The Farmer Takes A Wife…. an excerpt


The Farmer Takes A Wife :

Book Three in The Mulleins of Katherine Bay



Heath Mullein swore as ice hit bare skin.

Hail clumped and tipped off the brim of his sou’wester and slid down his neck.

A fitting end to a rotten day.

This morning he’d found the stud Angus bull he’d paid megabucks for, dead from a lightning strike, a major blow to Rata Ridge’s accelerated breeding program.

Then an hour ago, a deafening clap of thunder had startled his stallion.

Skeeter slip-slid down a clay bank.

Too late, he saw the gaping hole and heard the sickening crunch of breaking bones. Compelled to humanely put the animal down, the trust in his old friend’s eyes as he raised his rifle made his heart clutch and brought tears to his eyes.

You have a heart? Give me a break. His ex-girlfriend’s words sneaked past his guard.

Icy winds and torrential rain tore at his clothes as he trudged home. Visions of standing naked under a steaming hot shower filled his head.

Storm clouds as black as his mood reached from the tops of New Zealand’s Coromandel Range to the sea. Lightning split the heavy sky. Its lurid, sulphurous light reflected eerily off the waters of Katherine Bay.

Things always happen in threes. His mother’s voice ghosted through his memory.

Heath winced.

He wasn’t superstitious, he did not believe in all that guff.

But, although it irked him no end, he couldn’t dismiss the uneasy shiver that worked its way up his spine.

He rounded the neat cypress hedge protecting the homestead, and the brutal westerly eased. His home was little more than a looming outline in the murky light.

Low bellied clouds released another burst of sleet as he reached the veranda. Dark and unwelcoming, the house offered shelter from the foul weather while doing nothing to improve his mood.

On nights like this he regretted not replacing his housekeeper.

Watch it little brother. You’re in danger of turning into a recluse. Take care you don’t become another Grandfather Mullein.

Heath cursed the echo of his brother’s words.

No way! He could never be as mean or as irascible as that old man.

With an impatient sigh, he stepped into the mud room and stripped off his oilskin, sou’wester then his boots. He emptied them of water and put them in the hot water cupboard to dry.

With the ease of long practice, he stepped into the adjacent laundry, stripped off his sodden clothes and put them in the washer and set it going. Cold air raised goose-bumps on his damp skin.  Stepping from the laundry into the cavernous hallway, he hit the light switches.

A woman shrieked.

His heart jerked against his ribs. The breath backed up in his throat. His hand shot out in an instinctive, protective gesture.

“H-H-Heath?” She backed up, hands fluttering like the wings of a wounded bird. 

“Sarah,” he stuttered. “What in the blue blazes are you doing here?” 

She went several interesting shades of red, turned and ran into the kitchen. Behind her the door slammed.

How far did that blush extend?

Scalding heat ignited his libido and his body reacted.

Don’t even go there buddy. She’s Kreagan’s daughter. Remember!

His glance went south.

Holy hell! And he was butt naked!

He cursed and stomped down the hall and into his bedroom.

 So much for a hot shower! To calm the race of his heart, he stepped under an icy blast.

His mind worked overtime. What in hell was Sarah Kreagan doing here?

Coping with the spoiled princess, daughter of one of New Zealand’s richest men, capped off his day.

Perhaps his mother had the right of it.

This rotten day just became seriously worse.


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Published on Saturday, January 5th, 2013, under Latest News

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