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Best Laid Plans

This might be too hard, Will. Friends don’t usually jump into bed together.’

Lucy and Will have been best friends since their school days, but they’ve chosen totally different lifestyles. While Lucy has remained in Willow Creek, working as a country vet, Will’s career as a geologist has sent him wandering all over the world. Now Lucy’s biological clock is ticking loudly and she’s already suffered an IVF disappointment..

When Will returns to be best man at the same wedding where Lucy is bridesmaid, they reconnect. As friends. And in the days that follow, they come up with a possible plan.

Why shouldn’t they try for a baby together? As friends.

But perhaps friendship sex isn’t quite so simple…

Best Laid Plans is the third book in Barbara Hannay’s Heads or Hearts collection. Don’t miss this heartwarming, small town, best friend to lovers romance.


Book Title




A PARTY was in full swing at Tambaroora.

The homestead was ablaze with lights and brightly coloured Chinese lanterns glowed in the gardens. Laughter and the happy voices of young people joined the loud music that spilled out across the dark paddocks where sheep quietly grazed.

Will Carruthers was going away, setting off to travel the world, and his family and friends were sending him out in style.

 ‘Have you seen Lucy?’ Mattie Carey asked him as he topped up her wine glass.

‘I’m sure I have,’ Will replied, letting his gaze drift around the room, seeking Lucy’s bright blonde hair. ‘She was here a minute ago.’

Mattie frowned. ‘I’ve been looking for her everywhere.’

‘I’ll keep an eye out,’ Will said with a shrug. ‘If I see her, I’ll let her know you’re looking for her.’ He moved on to top up other guests’ glasses.

But by the time he’d completed a circuit of the big living room and the brightly lit front and side verandas, Will still hadn’t seen Lucy McKenty and he felt a vague stirring of unease. Surely she wouldn’t leave the party without saying goodbye. She was, in many ways, his best friend.

He went to the front steps and looked out across the garden, saw a couple, suspiciously like his sister Gina and Tom Roberts, pashing beneath a jacaranda, but there was still no sign of Lucy.

She wasn’t in the kitchen either. Will stood in the middle of the room, scratching his head and staring morosely at the stacks of empty bottles and demolished food platters. Where was she?

His brother Josh came in to grab another bottle of champers from the fridge.

‘Seen Lucy?’ Will asked.

Josh merely shook his head and hurried away to his latest female conquest.

A movement outside on the back veranda caught Will’s attention. It was dark out there and he went to the kitchen doorway to scan the veranda’s length, saw a slim figure in a pale dress, leaning against a veranda post, staring out into the dark night.


She jumped at the sound of his voice.

‘I’ve been looking for you everywhere,’ he said, surprised by the relief flowing through him. ‘Are you okay?’

‘I had a headache.’ She spoke in a small, shaky voice. ‘So I came outside for a bit of quiet and fresh air.’

‘Has it helped?’

‘Yes, thanks. I feel much better.’

Will moved beside her and rested his arms on the railing, looking out, as she was, across the dark, limitless stretch of the sheep paddocks.

For the past four years the two of them had been away at Sydney University, two friends from the tiny country town of Willowbank, adrift in a sea of thousands of strangers. Their friendship had deepened during the ups and downs of student life, but now those years were behind them.

Lucy had come home to start work as a country vet, while Will, who’d studied geology, was heading as far away as possible, hurrying overseas, hungry for adventure and new experiences.

‘You’re not going to miss this place, are you?’ she said.

Will laughed. ‘I doubt it.’ His brother Josh would be here to help their father run Tambaroora. It was the life Josh, as the eldest son, was born to, what he wanted. For Will, escape had never beckoned more sweetly, had never seemed more reasonable. ‘I wish you were coming too.’

Lucy made a soft groaning sound. ‘Don’t start that again, Will.’

‘Sorry.’ He knew this was a sore point. ‘I just can’t understand why you don’t want to escape, too.’

‘And play gooseberry to you and Cara? How much fun would that be?’

The little catch in Lucy’s voice alarmed Will.

‘But we’re sure to meet up with other travellers, and you’d make lots of friends. Just like you always have.’

Lucy had arrived in Willowbank during their last year at high school and she’d quickly fitted into Will’s close circle, but because they’d shared a mutual interest in science, she and Will had become particularly good friends. Really good mates.

He looked at her now, standing on the veranda in the moonlight, beautiful in an elfin, tomboyish way, with sparkly blue eyes and short blonde hair and soft pale skin. A strange lump burned in his throat.

Lucy lifted her face to him and he saw a tear tremble on the end of her lashes and run down her cheek.

‘Hey, Goose.’ He used her nickname and forced a shaky laugh. ‘Don’t tell me you’re going to miss me.’

‘Of course I won’t miss you,’ she cried, whirling away, so he couldn’t see her face.

Shocked, Will reached out to her. She was wearing a strapless dress and his hands closed over her bare shoulders. Her skin was silky beneath his hands and as he drew her back against him, she was small and soft in his arms. She smelled clean like rain. He dipped his head and her hair held the fragrance of flowers.

          Without warning he began to tremble with the force of unexpected emotion.

‘Lucy,’ he whispered, but as he turned her around to face him, anything else that he might have said was choked off by the sight of her tears.

His heart behaved very strangely as he traced the tears’ wet tracks with his fingertips. He felt the heated softness of her skin and when he reached the dainty curve of her tear-dampened lips, he knew that he had to kiss her.

He couldn’t resist gathering her close and tasting the delicate saltiness of her tears and the sweetness of her skin and finally, the softness of her mouth. Oh, God.

With the urgency of a wild bee discovering the world’s most tempting honey, Will pulled her closer and took the kiss deeper.        

Lucy wound her arms around his neck and he could feel her breasts pressed against his chest. His body caught fire.

How could this be happening?

Where on earth had Lucy learned to kiss? Like this?

She was so sweet and wild and passionate – turning him on like nothing he’d ever known.

Was this really Lucy McKenty in his arms? His heart was bursting inside his chest.


Mattie’s voice called suddenly.

‘Is that you out there, Lucy?’

Light flooded them.

Will and Lucy sprang apart and Mattie stared at them, shocked.

They stared at each other, equally shocked.

‘I’m sorry,’ Mattie said, turning bright red.

‘No, it’s okay,’ they both protested in unison.

‘We were just –’ Will began.

‘Saying goodbye,’ Lucy finished and then she laughed. It was a rather wild, strange little laugh, but it did the trick.

Everyone relaxed. Mattie stopped blushing. ‘Josh thought you might like to make a speech soon,’ she told him.

‘A speech?’ Will sounded as dazed as he felt.

‘A farewell speech.’

‘Oh, yeah. I guess I’d better say something now before everyone gets too pissed.’

They went back inside and with the speed of a dream that fades upon waking, the moment on the veranda evaporated.

The spell was broken.

Everyone gathered around Will, and as he looked out at the sea of faces and prepared to speak, he thought guiltily of Cara, his girlfriend, waiting for him to join her in Sydney. Then he glanced at Lucy and saw no sign of tears. She was smiling and looking like her happy, old self and he told himself everything was okay.

Already he was sure he’d imagined the special magic in that kiss.


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