Outback Treasure I

A city boy in Australia’s outback? He won’t even last two weeks.

Pete is geeky-cute and sweet. He’s also way too young for me. But he’s so much like me too. He loves this desolate land, and he fits right in with station life. My family. Me.

There are a million reasons why we shouldn’t be together. But I keep forgetting them when he’s near.

If only he’d told me why he was really here…

Outback Treasure I is the first part of the Pearce Station duet. Pete and Scottie’s story concludes in Outback Treasure II.

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Outback Treasure II

A city boy in Australia’s outback. Who would have thought I’d last longer than two weeks?

My station owner may be older but he’s as beautiful and rugged as the red dirt that flows through his veins. Scottie deserves better than me too. I lied to him. But he encourages me. He helps me follow my dreams.

Scottie has warned me a thousand times though. It’s not easy. The desert is as unforgiving as the people. We’ve each got a fight on our hands. For our happiness. For our survival.

Outback Treasure II is the conclusion of Pete and Scottie’s story. 

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Duet Buy Link

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Extract

“If you wanna ask me something, just ask it,” Scott spoke quietly after a time.

“Does it get lonely out here?” It wasn’t what I wanted to ask, but it was as close as I dared come to the question I really wanted to know the answer to.

“Yes and no. We’re only a few hours out of Longreach, so it’s easy enough to go there. Everyone else usually does.”

“But not you,” I finished.

“Nah, I stay here and look after the animals when they all head off.”

“You can’t go to town on one of the weekends your station hands stay here?”

He shook his head. “Not really much point. I don’t really drink.” He shrugged. “And I don’t do church either so….”

I sat quietly for a moment, contemplating what he said. “How old are you?”

“Forty. You?”

“Twenty-five.” When he flicked his gaze to mine, shock lit his features. “I look younger, I know. It’s the freckles.” He nodded and I hedged another question. “You don’t wanna hook up with anyone in town? Find a nice lady to spend the night with? This station’s a long way from company. Don’t you crave sex?”

He looked hard at me, unflinching. As if he was analyzing what I was asking. Searching for a deeper meaning. I was, and yet I wasn’t. Granted, he was a few years older than me, but he was still a man. He still had urges. Needs. He ran the station and had the respect of his family. I hadn’t seen him with his stockmen and women, but I had a feeling they’d respect him all the same. And yet he lived in a bubble. Seemed to isolate himself.

“I go to Brisbane and Sydney for a week every year. It’s enough.”

“Fuck me, you’re a better man than me. I’d go stir crazy.”

“Yeah well, just shows how different we are.”

There was a bite to his tone, which I hadn’t meant to put there. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”

His voice was quiet, but there was steel behind it. That same charisma turned into passion and fire. “We don’t all have the luxury of being able to walk into a bar somewhere and fuck the first person to catch your eye. Longreach is a small town. Everyone knows everyone. I can’t just go round and hook-up with whoever I like. It’d have consequences. For my family. For this station. And I won’t risk either one of them just to get my rocks off.” His eyes flashed angrily and his nostrils flared as he breathed hard.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”

He sighed. “Don’t apologize. I just can’t. Ma and Nan, even Ally are always at me to go out and meet some girl I can bring home. But that’s not me. Longreach is in the middle of bloody nowhere, but we’re even more remote. This desert… it’s in me. It’s part of my soul. I reckon if you cut me, I’d bleed red dirt. But it’s a hard life. One that most people won’t even consider.” He poked at the fire again. With his head down and his shoulders sagging, he spoke again, his voice barely above a whisper, “It’s easier not to try. No disappointment….” His words trailed off like he’d expended all the energy he had.

“You have your family and your workers. At least you’re not alone.” I snapped the twig I’d used to toast marshmallows on and tossed it into the dying embers of the fire that were being kept alive by Scott’s prodding. “Apart from hook-ups, and a flatmate I saw every few days, I didn’t really have anyone. And we all know how deep and meaningful hook-ups are.”

“No parents? Siblings?”

