Jessica Hart

A Bride for Barra Creek

Release Date: 2001

Bad boy turned self-made millionaire, Tye Gibson hasn't been in the Outback for nearly twenty years. But now he's come home to find himself a bride! Lizzy Walker is delighted when Tye offers her a job. Working for his company could be just what her career - and her bank account - needs. Only the job is not quite what she expects. She has to find Tye a bride within two months - or she might have to marry him herself!


Lizzy was gasping and breathless when his lips left hers to drift seductively along her jaw. She arched her throat with a shudder of pleasure as she felt Tye kiss the lobe of her ear.
‘Is … is this part of the interview?’ she murmured, smiling shakily, certain that she would feel him smile back against her skin and deny it, that he would kiss her again and convince her that he wanted her the way she had so wanted him.

But Tye didn’t smile. He stilled, his lips against her temple and the sudden tautness of his body sent a trickle of apprehension down Lizzy’s spine.

She pulled herself away so that she could look into his face. ‘Is it?’

‘In a way,’ he admitted.

Lizzy’s arms fell and she backed away from him until she came up against the wall and could brace herself against the great, boiling wave of humiliation that crashed over her. What had he been thinking as he kissed her? Had there been a part of his mind coolly calculating her response, amused by her eagerness, perhaps assessing with clinical detachment just how far she would go?

Lizzy felt sick. How could she have forgotten what Tye was like? Had she really thought that he would lose control of the situation that easily? He was a man who always knew exactly what he was doing, and why.

‘I think you’d better tell me exactly what it is you want me for,’ she said in a frozen voice.

‘I need a wife.’

There was a long, long silence.

‘A what?’ said Lizzy at last.

‘You heard.’

She moistened her lips. ‘You’re asking me to marry you?’ Her voice was husky with disbelief, and Tye smiled faintly but without much humour.

‘I don’t seem to be going about it very well, but I guess that’s just what I am doing.’

Lizzy pressed her hands to her temples to try and steady her reeling head. She felt utterly disorientated, still drenched with the intoxication of his kiss that lingered in spite of the bitter disgust that had hit her like a slap in the face, and now struggling to accept Tye’s incredible announcement.

‘But you … you don’t want to get married,’ she stammered. Hadn’t he said that? Hadn’t he stood at Ellie’s wedding and sneered at the very idea? Or had that happened in some parallel universe where everything made sense and not the one she found herself in now?

‘I do now,’ said Tye. ‘I have to get married before I’m forty. That’s only two months away.’

Lizzy’s hands fell from her head, but her mind still spun crazily. ‘You’re … joking …’ she managed, still stuttering incredulously.

Tye shook his head, and his mouth twisted into a bitter smile. ‘I wish I was.’

He looked down at his hands as if wondering what to do with them, thrusting them into pockets as he turned to face the harbour.

‘My father left me Barra Creek, but on condition,’ he said flatly. ‘I can have Barra, but only if I get married, and only if my wife is an Australian, born and bred in the outback.’

Lizzy stared at him. ‘But surely that’s not legal!’ she protested.

‘Do you think I haven’t had my entire legal department combing the will for loopholes?’ Tye almost snarled. ‘It’s legal all right. If I want Barra Creek, I have to find myself a wife.’

‘And that’s the job? Marrying you?’


A glorious surge of anger propelled Lizzy upright from where she had collapsed, shaken, against the wall. It came out of nowhere, exploding in a burst of adrenalin the like of which Lizzy had never experienced before. Invigorated, even exhilarated, she faced Tye with blazing eyes.

‘So tonight – the champagne, the limousine, the dinner – that’s what it was all about?’ Her voice shook, but this time with fury rather than distress. ‘You needed someone to marry, and you thought I’d do? Poor old Lizzy Walker, well into her thirties and still single! She must be desperate! Is that what you thought?’

‘No,’ said Tye, but she hardly heard him.

‘I bet you thought it would be easy. All you had to do was lay on the luxury to impress me. It wouldn’t take much to bowl over a country girl like me, would it? A bit of French champagne and a chauffeur, and I’d jump at the idea of marrying you!’

‘It wasn’t like that,’ Tye began, his voice tightening, but Lizzy was too angry to listen.

‘And that kiss just now?’ she demanded furiously. ‘What was that about? Extra insurance in case all that money dangled in front of my nose hadn’t quite done trick? Or did you think that I was so desperate I’d fall into the arms of the first man who showed me a little attention? A cheap date like me: you should have skipped the champagne and gone straight for a spot of love-making! Is that what you were thinking? ’

‘No!’ Tye shouted back at her, and a couple who were passing looked curiously at them as they faced each other angrily. A muscle pounded in his cheek, and he made a visible effort to control himself.

‘No,’ he said again, more quietly this time. ‘That wasn’t what I was thinking when I kissed you.’

‘What were you thinking then?’ Lizzy had seen the looks passers-by were giving them, and she lowered her voice too, but her face was still tense and white.

‘I wasn’t thinking at all,’ said Tye. ‘That was the trouble.’

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