The Nanny and the Millionaire. Линда Гуднайт

The Nanny and the Millionaire - Линда Гуднайт

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       Is the new nanny the perfect wife?

       The Nanny and the Millionaire

      Three emotional and exciting romances from

       three super Mills & Boon authors!

      The Nanny and

       the Millionaire







      MILLS & BOON

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      About the Author

      MARGARET WAY takes great pleasure in her work, and works hard at her pleasure. She enjoys tearing off to the beach with her family at weekends, loves haunting galleries and auctions, and is completely given over to French champagne “for every possible joyous occasion”. She was born and educated in the river city of Brisbane, Australia, and now lives within sight and sound of beautiful Moreton Bay.

      This book is dedicated to my friend and much valued editor, Linda Fildew


      THEY had been on the road for what seemed like forever; Marissa Devlin, her seven-year-old half brother, Riley and Riley’s brave and incredibly protective cattle dog, a Queensland Blue Heeler, called Dusty. A number of times on the long trek from Brisbane, the State capital, through the fertile central plains of that vast State, the fiercely loyal Dusty, one of the most intelligent breeds there is, had put himself between his ‘family’ and anyone who looked or acted in the least bit suspicious; indeed anyone who had given the intrepid trio a second or third glance.

      Dusty was a splendid guard dog, not to mention the fact he could talk, something that gave Marissa so much comfort she always invited Dusty into the think tank. Her rationale was she needed backup and some reassurance she hadn’t made one huge mistake uprooting them from a fairly ‘normal’ life to hit the wild blue yonder. At least Riley and Dusty were loving it. To them it was all a bit of a game. Neither of them fully comprehended the gamble she had taken.

      In another life Dusty had done what cattle dogs do best, working and driving stock on a North Queensland cattle run; these days he was semi-retired, having taken on the responsible job of looking after his ‘family.’ Cattle dogs generally were one-person dogs. Nowadays Dusty answered to her, though he was still officially Riley’s dog. Before that? Marissa’s mind had to shut down on that one. There was simply too much pain to go there. The past had to be shoved away—although wasn’t the past always there inside her, much like her heart and her lungs? But she had to focus on what lay ahead.

      What lay ahead, came up on cue; a signpost, so weathered it could have dated back to a prehistoric time, listing destinations she had never heard of, let alone could get her tongue around.

      Appilayarowie?Balukyambut? Cocatatocallen? Aboriginal and why not? This was Dreamtime country. From the severe cant on the signpost she didn’t think the directions would be very reliable. It would work just as well to pull a blindfold over Riley’s eyes and ask him to point.

       Where’s your sense of adventure, girl?

      She was hoping to find it the very next day. At the moment her anxieties were outweighing her positive feelings.

      A stand of many trunked gums were coming up on her right. Time for a break. Her arms were quivering from the time she had spent holding the wheel. She drove the utility-fire engine red with a painted black panther at full stretch on the driver’s side—supposedly a bonus according to the car salesman—off the endless Outback highway, and parked it in the shade of the ubiquitous eucalypts. She had read somewhere—she sometimes thought she could win a prize for trivia—that eucalypts, all six hundred recorded species of them, made up the great bulk of the continent’s natural tree-life. Eucalypts were arguably—not in the fire season—one of Australia’s finest gifts to the world.

      In the heat, the gums’ narrow blue-grey drooping leaves denser at the bottom than the top, were turned edge on to the sun. Scant shade or not they gave off a wonderful aromatic fragrance. It immediately soothed her much like the hauntingly sweet native boronia oil she used to sprinkle on her pillow at night. The bush had such a marvellous smell. It had always been one of her great pleasures to breathe in the warm gushes of natural perfumes; the lovely lemon-scented gums, the grevilleas and acacias, the tremendous variety of native flowering shrubs and ground covers, the crush of wild flowers underfoot. She had found nothing more entrancing than wandering the rolling hillsides around her Brisbane home, mid-Winter, early Spring, when the hills were alight with golden wattles, mile upon mile. Wattle was the national floral emblem and she adored the fragrance, but it had always given her cousin, Lucy, hay fever. Not that Lucy would have joined her in her wanderings through the splendid isolation anyway.

      They were well into the great South West of the State, the real Outback. It was almost like driving onto a new planet. One to replace poor old downgraded Pluto. No wattles here, but a burnished yellow ocean of Spinifex that went a long way towards concealing the parched reality of the landscape. The tall seed stalks glinted silver in the brilliant, dancing light. More than once she had felt glad she hadn’t ventured into this endless expanse alone. No wonder they called it the Never Never. She wasn’t entirely sure the spirits of the place welcomed them. Instinct told her they were watching. As a consequence, primal little fears had begun gnawing at her mind. They hadn’t passed a single vehicle for days to break the eerie notion they had entered not only another world, but also a different dimension.

      City born and bred she was gripped by the extraordinary mystique of this vast, arid region. The very air was saturated with it, but she recognised the mood of the Guardian Spirits mightn’t always be pleasant. She suspected, too, the magnetic pull would get stronger and stronger the closer one came to the Wild Heart, the dead centre of the ancient continent and who knows, maybe the heart of the world? Every day they were travelling deeper into the riverine desert known as the Channel Country, the home of the cattle kings, bordering the great Simpson Desert.

      That was the reason she was out here: to land a job as a governess on one of the Channel Country stations so she could keep Riley with her until she felt he was old enough and secure enough in himself to go off to boarding school. That would take pretty much all of what remained of the nest egg her maternal grandmother had

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