He's the toast of Australian society...
Cattleman Cal McKendrick is under pressure from his family to produce an heir for the magnificent McKendrick homestead that lies deep in the Outback. Then he discovers he's already a father!
She's the mother of the son he never knew he had
Gina Romano had loved Cal with all her soul. But in her heart she'd known she'd never be good enough for him or his society family--so she'd kept her pregnancy secret. Now that Cal knows the truth, he demands she marry him. But Gina wants Cal's love, not just to be his convenient bride....
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
February 11, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Cattle Rancher, Secret Son by Margaret Way
Coronation Hill Station
The Northern Territory
From the crest of Crown Ridge, tumbled with smooth, near perfectly round boulders like a giant's marbles, Cal sat his magnificent silver-grey stallion, watching a section of the lowing herd being driven towards the holding yards at Yering Springs. From this incomparable vantage point on top of the ancient sandstone escarpment, the whole of Jabiru Valley was revealed to him. Silver billabongs lined by willowy melaleucas and groves of pandanus wound away to the left and right, the sun flashing off surfaces as smooth as glass. He could see the flocks of magpie geese and whistling ducks congregated around the banks and exploding from the reed beds. Wildlife was abundant in the Valley: native mammals, reptiles, trillions of insects and above all, the birds. The gloriously coloured parrots, the cockatoos, galahs, rosellas and lorikeets, countless other species, the beautiful water birds and, at the top of the chain, the reigning jabiru. It was the great numbers of jabirus, the country's only stork, fishing the billabongs and lagoons that had given the Valley its name.
The Territory was still a wild paradise with a mystical feel about it that he firmly believed derived from the aboriginal culture. The Dreaming. The spirit ancestors had fashioned this ancient land, creating everything in it. Where he now sat on his horse had provided natural art galleries in its numerous caves and rock shelters. Many of the walls were covered in ancient rock paintings, art treasures fiercely protected by the indigenous people and generations of McKendricks who had taken over the land.
In whatever direction he looked, the landscape was potent with beauty. He supposed he would have made a good pagan with his nature worship. Certainly he was very much in touch with the natural world. He even knew, like the aboriginals on the station, the places where great energy resided, certain sandstone monuments, special caves, rock pools and particular trees. The lily-covered lagoons on Coronation Hill were filled with magnificent waterlilies of many colours: pink, red, white, yellow, cream. His favourite was the sacred Blue Lotus. Underneath those gorgeous carpets it had to be mentioned, glided the odd man-eating croc or two. They had learned to take crocs in their stride. Crocodiles were a fact of life in the Territory. Don't bother them. They won't bother you.
God it was hot! He could feel trickles of sweat run down his nape and onto his back. He lifted a hand to angle his wide brimmed Akubra lower on his head, thinking his hair was getting much too long. It was curling up at the back like a girl's. He would have to get it cut when he found time. The mob had been on the move since the relative cool of dawn but now the heat was intense. The world of sky above him was stunningly clear of clouds, an infinity of burning blue. He loved his home with a passion. He loved the colours of the land. They weren't the furnace-reds of the Centre's deserts but cool blues and silvers, the deeper cobalts and amethysts. Instead of the rolling red sand dunes of the central part of the Territory, in the tropical north, the entire landscape was covered in every conceivable shade of lustrous green.
And flowers! Extraordinary flowers abounded in the Valley. The grevilleas, the banksias, the hakeas, the native hibiscus and the gardenias everyone knew, but there were countless other species unique to the far-away regions that had never been named. No one had ever had the time to get around to it. Australia was a dry, dry continent but oddly produced the most marvellous wildflowers that were becoming world renowned. Everywhere he looked exquisite flowers unfurled themselves on trees and shrubs, others rode the waving tops of the savannah grasses that could grow after the Wet a good four feet over his head and he was six feet two.
It was here in the mid-l860s, that his ancestor, the Scot, Alexander Campbell-McKendrick swore an oath to found his own dynasty in the savage wilderness of the Australian Outback. It was quite an ambition and a far, far, cry from his own ancestral home in the Borders region of Scotland. But as it stood, a second son, denied inheritance of the family estates by the existence of an elder brother, Alexander McKendrick, an adventurer and a visionary at heart, found an excellent option in travelling halfway across the world to seek his own fortune in the Great South Land, where handsome, well-educated young Scotsmen from distinguished families were thin on the ground. McKendrick had been very favourably received, immediately gaining the patronage of the Governor of the then self-governing colony of New South Wales.