James Gould-Bourn: Lost & Found

Today I’m joining the blog tour for Lost & Found. I’m sharing an extract from the book with thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the blog tour and to the publisher for my copy of the extract.


Ronnie has resigned himself to a life of loneliness.

His life in the crumbling seaside town of Bingham-on-Sea never seemed that bad, but since the loss of his father, the highlights of Ronnie’s solitary days include manning the lost property office at the bus station where he works, and plaguing his local GP with increasingly outlandish ailments. Forgotten or underestimated by all those around him, Ronnie is lost, and he’s not expecting to be found.

But when a chance encounter leads Ronnie to reluctantly foster Hamlet, an unwanted stray dog, his empty days begin to fill with all manner of new responsibilities and experiences.

Can these two lost souls help each other to find a new lease of life?


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Chapter Thirteen

When Ronnie woke up the following morning, fully rested from a night of unbroken sleep, his first thought – how fully rested I feel from a night of unbroken sleep! – was quickly elbowed out of the way by his second thought – why did I have a night of unbroken sleep? He’d expected to be woken in the night by a bark or a growl or the sound of water pouring from somewhere other than the tap onto something other than porcelain, and the fact that he hadn’t meant that Hamlet had either A) crumbled a sleeping pill into his food, or B) hadn’t caused the mischief that Ronnie had fully expected him to cause. He was willing to entertain either possibility.

Sliding his feet into his slippers, cautiously, in case there were any unpleasant surprises lurking inside, Ronnie shuffled out of his room to find his dad’s door had swung ajar at some point during the night. He pulled it to and went downstairs to find Hamlet’s makeshift bed empty.

‘What are you up to?’ he muttered as he stared at the faint indentation of Hamlet’s little body in the blankets.  

A sense of déjà vu followed him around as he made his way from room to room in search of his furry housemate. This time, however, instead of starting with the most logical places, Ronnie went straight for the washing machine, convinced he could shave off valuable time from his search and rescue mission by thinking like Hamlet instead of like a normal person. But Hamlet wasn’t in the washing machine. Nor was he anywhere else in the house, not unless he’d managed to wedge himself into the teapot or the biscuit jar.  

Ronnie was just about to check inside the oven when he remembered how his dad’s door had been slightly open that morning.  

‘Hamlet!’ he yelled, stomping up the stairs and coming to a halt outside his dad’s bedroom. ‘Are you in there?’ he said before realising how pointless this question was.  

He put his ear against the door and listened for any sign of life. Hearing nothing, he placed his fingers on the handle, took a deep breath and counted to three before slowly exhaling and opening the door.

The faint odours of Old Spice, even older books and Fox’s Glacier Mints greeted him as he walked into the room. Even individually, these smells never failed to evoke memories of his dad, but together the effect was cruelly illusionary, so much so that Ronnie had to take a moment to pull himself together and remind himself that his dad was gone and had been for quite some time.  

The second thing to greet him was the sight of Hamlet curled up on the bed. He was dead to the world in a way that made Ronnie wonder if he might actually be, well, dead to the world, until his back leg twitched ever so slightly.  

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Ronnie felt a rare sort of anger well up inside of him, the sort he hadn’t felt since he’d seen the paperboy taking a shortcut across his dad’s flowerbed shortly after the funeral. He’d yelled at the paperboy in a way that had startled himself almost as much as it had startled the kid (who was that surprised by Ronnie’s outburst that he ran off before he’d even delivered the morning paper). He felt the same urge rising up in him now, and if he wasn’t gripping the door handle so tightly, then he might have yanked the duvet out from under Hamlet like a magician performing the tablecloth trick. But as he stood there and watched the rise and fall of Hamlet’s scratty little ribcage, he felt his anger slowly subsiding. It was no secret that Hamlet was not the most pleasant creature to behold when awake, but when he was asleep, he looked oddly sweet, or sweetly odd perhaps. He was bathed in an almost celestial glow from the morning sun that beamed through the window. Ronnie had forgotten how bright this room could be, and as he turned round and followed the light that streamed past him and into the hallway, which was often gloomy at all times of the day because there were no windows in the stairwell, he was surprised to see how warm it now seemed.  

‘Would you look at that,’ said Ronnie quietly. He shook his head and smiled, as if he’d just spent the morning searching for his glasses only to find them on his head all along. The house had often felt like a very dark place in the months since his dad had passed away, and all he had to do to bring a little light back into it was to open the door.


Lost & Found is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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