~ A MIRACLE FOR HIS SECRET SON ~

 

A father's gift...

Freya and Gus shared a perfect summer... until Gus left town for a future that couldn't include Freya... Now, twelve years on, Freya has a shocking revelation for Gus: they have a son, Nick, who needs a new kidney... a gift only his father can provide.

 

 

 

Gus is taken aback, but vows to help Nick.  And despite everything, the connection between Gus and Freya is still strong. Can they make a life together and give Nick another  miracle... a family?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

MILLS AND BOON  ROMANCE

- UNITED KINGDOM  October 2010 -

 

HARLEQUIN ROMANCE

- NORTH AMERICA October  2010 -

 

MILLS AND BOON SWEET

- AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND November 2010 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             
   

 

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   Chapter One

 

Late on a Friday afternoon, Gus Wilder was only half paying attention when he lifted the receiver.

‘A long distance call for you, boss,’ Charlie from the front office told him. ‘Freya Jones from Sugar Bay in Queensland.’

Freya Jones.

Just like that, Gus was zapped from his demountable office in the remotest corner of the Northern Territory to a little beach town on the coast of Queensland. He was eighteen again and standing at the edge of rolling surf, gazing into a lovely girl’s laughing, sea green eyes.

It was twelve years since he’d left the bay and he hadn’t seen Freya in all that time, but of course he remembered her. Perfectly.

Didn’t every man remember the sweet, fragile magic of his first love?

But so much water had flowed under the bridge since then. He’d finished his studies and worked in foreign continents, and he’d traversed joyous and difficult journeys of the heart. Freya would have changed a lot, too. No doubt she was married. Some lucky guy was sure to have snapped her up by now.

He couldn’t think why she would be ringing him after all this time. Was there a high school reunion? Bad news about an old schoolmate?

Charlie spoke again. ‘Boss, you going to take the call?’

‘Yes, sure.’ Gus swallowed to ease the unexpected tension in his throat. ‘Put Freya on.’

He heard her voice. ‘Gus?’

Amazing. She could still infuse a single syllable with music. Her voice had always been like that – light, lyrical and sensuous.

 ‘Hello, Freya.’

‘You must be surprised to hear from me. Quite a blast from the past.’

Now she sounded nervous, totally unlike the laughing, confident girl Gus remembered. A thousand questions clamoured to be asked, but instinctively, he skipped the usual how are you preliminaries… ‘How can I help you, Freya?’

There was an almost inaudible sigh. ‘I’m afraid it’s really hard to explain over the phone. But it’s important, Gus. Really important. I – I was hoping I could meet with you.’

Stunned, he took too long to respond. ‘Sure,’ he said at last. ‘But I’m tied up right now. When do you want to meet?’

‘As soon as possible?’

This obviously wasn’t a high school reunion. Gus shot a quick glance through the window of his makeshift office to the untamed bushland that stretched endlessly to ancient red cliffs on the distant horizon. ‘You know I’m way up in Arnhem Land, don’t you?’

‘Yes, they told me you’re managing a remote housing project for an Aboriginal community.’

 ‘That’s right.’ The project was important and challenging, requiring a great deal of diplomacy from Gus as its manager. ‘It’s almost impossible for me to get away from here just now. What’s this all about?’

‘I could come to you.’

Gus swallowed his shock. Why would Freya come to him here? After all this time? What on earth could be so suddenly important? 

His mind raced, trying to dredge up possibilities, but each time he drew a blank.

He pictured Freya as he remembered her, with long, sun-streaked hair and golden tanned limbs, more often than not in a bikini with a faded sarong loosely tied around her graceful hips. Even if she’d cast aside her sea nymph persona, she was bound to cause an impossible stir if she arrived on all male construction site.

‘It would be too difficult here,’ he said. ‘This place is too – remote.’

‘Don’t planes fly into your site?’

‘We don’t have regular commercial flights.’

‘Oh.’

Another eloquent syllable – and there was no mistaking her disappointment.

Grimacing, Gus scratched at his jaw. ‘You said this was very important.’

‘Yes, it is.’ After a beat, Freya said in a small, frightened voice, ‘It’s a matter of life and death.’

