I’ve always had a fondness for ‘The Wrong Brother’ stories. They can be so rich with emotion and Miracle at Bellaroo Creek is the second book in a collaborative trilogy with Michelle Douglas (TheCattleman’s Ready-Made Family),
Soraya Lane (PatchworkFamily in the Outback).
Our stories all revolve around the dying country town of Bellaroo Creek that desperately needs saving. In my book, Milla Brady runs from a series of disasters to her home town, where she hopes that reviving her family’s bakery business will also help her to regain her sense of dignity and self-worth. Of course she should have known she couldn’t hide forever, but the man who turns up on her doorstep is the last person she expected…
No one came and Ed was about to knock again when Milla appeared at the back of the shop, wiping her hands her jeans. She looked pale and tired, but her delicate features and candle flame hair were as lovely as ever. And, as always, the sight of her sent a painful dart spearing through Ed.
Her face turned white when she saw him.
‘You?’ she said softly and her sea-green eyes looked stricken. Her lips trembled, parted and then shut again as if she couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Ed swallowed to ease the sharpness in his throat and Milla came forward carefully, almost fearfully.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘I –’ He was halted by her fragile air, suddenly afraid that his news would flatten her completely. ‘There’ve been… developments.’ Damn, how clumsy was that? ‘We need to talk.’
‘No thanks.’ Green fire flared in Milla’s eyes. ‘I’m finished with you lot.’ She shot him a tight, haughty glare. ‘I have nothing to discuss with you or with your brother.’
Turning away, she tossed her next words over her shoulder. ‘I know why you’re here, Ed. Harry sent you, because he didn’t have the guts to come and try to con me himself. But I don’t care if he wants me back. I’m done with him. It’s over.’
‘Harry didn’t ask me to come.’
Milla stiffened, half-turned towards him again. Her eyes were sharp, her arms crossed defensively over her chest. ‘How did you find me?’ Before Ed could answer, a knowing light crept into her eyes. ‘It was that weasel faced guy in the pub, wasn’t it? He’s watching me. He’s a private investigator.’
‘Cavanaugh money,’ she scoffed bitterly. ‘It’ll buy anything.’
‘Milla, I’ve come a long way and we need to –’
‘You shouldn’t have bothered, Ed. I know your role in the family. Mr Fixit. The others are always getting you to clean up after them and to sort everyone’s problems.’
At least her voice wasn’t quite as harsh as she said this.
And Ed found himself fumbling to explain. ‘Well… listen… I had to find you. I knew you couldn’t know what’s happened.’
She frowned. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Milla, it’s bad news about Harry.’
‘Harry’s always bad news.’ Now she gave a theatrical eye-roll, as if she hadn’t heard the seriousness in his voice. ‘It took me four years to discover what you and your family probably knew all along.’
‘Milla, Harry’s dead.’
To Ed’s dismay Milla’s face turned whiter than ever. She clamped a hand to her mouth and she seemed to crumple and sway.
Instinctively, he stepped forward. The reaction was timely as Milla sagged against him as if her knees had given way.
Horrified, Ed remembered too late that she was pregnant. He should have delivered the news more gently, instead of oafishly blurting it out.
Scooping her into his arms, he scanned the empty shop, but there wasn’t so much as a chair. He
And here are the three different covers. Only one (UK) shows Milla looking close to how I pictured her. Which cover do you prefer?