- N. N. Light
Turtle Reef by Bestseller @JenScoullar is a Snuggle Up Readathon Pick #romance #womensfiction #givea
Title: Turtle Reef
Author: Jennifer Scoullar
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction
Can Zoe protect the reef she loves? Or will fighting to save it mean she loses everything?
From the bestselling author of Billabong Bend, Brumby’s Run and Currawong Creek comes a wonderful novel set against the spectacular beauty of Queensland’s far north coast.
Unlucky-in-love zoologist Zoe King has had enough of Sydney. Seeking a fresh start, she moves to the small sugar town of Kiawa to take up an exciting new role in marine science. She is charmed by the region’s beauty – by its rivers and rainforests. By its vast cane fields, sweeping from the foothills down to the rocky coral coast. And by its people – its farmers and fishermen, unhurried and down to earth, proud of their traditions.
Her work at the Reef Centre provides all the passion she needs, and Zoe finds a friend in Bridget, the centre’s director. The last thing she expects is to fall for her boss’s boyfriend, cane king Quinn Cooper. Zoe focuses on her research and tries to ignore the growing attraction between them. But things aren’t quite adding up at the Reef Centre, and when animals on the reef begin to sicken and die, Zoe’s personal and professional worlds collide. She faces a terrible choice. Will protecting the reef mean betraying the man she loves?
Zoe sat up in bed and groaned. Just how much had she drunk last night? Still, it had been worth it. Without a large dose of Dutch courage, she would never have found the fortitude to give her loser boyfriend his marching orders. A wave of relief helped wash away her hangover. Had she been cruel? No, not cruel, more like direct. But what choice did she have? After all, last night was the third time she’d tried to tell that man they were through. He was just so darn persistent, like a human limpet.
Zoe contemplated going back to sleep, but her mind was too busy. Why did she always have such bad luck with men? You wear your heart on your sleeve, my girl, her mother would say. There’s your problem. Zoe pulled the pillow over her head. What could she do? That’s just the way she was made. But Zoe had to admit that her system wasn’t working out. Not at all.
People had warned her about Hugo, but she hadn’t listened. It wasn’t in her nature to be cynical or suspicious, and she liked that about herself. Her friends saw it differently. They said she was trusting to a fault, gullible even. They said she was naïve and no judge of character. Her friends had been right ‒ again.
The last six weeks with Hugo, for all its dysfunction, was the closest thing to a relationship that she’d had for a long time. Before him there’d been a string of the most appalling, dead-end dates imaginable. She wasn’t blameless of course. She could be recklessly honest, speak her mind without thinking, screw things up, but still ... What about the guy who talked about himself non-stop for so long that she set the stopwatch on her phone, just out of curiosity? Thirty-three minutes straight. She didn’t even have the opportunity to say something tactless with that one. Then there was the guy whose interests were lifted word for word from her Facebook profile. He liked the exact same movies, same books, same bands. It had given her the creeps. There was the cheap date who proudly admitted he’d complained about the food to get their meals for free. Weirdest of all was the one where the man’s wife had joined them half-way through dinner to explain she was dying of cancer and wanted to set her husband up with a nice girl before she gave up the ghost.
Zoe hauled herself from bed and looked out the window. Down on the street people hurried like ants, an anonymous throng that she was too often a part of. She felt empty, hollow. This wasn’t how she imagined her life would be.
Zoe glanced at the time. Almost nine o’clock. A sudden sick feeling hit her, until she remembered Monday was her day off. How she hated working at that library. When she finished a degree in zoology at Sydney University last year, she’d hoped to work for Parks and Wildlife, or maybe as a research assistant with the CSIRO. She’d even applied to the Australian Antarctic Division. With a major in marine mammals, she might have scored a job on the Weddell Seal Project, or researching the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. But here it was, end of August, and she hadn’t even made a second round interview. So Zoe was stuck working at the university library. Not even in the zoology department. She would have loved being surrounded by biology books all day. But no, she’d been assigned to the deadly-dull engineering faculty. Technical journals and pimply first years hitting on her. Yuck.
Zoe wandered from the window towards the kitchen. She craved a greasy hangover-cure breakfast, but the contents of her fridge was disappointing. The Macdonald’s down the road seemed like the best option. Zoe caught sight of herself in the mirror as she pulled on jeans. Her tangled, brown hair already looked greasy, although she’d just washed it yesterday. For years she’d wondered how it would look short, really short. Perhaps today was the day to find out? She paused, frowning at the spare tyre around her tummy and the generous curve of her hips. Her tall frame could usually carry a little extra weight, but six weeks with foody Hugo had tipped the balance. Her stomach rumbled. She could really go a bacon and egg muffin right now. The diet could wait.
Zoe brushed her teeth and dragged a comb through her hair. What she really wanted was to get away. From her dingy flat, where she wasn’t even allowed to have a cat for company. From the library, and her dreadful dates, and the Macca’s round the corner.
The phone rang from somewhere in the bed clothes. She fumbled for it, in two minds whether to answer or not. What if it was Hugo, or the library asking her to work today? She didn’t recognise the number. ‘Hello?’
‘This is Bridget Macalister, director of the Reef Centre at Kiawa.’ Zoe had applied for a position at the Queensland marine park months ago. The pay on offer had been modest, little more than a keeper’s salary, but she was more than willing to start at the bottom. ‘Congratulations,’ said Bridget. ‘You have the job.’
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Universal link: https://books2read.com/TurtleReef
November is a time to be thankful. What are you most thankful for this year?
I’m most thankful for my happy, healthy family and the privilege of being able to write stories for a living.
Why is your featured book worth snuggling up to?
As the northern hemisphere approaches winter, why not snuggle up with a book that transports you to the sun, sea and gleaming white beaches of Queensland’s coral coast? Turtle Reef offers a suspenseful blend of love and danger set on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Runs November 1 – 30.
Drawing will be held on December 1.
Jennifer Scoullar writes page-turning fiction about the land, people and wildlife that she loves. She has always harboured a deep appreciation and respect for the natural world. Jennifer lives with her family in on a beautiful farm in the mountains that was left to her by her father. Horses have always been her passion. Read her books now to discover why Jennifer Scoullar is one of Australia’s favourite storytellers!
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