Visit  
Romona Hilliger
Format

Wait For Me, Jeff
Priced at $5.00

More Hilliger Books



Tell a Friend
Request Book Review
Request Author Interview
Site Questions
Buy a Link
Buy an Ad
Site Suggestions
Free Reads Suggestions






Wait For Me, Jeff 
by Romona Hilliger


CHAPTER 1
Katherine Anderson felt a gentle lurch as the plane began its descent into Darwin
Airport and her stomach clutched in a fusion of elation and dread. Within the next fifteen
minutes, she’d be face-to-face with a memory that had haunted the past sixteen years
of her life.
Leaving the aircraft, Kate stepped smartly along through the connecting aerobridge
and found herself in a vast air-conditioned lounge. She checked the area for
someone who might resemble Jeff Hunter but there didn’t seem to be anyone, so, she
made her way to the baggage carousel and peered along the row of emerging luggage.
She spotted her suitcase approaching, it was dark blue, like most of the others. The
distinguishing difference, the pink ribbon she’d tied to the handle. She swung the bag
free as it passed in front of her, and with one more glimpse toward the entrance, she
paced slowly to a row of seats, slipped into one, and waited.
As next-door neighbours in Melbourne, the Hunters and the Andersons had
established a friendship that now spanned thirty-two years. It began the year Jeff was
born and still flourished eight years later when Kate came along. Jeff loved her like a kid
sister and treated her as such. Kate followed him everywhere. Wait for me, Jeff had
been her childish cry and even though he’d be going to catch up with his friends or go
for a game of football he’d stop, turn, and with that brilliant smile, clasp her hand and
take her along. She’d treasured the memory of that smile, the silly 'knock-knock' jokes
that had sent her into peals of laughter and the lively conversation he reserved just for
her. She worshipped him even then. Jeff, will you marry me when I grow up?
I will, but you’ll have to grow up and catch up with me.
Please wait for me Jeff. I promise I’ll grow up as fast as I can.
Then the time came when the Hunters had to make a heart-breaking decision—
to leave Melbourne. Jeff’s mother had been ill and the cold in the south affected her
health, so they sold their news-agency and went up to the Northern Territory where the
warm weather would help her back to health.
Kate’s abstraction broke when a tall young man strode through the main doubledoors.
He wore expensive and smartly tailored clothes from his charcoal-grey trousers
to the white business shirt and tie. The wide spread of his shoulders were like those of
an athlete and it all threw her for a moment but her eyes focused on the young man's
face and she felt a tug at her heart. The familiar deep-blue eyes and the wing of goldflecked,
brown hair falling boyishly over his forehead—it was him and a smile
blossomed on her lips. The boy had grown to a man and the promise of male beauty in
his youth was now stunningly fulfilled.
Jeff cast a gaze over the crowd of passengers milling around and came to rest
on the young woman getting up from the seat across from him. For the briefest moment,
their eyes met and he felt an unexpected intensity of emotion flash between them. He
couldn’t tear his gaze away from her face and his heart began thudding in his chest.
Was it...? But what had become of that scrawny, shy little girl? This was a woman with a
Wait For Me, Jeff Romona Hilliger
3
figure that filled the front of her dress so perfectly it had the potential to arouse a man’s
fantasies, or maybe it was just the 33° C heat and humidity that was driving him out of
his senses. Could this be Kate? One thing had not changed though, those dark-fringed
grey eyes that seemed to sparkle and dance. That sunshiny hair; in place of the pigtails,
a golden cloud swirled at her shoulders.
Kate saw recognition light the man’s face as he strode the few paces toward her.
“Kate?” he said, with some uncertainty. He towered over her and the funny
break in the voice of his youth had now been replaced with a strong and deep tone,
making Kate’s pulse throb.
“Yes,” she replied somewhat breathlessly, trying to bring herself to realise that it
was truly Jeff she was talking to. She stood frozen to the spot, surrendering to the
seduction of that voice while a glorious shiver rode the length of her spine.
With well-practiced action, he raked his fingers through the wing of unruly hair,
then, thrust out a sun-bronzed hand that dwarfed hers. He held her away for a moment
to appraise her. “Hell, Kate, look at you!” He wondered why after all this time he still had
this protective feeling toward her. “Come here,” he said.
With a nervous laugh she flung herself into his arms. He was all solid muscle
against her and the hot, moist male scent of his chest sent a shivery feeling through her.
He leaned down and brushed a kiss across her cheek. “Sorry, I'm so late,” he started to
