Reynolds PackBy: Becca Van
This book is dedicated to my sister and my husband. If it wasn't for the both of you at my side while I've been so ill, I don't know if I would have come out the other end.
I love you both more than you'll ever know. Thank you for your strength and your love.
Melanie took in the sights as she entered Broken Hill, New South Wales, awed by the open-cut silver and ore mine as she passed it. When she entered the town proper, she saw by the historical buildings and old houses that the town had been around for over a hundred years or more.
She was excited and anxious at the same time because she was embarking on a new adventure, one she would never have imagined herself taking, but since she’d had trouble finding employment in Melbourne and rural Victoria, she decided to look beyond the normal locations for work. And now she was headed to just outside of Silverton, which was approximately twenty-five minutes northwest of Broken Hill.
She sucked in a deep breath and tried to quell her nervous energy as her gaze darted from side to side taking in the sights, as well as keeping an eye on the road, and she planned to come back on one of her days off to explore.
Funny thing was she already had the job as housekeeper and cook, and she hadn’t even sighted her employers. She’d had a telephone conversation with Bill “Blue” Reynolds, and after answering all the appropriate questions and emailing him her CV and references, she’d been hired on the spot.
Thank God she’d been only renting and had been able to find someone to sublease the room she’d been sleeping in because she’d had a maximum of two weeks to get things in order and start the 859-kilometre journey, which she’d taken two days to do. She’d stopped overnight in a cabin in a caravan park in Mildura, which was near the border to New South Wales and South Australia, at the top western part of Victoria.
As Melanie drove she tried to envisage what her new boss looked like. Based on his deep, laconic Australian drawl, she imagined him to be a handsome country bumpkin. Through the emails she’d exchanged with him over the last week and a half, she’d found out he was the leader of a community that didn’t allow any outsiders into their midst. Mel didn’t have a problem with how anyone else lived their life but found it a little odd that Bill Reynolds and his family and friends kept to themselves, and hoped she wasn’t heading to a cult of some sort.
She drew another deep breath and glanced into the rearview mirror every now and then as Broken Hill disappeared from view. The closer she got to Silverton, the more trepidatious she got, but she had no other choice where her job prospects were concerned.
She’d heard the tiny desert town was where part of the movie Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior had been made and that there was a small museum open to the public for a price. She would definitely like to see that if and when she had the time.
The last leg of her trip seemed to go so fast and yet seemed to drag, too. She was looking forward to putting a face to the voice she’d heard over the phone nearly two weeks previously, but the closer she got to her destination, the more her excitement grew. It was weird because Melanie had always thought of herself as calm and level-headed, but right now, she felt as if her whole life was about to change.
Whether that would be for the better or not she wasn’t sure, but there was no way she could turn around and head back to Melbourne when she’d come so far. She’d never been a quitter and wasn’t about to start now. Turning tail and running had never been a part of her vocabulary, and although she wasn’t tall or aggressive, she’d never run from confrontation in her life.
As she hit the city of Silverton, a giggle formed and erupted from her lips because the town was almost non-existent it was that small. The sign leading into the outback town said the population was a total of sixty-four. Melanie presumed that didn’t include Bill Reynolds or his family, as they were living outside of the town’s limits.
It took her another ten minutes to reach the turn-off on the instructional directions Bill had emailed her, and as she slowed and turned right, she gasped with awe at the elaborate sandstone gated entrance and closed gate. There was even a guard shack, and as she pulled to a stop, she saw a tall, muscular man inside the building talking on the phone. He must have heard her car because he turned to face her and held up a finger indicating he would be only another minute.