Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns

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Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns

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Lawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife.

But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.

Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more.

But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?

A moving story of secrets, love and new beginnings from bestselling author Rachael Johns.

A few words from Rachael

My latest release TALK OF THE TOWN is a rural romance set in dairy county in Western Australia. The hero is a widow with an eight year old son who is still madly in love with his wife, at least until he drives through a local ghost town and stumbles across the mysterious Meg who has just moved into a derelict house there. Lawson and Meg get to know each other and friendship and romance blossoms. The following scene takes place on her first visit to his dairy farm when he’s showing her how they milk the cows…

Excerpt from Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns

Meg kept firing questions and he found himself, like Ned, wanting to impress her with his knowledge. Even though he realised how stupid it was, he couldn’t help himself and explained every damn thing in so much detail that he was probably in danger of boring her to death.

When the rotary was almost full, they left Ethan and headed round to the other side to start getting the cows off. Meg watched as he unhooked the suction cups, sprayed their udders and then sent them on their way.

For a while they stood in comfortable silence and then she asked, ‘How come a few of the cows have chains across?’

‘They’re the ones we’ve identified as having more milk, so they go round twice.’

She nodded and rubbed her lips together in the most infuriatingly sensual manner. He didn’t think she did it on purpose, but it drew his attention once again to her lips.

‘Do you want to have a go spraying?’ he asked, trying to distract himself.

‘Do you trust me?’

‘It’s not rocket science,’ he said, as he reached out to hand her the hose. She took it and again their hands touched in the interaction.

He had to step back to unhook a cow that had just finished its second time round, but then he turned back to watch her working. No one had ever looked so adorable in dirty gumboots, but the way he felt right now, she could be wearing a hessian sack and he’d still think her the sexiest woman on the planet. It might not be the most romantic place for a first kiss—what with the noise of the animals, the smell he no longer noticed and Ethan only metres away wrangling the cows into position—but Lawson couldn’t wait a moment longer to show Meg how he felt.

There might never be the perfect place, the perfect time. He wasn’t going to let another week pass by—another day, another hour, another minute—without knowing what her lips felt like against his.

He took a step closer to her and swallowed as he reached out and touched her arm. She turned to face him and he saw her eyes widen as the noise of the cattle and the machinery ceased to exist. The rest of the world ceased to exist. Their gazes locked, his breath halting as he reached out, took the hose and then tossed it onto the floor.

Then he lifted his hand, palmed it against the back of her neck and drew her face towards his.

For one split-second he panicked that maybe he’d read her wrong—that maybe she didn’t feel the same pull of attraction that he did—but it was too late to chicken out. He lowered his mouth and pressed it against hers. Her lips were warm and soft, her mouth pliant. He felt Meg’s hands land on his back, then slide upwards over his T-shirt. She wrapped her arms around his neck as she opened her mouth and welcomed his tongue inside. A little murmur of pleasure escaped her mouth into his, only increasing his desire.

She tasted amazing—better than all his favourite foods put together. He never wanted to stop doing this. The nerves that had stopped him from kissing her so many times before faded to nothing as a feeling of rightness descended.

Why the hell had he left this so long? They could have been doing it for days.

‘Oi, what’s going on over there?’ came a shout from Ethan, which intruded into this most perfect kiss. ‘I’m sure this one’s been round three times already!’ He chuckled loudly.

Lawson cursed silently and reluctantly tore his lips from Meg’s. ‘I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time,’ he whispered as he let his hand fall away from her neck.

In reply, she simply smiled at him, and he could tell they were on the same page.

He waited for guilt about Leah to land, but it didn’t. All he felt was utter joy and the desperate desire to kiss Meg again.

Who was he kidding? He wanted to do a lot more than kiss her.

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