"The Australian outback comes alive in this funny, fast-paced road trip romance. Andrews' characters are richly drawn, and issues of body image and PTSD are sensitively addressed."
RT Book Reviews
4.5 stars Top Pick !
Journalist Sadie Bliss is on a mission to prove herself as a world-class reporter. But three things stand in her way…
1. Dangerously mouthwatering photographer Kent Nelson- he's far too brooding and arrogant.
2. A road trip across the Outback with the above distraction- did she mention she doesn't do sleeping under the stars?
3. An insatiable longing to throw her rule book out of the car window… Because what happens in the Outback stays in the Outback. Right?
Kent watched him go, then turned back to Sadie. She was looking at the painting with an inscrutable expression and he couldn't figure out whether it was admiration, indifference or revulsion.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
Sadie nodded absently rubbing her arms feeling suddenly cold and very light-headed. It had been interesting seeing the portrait again with time and distance on her side.
Interesting to see it through Kent's eyes too.
"You've been starving yourself to look like that?" he asked incredulously, jabbing a finger in the general direction of the portrait. "You don't seriously believe that men find bones and angles attractive, do you?"
"I used to," she said. "Leo used to say I had the perfect face on the wrong body but that could be fixed." Spots started to swim before her eyes as she dragged her gaze away from the portrait she'd once loved so much.
Kent watched as Sadie swayed and he grabbed her upper arms in alarm. "You're not okay."
Sadie nodded as his strong, frowning face swam before her eyes. "Just a little light-headed," she dismissed but reached for his arms for extra anchorage.
"I'm not surprised. That's what happens when you don't eat anything. Come on, I have a Mars Bar in my bag."
Something told him there wouldn't be anything so common in Casa Del Idiot.
"No," she resisted. "Just give me a moment. It'll pass."
Kent shook his head as he looked back at the painting. The woman staring back at him looked utterly miserable. Thin for sure, but where was the vibrant woman of sass and spark he'd come to know the past few days? "That is a tragedy," he muttered.
"Thanks a lot," Sadie half joked, looking up into his face. He was still holding her, his scratchy-looking jawline in profile. "I was rather fond of my bony look."
Kent looked down at her in alarm. Which was a mistake, because her mouth was so very, very near, her red dress like a beacon in his peripheral vision. That passionfruit smell enveloped him in a flurry of very bad ideas. He dropped his gaze to the plump pillows turned up towards him, thinking that thin was never a good look.
Not on bodies. Or mouths. "Trust me, curvy looks way better."
Sadie could feel the heat of his gaze on her mouth. She shifted her hands so they were lying more comfortably against his biceps. "Leo always said that men lied about liking curves, that given a choice they'd chose skinny every time."
Kent frowned. "God, he's a pretentious arse."
Sadie smiled, but Leo's words still stung after all these years. She traced a finger absently around the bulk of a bicep. "He said no-one would ever want me."
Kent shook his head as her doe eyes blinked up at him. His pulse was pounding through his head as her body swayed closer to his. He swallowed as desire bolted through his system. He shouldn't kiss her. Not in a client's house. And certainly not standing under a life-sized image of her in the buff. But she smelled so damn good and her lips were so damn near. Nearer as he moved his face closer to hers.
"He's wrong," Kent muttered.
Sadie's breath quickened as his lips descended. She hung on to his words. Looking at her portrait again, listening to Leo's rapture over it had sucked her back into to a turbulent time in her life but this man - this potent virile he-man, the polar opposite to Leo in every way - was telling her something different.
He was going to kiss her in this room, in front of that painting. And she needed it. She needed to be desired for the person she was now, not the one she'd been.
The air crackled around them as their lips met. Kent felt no resistance, just her body completely aligning with his and her incredible mouth opening to him on a little whimper that reached right inside his gut and squeezed.
And then it was gone as a much hotter, deeper, more urgent need consumed him. The need to claim, to conquer to lead. He sucked in a breath, pushing his hands into her hair and his tongue into her mouth, feeling the tentative touch of hers grow bolder.
But then voices getting nearer started to intrude and Kent suddenly realised where he was. He pulled away, her little disappointed mew and moist pouty mouth almost bringing him to his knees.
"You okay?" he asked, when she opened her big grey eyes, now the colour of slate, his arms steadying her.
Sadie blinked and nodded as she heard Leo enter the room even though she wasn't sure she'd ever be okay again.