Chance For Love (The Watson Brothers #1)(3)

By: Ann B. Harrison



Callie was holding onto the hope that with so many farmers walking off their properties due to crippling debt and high interest rates, their little slice of heaven would still be sitting here when her contract ran out in America. But would she be able to come back with enough money to buy it or would she be happy to clear her parents name and move on?

If the twins made the move from country to city and adjusted well enough, she could take the time to make her own life so long as their schooling was covered. Financially, she was responsible for them and their needs came before hers.

I don’t know if I can get away after the time limit is up. Twelve months will go fast, especially if I work hard and save my money but will it be long enough?

“But...”

“No buts. Stay strong and go and help Lori pack your stuff. Grandpa will be here soon and I doubt he will want to hang around much. It’s a long drive to town.” She watched Jess slowly make her way back inside the house, shoulders hunched over in defeat.

Callie looked at the weatherboard home. The peeling paint, rickety fences, and broken concrete path up to uneven front steps. No matter how bad it looked to the casual observer, it was the only home she’d ever known and she’d miss it terribly. She closed her eyes, opened them again, and focused on it, knowing she could only take her memories with her when she left.

The bank had been quite clear on that. Nothing was to be removed apart from their personal effects. No machinery or stock was to be touched. Anything of value would be sold off to put against the debt. Not that they had much anyway. Life was too tough for extras and that had never been a problem for any of them. They were happy living on the station, working the land as they had. There weren’t many trips into Alice Springs apart from the drive for supplies once a month. It was then that Callie got excited. They picked up the lessons from the post office for home schooling when they were younger, and her favorite treat of all was the magazines they were allowed.

While the twins had been into fashion magazines, Callie’s favorite had been the Horse and Cattle Digest. She would climb up on the hay bales in the barn and lose herself between the pages for hours. After she’d read every single word, she would take her ever-suffering, old quarter horse and put him through the paces as if she was in the rodeo and he was a stud-worthy, blue-ribbon winner. Her mother, an American by birth, had told Callie bedtime stories of the rodeo and encouraged her to dream big, hoping that one day her daughter would get her own chance at the rodeo she so craved.

As she’d grown older and more realistic, she’d dreamed that one day the farm could afford to buy stock like those between the pages of the glossy magazine. Sadly it was not to be, and the reality had hit hard when the local police had come to inform the girls of the accident that had taken both parents from them.

Callie’s things were already packed and sitting on the end of her bed ready to go. Her work visa and passport were tucked in the side of the old canvas carryall bag along with a photo of her parents and the three girls sitting together on the old, rickety veranda. She was leaning on her father’s shoulder, her arms draped over his chest and he was holding her hands, laughing up into her face. Her sisters were both perched on their mother’s lap, faces close together and hands linked. Callie couldn’t remember who had taken the photograph, but it was the only one of them all together in recent years.

The sound of a car traveling over the cattle grid by the roadway caught her attention. Her grandfather was here. She watched as he drove down the drive, doing his best to avoid the large pot holes that jarred even her teeth. She winced as he hit a particularly big one and the bumper made contact with the red rock of the driveway.

“Callie.” Jock Lister pulled up beside her and opened the car door, got out, and stood in front of her. He held out his arms and she fell against him, giving into one last bout of tears before she said goodbye to everything she knew and loved. He patted her back as she cried and pulled out a handkerchief when she moved away from him.

“Thanks, Grandpa. I didn’t mean to cry all over you.”

“Honey, I don’t care. I just wish your grandmother and I could do more for you. We both want you to come back and stay with us in the city, you know that. There’s no reason to go flying off to another country to make a decent living. You can do that right here in Australia.”

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