Can she keep a safe distance?

Jenna Matthews is a city girl, no question. Despite a childhood spent in the Outback, she's committed to her fast-paced life and the competitive world of corporate law. When her best friend asks her to be bridesmaid, Jenna finds herself in Wirralong and wildly attracted to the best man. A fling? Why not?
Dangerously sexy Sam Twist runs his vast family sheep property and is as keen as Jenna to keep their relationship at fling status. Then the authorities turn up on his doorstep and Jenna jumps in to help despite Sam's protests.
She soon learns that after years of drought, there are others in the district who need her skills. Her dilemma? Spending too much time around Sam is perilous. He could rob a girl of her heart.


      So, this was the lawyer?
      Sam, standing beside Craig and looking back over his shoulder, stared with way too much interest at the bridesmaid who walked towards them. He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting, but certainly not a slender siren in a softly floating, pale dress that made him think of mermaids.
      Was this really, Jenna Matthews, the workaholic corporate lawyer? This girl with glossy, fair hair that curled and bounced around her lovely bare shoulders? This girl with beautiful sea green eyes that seemed to hold secrets designed to keep a man guessing.
      Sam was so distracted by the unexpectedness of this vision, he had to discipline himself to pay attention to the bride and her father.
      Right. Okay. Cate looked lovely, of course, with the softly glowing beauty that seemed reserved for happy brides. And Ted, her father, couldn't have looked prouder.
      But Sam couldn't help taking another good look at the bridesmaid. In that same moment, she looked his way and their gazes connected and he only just held it together as she focused her full siren-like attention on him.

Three strong women, one shattering secret, and a family with the courage to change
For three generations of Australian women, becoming a grazier's wife has meant very different things.
For Stella in 1946, it was a compromise in the aftermath of a terrible war.
For Jackie in the 1970s, it was a Cinderella fairy-tale with an outback prince.
While for Alice in 2015, it is the promise of a bright new future.
Decades earlier, Stella was desperate to right a huge injustice, but now a long-held family secret threatens to tear the Drummond family of Ruthven Downs apart. On the eve of a special birthday reunion, with half the district invited, the past and the present collide, passions are unleashed, and the shocking truth comes spilling out.
From glamorous pre-war Singapore to a vast cattle property in Queensland's Far North, this sweeping, emotional saga tests the beliefs and hopes of three strong women as they learn how to hold on to loved ones and when to let go.

Ruthven Downs, 2014
It had been a long day in the stockyards. As Seth Drummond drove his ute back down the winding, dusty track to the homestead, his thoughts were focused on creature comforts. A hot shower, a fried steak with onions, and a beer. Not necessarily in that order.
Rounding the last bend, he dipped his Akubra against the setting sun and saw the familiar spread of the home paddocks and the horse yards, their timber fences weathered to silvery grey. Beyond the low, sprawling, iron-roofed homestead with its deep verandahs and hanging baskets of ferns, a huge old poinciana tree shaded the house from the western sun.
At the perimeter of the paddocks, a meandering line of paper-barks marked the course of the creek, and as the setting sun's rays lengthened, the distant hills became folds of rumpled velvet beneath an arching sky that deepened from pale blue to mauve.
Seth had lived here all his life, but he never tired of this view, especially at the end of the day when the landscape was dappled with shadows and light.
Today, however, a strange car was parked near the homestead's front steps. The small, bright purple sedan looked out of place in this dusty rural setting.
On the passenger's seat at Seth's side, the blue cattle dog pricked up his ears and stiffened.
'Yeah, know how you feel, Ralph.' Seth gave the dog's neck a sympathetic scratch. 'I'm beat. Not in the mood for visitors.'
He edged the ute forward and as he did so, a figure rose from a squatter's chair on the verandah. A girl in slim blue jeans and a white T-shirt. She had a mane of thick, pale tawny hair, dead straight to her shoulders.
Recognising her, Seth let out a low whistle.
Joanna Dixon, the English backpacker, had scored a job as camp cook on last year's muster. She'd cooked a mean curry in the camp oven and she'd coped well on the job, giving as good as she got when the ringers labelled her the Pommy jillaroo and teased her about her toffy English accent.
Pretty in a slim, tomboyish way, with surprisingly cool, blue eyes, Joanna had flirted with Seth rather blatantly. But his job had been to lead the mustering team, not to be sidetracked by the chance of a roll in the swag with the hired help.
He had no idea what Joanna was doing back here now, but his recollections were suddenly cut off. Joanna was bending down to lift something from a basket on the verandah.
A small bundle. A baby.
Seth cast a quick glance around the homestead and lawns, but there was no sign of another woman. Joanna was holding the baby against her shoulder now, patting it with a practised air.
Fine hairs lifted on the back of Seth's neck. He went cold all over. No, surely not.
After the muster last year, Joanna had moved away from the district to pick bananas at a farm near Tully. Seth hadn't expected to see her again, and he'd been surprised when she'd turned up at the Mareeba Rodeo a couple of weeks later, all smiles and long legs in skinny white jeans. She'd greeted him like a long-lost friend and had mingled easily with his circle.
They'd enjoyed a few laughs, a few drinks. Later that night, primed with rum and Cokes, Joanna had knocked on his motel door. He hadn't turned her away that time.
Yanking a sharp rein on his galloping thoughts, Seth parked the ute next to her car. He drew several deep breaths and took his time killing the motor. There had to be a sensible explanation for this, an explanation that did not involve him.
Determined to show no sign of panic, he got out of the vehicle slowly. 'Stay here,' he told Ralph as the dog slipped out behind him. Obedient as ever, the blue heeler sat in the red dust by the ute's front wheel, his eyes and ears alert.
The girl on the verandah settled the baby in her arms. Seth removed his Akubra and ran a hand through his hair. After an afternoon in the stockyards, he was dusty and grimy: he'd been branding, ear-tagging and vaccinating a new mob of weaners, fresh from the Mareeba sales. He left his hat on the bonnet as he strolled towards the three low steps that led to the verandah.
'Hi, Joanna.'
'Hello, Seth.'
'Long time no see.'
'Yes.' She looked nervous, which was not a good sign. The girl Seth remembered had been brash and overconfident.
'How long have you been waiting here?' he asked.
'Oh.' She gave a shy shrug. 'An hour or so.'
'That's quite a wait. Sorry there was no one to meet you. I'm afraid I'm the only one home at the moment.' He forced a smile but it only reached half-mast. 'I thought you'd be back in England by now.'
'I'll be flying home quite soon.'
Relief swept through Seth. He'd been stupidly worrying about nothing. This wasn't what he'd feared. Joanna was leaving, going back to England.
'That's why I needed to see you.' Joanna dropped her gaze to the baby in her arms, then looked at Seth again. He could see now that her eyes were too big and too wide, displaying an emotion very close to fear.
Alarmed, Seth swallowed. His mind was racing again, trying to recall important details from that night over a year ago. Hadn't Joanna said she was on the pill?
He found himself staring at the baby, searching for clues, but it just looked cute and tiny like any other baby. Its hair was downy and golden as a duckling, and it had pink cheeks and round blue eyes. It was wearing a grey and red striped jumpsuit and he couldn't even tell if it was a boy or a girl.
He swallowed again. 'How can I help you, Joanna?'
Her mouth twisted, and she looked apologetic. So not a good sign. 'I've come to introduce you to Charlie.'

(published by Penguin Random House Australia and currently published by wiki: Sensational Novels That Take Place in Australia )

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