Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Romantic Reads: A Girl’s Guide to the Outback (book) by Jessica Kate

Welcome Jessica Kate to the blog again! 

Today, she's here to share an excerpt from her second book, A Girl's Guide to the Outback which was published after her debut story, Love and Other Mistakes.

Happy reading!

Excerpt from A Girl's Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate:

This was a terrible plan.
Kimberly twisted the strap of her handbag as she stood by a park bench and flickering streetlight and watched the bus that had deposited her here roar off into the night. Though maybe the old diesel engine’s struggle into third gear only sounded like a roar compared to the utter lack of other noise. The town of Burradoo at 3:00 a.m. had about as much life in it as the lump of pungent roadkill that lay next to the town’s welcome sign.
She scanned the main street in both directions. Lit by a full moon, Burradoo appeared to consist of single-story tin-roofed buildings scattered along both sides of a minor highway, with two notable exceptions: the sprawling two-story pub in the center of town and the twenty-foot-tall fiberglass orange located opposite.
Kimberly blinked at the gigantic fruit.
Yep. It really was a massive orange, topped by a short stem and one leaf. It rested beside a dilapidated shack with the optimistic sign Tourist Information Centre. Yikes. Could there be any explanation for this phenomenon besides an abundance of spare time, a lack of amusement, and possibly something nefarious in the water?
A rustle stirred in a bush nearby. Kimberly dragged her eyes from the orange and scanned the park behind her. She’d made the mistake of watching Wolf Creek last week as part of her learn-Aussie-culture-via-movies initiative and now had a phobia of strangers who offered to help stranded travelers.
No further rustles. Probably just a bird, not a deranged serial killer. Or a lunatic obsessed with oranges.
She wiped wet palms on the legs of her jeans. Even at this hour, she was sweating. But surely Sam wouldn’t leave her stranded here till morning. She’d sent her estimated arrival time when she boarded the first bus back in Brisbane twelve hours and two transfers ago.
But who was she kidding? Sam would probably love nothing more than to leave her perspiring on a chewing-gum-covered bench for a few hours. He certainly hadn’t sounded enthusiastic about her arrival. But whatever. She should be immune to his jabs by now.
She huffed and wiped her hands again. It had to be at least eighty degrees, and every breath she took carried the weight of humidity. This kind of weather in the final days of November was obscene.
She checked her phone. The Australian SIM card she’d purchased in the airport had worked earlier, so that couldn’t be the issue. No service. Terrific. She was in the middle of town, for goodness’ sake.
She dropped the phone back into her bag.
Headlights swung onto the road a hundred yards away. Kimberly’s stomach performed a triple pirouette. Maybe her overactive sweat glands had more to do with a disgruntled Australian preacher than this un-Christmassy weather. She fought the urge to sprint after the long-gone bus.
Eighty yards.
There was no way this could work. Sam had made his feelings pretty clear by resigning. Apparently leaving the ministry he founded was preferable to working with her and her expansion plan. Maybe she should have taken that hint.
No. Think positive.
Fifty yards.
Perhaps in a different setting, such as his home turf, she could figure out what it was that made them clash so much. Maybe they’d work out a permanent truce. Maybe he’d remember everything awesome about Wildfire and come back to where he belonged.
A pinball of fear pinged around her consciousness. Or maybe he’ll confirm that I was the problem all along.
Thirty yards.
She gritted her teeth and kicked a bottle cap into the street. Stuff Sam and his opinions. All she’d ever done was give Wildfire the best she had to offer: her brain and determination. If he had a problem with that, then she didn’t give a flying purple baboon. And if she’d spent the week after he left watching every sci-fi series in her collection, then that was just a coincidence.
Five yards.
Time for Prayer of Desperation #23. Oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God.
The pickup truck crunched to a halt on the loose gravel scattered at the roadside, and a familiar figure stepped out of the vehicle. Kimberly squinted. The darkness and then intensity of the headlights as he crossed in front of the vehicle obscured his expression.
Time slowed as he paused in front of her and the yellow light finally illuminated him. Him, his moleskin pants, and the cotton shirt that flexed over his folded arms. He could’ve passed for Hugh Jackman’s younger brother in the movie Australia. Her breath left her in a rush.
She’d manage to convince herself in the last six months that, taking into account his irritating personality, she would no longer find the disarray of his hair endearing, his open expression trustworthy, or his ready smile comforting.
She’d been an idiot.
And if that triple threat wasn’t enough— “Welcome to Australia.”
Oh, that voice. A shiver danced between Kimberly’s shoulder blades. It was enough to make a girl throw her passport into the Pacific.
Author Bio:
Australian author Jessica Kate is obsessed with sassy romances.

She packs her novels with love, hate, and everything in between—and then nerds out over her favorite books, movies and TV in the StoryNerds podcast (official podcast of Reading Is My Superpower!) 

When she’s not writing or discussing fiction, she’s hunting the world for the greatest pasta in existence.

Her debut novel Love and Other Mistakes released July 2019, while A Girl’s Guide to the Outback hit shelves in January 2020.

Receive her sassy shorts "The Kiss Dare" and "The Kiss Thief" for FREE when you sign up for her newsletter at jessicakatewriting.com.

Back Cover Blurb for A Girl's Guide to the Outback:

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. 

His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. 

As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. 

As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster looms, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

Book review by Tabitha on Amazon about A Girl's Guide to the Outback:
5.0 out of 5 stars Rom-com at its finest
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2020

How should you read this book?

Well, first, cancel all your plans because once you open the book, you’re done for.
Have plenty of snacks and something to drink nearby. Because, again, you’re not going to want to stop reading long enough to do things like cook or make coffee.

I want to say, prepare yourself, but I’m not sure that’s possible. There’s so much going on within these pages, so many beautiful proses and broken people finding their hope.
I’m not a mushy person, but experiencing Kimberly’s moments of rejection and seeing how deep her wounds ripped her heart made me a little teary.

The enemies-to-lovers trope was well executed and the rom-com hit all the high points at just the right times to pull everything together into a perfect bundle. I could go on and on about what I loved, but I’ll leave it here. Rom-com at its finest. An excellent portrayal of two people finding their strength and learning how to love.

Buy Jessica Kate's book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Christian Book

Connect with Jessica Kate:
Facebook and Instagram: Jessica Kate Writing

StoryNerds podcast: Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and at www.storynerds.podbean.com.

The McLeod’s Daughters Podcast: Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and at https://player.whooshkaa.com/shows/the-mcleods-daughters-podcast.

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