Wednesday 6 April 2022

The Love Triangle - Philip, Hannah and Pat

An amusing love triangle drives the story in the Australian rural romance 'Retreat into Paradise'.

In Chapter 1, as Philip explains the duties he expects of Hannah in her new role as the caretaker of Wallumatta Farm, she hears about Pat:

‘You don’t need to know much. My neighbour knows what to do. Just call her.’

‘Her? Do you mean the same neighbour that feeds the cat?’ Hannah could barely suppress her surprise. A woman who knew all about running a farm? It astonished her that this hunk of masculinity relied on a woman for such a non-traditional role.

‘Yes. Pat. She grew up on the farm next door. In fact, my property used to be part of hers. Or rather, her father’s, before he died.’

‘Oh, I see.’

Hannah didn’t really see, but she guessed she might eventually cotton on to Pat’s role in the scheme of things. Judging by her name, popular in Hannah’s mother’s day and earlier, Pat was bound to be one of those grizzly old-timers populating the Australian countryside.

A week later, in Chapter 2, at the end of a long, hot and confronting day, Hannah meets Pat at the local pub:

‘What’s easy to deal with?’ A woman’s voice intruded.

Hannah looked up to see a walking advertisement for a top fashion house. A pair of frosty eyes glared down at her. They warmed when they turned to her dinner companion. ‘Didn’t expect to see you here tonight, Philip.’

‘G’day, Pat.’

Hannah nearly choked on her wine. This was Pat? Young. Gorgeous. And making eyes at her handsome neighbour.

Pat said, ‘I thought you were heading off overseas. I was just beginning to wonder what to do about the cat.’ She stood so close, she loomed over him.

He rubbed his neck, twisted at an angle to see her, and pushed back in his chair. ‘You know I wouldn’t have gone without contacting you. And in any case, my trip’s been deferred for a week or two.’ His face creased into a smile. ‘I’ve actually got some good news for you. No need for you to feed the cat now. Meet my new caretaker, Hannah Stockton.’ He turned towards Hannah. ‘Hannah, this is Pat Drysdale.’

Pat nodded curtly at Hannah. ‘Saw an old car pull into Philip’s place a while back. Is that yours?’

‘‘Fraid so.’

Philip interjected. ‘Pat, you never miss a trick, do you?’ He turned to Hannah. ‘See, told you that Pat’s a good neighbour. Old habits die hard. She’s always kept a good eye on my place for me.’

‘And I’ll continue to do so. After all, I live here.’ Her tone implied that she didn’t expect to see Hannah lasting the distance as a resident caretaker.

Hannah’s dominant intuition kicked in. Pat had clearly set her sights on Philip and wasn’t going to help her, an interloper and city girl, with the cattle. In her effort to escape Alex, now she had four new things to fear … snakes, swimming spiders, the cattle and Pat’s animosity. Philip should have known this Pat arrangement would never work.

To find out what happens next, grab your copy of 'Retreat into Paradise' here.

Follow Louisa Valentine on Facebook or visit the website she shares with her alter ego, Louise Wilson.

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