“An older sister, but apparently I embarrass her, so I tend to just keep away. Mum and Dad don’t understand. They mean well, but they keep trying to change me into something I’m not. And it’s hard to make friends in the city when you don’t get out much other than to get off.”

“Tough gig, huh?” he mused. “Suppose you don’t need to be in the desert to be isolated.”

“That’s the funny thing with a city. You can be alone and lonely even in the biggest crowd.” I gave him a small smile, trying to shake off the downer I’d plunged us into. I stood up then and stretched my arms above my head before a yawn ripped free. “Come on, walk me to my room so I don’t break a leg or stand on a snake. Get eaten by a dingo. Whatever.”

“Dingoes don’t usually bother us, especially not near the homestead. We don’t bait them ’cause they naturally keep the roo population from exploding, but we’ve got to protect the calves from them. We run Charbray cattle here—a Charolais Brahman cross—so they’re too big for the dingoes to attack when they’re fully grown. But, yeah….”

“I’m smaller than a cow. Seriously, are they gonna eat me?” My alarm was clear.

Scott laughed and my breath caught in my throat. His entire face transformed. Years fell away and a smile worthy of a Hollywood actor spread across his features. “You’ll be right, mate.” He clapped me on the shoulder, and I swallowed. “Come on, City. Let’s get you tucked into bed. We get up early here.”

I ignored the jibe, still speechless from seeing his smile, and followed him into the darkness. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust, but when they did, I saw the silhouette of the guesthouse against the starry sky. The building wasn’t what captured my attention though. It was the stars. An immense sky touched the horizon all around us. Bright pinpricks of light pierced the darkness and the half-moon hovering there seemed like I could reach out and touch it. The flat land extended for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. Dark and quiet, it was a complete contrast with the fireworks show in the sky. I didn’t realize I’d stopped walking until Scott stepped up beside me, our shoulders nearly touching, and looked up too. “Nothing like the sky out here.”

“It’s beautiful,” I breathed, looking at him with wonder in my eyes. When he turned to me, I couldn’t help adding, “But everything out here is.”

About Ann Grech

By day Ann Grech lives in the corporate world and can be found sitting behind a desk typing away at reports and papers or lecturing to a room full of students. She graduated with a PhD in 2016 and is now an over-qualified nerd. Glasses, briefcase, high heels and a pencil skirt, she’s got the librarian look nailed too. If only they knew! She swears like a sailor, so that’s got to be a hint. The other one was “the look” from her tattoo artist when she told him that she wanted her kids’ initials “B” and “J” tattooed on her foot. It took a second to register that it might be a bad idea.

She’s never entirely fit in and loves escaping into a book—whether it’s reading or writing one. But she’s found her tribe now and loves her MM book world family. She dislikes cooking, but loves eating, can’t figure out technology, but is addicted to it, and her guilty pleasure is Byron Bay Cookies. Oh and shoes. And lingerie. And maybe handbags too. Well, if we’re being honest, we’d probably have to add her library too given the state of her credit card every month (what can she say, she’s a bookworm at heart)!

She also publishes her raunchier short stories under her pen name, Olive Hiscock.

Ann loves chatting to people online, so if you’d like to keep up with what she’s got going on:

Join her newsletter (you’ll get two free books!)

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She’d love to hear from you directly, too. Please feel free to e-mail her at ann@anngrech.com or check out her website www.anngrech.com for updates.

Ann Grech’s Books

UNEXPECTED

Whiteout (MM)

White Noise (MM)

Whitewash (MM)

 

MY TRUTH

All He Needs (MMM)

In Safe Arms (MM)

 

PEARCE STATION DUET

Outback Treasure I(MM)

Outback Treasure II (MM)

 

GOLD COAST NIGHTS

Delectable (MMF)

 

MV DREAMCATCHER

Dance with Me (MM)

 

STANDALONES

Home For Christmas (MM)

The Gift (FMMM – free for newsletter subscribers)

Take Two (MM – free for newsletter subscribers)

 

M/F TITLES

One night in Daytona

Ink’d

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