By Fiona McCallum Published By Mira RRP $32.99

Paycheque is Fiona’s first novel. From the rugged beauty of the Adelaide Hills comes a story of loss, hope and new beginnings…

Claire McIntyre has it all: an adoring husband, a bubbly best friend, a chic townhouse and a high-flying corporate career in the city. But somehow she’s forgotten what really makes her happy. After receiving tragic news, closely followed by the loss of her job, Claire’s world is thrown into turmoil. She is then forced to reconsider everything that matters to her.

Claire soon finds herself back at the very place she’s been running from — the family property. A place where the bush telegraph exposes every secret, where reputations are hard won and easily lost, and where fortune is as fickle as the weather. Here, in the rugged beauty of the Australian Adelaide Hills, Claire starts to rebuild her life with her friends, her father and his beloved racehorses — including a promising young horse called Paycheque. But just as she begins to find happiness, and perhaps even love, fate comes to call. Now Claire must decide whether to do the sensible thing, or risk it all on her newfound passion…

Lucy’s Kiss

By Rachael Herron Published By Bantam Australia RRP $32.95

Lucy never forgot ‘The Kiss’. Or the bad boy she shared it with. Now 17 years later he’s back – and dammit he’s still sexy as hell… As owner of The Book Spire in the sleepy town of Cypress Hollow, Lucy Harrison isn’t used to too much excitement. But in one night all that changes when Owen Bancroft walks back into her life and sparks – quite literally – fly. The question is does he even remember their one perfect kiss? And perhaps more importantly does she really want him to?

Then when a secret stash of books and lost patterns by world-famous knitting guru Eliza Carpenter are discovered in the Bancroft family home the pair are thrown together once more. There’s no denying the electricity between them – but this time will ‘bad penny’ Owen prove to be heart-stealer or heart-breaker?

North Star

By Karly Lane Published By Allen and Unwin RRP $29.99

Since her divorce a year ago, Kate Thurston feels like she’s lurched from one disaster to another. Her teenage daughter, Georgia, seems to have morphed into a monster overnight, and her son Liam breaks her heart with his sad brown eyes.
When Kate receives news that her grandfather has bequeathed her North Star, the vast property that has been in her family for generations, it feels like the perfect opportunity to flee the hectic pace of city life for a calmer rural existence.
As soon as she arrives at North Star, however, Kate realises she’s going to need every ounce of determination to restore the rundown homestead to its former glory and fulfil her dream of turning it into a bush retreat. And as for the farm, well it’s in utter disarray.

As she starts to make headway with the homestead’s restoration, and falls for a local bloke, Kate finally feels like life is going right for her. Then her ex-husband comes to town and triggers a series of events that will change her life forever …
In the tradition of Fleur McDonald and Rachael Treasure, with dollops of mystery and lashings of suspense, North Star will have you reading through the night.

Desert Fish

By Cherise Saywell Published By Vintage Australia RRP $32.95

‘Gilly. You know we’ll die here don’t you?’ Pete’s eyes are glazed and red-rimmed. ‘Yes.’ ‘Aren’t you afraid?’ ‘No I’m not ‘ I tell him. ‘I can’t believe you ‘ he says. ‘I don’t believe you’re not afraid.’ He wants us to be joined now at this moment. He doesn’t want to die alone. But I mean it. I’m not afraid. Gilly lives in a drought-ridden small town in 1970s Australia. She’s left school but hasn’t found a job it’s always hot and life seems a little pointless. Then Pete arrives. Golden-skinned with a kind smile and relaxed attitude he boards with Gilly and her family and breaks the tension between her philandering father and anxious-to-please mother.

Gilly can’t help but fall in love with him and one sultry night she gets what she wants. A few weeks later Pete disappears and Gilly finds out she’s pregnant. She wants Pete so badly she’ll do what it takes to find him and keep him at any cost. A dark love story Desert Fish is a powerful and unflinching debut novel.

Read a good Aussie romance novel lately? Tell us your favourite Australian novel about the outback!