 

                             *        *        *

 They agreed to meet in Darwin, the Northern Territory’s capital, which was, in many ways, an idyllic spot for a reunion, especially at sunset on a Saturday evening at the end of a balmy tropical winter. The sky above the harbour glowed bright, blushing pink shot with gold. The palm trees were graceful, dancing silhouettes on the shorefront, and the colours of the sky were reflected in the still tropical waters.

Not that Freya could appreciate the view.

She arrived too early on the hotel balcony. It wasn’t very crowded, and she saw immediately that Gus wasn’t there, so she sat at the nearest free table, with her legs crossed and one foot swinging impatiently, while her fingers anxiously twisted the straps of her shoulder bag.

These nervous habits were new to her and she hated them. Having grown up in a free and easy beachside community, she’d prided herself on her relaxed personality, and as an adult she’d added meditation and yoga to her daily practice.

Her serenity had deserted her, however, on the day she’d needed it most – when the doctor delivered his prognosis. Since then she’d been living with sickening fear, barely holding herself together with a string and a paper clip.

Freya closed her eyes and took a deep breath, then concentrated on imagining her son at home with Poppy, her mother. If Nick wasn’t taking his dog Urchin for a twilight run on the beach, he’d be sprawled on the living room carpet, playing with his solar powered robot grasshopper. Poppy would be preparing dinner in the nearby kitchen, slipping in as many healthy vegetables as she dared.

Already Freya missed her boy. She’d never been so far away from him before, and thinking of him now, and the task that lay ahead of her, she felt distinctly weepy. She dashed tears away with the heel of her hand. Heavens, she couldn’t weaken now. She had to stay super strong.

You can do this. You must do this. For Nick.

She’d do anything for Nick, even tell Gus Wilder the truth after all this time.

That thought caused another explosion of fear. The process of tracking Gus down and making the first telephone contact had been the easy part. The worst was yet to come. Gus still didn’t know why she needed him.

A tall, flashily handsome waiter passed Freya, carrying a tray laden with drinks. The smile he gave her was flirtatious to the point of predation. ‘Would you like something from the bar, madam?’

‘Not just now, thanks. I’m waiting for –’ The rest of Freya’s sentence died as her throat closed over.

Beyond the waiter, she saw a man coming through the wide open doorway onto the balcony.

Gus.

Tall. Dark haired. White shirt gleaming against tanned skin. Perhaps a little leaner than she remembered, but handsome and athletic enough to make heads turn.

Angus Wilder had aged very nicely, thank you.

But what kind of man was he now? How many gulfs had widened between them, and how would he react to her news?

As he made his way towards her, weaving between tables, memories, like scenes in a movie, played in Freya’s head. Gus at sixteen on his first day at Sugar Bay High, desperate to throw off the taint of his posh city high school. Gus triumphant on the footie field after he’d scored a match winning try. Herself floating with happiness as she danced in his arms at the senior formal.

The two of them walking together, holding hands beside a moonlit sea. The sheer romance of their first kiss…

Suddenly Gus was beside her, leaning down to drop a polite kiss on her cheek. ‘Freya, it’s good to see you.’

He smelled clean, as if he’d just showered and splashed on aftershave. His lips were warm on her skin.

Without warning, Freya’s eyes and throat stung. ‘It’s great to see you, Gus.’ She blinked hard. This was no time for nostalgia. She had to stay cool and focused. ‘Thanks for coming.’

He pulled out a chair and sat, then slowly crossed his long legs and leaned back, as if he were deliberately trying to appear relaxed. His smile was cautious, the expression in his dark eyes warm, but puzzled. ‘How are you?’ Quickly, he countered his question. ‘You look fabulous.’

Deep down she couldn’t help being pleased by the compliment, but she said simply. ‘I’m well, thanks. How about you? How’s business?’

‘Both first-rate.’ Gus sent her a slightly less careful smile, but his throat worked, betraying his tension. ‘So, I take it you still live at the bay?’

‘I do.’ She smiled shyly and gave a careless flick of her long, pale hair. ‘Still a beach girl.’

‘It suits you.’

Freya dampened her lips and prepared to launch into what had to be said.

 

            

From “A Miracle For His Secret Son"
By: Barbara Hannay
Mills and Boon Romance
October 2010
ISBN: 13-978-0-373-17688-5
Copyright: © Barbara Hannay
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. For more romance information surf to: http://www.eHarlequin.com

 

 

             
 

 

 

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