explain. “At the last minute Aunt Lillian couldn’t make it, so she asked me to do the
honours—”
Kate cut him short. “Don't worry, it's not that late, just a few minutes,” she found
herself excusing him. “Anyway, your aunt phoned. She’s taken a friend to hospital.”
He smiled his appreciation at her understanding and picked up the heavy
suitcase as though it weighed nothing.
Kate hastened to reach out for the handles. “Oh, no, I can manage that, Jeff.”
“Nonsense!” he scoffed, and started to stride toward the main entrance.
“It has wheels,” she called, in an effort to make it easier for him but he kept right
on. The automatic doors slid open and the stifling heat came at them like a suffocating
blast. Kate choked with the stuffiness but it didn't seem to bother Jeff Hunter. She
lagged a pace behind, struggling to equal his big strides.
Slowing down to draw level with her, a smile curled the corner of his mouth. “I
was afraid I wouldn’t recognise you,” he said. “But those pretty eyes looked far too
familiar.”
“Well, I hardly recognised you!” she answered, but in the privacy of her mind,
good grief, she thought, no wonder— Jeff was now thirty-two!
Kate found herself drifting into nostalgic memory—the day when the Hunters left
Melbourne. Barely eight years old and Jeff sixteen, it had been a devastating day. The
end of the world. As her father's car swung out of the gate, transporting them to the
airport, she had run beside it along the footpath, until the engine picked up momentum,
outrunning her little legs and she could keep up no more.
Jeff...wait for me… she’d sobbed desperately.
Jeff had hung out of the car window and blown her a kiss. “Don’t cry, Birdie. I’ll
write to you.”
Romance At Heart Publications
4
She’d stood there bewildered, for a long, long time; long after the car had gone
out of sight, unable to comprehend that her beloved Jeff was never coming back.
Kate took a sideways glance up at Jeff’s face and ran headlong into that bright
twisted grin which had the power to torture the life out of her.
“Wait for me, Jeff’,” he mimicked. “The little girl who followed me everywhere.
Heavens above, that seems like ages ago.”
Kate laughed self-consciously. ”I must have been a real pest.”
“You were no pest. You were my kid sister and I loved you.”
Far away memories stirred as they talked and she recited her own childish
words. “When I grow up, will you marry me, Jeff?’ ”
“Yes, I remember that,” he said. “And if memory serves I said something like,
“‘You’ll have to hurry to catch up with me’,” he recited, with a note of levity.
His blasé attitude awoke a sense of disappointment in Kate. Had it all been some
childish game to him while she’d held it as something so precious? But then, what
exactly had she be expecting?
He tossed her a glance. “It's so good to see you again, Kate—Birdie,” he
corrected. “Is that still your pet name?”
Small of stature, her mother had said she resembled a bird. “No. Not any more,
just to mum and dad,” she said. “Of course, if you’d prefer to call me Birdie, I don’t mind,
but I am a little grown-up for that.”
Grown-up? With the shock of how she’d matured, he sneaked another glimpse at
her. Her hair shone like spun gold in the sun with little lights dancing off it, just as it did
before. Her eyes, still sparkled in innocent wonder, but her body? The soft-pink cotton
blouse open at the neckline, not only revealed tantalising cleavage, but emphasized the
explicit ride of her breasts with each step she took. A far cry from the little Birdie of his
youth, she was a beautifully big-breasted woman. He snapped his eyes away and
looked ahead, a little surprised at the subtle stimulation she was arousing in him. He
didn’t know what he felt, now. Birdie…disappointment seemed to rise up in him.
Somewhere in his heart he still held on to that little girl. His little sister, he tried to
convince himself.
“Is your mother keeping well?” Kate asked, dragging him out of his fantasy.
“Very well, thank you. All that clean air at the station has done wonders.”
“Monegeetha.” Kate said, a little mystically. “It sounds like a wonderful place.
But, my goodness, your dad had a lot of courage going into the cattle business.
Something he knew nothing about just so your mother could regain her health, and look
at the Hunters today? One of the most affluent cattle people hereabouts, as my mum
said.”
Jeff snorted and raised a half smile. “Indeed. And, yes, we must give my father
his due. Monegeetha was a run-down, ramshackle place when he bought it, but with
years of hard work and a run of good beef prices he has certainly turned the place
around.”
“But not without your help, Jeff.”
“Oh, I don’t know...” he drawled and a long silence spun out while the halfsentence
hung in the air, but when he spoke again, he’d changed the subject.
“So how did you decide to take up flying? The last I heard, you were getting
engaged.”
Wait For Me, Jeff Romona Hilliger
5
