Down Outback Roads by Alissa Callen

Down Outback Roads by Alissa CallenDown Outback Roads (Outback Dust #2) by Alissa Callen
Series: Outback Dust #2
Published by Random House Australia on May 1st 2015
Pages: 352
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Sometimes life offers a second chance . . .
Kree Garrett’s younger brother Seth is all the family she has left, so when he goes missing while working in the Australian outback, she races from America to join in the search.
To everyone’s relief, Seth is rescued by local volunteers and Kree finds, in an abandoned historic Cobb & Co Coach House, the opportunity to thank the community she’s fallen in love with. But it isn’t only the town of Glenalla she’s fallen for.
Ewan Mackenzie has given up everything for his brother’s family, but he can never give enough to assuage his guilt at what happened one dark night, years ago . . . Ewan knows he doesn’t deserve happiness, however with Kree he finds it hard to keep his distance.
Can Kree and Ewan leave the tragedies of their pasts behind long enough to find a future together?

Ewan Mackenzie’s bubble of guilt and self-recrimination threaten to burst upon meeting Kree Garrett when she joins in the search and rescue effort for her younger brother who got lost in the bush. In the meantime, Kree wishes to pay back the community that has helped save her brother by spearheading a restoration project that will put the dying town back on Australia’s tourist map…and her in a lot of contact with Ewan. The attraction is mutual but both have their own painful pasts to get over and much of the story passes with a slow burn and escalating sexual tension.

‘Down Outback Roads’ is an insular, feel-good rural romance set in the Australian bush which took me a while to get through because of the storytelling that seemed to lag the moment Kree decided to stay in town, caused in part, by Alissa Callen’s enthused descriptions of the landscape that could have been more succinct or even omitted. The plot moves along relatively angst-free and bumps in the road are pretty much that – small obstacles that Alissa Callen doesn’t throw too much weight behind so that they in turn, don’t become serious stumbling blocks in the narrative. While that lends a weighty maturity to her characters, I couldn’t help but feel that the passionate spark seemed lacking despite the longing and need Ewan and Kree (and to a lesser extent, Trish and Travis) had for each other after the lengthy build-up. Yet the story ends almost where it begins and coming full circle was more satisfying than I thought it would be.