Congratulations Nicole Hurley-Moore
on the release of
Read an excerpt below
Rebecca Duprey is working day and night to keep the family sheep station, Bluestone Ridge, afloat. But Bec’s father, who’s been in a wheelchair since a farming mishap, keeps second-guessing her decisions. Now, to add Bec’s woes, her unfaithful ex-boyfriend has started lurking around, and the adjoining farm she’d hoped to buy has been snapped up by a guy from the city called Matt Harvey.
After leaving his job in advertising, Matt became a bestselling novelist. But since the death of his fiancee in a car accident, he’s had severe writer’s block and is desperately hoping his move to the country will help him deal with his grief and allow him to focus on completing his next book. Problem is, he seems to have started off on the wrong foot with his new neighbour, Bec Duprey.
Bec isn’t quite sure when she started feeling attracted to Matt, but she’s determined not to succumb to his charms. And Matt isn’t sure when his feelings changed about Bec; all he knows is he can’t get her out of his mind. Can Bec and Matt overcome their fear of loss to find love and happiness with each other…?
This absolutely compelling novel deals with betrayal, tragedy, love – and how first impressions aren’t always right.
Excerpt from Country Roads by Nicole Hurley-Moore
As she headed across the backyard she glanced up at the impossible blue sky. A thin column of smoke rose in the distance.
‘Oh hell,’ Bec whispered as she put her hand up to her eyes to block out the sun. Yeah, there was definitely a fire. She just prayed that there was still time to contain it. She pulled her phone out of the back pocket of her jeans and was about to call 000 when her fingers stilled.
He wouldn’t be that stupid would he?
She jogged over to her blue ute and slid into the driver’s seat. Firing up the engine, she drove down the dirt road towards the smoke plume. Just over a week ago, a blow-in from the city had moved into the old miner’s cottage that bordered Bluestone Ridge’s southern paddocks.
The new owner, according to the gossip in town, was some sort of writer that had swapped his busy life in Melbourne for a tree change in White Gum Creek. And when she had driven past the cottage last Thursday there had been a large delivery truck parked in the driveway.
Bec tapped her foot on the accelerator. The ute sailed down the road leaving a dusty cloud in its wake. She shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Maybe something had happened and her new neighbour was in trouble. That must be it, some sort of accident because no one in their right mind would purposely light a fire on a day like this.
A few minutes later, the ute bumped over the rise, the cottage came into view. A man with black hair and a green shirt stood in front of a large fire in the front yard.
Bec narrowed her eyes as she pulled up and switched off the car. A flash of anger unfurled in her belly. Of all the stupid, irresponsible… Geez, what was this joker thinking! She clambered out of the ute and slammed the door shut. The noise was loud enough for the guy to look up. A smile began to bloom on his face but quickly disappeared as Bec stomped up to the front gate and glared at him.
‘What the bloody hell do you think you’re playing at?’
The man frowned as he leant on his rake handle. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean.’
‘The fire,’ Bec snapped as she pointed to it. ‘You can’t have a fire on a day like today.’
‘Oh, it’s alright. It’s not a fire ban day – I checked.’
He gave her a smile like that would make everything okay – which only infuriated her more.
‘Great, good job but you still need to put that out.’ Bec closed her eyes as a gust of wind blew the thick smoke in her face. It lobbed at the back of her throat and made her want to cough.
God, could he actually be that clueless?
‘Because the wind has whipped up, and one spark from your fire is all it takes for all this – ,’ Bec waved her hand in a circle to emphasis her point. ‘to go up in smoke.’
‘It’ll be fine – I’m watching it, and anyway, I’ve the hose ready in case an ember shoots off.’
Bec put her hands on her hips and glared at him – hard. ‘Listen, we’ve had a long hot summer and it hasn’t rained here in weeks. It may not be a total fire ban day across the whole state because there has been rain about, but not here in White Gum Creek. The land is dry and we’re all holding our breath. Do you have any idea how quickly a grass fire can spread?’
At least he had the decency to stop smiling and shake his head.
‘Well it’s fast. With this wind, a fire would blow all the way through my place and I don’t intend to let that happen. I’ve got fourteen hundred acres and five thousand head of livestock to protect – so put the damn fire out.’
‘Okay, okay I will. But in my defence the weather report didn’t say anything about the wind.’
‘Fine,’ Bec turned to leave but stopped as he called out.
‘No, wait, please. Listen, I reckon we got off on the wrong foot. I’m sorry that I worried you – I suppose it’s going to take me awhile to settle in and learn how everything works out here. I’m Matt Harvey.’
She gave a curt nod before she headed to her car.
‘Wait, is that it? Aren’t you even going to tell me your name?’
Bec threw a glance over her shoulder. ‘This wasn’t a social call, Mr. Harvey. I don’t have time for tea and a chat – daylight’s burning and I have a business to run.
‘But – ’
‘Just put the bloody fire out,’ Bec said before she opened the car door and climbed into the driver’s seat. She turned the ignition, swung the ute around and drove back down the road without bothering to look back.
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