Bare for You: Outback Skies, Book 3
stunningly beautiful woman called Jenna McGrath, thanked him for his time. “Make sure you check out the Outback Skies pub before you leave, Minister,” she suggested with a smile he could only call cheeky. “And if you do, tell Ryan and the rest of the Outback Skies Flyboys Club they can have Evan back soon.”
    Jeremy raised his eyebrows. “The what?”
    She laughed. “Ryan will know what I’m talking about.”
    With that rather enigmatic reply, she gave her cameraman a grin. “C’mon, Theo. There’s a firefighter waiting for me back in Sydney.”
    Her cameraman rolled his eyes.
    A few moments later, the other team also left and it was just Jeremy and the mayor.
    “Would you like to travel back to the Ridge with me, Minister?” Barnaby asked as they made their way to the clearing where Ryan’s chopper sat silent beside the mayor’s dust-coated Toyota Land Cruiser. “It’ll be a longer trip, but you won’t have to subject yourself to the discomfort of flying with Taylor.”
    Jeremy raised an eyebrow.
    Doyle cleared his throat. “In the chopper, I mean. The Toyota’s got air-conditioning and lumbar support. Makes traversing the Outback that much more enjoyable.”
    Stopping a few feet away from both modes of transportation, Jeremy studied each one. The empty 4WD and the helicopter.
    In the chopper, Akubra low over his face, sunglasses shielding his eyes from the glaring midday sun, Ryan watched the distant horizon.
    And yet, even from this distance, Jeremy could see a stiff tension to his body. A schooled composure. Like he was waiting…
    Turning back to Wallaby Ridge’s mayor, Jeremy gave the man a friendly smile. “A word of advice, Mr. Doyle? From one politician to another?”
    Confusion flickered across the mayor’s sweat-glistening face. “Sure. Go for it.”
    Jeremy smiled wider as he removed his glasses and cleaned their lenses with a white handkerchief from his hip pocket. The kind of smile labelled by the media as his I’m-about-to-eviscerate-you-with-charm smile. “Try harder not to let the media see your bigotry or homophobia.”
    He held up his glasses to the sky, inspected their lenses for dust and then returned his focus to Barnaby. “If that’s at all possible.”
    Slipping his glasses back onto his face, he nodded at the gaping mayor. “See you back in the Ridge.”
    With another smile, he walked past Doyle and crossed to Ryan’s chopper.
    Just as he wrapped his fingers around the handle to open the passenger door, his mobile phone vibrated in his pocket.
    He’d set it to ignore all incoming messages or calls unless they were from the prime minister or Linda. Both would only contact him if there were an issue.
    No. You gave Linda a task last night, remember?
    Jeremy swallowed at the lump in his throat. His assistant would not waste time with his request. The moment she woke this morning—and he knew she started her workday somewhere around sunrise—she would have begun looking into Ryan Taylor. When it came to personality profiles, Linda was beyond thorough. He didn’t know how she did it, but he never questioned her findings.
    His phone vibrated again, a reminder of the text message waiting for him.
    Without looking at Ryan, he withdrew it from his pocket and checked out the screen.
    “Ryan Taylor. Born in Wallaby Ridge. Age 36. Only child. Both parents deceased. Lives alone. Pet dog—called Yip—died from a snake bite last month. Donates monthly to the Heart Foundation, the RSPCA and the Breast Cancer Foundation—mother passed away from the disease 10 yrs ago. Highly respected not just in Wallaby Ridge, but in the greater Outback community. If it weren’t for the fact he’s openly gay, I’d get there ASAP and try to seduce him into bed.”
    He read the entire text twice more, the last sentence two times again after that.
    A prickling tension crawled up the back of his neck and head. A heavy weight pressed on his chest.
    Drawing a slow breath, his mouth dry, his head

Similar Books

Healing Trace

Debra Kayn


Sara Douglass

Dead Past

Beverly Connor

The M Word

Beverly Farr

At the Crossroads

Travis Hunter

The Weapon

David Poyer

Uhura's Song

Janet Kagan