Kate had hoped that, that painful subject wouldn’t be touched upon but she didn’t
have to talk about it. “Flying was something I always wanted to do. Everyone thought I
was crazy giving up my teaching career for a hare-brained idea, as they put it. “‘A
pilot?’ ” Kate mimicked. “ ‘Katherine Anderson, you'll never make it in a man's world...’
and with the wealth of experience about, it almost seemed they'd all been right, until out
of the blue came a chance I couldn’t refuse. A friend of mine offered me three months
replacement work and I jumped at it.” On purpose, she’d totally evaded the rest of his
query about her engagement but he seemed unconcerned.
“Well, done,” he said.
After zigzagging the parking area they approached a well-polished Land Rover.
Jeff strode ahead to open the back door and swung the case inside.
Locking it, he turned. Beads of perspiration rose on Kate’s forehead, her cotton
blouse stuck to her skin, revealing the sensual plumpness of each breast through the
dampened material, and again, with difficulty, he snapped his eyes away. He swallowed
hard, and a smile lurked about his lips. “Good grief! You’re certainly feeling the Darwin
heat, Kate,” he said, and went round to open the passenger door. “Get in. I'll get the airconditioning
on.”
Kate stepped up into the vehicle in the time Jeff rounded the bonnet and got into
the driver's seat and pulling out carefully from the parking area, Jeff turned onto the
highway. A comforting cool enveloped the cabin and Kate relaxed. Now, driving to
Lillian’s place she expected a rash of exchanged questions and answers, but the
conversation seemed to have dried up. Sitting silently beside Jeff, she observed the
business trousers and shirt. Where were the stockman’s moleskins and plaid shirt? Had
he been late because he’d dressed up to meet her? Somehow, she didn’t think so.
Despite the enthusiasm he’d expressed at seeing her again there seemed an underlying
aloofness. It just didn’t feel the same. Or had time really changed him so much? Surely
not! She cast another eye over the expensive trousers; perhaps he always dressed this
way now that the Hunters were people of note. It prompted a way to reopen the
conversation.
“So, how are things at Monegeetha?”
“Pretty good. So, I hear.”
The frugal response only fuelled her curiosity. “What do you mean, ‘so you hear’?
Don't you live and work there?” she asked, with a hint of joviality running through her
tone.
“Nope. I now practice law.”
Kate shot a look in his direction. “Law?”
“Well, don’t sound so astounded,” he smiled.
“Sorry. It’s just... just…well, I always imagined you in the saddle each morning
rounding up the cattle. But a lawyer! That sounds really great, if not radical. Cowboy to
lawyer! I never knew.” In her astonishment she plunged on. “I never thought you’d leave
Monegeetha,” she said, turning toward him. The rigidity that crept across his face made
it clear she’d struck a nerve and she turned away. Moments came and went and his
silence forbade her pursuing the subject. After all, they’d only just met after so long. But
it did seem strange.
Romance At Heart Publications
6
What she knew of him, that cattle station had been his life. What had changed all
that? Could Robert have been the cause? She recalled his bullying half-brother from Mr.
Hunter’s first marriage and wondered if he still carried all his nasty and mean traits.
“So,” Jeff said, observing the road judiciously. “Who is this friend of yours? The
guy who’s given you the job? Anyone I used to know?”
“No. Nathan Davis. He came to work for my father's firm.”
“Hmm, an accountant,” he said.
“CPA, no less.”
“So, how come he's here in the flying business?”
“He came for a holiday, loved the Northern Territory, and decided to stay. So,
when the opportunity presented itself he struck on the idea of buying this little tourist
business. Brolga Flights.”
“Good for you Kate, he sounds like a decent man.”
“He is, and we’re good friends. He's really expecting me tomorrow. But I came
today, a kind of surprise.”
“Couldn't wait eh?” he said, as though he had some impression that Nathan was
special to her. Well, he was, but not in the way that Jeff seemed to think.
“Now, I understand why he wasn’t at the airport to meet you,” Jeff said.
It wasn’t for Nathan that she’d come a day early, it was for Jeff. The driving force
had been her impatience to see him again. And now that they’d met she realised he
made her feel different, arousing feelings in her that bore no resemblance to the childish
adoration she’d known for him. These were deeper, stronger, a woman’s feelings for a
man.
The conversation that followed wasn’t of much consequence and she wondered
if he harboured the same feelings as she did. If he did, there seemed little evidence of
it. In fact, this trace of polite reserve she sensed in him was something she didn’t
recognise or expect.
“This is Nightcliff,” Jeff said as a neat row of large, lavish houses came into view.
