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Outback Hero

Title: Outback Hero
Author: Elle Druskin

Published in Sep 2010 by Red Rose Publishing ™
Genre: Mainstream Romance: Contemporary
ISBN: 978-1-60435-776-9

Cover Artist: Shirley Burnett

Other books by Elle Druskin published through Red Rose Publishing: To Catch Series Book 01: To Catch a Cop

Get out of New York. American nurse Tessa Morgan has to get out of town fast. A job at Bundalong Creek Station in Outback Australia is the answer to her prayers. B. J. McCall is stuck at Bundalong and can't wait to get back to the city. He trains horses, she's scared to death of them. She wants a family, he can't wait to get away from his family, their station, its debts and a thousand other problems.

With the nudging help of a lovesick station hand, his loopy teenage sweetheart, Monty the family pet python, and the Royal Flying doctors, Tessa and B. J. discover the importance of family, friends and home along with a love that neither expected.

New Yorker Tessa Morgan leaves the states during a blizzard, only to arrive in the blazing heat of Australia. The next few hours are riddled with misfortunes: lost luggage, a scotching hot bus ride and then fainting among a group of strange men in a bar. Yet, it’s too late to return home, as all the money she saved now spent on this nightmare adventure. Hmmmm…and she accepted this position why?

Agreeing to the nursing job that included caring an ailing woman and numerous station hands was the blessing she longed for. Especially after enduring the humiliation of her father being charge with fraud, and then his suicide while in jail. She paid back all those people he owed money too, so this journey was her chance to begin anew. However, it becomes obvious that she has traded one hell for another. Except, her current hell includes a studly man with a drool worthy accent, but the personality of a rattle snake.

A natural love story, Outback Hero hands over a genuine humorous tale about a city woman relocating to an Australian ranch/farm – what they call stations – that’s in jeopardy of foreclosure. The plot moves smoothly as Tessa adapts to her primitive surroundings, while thankful her new countrymen share at least one common feature – English as the major language. Beyond that the similarities end…but then, even some of the language becomes a barrier as Aussie slang greatly differs from American slang. Tessa’s misconstruing terms creates many of the funnier moments in this story, including the inevitable romantic strife.

Ms. Druskin crafts robust, authentic characters who give soul to this conceivable, engaging story. Accustom to his father’s hair-brained schemes to save the family homestead, Bungalong Creek Station, BJ McCall is leery of the city woman riding with him. Having dealt with and dismissed the previously employed nurses who only demonstrated talents in laziness, thievery and an extensive knowledge of carnal frivolity. He will be rid of Tessa quickly, as he has too much on his shoulders already.

The reader can sense BJ’s mounting disillusioned in trying to salvage the place, then the frustration of reining in his father’s numerous attempts in turning their “peace of heaven” into a touristy attraction. His mother’s terminal cancer weighs heavy on his shoulders as well; the only reason for his impromptu return to the place he ran from years ago. A Financial planner by trade, BJ’s job is on hold, using his accumulate vacation time to cover his absence, so as to get the family affairs in order. But he must return soon to keep the only source of income that supports his parents and himself. The pressure is substantial, but BJ is hopeful that his horse and cattle stock will pull them out of this slump, while hopefully allowing them to retain the hired hands still sticking around.

Now BJ must deal with the new nurse dad has hired. Even frightening Tessa with horrible tales of smelly koalas who claw a person’s eyes out, or the poisonous spiders and snakes that like hanging about the toilet, and then the threat of flash floods, crocs in the ponds, etc prove futile at best. The darn American isn’t running or screaming from his vehicle…yet.

Tessa is quite taken aback by her primitive surroundings, cemented by BJ’s detail accounts of wild beasties and poisonous crawlies. More so when from her bedroom balcony Monty, a black and green snake greets her that very first morning. Certainly, her screams could be heard for miles! But hey, she survived her father’s incarceration then his death and facing those people who he supposedly absconded their money from – she will endure this. Quickly getting to the business she was hired to do, Tessa works diligently in getting BJ’s mother, Ann into better health. She is assisted by the legendary Flying Doctors, particularly a Dr. Jim Cox who instantly takes a shine to Tessa – provoking some jealousy from BJ.

Outback Hero remains intriguing as both BJ and Tessa get the station back in organized working order. But as debts mount so do their undeclared attraction for one another. It’s hard not to run into each other as Tessa also took over running of the house, which includes laundry and cooking for the station hands. So daily they see one another, but BJ’s aversion to Tessa’s presence alters when he sees his mother’s condition improving daily. Then her respectful, easy interaction with the station hands, even when administering annual check ups and tetanus shots, affirms his observations. She is definitely not like the other nurses who have come and gone before her. Of course this acknowledgment only fuels his desire for Tessa.

However Tessa is not of like mind, at least not openly; vocalizing how BJ is bossy, overbearing and at times conceited. Although her unspoken observations included thoughts like: hunky, handsome, seductive and deliciously sexy. Yes, Tessa has it bad too…that thing called attraction and then followed closely by lust. When witnessing his gentle handling of his ill mother, bringing her down from the sick bed and outside to eat with everyone her loathing of the man cools. Has she misjudged BJ McCall?

Published by Red Rose Publishing, Outback Hero gives readers a pretty accurate portrait of life in the Australian outback. Its harshness proven by the letters BJ receives asking for work, but unable to afford hiring that help. The run down buildings left in disrepair as what money is available goes toward the care of livestock. Reality sets in when BJ goes to a cattle auction and returns profitable, only to discover more money is needed to save the station from the bankers. Adding to his turmoil, his boss arrives demanding he get his family affairs in order – meaning sell out to the highest bidder – and return to work. Selling the station would kill his father and mother. Clearly the weight of responsibilities is enormous, though through it all, the romance between Tessa and BJ continues to grow even despite an uncertain future that dogs them every daily.

A highly recommended enchanting read.

Other books by Elle Druskin published through Red Rose Publishing: To Catch Series Book 01: To Catch a Cop

A Dedicated Reader,
Pamela Jenewein!

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