Outback Surrender by Margaret Way released on Nov 24, 2003 is available now for purchase.
About the Author
Margaret Way was born and educated in the river city of Brisbane, Australia, where she now lives within sight and sound of beautiful Moreton Bay and its islands, inspiration for some of her books.
Before her marriage she was a well-known pianist, teacher, vocal coach and accompanist, but her hectic musical career came to a halt when her son was born and the demands of motherhood dictated a change of pace. On a fortuitous impulse she decided to try her hand at romance writing and was thrilled when Mills & Boon accepted her first effort, Time of the Jacaranda, which they published less than a year later in 1970; a feat that brought tears to her father's eyes. Some seventy odd books have followed resulting in a loyal readership whose letters provide a source of support and encouragement.
Her interests remain with the arts. She still plays the piano seriously, but her "top Cs" have gone. She is still addicted to collecting antiques and paintings and browsing through galleries. She lives in a house of books, spectacular plants, Chinese screens and pots. She is devoted to her garden and spends much time "directing the design and digging and providing cold drinks and chocolates."
A driving force in all her writing has been the promotion of her much loved country, Australia. She delights in bringing it alive for her readers; its people, way of life, environment, flora and fauna. Her efforts so far have not excited official recognition, but she expects one day she will be awarded the "Order of Australia."
Read an Excerpt
By Margaret Way
Mills & BoonCopyright © 2004 Margaret Way
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSHELLEY hit the pavement with a fast light step that belied her tiredness. It was late Friday afternoon and she'd all but completed her list of "must-dos" in the town of Koomera Crossing. Her first meeting, with the bank manager, hadn't gone too badly, but the meeting with her father's solicitor - the only one in the town - had not been so good. She'd then ordered fresh food supplies from the general store, where they always did a marvellous job. That had been the most important and most pressing need. Supplies had to be ordered in to accommodate a small party of Japanese guests due in a month's time. Those supplies would be airfreighted out to the station before the tourists' arrival.
She'd stocked up on all the non-perishable items, and now she was going to buy a few little treats for herself, just to keep her spirits up. Toiletries, mainly. Soaps, shampoos, creams, a bit of make-up and the like. Usually she spent very little on herself, only peanuts on clothes and cosmetics, but she made sure she looked after her hair and skin. Those precious assets had to last her a lifetime, after all.
She was dog-tired even for a girl with plenty of go, and she had to force her legs to see out the distance. She'd started out from home, Wybourne Station, in the pre-dawn, making a fairlyquick trip - some three hours over rough Outback roads - before she hit Koomera Crossing, the nearest thing to civilisation in this part of the world.
South-West Queensland really was the Back O'Beyond, but she loved her desert home with a passion. Nowhere else could offer her such peace and freedom, such vast open spaces. This was the Timeless Land, sacred to all aborigines. Shelley too revelled in her extraordinary environment - the living desert, with its vivid pottery colours, undulating red sands and surreal rock monuments. There was nowhere quite like the Outback for mystique. Its very antiquity gripped the soul.
It also kept her close to Sean, her guardian angel, her twin brother. Sean had drowned when they were six. Even now she remembered the sound of his sweet voice calling to her as she'd run madcap in the homestead's rambling, overgrown garden ...
Shel ... Shel ... Shel ...
Sean had always run to her, his twin, for love, for reassurance and comfort, rather than to their older sister, Amanda, or even their mother. And even after the terrible day of the accident, of which Shelley had no clear recollection but of chaos and high, screaming voices, Sean had still accompanied her on her childhood adventures. Hadn't he woken her every dawn of her life, patting her forehead and pulling her ear? "Wake up, Shel. The sun'll burn a hole in you."
Sean! Always destined to remain a beautiful little boy, Titian curls his halo, rosebud lips moving soundlessly, his eyes like shining jewels, a gauzy white radiance all around him.
That was what twins were like. They shared a bond that meant they were never parted, not even in death. Still, heartbreak was never far from Shelley. Her memories of her little brother were bittersweet, but the power and magic of their love for each other sustained her even now.
She walked on briskly, calling a pleasantry here and there. Nearly everyone in the town was as well known to her as she was to them.
She had no intention of returning to Wybourne tonight. She couldn't possibly find the strength for the long drive after hoofing around the town for hours, always trying to find shelter under awnings from the dry, burning sun.
