CATAROMANCE

 

REVIEWERS' CHOICE AWARD

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 stars, Romantic Times

 

"Ally Blake continues the Brides of Bella Lucia with Wanted: Outback Wife (4), as she affectionately mocks the "marriage of convenience" convention while utilizing it effectively. This is good fun, and Heath's a treat on many levels."

 

 

4 stars, Cataromance

 

"Fresh, vibrant and written with plenty of sassiness and style, Ally Blake’s feel good romances are among the best in the business and Wanted: Outback Wife is certainly no exception! In Wanted: Outback Wife, Ally Blake sprinkles her story with charming humour, powerful emotion and heartwarming romance and she will make you laugh, cry and sigh with bliss!."

 

 

 

4 stars, Amazon Review

 

This is a tender romance about two people who couldn't be more different, yet they share similar issues with family which draw them together. Heath is a rugged and likeable hero, Jodie blossoms as she learns to overcome her self doubt. Recommended.

 

 

 

 

MARSCAPONE RECIPE

 

 

 

Cruskits (rye biscuits) or Mountain Bread (flat bread)

marscapone lathered on thick

mild salami

sliced Roma tomatoes

leaves of baby spinach

thick sliced bocconcini

salt & pepper

 

 

 

 

"A family torn apart by secrets, reunited by marriage"

 

When William Valentine returned from the war, as a testament to his love for his beautiful Italian wife Lucia, he opened the first Bella Lucia restaurant in London.  The future looked bright, and William had, he thought, the perfect family.

 

Now William is nearly ninety, and not long for this world, but he has three top London restaurants with prime spots throughout Knightsbridge and the West End. He has two sons, John and Robert, and grown-up grandchildren on both sides of the Atlantic who are poised to take this small gastronomic success story into the twenty-first century.

 

But when William dies, and the family fight to control the destiny of the Bella Lucia business, they discover a multitude of long-buried secrets, scandals, the threat of financial ruin – and ultimately two great loves they hadn’t even dreamt of:

the love of a lifelong partner – and the love of a family reunited…

 

Click here for more info on

the seven other books...

 

 

BELLA LUCIA AUTHORS

 

Liz Fielding

Linda Goodnight

Barbara McMahon

Raye Morgan

Teresa Southwick

Patricia Thayer

Rebecca Winters

 

 

 

 

HARLEQUIN ROMANCE

- NORTH AMERICA October 2006 -

 

M&B ROMANCE

- UNITED KINGDOM  October 2006 -

 

 

 

SWEET ROMANCE

- AUSTRALIA / NZ November 2006 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND reprint

"HEART OF THE OUTBACK"

September 2011 ~ 3 books in 1 volume!


 

 

 

eBook (Adobe ePub)

iBook (iTunes)

 


 

Londoner Jodie Simpson needs to land a Melbourne husband - and quick.  But can she and her friends pull this off with only six weeks until her working visa runs out?

 

Suddenly this shy British girl finds herself with a line up of males willing to be the other half of her two year marriage deal. There's her neighbour Scott, who has a penchant for mesh shirts, Barnaby the visual merchandiser whose favourite gay bar is just around the corner from her apartment, or the funeral director with the gravity defying Adam's apple.

 

Of course, even though he lives miles from her adopted city, has more brothers and sisters than she has family in the whole world, and he makes her feel like this project could last more than the allotted two years, there is always Heath Jameson... 


 

On a balmy Saturday night, Jodie angled her beloved twenty-year-old car, aptly nicknamed Rusty, into an empty car park in a side street off Flinders.  She threw a handful of coins into the parking meter as she spied a gap in Saturday night traffic cruising the length of the grand old train station.  She hitched her black sparkly halter an inch higher and tugged her tight jeans an inch lower and ran as fast as her borrowed high heels would carry her.

She was late, as an hour before she could still have been found sitting back on the couch with Louise in her pyjama bottoms, Chelsea Football Club jersey and slippers, as she wasn’t entirely planning on turning up that night.

Over the past two weeks, Jodie had met twelve different guys that she and Mandy had chosen from the responses to her website.  An actor, a vet, and a guy who sold mobile phone contracts door-to-door.  And she would have put every cent she owned on the fact that most had come for a good time not a long time.

What was she doing interviewing husband prospects?  Really?  When Jodie reached the safety of the footpath, she closed her eyes and visualised waving goodbye to Mandy and Lisa, getting on the jumbo plane, landing in Heathrow, catching the tube, knocking on the front door of the tiny welfare funded flat she had shared with her mother for twenty-five years...  No, if she was to have any sort of life, she had to stay the course.

Jodie pushed open the heavy carved door nestled into the underbelly of the train station and she rushed down the carpeted steps.

Lisa, the maitre d’ at the popular restaurant, grimaced as she came into view.  “Another minute and I would have given away your table.”

“Likely I would have thanked you if you had,” Jodie muttered.  “Is he here yet?”

Lisa shook her head.  “But Mandy is prowling in your corner.  Go settle her before she frightens away my customers.”

Jodie gave her a quick pat on the arm before skimming through the tables to the private table for two in the corner.  When she saw Mandy sitting in a chair, her stiletto tapping nervously against the floor, she was halfway torn between staying or making a run for it to the ladies room and squeezing out the tiny window and dropping atop the dumpster a floor below.

“Nice of you to show,” Mandy said as Jodie slipped quickly into the cool seat across her.

Jodie took a steadying gulp of Mandy’s red wine before grabbing a bread roll and shoving nibble sized bites into her nervous mouth.   “Yeah, well, it didn’t help that just as I was leaving Scott came over to propose to me.”

“Scott?” Mandy said, her face paling.  “Across the hall, Scott?  Predilection for leather pants and mesh shirts, Scott?  Not quite sure where his right eye is looking, Scott?”

