The Outback Bridal Rescue

BOOK: The Outback Bridal Rescue
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Marriage is their mission!

From bad boys—to powerful, passionate protectors!

Three tycoons from the Outback rescue their brides-to-be….

Meet Ric, Mitch and Johnny—once rebel ious teenagers, they survived the Outback to become best friends and formidable tycoons. Now these sexy city hotshots must return to the Outback to face a new chal enge: claiming their brides….

This month, it’s sexy bil ionaire Johnny El is’s turn


The Outback Marriage Ransom


The Outback Wedding Takeover


The Outback Bridal Rescue

Emma Darcy
is the award-winning Australian author of almost ninety novels for Harlequin Presents®.

Her intensely emotional stories have gripped readers around the globe.

She’s sold nearly 60 mil ion books worldwide and won enthusiastic praise.

“Emma Darcy delivers a spicy love story…a fiery conflict and a hot sensuality.”


Romantic Times

Dear Reader,

To me, there has always been something immensely intriguing about bad boys who’ve made good. With every possible disadvantage in their background, what was it that lifted them beyond it, that gave them the driving force to achieve, to soar to the heights of their chosen fields, becoming much more than survivors…shining stars?

In OUTBACK KNIGHTS, I’ve explored the lives of three city boys who ended up in juvenile court and were sent to an Outback sheep station to work through their sentences.

There, at Gundamurra, isolated from the influences that had overwhelmed them in the past, and under the supervision and caring of a shrewd mentor, Patrick Maguire, the boys’

lives became set on different paths as they learned how their individual strengths—their passions—could be used constructively instead of destructively.

But the big unanswered need is love. Even at the top it’s lonely.

And it seemed to me beautiful y fitting that as these boys had been rescued, so should they—as men—rescue the women who wil give them love. I think there are times when al of us want to be rescued—to be cared for, protected, understood, made to feel safe. It’s not that we can’t manage independently, but, oh, for a knight in shining

armor that wil fight and slay our dragons with a passionate intensity that makes us melt!

Here they are—Ric Donato, Mitch Tyler and Johnny El is: OUTBACK KNIGHTS!

With love,

Emma Darcy

THE OUTBACK BRIDAL RESCUE

CONTENTS

PROLOGUE

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
PROLOGUE
Johnny Ellis

First Day at Gundamurra

THE
plane was heading down to a red dirt airstrip. Apart from the cluster of buildings that marked the sheep station of Gundamurra, there was no other habitation in sight between here and the horizon—a huge empty landscape dotted with scrubby trees.

It made Johnny think of the old country bal ads about meeting and overcoming incredible hardships in places such as this. And here he was, facing the reality of it for a while. Easy enough to see why the music for those bal ads was always slow. Nothing fast going on down there.

‘Wish I had my camera,’ Ric Donato murmured.

The remark piqued Johnny’s curiosity. Apparently the stark visual impact of the place didn’t intimidate Ric, though like Johnny, he’d lived al his life in the city. It seemed odd that a thieving street-kid was into photography. On the other hand, the camera comment might simply be playing it cool, making a point of not letting any fear of what was waiting for them show.

Ric looked like he’d been bred from the Italian mafia, black curly hair, olive skin, dark eyes that flashed with what Johnny thought of as dangerous intensity, but if Ric Donato had come from that kind of
family,
some smart lawyer would have got him off the charge of stealing a car and he wouldn’t be on this plane with Johnny and Mitch.

‘The middle of nowhere,’ Mitch Tyler muttered dispiritedly, his eyes fixed on the same scene. ‘I’m beginning to think I made the wrong choice.’

More gloom than cool from his other companion, Johnny thought, but then unlike himself and Ric, Mitch had a real family—mother and sister—and family couldn’t visit him way out here. But choosing a year in a juvenile jail rather than the alternative sentence of six months working on a sheep station…

‘Nah,’ Johnny drawled with deep inner conviction.

‘Anything’s better than being locked up. At least we can breathe out here.’

‘What? Dust?’ Mitch mocked.

The plane landed, kicking up a cloud of it.

Johnny didn’t care about a bit of dust. It was infinitely preferable to confinement. He hoped Mitch Tyler wasn’t going to be a complete grouch for the next six months. Or a mean one, blowing up at any little aggravation. The guy had been convicted of assault. It might be true he’d only beat up on the man who’d date-raped his sister, but Johnny suspected that Mitch was wired towards fighting.

He had biting blue eyes, dark hair, a strong-boned face that somehow commanded respect. His build was lean though he had very muscular arms, and Johnny felt he might wel be capable of powerful violence. Living in close quarters with him could be tricky if he didn’t lighten up.

‘Welcome to the great Australian Outback,’ the cop escorting them said derisively. ‘And just remember…if you three city smart arses want to survive, there’s nowhere to run.’

Al three of them ignored him. They were sixteen.

Regardless of what life threw at them, they were going to survive. Besides, running would be stupid. Better to do the six months and feel free to get on with their lives, having served what the law court considered justice for their crimes.

Not that Johnny felt guilty of doing anything bad. He wasn’t a drug dealer. He’d simply been doing a favour for the guys in the band, getting them a stash of marijuana to smoke after their gig at the club. They’d given him the money for it and the cops had caught him handing it over to the real dealer.

Impossible to explain he’d got the money from the musos. That would be dobbing them in and the word would go around the pop music tracks that he couldn’t be trusted.

Keeping mum and taking the fal was his best move. It was a big favour that could be cal ed in when this stint on the sheep station was behind him, maybe get him a spot in a band playing guitar, even if he was only fil ing in for someone.

Johnny had learnt very young that pleasing people gave him the easiest track through life. It was much smarter to stay on their good side. Straying from that only brought punishment. He stil had nightmares about being locked in a dark cupboard for upsetting his first foster parents. By the time he’d been placed in another home, he’d worked out how to act. It was a blueprint he always carried in his head

—win friends, avoid trouble.

He hoped the owner of this place was a reasonable kind of guy, not some bastard exploiting the justice system to get a free labour force, just like some foster parents, taking money from the government for looking after kids who real y had to look after themselves, in more ways than just earning their keep in those supposedly
safe
homes.

The judge had rambled on about this being a program that would get boys who’d run off the rails back to ground values, good basic stuff to teach them what real life was about.

As if they hadn’t already had a gutful of real life!

And its lessons!

Stil , Johnny figured he could ride this through easily enough—put a smile on his face, rol his shoulders, act wil ing.

The plane taxied back to where a man—the owner?—

was waiting beside a four-wheel-drive Land Rover. Big man—broad-shouldered, barrel-chested, craggy weathered face, iron-grey hair. Had to be over fifty but stil looking tough and formidable.

BOOK: The Outback Bridal Rescue
6.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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