Lilian Darcy is a five-time Rita™ Award nominee who has written over eighty romances for Harlequin, as well as several mainstream novels. She has also written for Australian theatre and television under another name, and has received two award nominations for Best Play from the Australian Writers Guild. In 1990 she was the co-recipient of an Australian Film Institute award for best TV mini-series.
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It’s May 1996 and Marietta High School English teacher Kate MacCreadie is almost at the end of her rope, torn between the demands of her work and her heavy involvement in helping her younger brother Rob and his wife Melinda take care of their five young children on the MacCreadie family ranch.
When Marietta’s fine-looking new sheriff, Harrison Pearce, pulls Kate over for her third traffic violation in as many months, they both know it’s a sign that something has to give.
Kate finds it almost a relief to be told by this calm, strong man to get her life in order, and then she just keeps on seeing him - at school after there’s been a suspicious break-in, on the evening of the prom when he’s off duty and driving his nephew and friends to the event in one of his brother’s gorgeous vintage cars.
Late that night, after prom is over, a tragedy at River Bend Park brings Kate and Harrison together yet again, and this time, in the highly charged atmosphere, Kate discovers that she never wants to let him go. But with his divorce still fresh, is Harrison ready for someone new?
“Kate,” Harrison said, reaching her. He looked happy to see her. His dark eyes contained an intent light and their focus was very steady.
“Hi,” she said. “I’ve been tasked to show you the break-in, since I was the one who found it.”
She knew she was blushing a little. They’d had such a great conversation, looking over his place last month. She’d had this shy, tentative little idea that he might call and ask her out, afterward, but he hadn’t and silly, romantic Kate had required a good, cheerful talking to from sensible, cynical Kate to put the idea out of her mind.
It was probably the three sets of glasses on your head and the four traffic violations, Kate. He thinks you’re a lunatic, and dangerous.
Harrison introduced the police detective, Greg Holding, who asked, “Has everything been left just as it was when you first saw it?”
“Um, yes, come this way and I’ll show you.” She almost took Harrison’s arm, pulling back just in time. It wasn’t the occasion for touching a man, for heaven’s sake, and especially not a man like this, in uniform! “There’s a lot of broken glass. Mr Earnshaw wanted to sweep it up, but I thought you both should see it first, on the chance there’s—”
Evidence. But she didn’t say this, in case they thought she’d been watching too many TV cop shows and crime dramas. Or in case she was gabbling.
“Good thinking,” Harrison said, and she felt ridiculously happy about the praise.
They smiled at each other, and her whole day changed.
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