Read Outback Thunder Online

Authors: Ann B. Harrison

Outback Thunder

BOOK: Outback Thunder
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Chapter One

 

 

"It's not
fair, Brandon. I was looking forward to a white Christmas for a change. The
last thing I want is a wet season in the outback." Zoe Walters chewed on
her bottom lip and shifted the phone to her other ear. She sighed and pulled
free the sparkly dangling earring before throwing it carelessly onto the
rosewood writing desk. She leaned back in the chair and closed her eyes, a
headache starting to throb at her temples.

"You have to
come, Zoe. I've done the best I can since Mum and Dad died but now it's all
getting too much for me."

There was a
significant pause and Zoe opened her eyes. "What is it that you're not
telling me?"

"The other
partners have sold out."

"Who
to?" She held her breath.

"Jonas Ward.
At least it isn't a stranger or an overseas consortium," her brother tried
to convince her. "Being a local guy and a friend of ours I'm sure that he
will see reason and not try to change things too much."

Zoe grimaced at
the tight pain twisting in her stomach. Jonas Ward, who had taken her virginity
and taught her all she knew about sex. He'd left her panting for more many a
time. Her brother’s best friend who she'd dumped after she caught him with his
pants down with another girl. Now he was back to lord it over her
.

This was going
to be the worst fucking Christmas out.

"So why do
you need me then if it's already sold? It's not like our measly shares give us
much in the way of control, is it?"

"One of the
conditions of the sale is that all interested parties will be on the property
working or the board will forfeit their share. He… um… is head of the board
now. You'll be left with nothing if you don't come home."

"But—"

"Sorry sis, I
can't do anything. I told him you now worked in London and he had a dummy spit.
Said if the farm meant anything to you it’s where you should be and what the
hell were you doing in a foreign country anyway."

"He always
was a bossy little brat. Doesn't sound like he's changed much." Zoe stood
up and walked over to the window, pushing the curtain to one side. She looked
down on the London traffic. Evening had set in and the lights on the vehicles
sparkled below her. The surrounding roofs were blanketed with a thin layer of
snow. It had just started to fall this morning and she was hoping that by the
time the holidays came around it would be thick and fluffy on the ground. It
would be the first December she hadn't gone somewhere else to evade the cold
that settled in her bones. Everything had been looking just perfect for her
first white Christmas until this phone call.

"You can't
afford to let the board take your shares and distribute them to the rest of us.
We all worked far too hard to build this business up. Besides that, it would be
such a shame to let the parent’s legacy go to someone else." There was silence
as Brandon waited for Zoe to speak.

"Fine. I'll
have to sort something out here before I can leave. I'll see what I can do. My
staff won't be happy, I can tell you that now but what choice do I have?"
Zoe rubbed her fingertips into her temple. A throbbing headache started in the
back of her skull and she knew why. "I'll call you when I have my flights
organized."

"I'll pick
you up at the airport. It will be good to have you home, .sis."

"Love you,
Bran. Laters."

Zoe hung up the
heat racing up her cheeks as the memories came rushing back.
Jonas standing
naked over her as she lay unashamedly nude in the hay,
Her nipples budded
and pushed against her satin and lace bra. She could still see his perfectly
sculptured body bronze from working outside in the Australian outback sun.

The muscles
that corded his lower belly were tight and smooth.

Zoe shifted to
sit on her knees and reached up. She ran her finger tips along the small line
of dark hair running from his belly button down to his very erect and ready
cock. It jerked under her touch bringing a smile to her face.

"Stop
teasing, Zoe," he gasped.

She smiled
coyly at him before she lowered her head to his cock. With her tongue she
traced around the head, nipping the soft skin with her teeth. Her hands slid up
the back of his thighs and she cupped his butt cheeks in her palms. Tweaking
the tight muscles she lowered her mouth and took him in.

She sucked slowly
at first enjoying the salty taste of him. When he started to strain against
her, she pulled him in deeper and sucked harder. Jonas ground his hips,
thrusting as his climax built.

Seconds away
from his climax he pulled from her warm mouth and pushed her back into the hay.
Spreading her thighs with his knee, he plunged deep into her body. Zoe clung to
his arms and met him thrust for thrust. She threw her head back and groaned when
she peaked, her legs clutching around his thighs and holding him in.

****

Even ten years
after they'd broken up he still had the ability to make her hot and flustered.
No boyfriend since had that effect on her. None gave her that wanton feeling of
sexual freedom t she'd enjoyed with Jonas. What would happen when she went home
to the farm and saw him again? Just the thought of being around him again had
her clenching her thighs together.

Their break-up had
been bitter and acrimonious. Zoe had wanted to go off the pill thinking it was
the only way they could be together, but Jonas had balked. His plans for them
didn't involve a shotgun wedding. Her parents didn't want her getting married—
said she was too young at eighteen to know her own mind. She thought they would
have a change of heart if she was pregnant. But Jonas didn't want children, he
wanted to make his fortune first so they had fought. Their relationship had
slowly but surely soured. Trying desperately to keep things going, Zoe had sent
Jonas a message asking him to meet her in their spot in the barn.

When she arrived
she had found him in the arms of a partially undressed Lucy, the trashy
daughter of one of the roustabouts. Broken-hearted she’d done what she did
best. Zoe ran. She stayed away and built a new life for herself and for the
child he didn't know she carried. Bitterly hurt by Jonas, she kept the baby
girl a secret from everyone, not willing to have him come back into her life
and ride roughshod over them both. She stayed in London until the news of her
parents’ deaths in a car crash reached her and then she came home alone. Once
the funeral was over, Zoe had returned to her business in London, keeping her
distance from the only man who had the ability to make her body hum with need,
while still smarting after all this time over his betrayal.

