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MAGGIE TRENT sold real estate.
None of her family or friends particularly appreciated her job, although her mother was supportive, until Mary Donaldson of Tasmania got engaged to Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and it was revealed that she had worked in a real estate office.
From then on, everyone looked at Maggie Trent with renewed interest, even a little spark of 'the world could be your oyster too'!
In fact, the world could have been Maggie's oyster anyway, had she wanted it. She came from a very wealthy background. At twenty-three she was a golden blonde, attractive, always stylish and well groomed.
Nevertheless, she also had a well-developed commercial instinct and a flair for her job in the form of matching the right people to the right properties plus a very real 'eye' for the potential in houses that many missed.
This came from the Bachelor of Arts degree she'd done at university along with courses in architecture and draughting, as well as her natural interest in people and her ability to get along with them. She'd been born with great taste.
If she had a creed it was that nothing was unsaleable.
She was enjoying her life and her career far too much, especially with the property boom going the way it was, to contemplate marriage, although there was at least one man in her life who wished she would-not a prince of any designation, however.
But Maggie had two goals. One was to prove that she was a highly successful businesswoman in her own right. She had visions of opening her own agency one day. The other was to allow no man to make her feel inferior because she was a woman. Both these ambitions had been nurtured by a difficult relationship with her father, a powerful, wealthy, often arrogant man who believed she was wasting her time working at all and equated real-estate agents with used-car salesmen.
It was undoubtedly-she didn't try to hide it from herself-this mindset that saw her take such exception to Jack McKinnon, wealthy property developer, with such disastrous results-not that she'd ever intended to deprive him of his liberty!
She couldn't deny that was how it had turned out, though. Nor had the fact that she'd been deprived of her liberty at the same time seemed to hold much weight with him at all. In fact, he'd ascribed some really weird motives to it all that still annoyed her to think of...
Anyway, it all started one sunny Sunday afternoon. She and Tim Mitchell were sipping coffee and listening to an excellent jazz band amongst a lively crowd on a marina boardwalk. Her relationship with Tim was fairly casual. They did a lot of things together, but Maggie always drew the line at getting further involved. Truth be told this was placing undue strain on Tim, but he did a good job of hiding it.
'Who's that?' Maggie asked idly. She was feeling relaxed and content. She'd sold a house that morning that was going to earn her a rather nice, fat commission.
Tim glanced over his shoulder at the new arrivals that had caught Maggie's attention and drew an excited breath.
'Jack McKinnon,' he said. 'You know-the property developer.'
Maggie stared at the man. She did know the name and the man, but only by reputation.
Jack McKinnon was a millionaire many times over and amongst other things he headed the company that was developing new housing estates in what Maggie thought of as 'her patch', the Gold Coast hinterland.
If she was honest, and she was, Maggie disapproved of the kind of housing estates Jack McKinnon developed. She saw it as tearing up of the rural land that had always been the Coast's buffer zone. The area where you could own a few acres, run a few horses, breed llamas or whatever took your fancy; the green zone that was a retreat for many from the highrise and suburbia of the rest of the Coast.
Now, thanks to Jack McKinnon and others, part of that green zone was disappearing and thousands of cheek-by-jowl 'little boxes' were taking its place.
Unfortunately, the reality of it was that the Coast's population was burgeoning. Not only did it offer a good climate and great beaches, but its proximity to Brisbane, the state's capital, also made it desirable and future urban development was inevitable.
Doesn't mean to say I have to like the people involved in doing it and making a fortune out of it at the same time, she mused.
'Do you know him?' she asked Tim as Jack McKinnon and his party, two women and another man, selected a table not far away and sat down.