Meet Darry Fraser, author of
Daughter of the Murray
“A fast paced adventure romance set on the mighty River Murray.
Danger, adventure and an overwhelming attraction: can she fulfill her destiny?”
Read the story blurb.
Read an excerpt.
Plus, there’s a giveaway!
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Georgina Calthorpe is unhappy living with her indifferent foster family the MacHenry’s in their crumbling house on the banks of the River Murray.
Unlike the rest of the family, she isn’t looking forward to the return of prodigal son Dane. With good reason. Dane MacHenry is furious when on his return he finds his homestead in grave decline. Unaware that his father has been drinking his way through his inheritance, he blames Georgina and Georgina decides she has no option but to leave. Unfortunately she chooses Dane’s horse to flee on, and when Dane learns she has stolen his prized stallion, he gives chase.
From this point their fates become intertwined with that of a businessman with a dark secret, Conor Foley, who offers Georgina apparent security: a marriage with status in the emerging nouveau-riche echelons of Melbourne. But none of them could imagine the toll the changing political and social landscape would have on homes, hearts and families.
Will Georgina’s path lead her into grave danger and unhappiness, or will she survive and fulfil her destiny?
Excerpt from Daughter of the Murray by Darry Fraser
The devil will come.
She’d nearly struck him with the riding quirt. Her rage had been reflexive—he should not have grabbed her ankle; the steely grip of his fingers had dug deep.
She took a couple of breaths and ran out to help Ruth as she lumbered in with the bath then followed her out to lug buckets of warm water, one after the other, until the bath had just enough to sit in. Ruth took her leave.
Georgie stripped down and climbed in, grateful they still had water close by. She scrubbed her face and neck, soaped her underarms and between her legs, and then sank into the warmth of the water, allowing it to soothe her nerves. She wished she drank rum … it seemed to help Uncle Tom sometimes.
She stood and stepped out of the water, dried herself off and shivered again. The shiver, she knew, was not from the cold. Still his face would not leave her memory, burned there as much by her anger as by his. She sat at the little armoire, wrapped in her house gown and tried to finger comb her hair, her brush still not returned to her. Knots entangled what was usually a cooperative mass. She willed herself to undo every snarly little one, but she gave up in frustration.
Choosing her light blue dress, she slipped a chemise over her head and stepped into the dress without bothering with her corset. She pulled on an old pair of drawers and jiggled until she was comfortable. The unsettled feeling in the pit of her stomach and between her legs remained, but she resolved to be calm.
Her stillness was short-lived. Elspeth burst into her room, a nervous Ruth behind her.
Georgie spun around, prepared for bad news. ‘What is it, Elspeth, what’s the matter?’
‘I saw you ride off sitting with your legs open on that horse,’ Elspeth shouted, as though she’d been shot in the foot.
Georgie, relieved, rolled her eyes. ‘Oh, that. Don’t be bloody tiresome. So what?’
Elspeth gasped. ‘I’m telling Ma.’ She flung out of the room as quickly as she’d come in with Ruth in tow once again, who threw her hands in the air.
Georgie knew then that trouble could not be avoided. The last time Aunt Jem had seen her riding astride, she had ordered Georgie to her room for three days. And if Elspeth told her of Georgie’s language, the confinement would surely be longer.
Then there was the altercation with Dane.
Her heart thudded again. She stamped her foot. ‘Oh, bloody, bloody, bloody,’ she said aloud, though not too loudly. She dared not say any of her favourite profanities just in case she could be heard.
Josephine, a servant from her stepfather’s house in England, was to thank for the language education. Georgie spent more time sneaking around downstairs with Josephine and learning from the stablemen—their talk as well as their horsemanship—than upstairs.
She hurled a thin bar of soap at the wall and flopped on her bed.
By late afternoon and with no shrill demand from Aunt Jem to present and explain herself, Georgie emerged cautiously from her room, via the veranda door, to take a short, dignified walk to the big gardens at the back of the house. There, by the remnants of the orange orchard, was a large swinging garden bench. She took a seat. An involuntary bubble of laughter found its way to her lips as she replayed the scene with Dane and the riding quirt again.
And then there would be dinner. Oh dear. It hadn’t occurred to her that she would have to face him at the dinner table. Well, she would have to cross that bridge when she came to it. She was determined to deny her action if he were so ungentlemanly as to bring it up, though she doubted he was a gentleman, the way he looked at her.
She sat there until nearly dusk, admitting to herself she’d have to go back to the house, soon, with or without a confrontation.
Sliding off the swing, Georgie turned to face the homestead. The sight of a figure just behind her startled her and she cried aloud and stepped back.
‘There you are.’ Dane dipped from the waist only a little. ‘I believe we’re expecting you at dinner.’
‘Oh.’ He was so close. So close she could see the pores of his skin, the tufts of beard stubble where his razor had missed its mark. The hairs on her neck prickled, and a peculiar heat flushed her face. ‘I-I’ll be along in a moment.’
‘You’ll be along right now.’ He stood taller, then indicated she should walk back towards the house. ‘We don’t wait on you.’
Darry Fraser woke up one day with an epiphany: writing is her journey, and a major publication was the goal. It was now or never.
So, the ‘now’ took five years and happily, ‘Daughter of the Murray’ was published with Harlequin MIRA in 2016.
The Australian landscape is home and hearth – the rural, the coastal, the arid lands and the desert. The history, the hidden stories, the catalysts, and the powerful connections between humans are her story drivers.
A daughter, a sister, an aunty who loves animals especially dogs, who desperately wanted a horse as a child. And guitar lessons. She got piano instruction instead, but only for a limited time because the metronome was out of beat with her music teacher’s dentures (piano-fail).
She is left-handed, has an extreme fondness for plain flavoured potato crisps, fresh licorice, and loves a bold berry-flavoured red wine (not necessarily at the same time). Wears mostly black, red and white in varying degrees and shades, (sometimes with a colour spritz of lime or cornflower blue for zazz), and she walks every day for exercise with beloved Dog.
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Daughter of the Murray
(Giveaway open to Australian postal addressees only. Giveaway ends midnight AEST Friday 7th April 2017.)