Excerpt – What Happens at the Beach…by T.A.Williams
Just then, their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of a visitor.
‘Ah, here he is, Natalie. This is my special friend. I forgot to tell you about him. He comes to visit me every day.’ She sounded very animated. Natalie looked up and saw that the object of her attention was a handsome black Labrador with a red collar who had appeared round the side of the house and was heading straight for the table. He was wagging his tail enthusiastically and he came across and nuzzled Colette with his nose. He sat down beside her and put a paw on her thigh.
‘What a beaut.’ Natalie had always loved dogs and her grandmother had always had a dog in the house until the last few years. ‘Where does he come from?’
Hearing her voice, the dog relinquished Colette and trotted round to Natalie’s side. He looked up at her with big brown eyes and Natalie fell instantly in love with him. The feeling was obviously mutual as the dog reared up on his hind legs and did his best to climb onto her lap. Kindly, she pushed him back onto the ground and took the big black head in both hands. ‘Who needs a stupid fiancé when there’s a handsome chap like you around? And where’ve you come from?’
‘I think he’s from the chateau. You know it was sold last autumn?’ Natalie vaguely recalled her grandmother telling her something to that effect, but she had been here so rarely over the past few years. ‘It’s been bought by some rich people, most probably for a holiday home. At least, that’s what I hear from Marie who got the news from Maître Delatour. They’re foreign, maybe even English.’ A note of regret entered Colette’s voice. ‘No surprise there. All the most beautiful places are being bought up by foreigners and turned into holiday homes. The local people can’t afford to buy houses down here any longer. It’s a real problem.’
By this time the dog had collapsed onto his back on the flagstones and was grunting happily to himself as Natalie scratched his tummy. ‘So does he have a name?’ She spotted a medallion hanging from the dog’s bright red collar. Squinting down at it, she saw that it only bore a telephone number, no name.
‘I call him Charlie and he doesn’t seem to mind.’ No surprise there. All the dogs her grandparents had ever had had been called Charlie. Up till now they had all been cocker spaniels, but the name seemed to suit the big black dog just as well. Natalie looked down at him again.
‘So, Charlie, would you like a biscuit?’ The dog clearly understood what was on offer. He rolled to one side and leapt to his feet, tail wagging. Natalie glanced across at her grandmother. ‘Have you been giving him bad habits?’
What happens at the beach..is available to buy right now from Amazon UK