He stopped just opposite. Right beside was an edge of cliffs where, with high tide, the
sea roared, lashed and foamed below. A narrow palm-fringed track ran beside the
cliffs, and people walked, rode bikes or trundled past on skateboards. Facing the sea
the turquoise blue waters tinselled in the brilliant sunshine.
“Breathtaking,” Kate mused, taking the natural grandeur before her. “I’m going to
explore that beach as soon as I can.”
“You’ll have to watch out for crocodiles first,” he smiled and drove on until he
took a curve in the road. He braked beside a long, low, brick house that lounged beside
a frangipani tree, its waxy white blooms saturating the humid air with a heady perfume.
Cascading over the wrought-iron arches of the veranda were bunches of russet and
white bougainvillea.
“Oh, this is exquisite,” Kate said with the same childish exuberance that Jeff
instantly remembered but there was nothing childish about that smoky-edged voice.
He realised more than he could really comprehend—she’d grown up to be a very
attractive young woman. “Lillian shouldn’t be long,” he said as he opened up the back of
the vehicle and lifted out her case. He hauled up the handle and trundled it to the
veranda and indicated some chairs. “Might as well get comfortable while you’re waiting.”
Wait For Me, Jeff Romona Hilliger
7
Barely had they sat down when someone called from the far end of the veranda.
“Kate!”
Slim and erect, Lillian walked toward them, her measured steps clicked with the
short square heels of her sensible shoes. Her hair, a rich auburn, was beautifully styled
and gave a sense of good grooming.
“Welcome, Kate,” she said and put out her arms. “Sorry, I couldn’t meet you.
Did Jeff take good care of you?”
“He certainly did.”
“Good. So, we are to have your delightful company for some time I gather?”
Lillian smiled.
“Three months. Nathan’s pilot, Gordon, is taking his wife to her parent's home in
Sydney. With two miscarriages, they don't want to run any risks with this baby.”
“Well, I hope it all works out well for you,” Lillian said.
Kate wondered how much Lillian knew of her shattered engagement, or Jeff for
that matter. Her eyes strayed to his tall, strapping figure sitting atop the veranda railing.
His legs stretched half-way out and his arms crossed over his chest, and watching him,
she wished she could creep into the shelter of his male strength, be warm and safe from
all the things that had hurt her. His masculinity enchanted her and the clutch in her
stomach grew rigid with wanting him. She shifted her gaze, just in case he looked up
and caught her staring at him.
While her father had been sceptical of her giving up the security of her well-paid
job just to venture out here on speculation, it was her mother who'd understood she
needed a break. Her dear mum. She had said this might be the place, not just to kick
start her career, but also to find a new love. She wondered if her mother might just be
right. No .Not someone new for me Mum, but, Jeff. The boy of her childhood fantasies.
Jeff shoved himself up and off the railing. “Well, Katie Girl,” he said, as though
she were still a child. “I must get back to the office.”
Kate’s smile was thin, a little wan. Is that how he still saw her? “Thanks for the
ride, Jeff.”
Jeff waved aside her thanks. “Oh, please. It was great to see you again and no
doubt, I'll run into you some time.”
Katie Girl? Little Birdie? Run into you some time? Was that all it was going to
be? And did that account for the friendly, yet strange aloofness? She felt a pang in her
heart at the very thought of it.
“Jeff,” Lillian called. “You are coming to Monegeetha for the surprise party, aren’t
you?”
Halfway down the veranda steps, he turned. “I don’t know...”
“It’s your father’s sixtieth, for goodness sake.”
“I realise that.”
“Well, then?”
“Yes...I guess I should,” Jeff called, as he strode down to his vehicle leaving
Kate to wonder just what was going on.
They waved Jeff off as he drove away, then Lillian turned. “Hold on a second,
Kate,” she said, dashing inside to her lounge room. “I’ll just get the key for your half of
Romance At Heart Publications
8
the house.” While she was gone Kate’s eyes strayed through the green scattering of
trees to the large house next door and when Lillian returned, Kate commented on it.
“That's a lovely place. Big and sprawling with wide encircling verandas...”
Lillian tracked the direction of Kate’s nod. “That’s Jeff’s place,” she said. “You
think the outside’s lovely, you should see the inside... the work he’s done is staggering
but he hasn’t quite finished it yet.”
Kate’s smile dissolved as her stomach sank sickeningly. Was she really just a
stranger to him now? “Jeff’s place? He never said anything...”
“Oh, yes,” Lillian smiled, with pride written all over her face. “He built that when
he and Maxine got married.” 

Visit  
Romona Hilliger
Format

Wait For Me, Jeff
Priced at $5.00

More Hilliger Books


Return to page top ↑