In 2002, Romantic Times Book Club awarded Barbara Hannay with a Readers Choice award for Outback With the Boss. In 2003, Ms Hannay should keep the judges busy again. And 2004 shapes up to be more of the same, as her first release in 2003, A Bride at Birralee, is a wonderful, warm, caring and very sexy Harlequin Romance title.
For five days, Stella Lassiter travels from Sydney up to Queensland, where she hopes to find her ex-boyfriend at his homestead. She is pregnant, needs help and support from the father of the unborn child. However, when she arrives in the Outback, she finds out that he is dead and that she now has to deal with his brother, Callum Roper. The man of her most secret and forbidden dreams, the man who twelve months ago tempted her into recklessness.
Callum wanted Stella right from the first time they met. Then she chose his brother over him and he was devastated. Callum still wants her, and now, with her arrival on his land and the news of her pregnancy, he might just get her after all - through a marriage of convenience.
With a tough childhood and no knowledge of her father and the fear to end up like her mother, the offer of marriage and a loving home for her child is too tempting a proposal for Stella not to accept. No matter how scary living with this man and being part of his rich and influential family might be.
In Callum, Barbara Hannay has created another of her irresistible heroes. Sensible, possessive, rough around the edges but with a heart of gold, itís easy to understand how tough and brave Stella falls under his spell and learns to trust him. I might not totally agree with her choice to give up her career for love and family, but that is my own view of life and definitely didnít keep me from enjoying a beautiful story with an even more beautiful setting. The Outback is breathtaking. Iíve never been there, but reading Ms Hannayís descriptions, itís enough to visualize the unique landscape and how it shapes its characters.
And breathtaking, as always in Barbara Hannayís books, is also the sexual attraction between the main protagonists. It still manages to surprise me, as I just donít expect it of a Harlequin Romance, although, I love being shown differently.
In planning my next trip to Australia, Iíll make sure to include a visit to the Outback Ė and its heroes! Until then I will read Barbara Hannayís Outback books. Not a bad alternative, not at all!