Jewel in the North by Tricia Stringer
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A breathtaking historical family saga of love, death and forgiveness and a quest for the Jewel in the North
1895 The Flinders Ranges are a beautiful but harsh landscape as Joseph Baker, a pastoralist in that unforgiving environment, knows all too well. For three generations his family have farmed the land, married and had children at their property at Wildu Creek, but now, struggling with hostility from the local community for his choice of wife, Joseph finds himself fighting to save not just his friends and family but his very existence.
His son William has his own battles to fight: not only the drought that takes over the land but his own despair, as he faces rejection from the woman he loves. Meanwhile, a ruthless enemy will stop at nothing to take from William what he considers to be his. Could the vicious and cunning Charles Wiltshire be his nemesis? Or does another man, in a quest for the Jewel of the North, hold the key to his destruction?
As the First World War looms on the horizon, two men struggle to survive both the elements and each other on a quest to find that they hold dear — but only one will have the courage to stand strong.
The deeply satisfying conclusion to the bestselling Flinders Ranges series.
Excerpt from Jewel in the North by Tricia Stringer
“They look strong and healthy.” Georgina paused to look over several cows munching contentedly on the long grass nearby. She looked back at William and a smile lifted her lips. “As you say, time on good pasture will soon fatten them up.”
William glanced up the hill to their fathers. “Looks like movement up there. Your father will be wanting you to leave soon.”
“He’s been almost melancholy of late.” Georgina cast her gaze up the hill like William had. “He wanted me to come with him so we could spend some time looking over our own property. We’ve left a spare horse and supplies back at our first waterhole. We are to camp out three nights. That was how I got him to let me wear these trousers.”
William was standing only two feet from Georgina and he liked what he saw. “It makes better sense than skirts.”
Georgina laughed. The merry sound sent a warm tingle through William’s chest.
“I’m glad you approve.”
“Millie used to wear trousers when she worked with father but with the little children and another on the way she tends to stay more at the house these days.”
“I envy your big family.”
“Really?” William studied her for any sign of teasing.
“It can be so quiet at our house. I miss the noise of my brothers and, though I can’t believe I’m saying it, their teasing.”
“Perhaps you’ll have your own big family one day.”
“Perhaps.” The wistful look left her face and her eyes sparkled. “But I wouldn’t want to become housebound like your poor stepmother.”
William’s chest filled with longing. He itched to take her hand, pull her close, tell her how he felt, but with her father so near there was no way he could attempt it. It wasn’t as if he’d never held a woman in his arms or even kissed one for that matter, but none of them had sparked the desire Georgina did. He loved her. He was quite sure of that. He’d harboured this feeling for so long even before he understood what it was.
Georgina glanced once more up the hill, flipped her hand as if brushing at a fly and knocked her hat from her head. Immediately William bent down to pick it up. She bent too, her hand went over the top of his and he felt a warm tingle as her lips brushed his cheek. He reached for her but she stood up and stepped back. A cheeky smile lit up her face.
“What game are you playing, Georgina?”
“It’s not a game.” She pushed her hat firmly back on her head. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time but we never get the chance to be alone.”
William’s heart thumped in his chest. “Do you truly mean that?”
“I never say anything I don’t mean.”
“Georgina!” She looked around, startled by her father’s call.
Ellis Prosser was marching down the hill, leading their two horses.
“Damn it, Georgina.” The frustration William felt at not being able to follow up that kiss and the thunderous look on Ellis’s face strung him as tight as a piece of fencing wire. He scowled at her. “It’s only the thought of your father hanging me up from the nearest tree that stops me from taking you in my arms right now.”