to grow vegetables and caring communities have a real allure.
Having said that, our big cities have never offered such an amazing variety in, well, everything. Exotic cuisines, countless festivals and non-stop entertainment are there for the taking and not only for the well-to-do.
It’s natural for many people to be drawn to both and that creates a
tension between these worlds that’s interesting to explore in fiction.
In Outback Bride, my latest release with Destiny Romance, my heroine Lara has experienced both worlds. On returning to Jindaburra, her childhood home in the outback she’s forced to confront her past and ultimately to decide between the glittering city career she’s created and returning to the land she turned her back on a decade ago.
Here’s part of a scene when our hero Jake is driving Lara and her niece, Jessie, to an outback fundraiser – a shingleback race:
“’Well, look at that.’ The car slid to a halt in a cloud of dust, then Jake thrust it into reverse. A fat, iridescent shingleback sat sunning itself on the side of the road amidst a patch of bright yellow paddy melons. Jake pulled the car to the side of the road and unbuckled his seatbelt.
‘Could be Son of Stumpy,’ he said.
Jessie giggled. Lara rolled her eyes and opened the car door, and was hit by a blast of hot air. She walked
around the back of the car and stood looking down at the lizard. Jake dropped to his haunches and stretched out a hand. The lizard reared up and bared its teeth, the bright blue tongue flicking out at them.
‘Hey, little fella.’ Jake picked it up firmly behind the front legs. ‘Got to have our own entrant for the
race. No time to train him, of course. Let’s just hope he has form.’
Lara folded her arms, prepared to play along. ‘What makes you so sure Stumpy is a he?’
Jake held the lizard high and looked underneath. ‘Yep. Definitely a he.’
Another lizard crawled out of the scrub at the side of the road, its small legs plodding in determination
towards its mate.
‘And here’s Mrs. Stumpy, right on cue. Here, hold him.’ He thrust the lizard into Lara’s hand.
The warm, scaly skin glistened like shale in her hand and the hooded, primeval-looking eyes regarded
her warily. She stared back, lost in a sudden moment of déjà vu. A shimmer of heat and the unreal silence of the desolate road made time drop away until she was just young Lara from Jindaburra holding a shingleback.
Except she wasn’t Lara from Jindaburra anymore. ‘Hurry up with that box, will you?’ she called to Jake. She
didn’t want to think about that young girl and her dreams. She didn’t want to remember the innocent delight of the day she’d walked into the bush with Jake. That was long gone and life had moved on. She looked away from the lizard and its mesmerizing eyes.
Jake brought back an old shoebox with several holes punched in the lid that he’d obviously had ready. He
raised the lid and Lara placed the lizard inside. Then he reached down and scooped up the second lizard.
‘Can’t leave Mrs Stumpy behind. They mate for life, you know.’ He slid a glance up at Lara, his expression unreadable.
And suddenly, with a wave of regret, Lara had a bittersweet glimpse of how things might have been. How it
should have been between them. But it was all wrong now.
She shared a child that belonged to neither of them with a man she didn’t completely trust.
And Jindaburra was a heritage she no longer wanted."
Outback Bride can be purchased here: