Adopted: Outback Baby. Barbara Hannay

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Adopted: Outback Baby - Barbara Hannay

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      ‘A month? You’re asking me to stay for a whole month?’

      ‘You’d enjoy it.’

      ‘I—I—’ Nell took another huge gulp of wine and tried to think straight. ‘You’re not serious, are you?’

      ‘Why not?’

      ‘You can’t just drop out of the sky and into my life and say: Hey, come live with me—as if the past twenty years haven’t happened.’

      ‘I realise that.’

      ‘What are you saying, then?’

      Jacob’s smile did wicked things to Nell’s stomach. ‘I’m saying that we’re grandparents of a baby boy who needs us. We’re both very keen to be a significant part of his life, and it’ll be damned difficult to do that if we’re living thousands of kilometres apart. So my invitation makes good sense.’

      Barbara Hannay was born in Sydney, educated in Brisbane, and has spent most of her adult life living in tropical North Queensland, where she and her husband have raised four children. While she has enjoyed many happy times camping and canoeing in the bush, she also delights in an urban lifestyle—chamber music, contemporary dance, movies and dining out. An English teacher, she has always loved writing, and now, by having her stories published, she is living her most cherished fantasy.

      In 2007 Barbara won the Romance Writers’ of America RITA® Award for Best Traditional Romance with CLAIMING HIS FAMILY.

      To catch up on all Barbara’s latest news visit

       Dear Reader

      I eventually married the lovely man who was my boyfriend when I was nineteen. But most young people of that age move on to form new relationships, and the old boyfriends disappear, never to be heard of or seen again.

      In many cases, that’s probably a good thing. But I’m sure there are occasional wistful moments when some women wonder What if…?

      What if I saw him again after all these years? Would he recognise me? Would he have changed? Would there still be a spark?

      What if…? is the question writers ask all the time. It’s how we come up with stories. So I guess it’s hardly surprising that we love reunions. They’re so brimming with tension and questions and romantic potential.

      When I first started on this plot possibility, I never dreamed I’d end up writing about Nell and Jacob being brought together by a twist of fate to care for their baby grandson! But the temptation to try something quite different is very alluring, and I was delighted that my editor loved the idea, too.

      I hope you enjoy Nell and Jacob’s journey to happiness.

      Warmest wishes



      From bump to baby and beyond

      Whether she’s expecting or they’re adopting—

      a special arrival is on its way!

      Follow the tears and triumphs as these couples find

      their lives blessed with the magic of parenthood…

      Look out for more bumps and babies

      coming soon to Mills & Boon® Romance




      MILLS & BOON

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      A SUMMER’S morning at dawn.

      Nell and Jacob met at their secret place on the sheltered river bank, the only safe place for the boss’s daughter and the hired help.

      Arriving by separate tracks, they tethered their horses at opposite ends of the clearing. Nell was nervous and Jacob was on tenterhooks waiting for her news, but he came towards her proudly, striding through the misty morning light with his shoulders back and his head high, as if he owned the earth.

      A metre from her, he stopped and she read the silent question in his serious grey eyes.

      Too anxious to speak, she simply shook her head, watched the movement in his throat as he swallowed.

      ‘You’re pregnant then,’ he said quietly.

      Nell dropped her gaze to her clasped hands. ‘I’m almost certain.’ She heard his sharp indrawn breath and whispered, ‘I’m sorry.’ And she realised for the first time that she was a little afraid of this tall and ruggedly divine young man.

      Suddenly, she felt as if she didn’t really know him, in spite of the many stolen hours she’d spent with him here during the long, hot weeks of her summer holiday. Pregnancy changed everything, changed something precious and perfect into a shameful mistake. And it forced the two of them to consider a future they weren’t prepared for.

      More than anything, Nell was scared of what her father would do when he found out. His bad temper was beyond volcanic. He would never forgive her for this and she was certain that he would offer her only one option.

      She trembled at the thought, drew a hasty breath for courage. ‘My parents will want me to have an abortion.’

      Jacob’s frown was fierce. ‘You don’t want that, do you?’

      No. She couldn’t bear the thought of terminating a baby they had made. She shook her head.

      ‘You mustn’t do it then, Nell. Don’t even think about it.’ He reached for her hands, threaded his strong, work-toughened fingers through hers and she felt the familiar rasp of the callus on his right palm.

      Beside them, the river chattered carelessly and the scent of eucalypts and sheoaks hung heavy in the air.

      ‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered again.

      ‘Don’t be.’ Jacob gave her hands a gentle shake. ‘Don’t apologise.’

      Tears stung her eyes. She knew apologies shouldn’t be necessary. From the moment she and Jacob had met on that first afternoon, when she’d returned to Half Moon from university, the blame had been equally shared.

      She’d seen him tending her father’s horses and Cupid had started firing those dangerous little arrows. Their over-the-top attraction had blinded them to anything else, especially to common sense. They hadn’t taken precautions that first time.

      Now, Jacob gathered Nell in to him and his big hand cradled her head against his shoulder. She adored the smell of him—musky and warm and clean—and something very masculine that she couldn’t identify.

      He kissed her brow. ‘Will you marry me, Nell?’

      She gasped, feeling hot and cold with excitement. This was what she’d been longing for, the words from Jacob

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