Three Days in September

Three Days in September

by Luna Miller

ASIN: B01M0956BQ

Publisher Luna Miller

Published in Romance/Contemporary, Romance, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


A contemporary adult relationship drama. The desires, dreams and fears of six lives collide when a stranger comes to town. Streetwise charmer Gabriel soon becomes embroiled in a chain of events affecting the lives of almost everyone he encounters. Unlikely friendships, loyalty, love and hope intertwine with sex, violence and tragedy over three days in September that leave no one untouched.

Sample Chapter

It was high time he got going with the project. He’d been sitting around doing nothing for long enough. Well, not exactly nothing. He’d hung out at friends’ openings, drunk lots of red wine and generally moped around licking the wounds of his latest failed romance. He’d also managed to distract himself with one or two fleeting relationships. But as always when he hadn’t painted for a while, he was starting to feel uncomfortable, right down to his bones.

But the plan was ready. So when the funding approval finally landed on his hall floor, it was too late for excuses. He went straight out to buy what he needed: paints, canvases and a set of quality brushes. He rang the elderly woman who rented out her house in Trosa to members of his artists’ association. The house was perfect, totally secluded and with a little jetty leading out into the sea.

‘Oh, really sorry, but it’s already rented out, right through till the end of autumn.’

He was furious with himself for not booking earlier. It wasn’t as if he’d just decided on this, it was what had kept him going while he was doing all that dossing around and partying lately. He was going to go away and work round the clock. If all went well, he’d have the project finished in a month.

‘I’ve got another place, a little old crofter’s cottage, just north of Ludvika. Would you be interested in that at all?’

It was a bit of a mental leap to change his plans from the coast to the northern interior. He loved the sea. He’d been looking forward to walking down the beach feeling those early autumn winds and tasting the salt and seaweed in the air. But the idea of something different, a little forest hideaway in Dalarna, well, why not? He always went south to the Med when he got free time, so he had seen very little of Sweden above Stockholm. To be honest, he didn’t really think he was missing much, but he decided to go and find out. He just had to get some work done and for that he needed peace and quiet. Dalarna would definitely give him that. Absolute middle of nowhere and a million miles from any possible temptations.

A few hours later he’d got the key, packed his car and was on his way. He decided to take a little detour via Örebro first, to call in on some old friends who lived in a big, old wooden house. He thought it’d be nice to have a few beers and a chat about old times before going into isolation. However, it turned out the collective had grown. There were now ten people from five different countries: Denmark, Holland, Italy, Sweden and … the republic of Örebro, according to Tim the American video artist. Tim had never felt quite so at home as he did now in Örebro. In short, things were a bit livelier than expected.

After much eating, drinking and banter, Pelle got out his guitar and a big sing-song was soon underway. Everyone wanted him to play their own favourites, but they sang along to whatever came up as best they could. After an hour or so the frantic guitarist’s fingers were close to bleeding. So, despite loud protests, he was forced to stop playing. Then they ran out of wine. The ones that lived in the house went around and dug out every drop of liquor they could find. This turned out to be quite a lot. Gabriel enjoyed a whisky or two and was soon kissing and cuddling with a Danish woman. Nothing more happened though. He got bored listening to her, she wouldn’t stop talking. He felt too drunk anyway and ended up falling asleep on the sofa.

He awoke next morning feeling really hungover. His head throbbed, his mouth was dry and his tired mind was spinning with self-critical thoughts, mainly about how he still hadn’t learned to say no to the whiskies and shots that always turn up at the end of a night like that. Everyone seemed to be in the same condition. It wasn’t till about two o’clock that Tim and an Italian girl went out to buy some things for brunch and the remaining bodies started to shift. After a long shower and a several-hour brunch he finally felt capable of continuing his journey. By that time the rest of the household had started to slide into a state of giddy semi-drunkenness again and the Danish girl was snogging a guy from Holland. Gabriel gave everyone a hug, said his goodbyes and left.

It was only two hours from Örebro to Ludvika, but as it was almost evening when he left it was already dark when he approached the town. He looked around curiously as he drove into the seemingly deserted small town. The neon sign of a closed Dollar Store caught his eye, standing half-hidden behind a petrol station.

A house of Mammon for people with none, he thought. Amazing how people feel compelled to buy, buy, buy, he continued philosophizing to himself. But it also occurred to him that that was exactly why he was able to make such a good income himself. Even though he always insisted that art was essential for a rich life, he knew that at the end of the day, if survival were all that mattered, his paintings had no value.

