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Cassie Taylor has nothing more on her mind than to decide what to do with Yallandoo, the cattle station she has inherited in beautiful tropical North Queensland. She has no idea that her eventual plans to build cabins as a tourist venture will provoke hidden animosity and opposition, culminating in theft, arson and the near destruction of the aboriginal heritage on Yallandoo.
Or that meeting Mark Pierce, an entrepreneurial neighbour, dashing and wealthy, will change her life.
Someone wants to stop her project. Someone who is willing to destroy all she holds dear. But who? And why?
The touch of his fingers made her cheek tingle and sent a quiver through her body. Cassie put her hand to her cheek briefly as her heart leapt. Startled at her reaction, she took a deep breath and forced her mind back to their conversation.
“I… I know we’ll pull through this.” She swallowed. “But I worry about the future. There’ll be other droughts. If only there’s something else we could do that didn’t rely so much on the weather. I’ve been trying to think of some way to diversify. But… I’m not sure…”
Mark looked surprised as he sat back and regarded her.
“That’s a very forward thinking approach.” He paused, seeming to turn it over in his mind. “I must say I agree with you, I have the same thoughts myself. Perhaps we can talk about it sometime. But now,” he became cheerful again, “if you feel up to it, perhaps you could show me some more of Yallandoo.”
“Of course,” Cassie responded, smiling. “Do you want to go into the rainforest? There’s a track a bit further up.”
“Yes, I’d like that very much.”
They urged their horses forward and soon turned onto a narrow path that led them into a cool, dim world. Trees arched above them, forming the roof of a green cathedral, their leafy limbs lifted in homage to the sky. With just room for two people to ride side by side, they let the horses pick their way along the track, avoiding the rocks and gnarled old roots that poked out of the ground, and stepping with sure feet over fallen tree trunks.
Even in here, signs of the dry weather were visible in the brown, curling edges to the less hardy plants. A few small green shoots pushed their way bravely through the leaf litter on the forest floor, but mostly the undergrowth was parched. Every living thing waited for the rain!
Creek beds with stony bottoms, some dry now, meandered alongside the path. Many trees, some with large buttresses at their bases to hold them in the ground, were clothed in green lichens. Bird’s nest ferns clung to trunks or high branches. Vines hung everywhere and ferns grew in profusion. Light filtered through the canopy high above. The midday stillness was disturbed only by the rustle of the dry leaf litter underfoot and the occasional fluting call of a bowerbird.
“It’s so dry now,” Cassie told Mark. “Normally this would all be damp and those little creeks would have water running through them. And there’d be heaps of those little ferns and things growing through the leaf litter.”
“I think it’s still wonderful.”
“I’ve always loved it, but it’s at its best in the wet.”
They were deep in the forest when suddenly, without warning, a snake slithered out from beneath a small log lying by the path as Tango passed. It raised its head and hissed ominously before darting back into the surrounding bushes. Cassie’s horse reared. Mark’s horse pranced, tossed its head and snorted then stood its ground.
“Whoa, steady girl, steady.” Mark grabbed the bridle of the plunging horse. Cassie lost her balance in the sudden lunge. Struggling to retain her she seat she slid sideways and would have fallen had Mark not moved closer and slipped his arm around her to hold her as Tango slowly quietened.
Kate Loveday has a love of books that began in her childhood. She started reading novels early in her schooldays, beginning with mysteries (she was an avid Agatha Christie fan) and progressing to Regency romances. By the time she left school she was reading everything she could lay hands on, from Dickens and Shakespeare to Georgette Heyer and Wilbur Smith.
Although always harbouring a desire to write, it was not until she and her husband Peter retired from the beauty business they ran together that she took the time to write in earnest. While spending three years caravanning in Australia she commenced writing travel articles for magazines, particularly of tropical far north Queensland, an area she found fascinating. It was then that she formed the idea for her first book, "Inheritance", and it was natural to set it in the area she had come to love.
Kate now lives on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales where she pursues her passions of writing, reading and listening to music with husband Peter, and walking with their dog, Lucy.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 346
Paper Weight (lb): 14.6
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