Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Except for when I let writing buddies take over, like today.
I’m delighted to welcome Australian medical rural romance author Nicki Edwards to the blog. Nicki has a brand spanking new release out called The Peppercorn Project and Nicki’s publicist kindly sent me a copy. I read it and had a lovely time. This book is a real heartstrings puller let me tell you, and has a great premise, but I’ll let Nicki tell you more about it and introduce her juicy teaser.
Hi Cathryn. Thank you so much for having me here today as your guest blogger for Teaser Tuesday. The Peppercorn Project is my fourth book – a rural romance with medical dramas – and it’s available in stores and online now.
I started writing this story not long after a friend of mine lost her husband in a tragic accident and it got me thinking what it would be like if my heroine lost not just her husband but her house and her livelihood as well.
When Isabelle is awarded a $1 a week Peppercorn Lease, she leaves the security of family and friends and moves to the tiny township of Stony Creek in South Australia to start again. The last thing Isabelle needs is another man, but tell that to local policeman Matt Robertson. From the moment he lays eyes on Issie, he can’t get her out of his mind. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to Matt’s plans and Matt has to work hard to win Issie’s trust, and her heart.
Voices came from the old timber pew that had sat forever outside the front of the pub. Old blokes sitting in the dark, smoking, chatting and solving the world’s problems. No doubt watching the newcomers arrive in town, like Matt had done from his position at the station earlier. He could barely make out the features of the men sitting in the dark, but the orange glow of the tip of their cigarettes indicated there were three of them.
‘G’night, fellas.’ Matt stepped off the kerb onto the street, not bothering to check for traffic – there never was any. He touched his fingers to his forehead and tipped his head in a mock salute. ‘Hope none of you are driving home tonight.’
‘Nah, mate. Me missus’ll come and get all of us shortly. Just killin’ time, ya know. Keepin’ an eye on things.’ The voice belonged to Tom Morrison. Tough as nails and rough as an old leather boot.
‘We’re missin’ one,’ Tom said, stopping Matt in his tracks.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Only nineteen arrived. One hasn’t made it.’
‘How do you know?’ Matt asked.
‘Lived ’ere all me life. I know which cars belong to locals and which one’s don’t.’
‘Maybe one of them changed their minds,’ Matt said.
‘Hope they didn’t hit a ’roo on the way.’ Tom blew out a puff of smoke.
Worry punched Matt in the gut. He swore under his breath. The last thing he needed now was to perform a late night search and rescue. Maybe they were just lost. A GPS on a smartphone was only useful if there was mobile phone coverage, and out here in the middle of nowhere it was patchy.
Two pale yellow headlights appeared. ‘Unless that’s them now,’ Tom said.
The headlights moved slowly, as though the driver was uncertain they were in the right place.
‘Yep, this is Stony Creek,’ Matt said to no one in particular, as he stepped back off the road.
Stony Creek wasn’t a ‘blink-and-miss-it’ kind of country town. Drivers heading to Port Augusta always expressed their surprise at the town that popped up out of nowhere just when they thought they were about to drive into the side of the mountain. Of course, in the dark, the driver approaching them wouldn’t be able to see the looming giant that was Mount Remarkable.
The car pulled up beside him and the first thing Matt noted were the registration plates: Victoria – On the Move. Somewhat ironic, he thought. The passenger window wound down and the tired eyes of a young boy stared out at him from the front seat. He wore his basketball cap low on his head.
‘Can I help you?’ Matt stooped to peer into the window so he could see the driver.
When he did, his breath caught in surprise. She was the prettiest woman he’d seen in a long time.