When jaded city girl Maddy McIntyre packs up and leaves Adelaide for a new job in the country, it’s not only a chance at a fresh start. Six months ago, the first guy she’d ever loved shattered her heart before moving home to Broken Hill. Deep down inside, Maddy is hoping that living in the same town will give her an opportunity to prove to Luke that she’s one temptation he can’t resist.
But when she arrives in Broken Hill, Luke White is not the same guy she knew in the city. And it soon seems very clear that he doesn’t want her there. Although Maddy settles in quickly, excelling at work and partying with her new friends, she can’t understand why Luke is remaining so distant. Particularly when all her instincts are telling her that they’re meant to be together – and that he feels the same burning attraction.
As Maddy learns more about Luke’s family and background, she begins to understand that his mixed messages are caused by balancing what’s expected of him with what he really wants. Maddy gave Luke her heart long ago and, despite their differences, she knows she’ll only ever be happy with her hot country boy. But how can she convince him that she’s the risk he needs to take?
‘It’s like something out of Wolf Creek.’ Aubree’s brow furrowed as she gazed at the long, straight road ahead.
My fingers tightened around the steering wheel as I squinted through the haze reflecting off the sizzling bitumen. ‘Sure is,’ I mumbled. ‘Where the hell are we?’ Saltbush dotted the landscape on either side of the road, and in the distance three rocky pinnacles broke through the flat, barren horizon. I swallowed, hoping we weren’t lost.
Aubree dropped her iPhone into her bag. ‘No internet.’ She pulled a map from the glove box and unfolded it. ‘Have we passed through Yunta yet?’
‘Yeah, you blinked,’ I said and laughed. ‘You dozed off for a few minutes.’
Her finger trailed along the paper. ‘Okay. So we should make it to Broken Hill in about an hour. Do you have another map of the town so I can work out how to get to your new home?’
New home. My stomach rolled with excitement and nerves, hearing her say the words. Two months ago I signed a teaching contract, believing it to be an opportunity to prove myself, take responsibility for my future, even if it was 500 kilometres from home.
‘Nope, don’t need one. The real estate agent said to follow the road into town, pass the cemetery, turn right before the school, travel a kilometre down the road and turn left into Cornish Street.’
Aubree fetched her phone out of her bag for the zillionth time. ‘I’ve got nothing. No mobile coverage, not even one bar. We’re all alone out here.’
‘Look.’ I pointed to something red at the roadside ahead.
‘Oh God,’ she said. ‘Please don’t tell me it’s another kangaroo carcass. I feel sick thinking that a joey could be alive inside.’ She turned her head to the window. ‘Wait. Stop the car.’
‘They’re only wildflowers. What’s your problem?’ I veered to the left and slowed to a safe speed on loose gravel.
‘I’ve read about these wildflowers. The Sturt Desert Pea,’ she said excitedly. ‘They’re exquisite.’ Aubree jumped out of the car and walked to the plant growing alongside the gravel. She kneeled in a delicate manner so as not to dirty her lemon maxidress.
I opened my door and followed. I gasped when she started picking handfuls of the red and black flower. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Collecting some for your house.’
I flicked flies from my face before saying, ‘It doesn’t feel right. I mean, are you allowed?’ We both jumped when a truck roared past on the opposite side of the road and sounded the horn. ‘See?’ I said.
Aubree rolled her eyes. ‘You’re wearing tiny denim shorts, Mads. I think he’s honking at you.’
Leesa Bow grew up in Broken Hill and later worked as a nurse at the local hospital before moving to Adelaide in her early twenties. Leesa began writing seriously when her second daughter became sick with cancer. Initially writing was therapeutic, but when her daughter got the all clear, she decided to continue writing seriously.
On weekends Leesa enjoys reading, watching basketball and football, having beach days with the family, catching up with girlfriends, and daydreaming about strong heroines for her next book.
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