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Monday, 18 September 2017

Enjoy reading #romcom? Check out The Blow-In for laughs and romance .@susl #womenslit

Excerpt to whet your appetite

The Blow-In

“Finola McGee, editor-in-chief,” it said on the gleaming brass plate.

I picked up my phone to take a shot of this amazing sight but put it back in my bag. No reason to celebrate or brag about it. Had it been The Irish Telegraph, where I had been the political reporter until recently, it would have been a big deal. But it was a tiny local rag in a little town in County Tipperary with a circulation of about four thousand. A bit of a come-down it would seem. But, ah well, I was taking a break from the hustle and bustle—to rest and recuperate among the rolling hills and green valleys of the Irish countryside. To breathe fresh air. To listen to the birds in the early morning. To enjoy silence, calm and bucolic country life. Running the Knockmealdown News would be fun and different, I told myself. I might even find myself a handsome farmer to marry and have five kids and a dog. My mother would be beside herself with joy.

“Why Knockmealdown?” I wondered when I applied for the job.

“Because of the mountain range,” Jerry Murphy, the owner and publisher told me during the job interview in his local pub, pointing out the window as he downed a pint of Guinness with impressive speed.

“Of course,” I said, feeling stupid as I looked out over the green slopes of said mountains. “I should have realised.”

Jerry nodded and raised a finger, which resulted in a waiter racing across the grubby carpet, coming to a screeching halt at our table like The Road Runner. I was impressed. I usually had to grab waiters by their throats to get them to take any notice.

“Another one, please, Paddy,” Jerry said. “How about you, Finola? Will you join me in a pint? They pull the best one in Ireland here.”

Mentally salivating at the thought of a well-pulled pint of the black stuff, I toyed with my glass of Ballygowan. But the new me only drank alcohol at weekends.

“No thanks. I’ll stick to water.”

He studied me with his bird-like pale-blue eyes. “You’re not a pioneer, are you?”

I faked a jolly laugh. “Not at all. I do like a pint now and then. But…” I hesitated. “I gave it up for lent.”

“It’s the end of May.”

“It’s a kind of detox thing.”

He eyed my bag of bacon crisps. “Right. Okay. Just the one then, Paddy,” he said to the waiter, a tall man with teeth like a horse.

“Righty-o, Jerry,” Paddy chortled and prepared to leave.

Jerry stopped him. “Before you go, I’d like you to meet our new editor.”

Paddy’s eyes widened as he noticed me. “Jesus Christ, if it isn’t Finola McGee.” He wiped his hand on the back of his trousers and grabbed mine in an iron grip. “The famous Finola!”

“How did you know?” I asked, trying not to wince.

 “I’ve seen you on the telly a couple of times. No mistaking that freckly face and the wild hair. Except now it’s short and purple. Suits you.”

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