Beneath Outback Skies
Normally I don’t read many western romances. Working long hours, dealing with dirt and grime, plus sometimes blood, doesn’t seem that romantic. There are never enough “Calgon – Take me Away” baths but the Australian setting pulled me in.
Paige Quinn’s family home, Banora Downs, means the world to her and she is doing everything she can to save her remote, rural, drought-stricken heritage. She enjoyed the city life while away at college, but she didn’t experience a moment’s hesitation in making the decision to come back home after her father’s accident. But five years with no rain has taken a toll. The ranch’s livestock is dwindling, and so is she. She is determined to keep secret from her ailing father how bad things are.
However, her father Connor sees more than she realizes. He doesn’t want his daughter to waste away in this desolate land, sacrificing her hopes and her dreams. He wants her to experience love and laughter and joy, like he did with her mother. He has a plan and it involves Tait Cavanaugh.
Tait Cavanaugh has two reasons for coming to Banora Downs but it is imperative that he keep both a secret from Paige. Connor asked him there in his capacity as agricultural consultant and doesn’t want his daughter to know. His company helps families come up with viable ways of keeping their lands -– like raising olives or alpacas. But the second reason is an intensely private one.
So even though he is extremely attracted to Paige — her authentic goodness and lack of guile are aphrodisiacs to his senses — he knows that a relationship with her is not in the cards. Plus now is not the time to get serious about a woman, since he driven to make his atonement.
Paige finds Tait disturbing. He upsets her equilibrium and she doesn’t like it. The easy way to avoid him would be to just do more work around the ranch but even though he is a guest, Tait insists on helping out. Although it is difficult to admit, it is such a boon to have another set of hands. Still, she has gone down this route before, and city men just don’t have the tenacity and persistence needed to survive in the Outback. They like their fancy cars and sophisticated lifestyle.
As an armchair traveler, the Australian locale and dialect are a definite plus. I find it fun to read Ute instead of jeep, cuppa and smoko instead of coffee break. The farm and weather issues are no different than the ones our ranchers face.
Paige and Tait are lovely if somewhat one-dimensional in their perfection. However, I have to be honest and say I don’t mind the perfect heroine or hero. I read many American authors that write the same type. The chemistry between the two is definitely there but the sensuality is of the kisses variety.
The book flowed well and is a very easy read. There is no doubt that the writing is better than good, and the book kept my attention from beginning to end. Still, I wish that it hadn’t been so predictable because there is nothing in the story that makes it truly memorable although it is sweet. If sweetness is what you are looking for, then this book definitely delivers that.
While I am glad that I read it and if I had the opportunity of reading another one of the author’s books I would certainly do that, I don’t feel motivated to immediately seek out her backlist.