is particularly chatty—it’s probably a British thing—and so being his friend or ‘travel buddy’ as he keeps saying isn’t that bad.

Until he suggested surfing.

Now I really can’t completely blame Martin. He only suggested we do something I’ve been dying to try since the first day I arrived down under but had yet to have the courage to do.

I’d ummed and ahhed for the best part of an hour before finally relenting and following him down to the beach. He told me he’d found the best instructor around. Apparently, he came HIGHLY recommended, whatever that meant. I think he meant that the barmaid he’s been flirting with for the past week suggested him, but I’m not interested enough to ask.

Here I was hoping for a smoking hot instructor but nope… the guy was old, had a beer belly, and stank of stale cigarettes.

I should have known right there and then that this was not going to be a good day.

For the first half of the day, we didn’t even get to go in the water, our instructor insisting that we had to practise on land first. Which was fine by me… I was in no rush to brave the ocean.

But then when he finally announced that we were ready, he decided it was time to tell us what to do if we see a shark. Don’t get me wrong, I knew there was a chance we’d see a shark, but I didn’t want to think about it. And I definitely wasn’t going to be able to surf well while panicking about becoming a great white’s next meal.

Although, in fairness, I probably wasn’t about to surf well anyhow.

He gave us a list of rules that within minutes I’d completely forgotten, even though I was desperately repeating them over and over in my head. Something about times of day to not surf… Parts of the water to avoid… Not surfing alone—I remembered that one… He told us not to flail as if I could actually control my panic.

I at least remembered the most important rule: if you see a shark, get out of the water. That one I could fully get behind.

Two minutes later, we were all paddling out and I was hyperventilating. Martin tried several times to put me at ease, but all the talk of sharks had ruined the whole experience for me. Or so I thought.

The first time I stood up on my board and didn’t fall off straight away, I forgot all about the sharks that could be swarming beneath my board. Nothing else mattered. It was exhilarating. It was a thrill you wouldn’t find in the Scottish Highlands, that’s for sure.

After that, I was hooked, and for a solid hour and a half, my opinion on the whole ‘surfing’ thing dramatically improved. But it was temporary… Very temporary.

It helped that I wasn’t anywhere near as bad at it as I had imagined I would be. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t good and I wouldn’t be entering any competitions anytime soon, but I wasn’t awful. And I was definitely better than Martin.

Everything was going brilliantly until I decided to take a breather. Straddling my board, a little off from the beach, trying to catch my breath. That’s when I felt it. Something was definitely swimming underneath my board.

Immediately, I panicked, telling Martin that I thought there might be a shark.

He actually laughed at me, the dick! He didn’t believe me at all… Possibly because I’d called shark at least three times within our first hour in the water.

Scrambling, I looked around me, trying to see through the depths of water, but I couldn’t see anything and I hadn’t seen a fin or anything.

‘It was probably a fish or some seaweed,’ Martin told me with a smirk.

I should have followed my instincts and gotten the hell out of the water, but I didn’t. Instead, I paddled, preparing to catch the next wave. I managed to ride the wave and didn’t fall off my board! It was a rush, and I’d quickly paddled back out to where Martin was waiting.

Something brushed up against me again, and I nearly screamed with fear.

There was definitely something underneath my board, even if Martin didn’t believe me!

‘Mart—’ I began, but was cut off when I felt it again.

I began to lift my legs onto my board, but I wasn’t quick enough. I let out a painful scream when I felt teeth bite down into my shin. Those were definitely teeth! ‘FUCK!’

Everyone was staring at me like I was a crazy person as I continued to scream. There was something attached to my leg, and I thought I was going to die!

I’d been bitten by a fucking shark!

It was probably a great white… Trust me to get bitten by a great white! It wouldn’t happen to anyone else, only me. I was at a complete loss about what to do. I tried to recall what the instructor said, but all I could remember was that I was not supposed to be thrashing about.

But how the hell else was I supposed to get the shark off me?

’HELP!” I screamed, my voice hoarse.

I was going to die. I should have listened to my mum… This was worse than being bitten by a snake. I should have listened to my dad… Maddy… They were all right, and I was going to die!