The Bucket List tells the story of Kade, a Glaswegian accountant recently dumped by his verbally abusive, long-term boyfriend Niall. Kade’s friends think his relationship has caused him to become introverted and stuck in his ways so, to try to help him, they write a bucket list. Kade isn’t exactly convinced by this plan, but he reluctantly goes along with it, only to discover it’s true: bucket lists really can change your life.
Anybody who’s familiar with my work will know I tend to set most of my stories in Scotland. The Bucket List is no different.
It takes place in Glasgow, and in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. If you’ve never had a chance to visit Loch Lomond, I’d urge you to at least Google it. It really is a magical place. It takes forty minutes to drive there from Glasgow and yet it feels like another world completely. In many respects it is.
I’ve visited the national park a lot over the years, kayaking on the loch and hillwalking. Still on my To Do list is to walk the West Highland Way, which passes through the park, ending 90 odd miles from Glasgow in Fort William. But I’ll save that for another day.
One downside to the great outdoors in Scotland – and even I am willing to admit this – is the weather. I know Billy Connolly is forever telling us that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes, and I agree with that. I also acknowledge that bad weather in a romance novel is a great excuse to pop characters into log cabins with hot tubs, or make them rely on shared bodily warmth to make the cold, dark nights more comfortable BUT it is sometimes impossible to take pictures that truly capture the beauty of the place when it’s absolutely tipping it down. As you can see from these, frankly pitiful, efforts from my own collection that I’ve included here!
So, if you have a coffee break going spare, I suggest you get on Google Images and have a look at the beautiful landscape that is Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and, if you fancy it, have a wee swatch at The Bucket List to see how Kade and Blake fumble their way through a wild and lonely Scottish winter, to hopefully come out stronger on the other side.
The Bucket List was released by Loose Id Publishing on August 5th.
When Kade Doherty gets dumped, he expects sympathy from his friends. Instead, he gets a bucket list. His friends want to help him enjoy life again, but Kade isn’t convinced a list of outlandish leisure pursuits will help much with that. To keep the peace he goes along with the plan and in the process, he meets Blake.
Blake’s Australian accent and surfer-boy looks are the stuff of sexual fantasies and Kade surprises everyone – including himself – when he wastes no time making a move.
Kade goes with Blake into the Scottish highlands, but just as he is beginning to get used to life with his very own Mr. Australia, reality comes knocking. Kade’s newfound happiness falls apart when his abusive ex demands they meet. Blake senses something is wrong and he wants to help, but Kade knows he can’t confide in Blake.
After all, Kade hasn’t exactly been honest. He might feel like a different man when he’s with Blake, but Kade knows he’s still just an accountant from Glasgow with slight obsessive compulsions and a bucket list that someone else wrote. He knows Blake won’t hang around, let alone help, when he finds out the truth.
Or will he?
Kade looked up at the unfamiliar facade of the building in front of him. If he hadn’t just checked his location for the third time, using both the sat-nav on his phone and the one in his car, he would have sworn he must have taken a wrong turn when he reached the unfamiliar streets of Glasgow’s East End.
Unlike the supermarket he normally frequented, this one had no branding or signage to speak of. There were no garish colors and definitely no cheesy logos. If it had an official name, the owners clearly didn’t think it was worth sharing with their customers.
The building looked like a windowless warehouse, and the car park, devoid of neatly painted grid lines and pointless shrubbery, was just a gravel-covered, pothole-ridden piece of ground hemmed in by a giant metal fence. If it hadn’t been for the steady stream of people coming and going through the single-door entrance, Kade wouldn’t have known if the shop was open or closed.
He sighed and leaned against the bonnet of his car. All he really wanted to do was get back behind the wheel and drive back to what was familiar. The temptation was almost overwhelming. It wasn’t like he hadn’t had enough changes and uncertainties to deal with recently without dragging the weekly shopping into the mix. He pulled out his phone and scrolled down until he found Ian’s number. Ian answered on the second ring.
“I’m standing outside an Asian supermarket. Are you happy now?”
“That depends,” Ian said. “Are you actually going to go inside, or are you just planning on standing in the car park, biting your bottom lip and looking at your feet?”
Kade looked up from his boots and removed the phone from his ear momentarily so he could stare at it instead. He heard Ian’s laughter through the handset.
“Fuck you very much,” Kade said under his breath when he put the phone back to his ear.
“And you. I’ll see you tonight. You know, I’m impressed. Doing two things outside of your comfort zone in one day? Hell, the council must be pumping chemicals into the water again.”
“Yeah, yeah. Very funny.” Ian was still laughing when Kade rang off and slipped his phone back into his pocket.
Ian’s jokes didn’t feel very funny to Kade at the moment, and his behavior had nothing to do with too much fluoride in the city’s water supply, as Ian well knew. Instead, it had everything to do with that stupid bloody list.
The bucket list. His bucket list. Only it wasn’t really his at all, because Kade hadn’t had any say in whether or not he wanted a bucket list, let alone what he wanted to put on it. Ian and his boyfriend, Paul, had drawn it up the morning after Kade had shown up on Ian’s doorstep, shouting and ranting and crying because Niall had left.
Douglas Black was born and raised in bonnie Scotland. An archaeologist by trade, Douglas started writing MM erotica - as a means of avoiding starvation at university - before returning to the genre in 2012.
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