Janet Gover’s new Coorah Creek novel is now available to purchase in paperback. To celebrate we’ll be introducing you to characters from the book. Today on Rachel’s Random Reads, you can ‘meet’ Sergeant Max Delaney.
We met Max in earlier Coorah Creek Novels – he’s the policeman. That’s a tough job in a tiny outback town. He has to walk a fine line between upholding the law, and being part of the community. It gets even tougher with his heart starts to get in the way…
Max kept his speed down as he passed through town. He wasn’t that obsessed with catching the Harley. But as soon as he was on the highway heading north, he pushed his foot down.
At last he saw the glimmer of red light up ahead. He glanced down at his speedo and whistled under his breath. Now he did have an ‘official’ reason to pull her over. But even as he reached out to activate his police lights and siren, he knew it was highly unlikely he’d actually book her. He rarely booked anyone for speeding on these roads, where traffic was thin on the ground. Drink driving was another matter. Drunks on the road were a danger to themselves and everyone else. But he didn’t expect Tia to be drunk. He might have only seen her once, but everything about her had told him she was both smart and wary. She would take risks; but not stupid or unnecessary ones.
The harsh wail of the police siren split the stillness of the night. Immediately, Max saw the Harley’s brake light flash. He eased off the accelerator and followed the bike as it pulled over to the side of the road. He reached for his hat as he got out of the car because this was official business, but he left his ticket book behind. A girl on a Harley pushing the limit a bit was hardly a major crime. He would give her a stern warning though. Outback roads had dangers that city folk didn’t understand.
The bike stuttered into silence. The night suddenly seemed eerily quiet. The road was empty except for the police car and the motorcycle caught in its headlights. Max’s footsteps on the grey bitumen sounded very loud.
The girl on the bike turned her head towards him, but made no move to remove her full-face helmet. In the reflected light of his headlight, Max couldn’t see her eyes. And he very much wanted to.
‘Good evening, miss,’ he said in his most official voice. ‘Would you please remove your helmet?’
Without a word, she reached for the strap. She leaned forward as she pulled the helmet over her head, then placed it on the fuel tank in front of her before she turned to look at him again with those flashing eyes, so bright that even in this light he could see a glimmer of emerald. Her hair was caught back in a ponytail that vanished under her leather jacket.
‘Miss, are you aware that you were speeding?’
Her eyes remained intensely fixed on his face, but she merely lifted a shoulder in a suggestion of a shrug.
‘Could I see your licence, please?’ Max said.
Without a word she began to slowly unzip her jacket. There was nothing sexual about the way she did it, but to Max it was the most erotic thing he’d seen in a very long time. His eyes were glued to her fingers as she slowly slid the zipper down and pulled the jacket open. She was wearing something white and tight fitting underneath. She reached into an inner pocket of the jacket. Her fingers felt around the pocket for a moment, then they emerged empty. She looked into his face and shrugged. She wasn’t carrying a licence.
For the first time this evening his professional self took over from the part of him that was having trouble dragging his eyes off the woman in front of him.
‘You’re Tia Walsh, aren’t you? You work at the mine.’
Her strong eyes met his and held his gaze as she nodded slightly.
‘You need to present your licence to me at the Coorah Creek station within forty-eight hours.’
He paused, waiting for her to speak, but she didn’t.
‘If you don’t you may suffer a penalty fine which could be one hundred and fifty dollars. Do you understand?’
Still she didn’t speak. Max felt a childish urge to yell something, just to make her react. But he fought it down.
‘If you do produce your licence, I won’t take any action about the speeding … this time,’ he said in his sternest voice.
Still she said nothing.
‘You can go now. Don’t make me come looking for you.’
Her lips moved then, sliding into the merest hint of a grin. Max almost blushed. That grin seemed to say that she knew very well he’d been looking for her on more than one occasion already.
She reached for her helmet.
‘One more thing,’ Max said, before she could pull it over her head. ‘There are a lot of roos on the roads out here. At that sort of speed you’d have trouble avoiding one. Slow down for you own sake. All right?’
The cheeky smile got a little bit broader. She slipped the helmet over her head and touched the starter. The engine roared into life. With a great deal of skill, she steered the bike into a very tight turn with Max at the centre, and headed back the way she had come.
Max watched her go, his jaw tightly set.
She hadn’t said one word during the entire encounter. Nor had she spoken during their previous encounter at the pub. More than anything in the world, he wanted to hear her voice.
When a little girl goes missing, an entire town comes together to find her ...
When Tia Walsh rides into the small town of Coorah Creek on a Harley-Davidson, Sergeant Max Delaney senses that everything about her spells trouble. But Tia's trouble is not all of her own making, and the dangerous past she tried to leave behind is hot on her heels.
Sarah Travers has returned home after three years of college to find that her parents have been keeping a devastating secret. Her childhood crush, Pete Rankin, is facing his own struggle with a harsh reality that will take him away from the girl and the life that he loves.
Tia, Max, Sarah and Pete are all trying to find their future, but when a little girl goes missing in the harsh outback, nothing else matters except finding her safe ...
You can now purchase Little Girl Lost in paperback. Click HERE for buying options.
For more on Janet, follow her on Twitter: @janet_gover
Visit her website: www.janetgover.com