Soon the chunky, red-brick powerhouse of ABB loomed to the left. Tight, irregular rows of houses lined the opposite side of the road. One, a little concrete-stone box, another, a little red, wooden house with white paintwork and, in the middle of them all, a totally tasteless purple one! A group of lads were hanging about by an old 60s rock n roll-type car parked by a hot-dog stand.

Creative entertainment, he thought sarcastically.

A one-metre-high Dala horse on the traffic island in the middle of the main road that passes the railway station made him laugh and shake his head. He couldn’t understand how people were still fascinated by this old, romantic symbol of the region. Then he thought maybe this week he could allow himself to be inspired by them. Maybe liven them up a bit, make them a bit more up-to-date, so they better reflected modern society. How about stress horses, LCHF horses, pride horses, revolution horses … The idea brought a smile to his face at least.

But then I’d end up tied to a midsummer pole and burnt at the stake he thought, laughing even more to himself.

Almost everywhere seemed closed and dark, even though it was Friday. This was certainly no booming hub of nightlife and entertainment. But who knows? He’d always imagined that there was probably a lot more going on in these small towns than big city dwellers realised. But it would take a newcomer without contacts quite a while to root out the best parties. And anyway, he was here to work on his project.

No matter how much he tried to fight it, that recurring feeling kept coming back. He tried to keep it at bay, but it showed no mercy. It kept coming back and hitting him as hard as it always did. That longing. That feeling of angst. Longing for something, for someone …

He turned up the heating in the ancient Amazon. It was starting to get colder and the windscreen kept steaming up. He didn’t really like having the heating on too much when he drove alone for fear of it making him drowsy. But he was nearly there.

When he turned left at the empty roundabout he caught sight of a man chasing a woman. When the guy caught up with her he seemed to throw himself at her with enough force to knock her off balance. She managed to stay on her feet but hit her head on a lampost. He slowed the car, fearing he was about to witness a violent assault. But then the pair started kissing each other. As he drew level with them he put his foot down and left them in the darkness.

A good way down the main road to Borlänge, now on the other side of Ludvika, he glanced down at the milometer. After four dark kilometers he turned onto a partially overgrown track, kept on up the hill and came to a building. Exactly according to the instructions. As soon as he parked and switched off the engine he was in total darkness and silence. He peered out into the night, trying to let his eyes adjust while he lit a cigarette. It didn’t really taste of anything, but it satisfied his craving for nicotine.

It was a cold night. Stockholm still had a late summer feel, but up here September was most definitely autumn. But the cold air woke him up and made him feel fresh after sitting still so long in the car. He got out and stretched his legs, freeing some of the stiffness in his body. He stood and stared at the dark, clear sky and the glittering stars. This far away from the lights of the town the sky was so much more intense. And the silence... No sounds from cars or people. No horns, no laughter, no shouts, no loud ticking from street crossings and no distant sirens.

He stubbed out his cigarette in the cold earth and made his way tentatively through the compact darkness. He felt his way to the door and managed to get the key in the predictably stiff and difficult lock.

‘Just don’t push it in too hard, or it’ll never turn.’ He repeated to himself.

It took him a few trips to and from the car before he had got all his canvases, paints and brushes into the cottage. When he had lined everything up along the wall in the biggest room he made one last trip to the car and stopped still again.

This silence. Wonderful but frightening. There and then he made a decision. He took his iPhone out of his inside pocket and switched it off, without even looking for messages or calls. He put it in the glove compartment, then closed and locked the car.

There. All contact with the real world closed. Now I should finally manage to get something done. He filled his lungs with the cold air, looked up at the stars one last time and walked inside locking the door carefully behind him.

He hung up his new Filippa K coat and hat on a hook in the hall, but kept his black trainers on. Then he had another more careful look round the cottage. It didn’t take long. There was only a kitchen, a bathroom and one big room with a bed, a small sofa and a chair. Next to a white-tiled fireplace was a stack of firewood. He prepared and lit a fire. Then he opened a lukewarm low-strength lager and sat himself down on the rug to get close to the fire. The light from the fire danced over his face and glowed on his slightly ruffled, dark brown hair. He unconsciously scratched his beard as he decided to throw another chunk of wood on the fire. Then he sat for quite a while as the fire slowly warmed the room.


Excerpted from "Three Days in September" by Luna Miller. Copyright © 2016 by Luna Miller. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Luna Miller

Luna Miller

Is it possible to introduce oneself despite using a pseudonym? I believe it is. A person is far more than a name, a job and an age. We are our dreams, our experiences and our feelings. These are what make us unique.

View full Profile of Luna Miller

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