It was the greatest mystery to her and to everyone else - and sometimes she thought her older sister Amanda was secretly outraged by the fact - but she didn't have a single freckle. She the redhead with the untameable firewheel mop. Her skin was often referred to as "porcelain". She had to thank her darling now deceased maternal grandmother Moira, born in County Kerry, Ireland, for that. Ditto the rose-gold mane, the green eyes and, it had to be said, the Irish temper when aroused.
She was staying at the town's only pub, run by Mick Donovan. The food was fine and the accommodation was comfortable and spotlessly clean. She couldn't wait to run a bubble bath - what a luxury - and just soak. But first she'd have to buy the bubbles.
She was standing in the town's pharmacy, deciding between two - jasmine-scented or gardenia - when a hand tweaked one of her curls. And not all that gently, she thought in surprise. She was sure in the course of the day she'd spoken to just about everyone who was out and about in town. Station born and bred, she'd been coming into Koomera Crossing all her life.
She was so quick on her feet she caught the telltale trace of devilry on a handsome mouth.
Excitement welled up so fast it made her dizzy. There stood Brock Tyson, right there in the flesh. His bearing held the same fiery male pride, the same high-mettled look that put her in mind of a powerful plunging stallion. As a fullgrown man he was magnificent, but the dark brooding hadn't died in him. She sensed it plainly as she faced him. The town, indeed the entire Outback, hadn't seen or heard of him in years, though he was one of their own.
Daniel Brockway Tyson had been one of the wildest and most daring young men the vast South-West had ever known. Brock had found all sorts of marvellous ways of living on the edge. Sometimes as a boy he would go off into the desert for days, giving no account of his adventures when he finally got home to Mulgaree, where he had been met by the predictable whipping. Mulgaree was the flagship of the Kingsley chain of cattle stations. Old man Kingsley, Brock's grandfather, ran it like a private fiefdom. It was he who had administered the whipping, but he'd never broken Brock's spirit.
"Why, if it isn't sweet little Shelley Logan," Brock exclaimed, his remarkable light eyes moving over her. "You haven't changed at all."
"I certainly have!" She allowed him to steer her out of the aisle. "All it takes is time."
"Give me a minute and it'll become more apparent." He grinned, continuing his inspection. "How are you?"
Shelley Logan had been just a kid when he'd left. So pretty, so innocent, so bruised by fate. Brock hadn't forgotten the enchanting little Logan twins and their tragedy. There wouldn't be a soul for thousands of miles around who wasn't familiar with the sad story of how little Sean Logan had lost his life.
"I'm fine, Brock." Shelley was completely unprepared for the onrush of surprise and delight. "Where in the world did you spring from? I've been in town all day, yet not a single soul mentioned you were back, let alone right here in Koomera Crossing."
His features, which might have been chiselled by a master sculptor, tightened. "It was not my idea but my beloved grandfather's. It seems he can no longer endure our estrangement. Can you beat that? He kicked me out almost five years ago to the day; now he relays such an impassioned plea I simply couldn't turn him down."
"He's ill?" The thought sprang immediately to her mind.
"People start thinking of family reconciliations at those times."
"He's dying in the way of mere mortals," Brock told her caustically. "Of course he never thought he was one. I'm not letting any cat out of the bag; it'll only take a day for it to be all over town."
Shelley looked up at him. She had to tilt her head back. Brock was easily six-three. She was vertically challenged at five-two. "I don't know what to say, Brock. I always thought your grandfather was very cruel to you." The whole Outback was in agreement on that.
"Sure he was," he said carelessly. "But I used to get my own back. I had the rare pleasure of telling him off. Not so my poor mother."
"How is she?" Shelley asked, eager for news.
He glanced beyond her, out into the mirage-stalked street, his finely cut nostrils flaring. The look in his eyes was very complex and disturbing. "She didn't come home with me, Shel. I buried her in Ireland - the land of her ancestors. She was taken by cancer."
"Brock!" Tender-hearted Shelley found her eyes stinging. "I am so sorry. I know how close you were to your mother. And she to you." Shaken, she took a deep breath of air.
"So I'm alone in the world," he said simply. "My dad simply vanished like a puff of smoke when I was six, and I can't count the rest of my family as family. They're more sworn enemies - or plotters at the very least. Cousin Philip and his mother, dear Frances. She's always hated me."
Shelley's expression clouded. "Deep down I swear she admires you."
Excerpted from Outback Surrender by Margaret Way Copyright © 2004 by Margaret Way. Excerpted by permission.
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