Jodie nodded along with Mandy’s every query.  “Somehow he had found your darling website.  His exact words were: So how about it?  You and me - matrimonial bliss?”

“Please tell me you said no.”

Jodie nodded.  But in that brief split second, she had actually considered his offer.  He lived across the hall, so she wouldn’t have to move far.  He had a thing for her which had been obvious since the day she had moved into the building, so he would do anything to help her out in her plight.  But the very fact that he had a thing for her ruled him out even if his goofy oddness did not.  It wouldn’t be fair.

If she was going to do this thing, she had to do it right.  No romantic connections.  No complications from the start.  The last thing she wanted was for it all to end in tears and broken promises.  She’d lived through enough of that from a distance when her father had walked out when she was thirteen, so living it up close and personal was not on her agenda.

She had thanked him for his kind offer, but declined.  Though compared to her other dates that week he wasn’t the bottom of the totem pole.

“He had settled in to watch Beach Street when I left so I had to leave poor Lou behind.  I don’t trust him not to sneak into my room and try to steal a pair of my underpants again.”

“Right.  Good point.”

“So who’s the lucky contestant tonight?” Jodie asked on a sigh.

“First up we have Heath...” Mandy flipped through her colour-coded sheets clipped in a neat folder.  “Heath Jameson.  The Farmer.”

Jodie winced.  A farmer for goodness’ sake!  The fact that he didn’t send an email in the form of a dirty limerick or attach a photo of himself in Speedos put him in the maybe pile.  But the thought of moving to a farm for two years was uninspiring to say the least.  She was a city girl, born and bred.  She loved the seasons in Melbourne, the food, the culture, the window shopping, the architecture and the friends she had made there.  But most of all she liked herself in Melbourne.

But a farm?  In the Outback?  She pictured a barn with a leaking tin roof.  A wood burning fireplace with old copper pots the likes of which she had seen in old western movies.  A mangy work dog sleeping on the end of the double bed which had lumps and bumps worn into it by past generations.  And wouldn’t she have to get one of those hats with corks hanging all around it to ward off flies?

“Ready?” Mandy asked.

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Excellent.  After this one, there’s two more tonight.”

Two more?  She let out a long groan.  Suddenly, despite the living distance from the city she loved, so long as the guy was a gentleman and said yes, she decided she would marry him then and there.  So long as she could stop all this dreadful dating and see a way to a future down under.

Mandy slipped away into the crowd and Jodie was left flickering glances towards the bar.  Which one would farm boy turn out to be?  The guy in all black flicking lint off his double-breasted jacket?  Unlikely.  The balding blonde in the plaid shirt and jeans picking crumbs out of his teeth with his butter knife?  Oh please no.

Jodie couldn’t help checking her teeth for sesame seeds in the reflection of her bread knife when the front door swished open letting in a flush of warm night air and with it, a man.

A man with a to die for tan, the likes of which Jodie had only ever seen on school friends just back from the Greek Islands, subconsciously pushing his wind-mussed, dark blonde hair somewhat into place.  A man with the kind of highlights David Beckham would pay a fortune for.  A man in an untucked white shirt over dark denim who gave a friendly half smile as he caught Lisa’s eye at the door.

Jodie knew the second he was hers.

Lisa tossed her long blonde hair as she turned and with a little finger wave beckoned the man to follow.  And follow he did with a lean, long-legged, stride.

“Not bad,” Lisa mouthed as she neared.

As he came closer Jodie saw that this man was just the way she imagined Australian guys ought to be - permanent creases at the corners of his eyes from too much smiling or too much sun, a strong jaw covered in sexy stubble as though he had shaved many hours before, and eyes so blue they made her heart ache.

But she wasn’t in this game for heart ache.  This was to be a purely heart free and ache free endeavour.

Jodie scrunched her toes in her high-heeled sandals to force the blood away from her burning cheeks to other parts of her body.  The whole blushing English rose thing could be pretty on some girls, but with her auburn hair she felt like a big red blotchy tomato.  And the more she panicked about it the more she blushed.

Suddenly the ladies room, the tiny window and the dumpster seemed unreservedly the right choice.

“Can I get you a drink?” Lisa asked as they reached the table.

“Thanks,” he said, his voice a rich resonant bass.  “A Crown Lager would be great.”

Lisa gave him a beaming smile, turned it into a frown for Jodie, then spun on her heel and left.  Jodie managed to drag herself to her feet on wobbly knees that almost gave way.

Her companion leaned over and offered her a large, long fingered hand to shake.  “Good evening, Jodie.  I’m Heath Jameson.  It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

  

v

 

From "WANTED: OUTBACK WIFE" by Ally Blake
Harlequin Romance October 2006
ISBN:  978-0-263-849271 ~ Copyright: © 2005 Ally Blake
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. For more romance information surf to: http://www.eHarlequin.com

 

 


 

 

To my Sirens – Hulda, Nic, Ola, and Trish – for being the best listeners, huggers, and champions a girl could ever want.  Smoochy kisses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Wedding Date  |  Millionaire Dad's SOS  |  Getting Red-Hot with the Rogue

Dating the Rebel Tycoon  |  A Night with the Society Playboy  |  Hired: The Boss's Bride  |  The Magnate's Indecent Proposal

Falling for the Rebel Heir  |   Steamy Surrender  |  Millionaire to the Rescue  |  Billionaire on Her Doorstep

Getting Down to Business  |  Meant-To-Be Mother  |  Wanted: Outback Wife  |  A Father in the Making  |  The Shock Engagement  

A Mother For His Daughter  |  How to Marry a Billionaire  |  Marriage Make-Over  |  Marriage Material  |  The Wedding Wish

 
 

 

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