Now here she was
headed for home again and it looked like she would be staying for a long time.
The huge land holding had always been a joint venture, not one that her family
had owned on their own. Three million acres and some of the top Brahman
breeding cattle was a lot of to take care of and her father had set it up with
business partners putting up most of the money. It was a huge business and had
been very profitable for all involved but with the global financial crisis,
things had changed. Costs had soared and production had dropped. A major
injection of cash was what they needed and it looks like it came in the shape
of Jonas Ward, super rich cheating ex-boyfriend. Fucking wonderful.

The family ran the
property with the help of roustabouts and a permanent staff of around twenty
men and women. Zoe hoped that Jonas would not be living on the farm. With any
luck he will be too busy lording it up in the city looking after the financial
side of things and not getting his hands too dirty. He always had an eye on the
money, even as a teenager. Surely he wouldn't have changed that much?

There was a knock
on the door and Lori, her P.A. poked her head around the door. "Got a
minute Zoe?"

"Sure, I was going to call you anyway.
Come in." Zoe walked over and then slipped her arm through Lori's s The
girls had met not long after Zoe arrived scared and alone in London and they'd
been close ever since. "What's up?"

"I just
interviewed those two personal trainers and I think we might take them both
on."

"Great, I'll
draw up the contracts. Listen, are you okay to take over for a couple of months
if I go home again?"

"Sure, what's
up?"

"Family stuff
to do with the farm that Brandon insists on me being on site for. I could do
without it but Lilly is settled into her new boarding school and so long as she
has her horse she will be fine. I'm only a phone call away if she needs
anything."

"You know I
can take care of her, don't stress. You made me her godmother for a reason so
let me spoil her when I can." Lori grinned and wrapped her arm over Zoe's
shoulder. "Go home, honey, sort it out. This place will run fine without
you for a while."

****

Zoe tucked her
elbows in by her side while her fellow passengers jostled to get into the seats
either side of her. It had been difficult to get a seat on the flight home, so
the chance of a window seat was nil. She put the headphones in her ears and
picked a movie, intent on ignoring those around her and wished for sleep as
they flew halfway across the world to Australia.

 

Zoe groggily
opened one eye. She rubbed at the line of dribble trickling down her chin and
realized she had her head tucked snugly against the elderly gentleman on her
left. Lifting her head slightly she looked up into his face. A frown marred his
forehead and she quickly sat up, apologizing as she tried to straighten her
clothes. Her water bottle was almost empty and her mouth felt like sandpaper.
Unfastening her seatbelt, Zoe pushed past her neighbor and headed to the
bathroom, her purse clutched in her hand.

Looking in the
mirror under the harsh lights of the airplane toilet, she grimaced. Her mascara
had run and the line of drool had left a white crusty film down her chin.

Super cute,
not.

Running her hands
under the cold tap, Zoe tried to cup enough water to splash her face, hoping
that it would be enough to make her look a little more presentable when Brandon
met her.

The plane dropped
and with a squeal of fright, Zoe missed her face and the water soaked the front
of her shirt.

Bloody hell.

She gripped the
edge of the small hand basin and counted to ten before she looked in the mirror
again.

Super great,
now everyone can see my bra and what's under it.
Her nipples had budded up when the cold water had soaked her breasts and she
decided to stay where she was until they softened giving the other passengers
less to look at.

"Ma'am?"
A knock on the door and soft voice called her again. "Ma'am, you have to
return to your seat. The Captain has switched on the seat belt sign. We are
coming in to land."

Fuck it.
Everyone is going to get a great view of my assets. Wonderful.

"Ma'am, you
have to come out now."

Zoe ran her
fingers through her hair and opened the door annoyed she hadn't even brushed
her teeth. With her arms folded against her chest she made her way back to her seat.
The plane dropped again and with a cry she reached out and grabbed hold of the nearest
headrest, exposing her wet shirt and perky
nipples to all of the passengers.

Brushing her hair
back from her face and tipping her nose up in the air, she slipped passed the
elderly man, ignoring the way his eyes lit up, and dropped into her seat. Now
she would have to go through customs with her wet shirt and lacy bra on view
and there was nothing she could do about it. What a way to greet her brother,
looking like a half naked scarecrow with her make-up running and her hair not
done. Definitely not the girl he was used to seeing.

****

Humiliated at the
reception she received including the thorough bag search, Zoe pushed her
luggage trolley through the doors to the waiting area where friends and family
were waiting to greet loved ones. At least the guys in Customs had enjoyed the
show with her shirt clinging to her boobs and they inspected every bag she'd
brought with her.

"Random
selection ma'am," they said.

Pig's ass it
was. Bloody perverts.

She saw the way
they all looked at her nipples still showing proudly under the damp shirt and
lacy bra.

She looked around
for Brandon, ignoring the grins and raised eyebrows that came her way. A hand
came from behind and grabbed her arm and she jumped. Her eyes went straight to
the offending hand ready to swing away and lash out. The well-manicured hand
slid down to her elbow and cupped it. She looked down at the cuff of a silk
white shirt, noting the gold and diamond cufflinks. Her stomach sunk as her
brain registered the improbable. Gazing up into smoldering eyes, and not
willing to believe the improbable she pulled back. Staring down at her was the
man that had made her heart thump and her thighs tremble.

"What the
hell are you doing here?"

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