Fantasies and the Future

By: Miranda Lee

Book 4 - Hearts of Fire





"You've no idea, Ava, just how many bored and neglected women there are around Sydney, and a lot of them look upon men like me as easy meat."

The guy who came to mow the lawns turned out to be as stunning as any of Ava's fantasies, though she soon realized Vince Morelli thought she was just another rich, lonely lady looking for excitement. But, all the same, Vince's arrival meant an end to Ava's narrow, virginal existence.

Life was changing for Gemma, too. But maybe for the worse--those evil rumors that Damian Campbell whispered to her about Nathan couldn't be true...could they?





PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK

GEMMA SMITH: On her father's death, Gemma discovered a magnific ent black opal worth a small fortune, and an old photograph which casts doubt on her real identity. In search of the truth and a new life, she goes to Sydney where she is seduced by and then married to Nathan Whitmore.

NATHAN WHITMORE: Adopted son of Byron Whitmore, Nathan is a talente d playwright. After a troubled childhood and a divorce, Nathan is ruthless and utterly controlled. Will he ever be the loving, caring husband of whom Gemma has dreamed?

AVA WHITMORE: Byron's much younger sister. Sweet-natured and a l ittle naive, Ava has always felt she was hopeless at everything. Now, at nearly thirty, she struggles with her weight and has had little success with men; she also lacks confidence about her hobby —painting. Ava longs to love and be loved. . .

VINCE MORELLI: Of Italian heritage, Vince is the owner of a garde ning and construction business. He is keen to marry and have a family, but he is a little cynical since, in his line of work, his charm and good looks attract the attentions of rich, lonely women intent on seducing him. . .

BYRON WHITMORE: Patriarch and head of the Whitmore family, he is a strong, dynamic figure whose unhappy, loveless marriage came tragically to an end.

DAMIAN CAMPBELL: Younger brother of Celeste, head of the Campbell Jewels empire. Damian is sales and marketing manager, and interested only in self-gratification and sexual pleasure. . . He doesn't care whom he hurts in their pursuit. . .

LENORE LANGTRY: Talented stage actress, ex-wife of Nathan Whitmore and mother of Kirsty, Lenore has finally found love with top solicitor Zachary Marsden.

JADE WHITMORE-GAINSFORD : Only daughter of Byron and Irene (nee Campbell), she is married to Kyle Gainsford, Whitmore's marketing head. They are expecting a baby.





Miranda Lee is Australian, living near Sydney. Born and raised in the bush, she was boarding-school educated and briefly pursued a classical music career before moving to Sydney and embracing the world of computers. Happily married, with three daughters, she began writing when family commitments kept her at home. She likes to create stories that are believable, modern, fast-paced and sexy. Her interests include reading meaty sagas, doing word puzzles, gambling and going to the movies.

A Note to the Reader:

This novel is one of a series of six novels set in the glamorous, cut-throat world of Australian opal dealing. Each novel is independent and can be read on its own. It is the author's suggestion, however, that they be read in the order written.





THE STORY SO FAR. . .

After her father's death, Gemma Smith had left the opal fields of the Outback for Sydney to find out the truth about her mother, and to sell her priceless discovery, a flawless black opal. Fate introduced her to Nathan Whitmore, a famous playwright, who offered her a reward for the black opal, which had been stolen from his adoptive father twenty years before. Highly attracted by Gemma's vulnerability, Nathan also seduced and married her. Gemma's life was turned upside-down, while she witnessed startling changes in the Whitmore household too: Nathan's wild-child adoptive sister Jade found happiness with Kyle Gainsford, while Melanie, the family housekeeper, let go of the terrible memories of her past and married Royce Grantham. But Gemma was not sure there was a happy ending for herself and Nathan; her ruthless, emotionally controlled husband wanted her to have a baby, but she had many doubts — what of his relationship with his ex-wife Lenore, despite the latter's commitment to Zachary Marsden? And what was the secret of her real origins? It all seemed as tangled as the feud between the Whitmores and the Campbells — now that Celeste Campbell owned the priceless black opal, the Heart of Fire. . .

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