Cattle rancher Rory Compton isn't looking for love--but he is looking for a wife. He wants a partner who will settle down with him in the Outback, a practical, down-to-earth woman who won't be seduced by the bright lights of the city.
Glamorous fashion editor Allegra Sanders doesn't seem to if t Rory's criteria at all. With her model looks he can't trust that her growing attraction to him is for real. But that doesn't seem to stop Rory thinking about her--every minute of every day!
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March 13, 2007
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Excerpt from Cattle Rancher, Convenient Wife by Margaret Way
THOUGH his mood was fairly grim Rory Compton
couldn't help but smile. It was the middle of the day, yet a man could fire a cannon down the main street of Jimboorie and not find a target; not even a stray dog. The broad sunlit street was deserted as were the sidewalks, usually ganged on a Saturday. No kids were bobbing, weaving, ducking about, playing some private game, while their mothers, looking harried shouted at them to stop. No one was loading grocer-ies into the family pickup. No dusty four-wheel drive's ran back and forth, the drivers waving casually and calling greetings to friends and acquaintances which meant pretty well everyone in town.
Seated on the upper verandah of Vince Dougherty's pub, Rory had the perfect view of the town centre, its impressive Community Hall and its attractive park. He drained off the cold beer he'd enjoyed with the prepacked lunch Dougherty's wife, Katie, had very kindly left him; a plate of thick roast beef and pickles sandwiches, cling wrapped so well it took him almost five minutes to get into it. He hadn't a hope of working his way through the pile. The stray dog would have come in handy in that regard. With the possible exception of himself, the whole town had taken itself off to the big "open day'on Jimboorie, an outlying historic sheep station that had given the town its name. Sitting there, his long legs resting on a planter's chair, he debated whether to go. There was a slim chance it could boost his mood.
It was a restoration party he understood from Vince, who being a publican was always ready for a chat that naturally included dramatic revelations. The old homestead, from all accounts, once mag-nificent, had been allowed to go to rack and ruin under the custodianship of the former owner, Angus Cunningham. "A miserable old bastard! Didn't think anyone in town was good enough to talk to!"
Of course Rory knew the name Cunningham. The Cunninghams figured among the roll call Outback pioneers. Sheep men. Not cattlemen like his own kind, their stamping ground, the legendary Channel Country, a riverine desert deep into the South-West pocket of their vast State. The new owner, a great nephew, "one helluva guy!" had spent well over a year and a mountain of money restoring the place. Lucky old him! Vince had invited Rory along to the open day--"Sure and they won't mind!" Vince was as expansive as though he and Cunningham were best mates.
"Maybe," he'd said. And maybe not. He wasn't in his best spirits since he and his father had had their cataclysmic row a couple of weeks back. Since then he'd been on the road, travelling from one Outback town to another in a sick, angry daze, checking out if there were any pastoral properties on the market he could afford with the help of a hefty bank loan. He couldn't lift his eyes to the multimillion range. All up including the private nest egg his grandad, Trevis Compton, had left him he had close to two million dollars A lot of money to a lot of people. Not near enough when one was talking a halfway decent pastoral property.