REVIEWERS' CHOICE AWARD
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."
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!."
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.
Cruskits (rye biscuits) or Mountain Bread (flat
marscapone lathered on thick
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
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
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
the seven other books...
BELLA LUCIA AUTHORS
NORTH AMERICA October 2006 -
- UNITED KINGDOM
- AUSTRALIA / NZ
November 2006 -
OF THE OUTBACK"
September 2011 ~
3 books in 1 volume!
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,
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.”
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 -
“Please tell me you
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.”
“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 as I’ll ever
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
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
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
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.”
From "WANTED: OUTBACK WIFE"
by Ally Blake
Romance October 2006
ISBN: 978-0-263-849271 ~ Copyright: © 2005
® 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.