Outback Affair An Affair Novel Online - Annie Seaton

Chapter One

Jessica Trent walked slowly between the rows of rental cars looking for the small, red sedan described on the rental contract she clutched in her hand. The other hand had a firm grip on the handle of the leopard print suitcase that clattered along behind her. Her matching carry-on bag was perched precariously on top of the suitcase, and threatened to fall as it bumped against the laptop bag jammed underneath it.

“At last.” She sighed with relief when she spotted the vehicle at the end of the row and stepped out briskly, relieved to finally deposit her luggage. The heat in the strong wind blowing across the tarmac was unbelievable, and the light silk of her skirt and long-sleeved jacket stuck uncomfortably to her damp skin. She unlocked the car, stowed her luggage in the trunk, slipped into the driver’s seat, and turned the air conditioning up to top speed.

Pulling out her cell phone, she switched it on, and an Australian service provider appeared almost instantly. She hit the speed dial for Monica’s number and then realized she had to put the international code prefix before the cell phone number, and she didn’t have a clue what it was. All those details were stored in her laptop computer now buried in the trunk.

“Shit.” Reaching down, she searched for the lever to pop the trunk up and caught her fingernail beneath the hard plastic edge.

“Double shit.” She examined her once perfectly manicured long red fingernails and glared at the broken nail of her index finger. Lack of sleep on the flight over had left her out of sorts. She took a deep breath before she opened the door. Heat blasted into the car, instantly dissipating the cool air from the air conditioning. She scurried around to the rear of the car and retrieved the laptop from behind the large suitcase. A strong gust of hot wind caught the door above her head and slammed it down onto her shoulders just as she straightened.

“Ouch.” So far Australia wasn’t doing much for her.

She backed out and slammed the door down. When she was back in the car, she reached up to her shoulder and groaned when her hand came away from her silk blouse that was now covered in grease. No way was she getting her suitcase out again to change. She would get to her destination first. And anyway, it was way too hot to get out of the car.

Firing up the laptop, she scrolled through her contacts, found the international prefix she had stored in her address book, and entered the digits onto the touch screen of her phone.

“Come on, Mon. Pick up.” The phone rang continuously, and Jess could feel her temper rising when her best friend didn’t pick up straight away. “Please,” she muttered, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Finally, the call connected, and she heaved a sigh of relief when Monica answered.

“Do you know what time it is, Jess?”

“Oh sorry, I forgot about the time difference.”

“I suppose that means you’ve landed, and you’re down under safely.”

“Yes, I’ve just arrived in Darwin. Has Gareth found a hotel for me?”

“He’s working late tonight. There’s a big campaign coming up, and he has to go back to the UK for a photo shoot next week, so he sent me an email from the office. I forwarded it to you before I went to bed. It’s got the name of the closest town to the resort.”

“Oh, thank goodness. I didn’t know whether to book into a hotel here or drive straight to Cockatoo Springs.”

“Have you looked at a map yet, Jess? I know what you’re like. You’ll drive off without even checking that you’re on the right freeway. Daly River is the closest town to the resort, and there should be a couple of hotels there. I’ll e-mail you some links before I go back to bed.”

“I’ll be fine, so stop worrying. Now that I know where to go, I can put it into the GPS and head off.”

“Worrying?”

Jess held the phone away from her ear, prepared for Monica’s rant as her friend’s voice hit squeal pitch. Gazing through the window, she watched the palm trees across the tarmac bend in the strong wind. They had flown over a large bay just before the aircraft touched down, and the screen on the back of the seat in front of her displayed the name Fannie Bay. It was a shame she couldn’t spend more time here before she headed into the