Exclusive Excerpt from Butterfly Hunter
by Julie Bozza
A polite request in his English accent and a winsome smile earned Nicholas a pot of tea delivered with a wink – in response to which Nicholas beamed up at their waitress happily. Suzie stood there with a bit of sass in her posture as she considered the man in turn. “Ah, Davey, you can bring this one back any time you like.”
“Developing a thing for Poms, are you?” Dave asked with mock sourness.
“With that smile, who cares what flavour he is?”
“That smile?” Dave echoed blankly, having to think for a moment to work out what was wrong with the sentence. Then he got it. “Those smiles,” he corrected her. “The man has a whole repertoire.”
“Does he indeed … ?” She sounded intrigued.
But Nicholas’s attention had been caught by Dave. As he gazed across the rickety old cafe table, his smile turned wistful – though when he spoke, he addressed Suzie. “I would have thought you’d be encouraging David to return for his sake, not for mine.”
“Ah,” she grieved, taking a metaphorical step back, and snapping her chewing gum. “That’s how it is, is it? Well, mate, Davey here is no use to either of us, I’m afraid. He’s strictly a one–woman man.”
Dave tried not to splutter in protest. “We broke up ages ago! A year or more!”
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“She’s –” Dave was having second thoughts, but said it anyway, glancing at Nicholas with a plea for rescue. “Denny’s married with a kid already! She’s long gone.”
“Uh huh. Whatever you say.”
“I’m gonna be, like, the kid’s godparent.”
Suzie looked at him flatly. “I rest my case.” And she belatedly put Dave’s mug of coffee down, before turning her back and sauntering off.
Dave’s mute plea kept Nicholas quiet. Well, he was obviously gay enough to be curious, but at least he was bloke enough to know that some things just couldn’t be discussed. “Um,” said Dave, scrambling for a different topic of conversation. Just in case. “Um … Oh. Did you learn anything new about your butterflies? I mean, from all those collections?”
Nicholas’s gaze turned intent and his smile fond for a long slow moment. Then he gently chided, “I would have told you, if there was anything that would change our plans.”
“I know,” Dave responded easily. “Not why I asked.”
The smile grew as another moment lengthened. It felt as if Nicholas was happy in their mutual sense of trust. Eventually, Nicholas said, “No. No, if I find them, then there’s a chance it will be a new species discovered. There’s been very few sightings of the Lycaenidae reported in that area. At least, not of the sort of thing I’m expecting.”
“The Family Lycaenidae: the blues. And when I say that area, I mean that entire south–west corner of the state. Though I guess … Well, I am extrapolating rather a lot from very little data. It could all come to nothing, of course.”
“Huh.” Dave hadn’t quite realised the full significance of this quest of discovery. “An entirely new butterfly … You’ll be able to give your name to it, then?”
Nicholas was smiling with slow contentment again. “Yes, I will.”
“In Latin, like Whatever Goringi. Or Blah–de–blah Nicholasi. Nicholai … ?”
The smile became a laugh. “Something like that.”
“And I’ll write it up for The Australian Journal of Entomology, and I’ll say I couldn’t have done any of it without Mr David Taylor of Brisbane.”
“Fame at last!” Dave laughed. “Thanks, mate.”
“Might be good for business.”
“Butterfly hunting. Dunno how much call there is for it, to be honest. Most people who brave the Outback are wanting to go crocodile wrestling instead.”
“Ah, but if you want to attract the more charmingly eccentric clients …”
Dave couldn’t help but grin; Nicholas’s wicked brand of happiness was definitely catching. “Well, it’s working for me so far,” Dave finally agreed.
About Butterfly Hunter
The most beautiful things happen when you least expect them.
It started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…
Available at: Amazon
About Julie Bozza
Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with Amy Adams and John Keats.
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