When jaded city girl Maddy McIntrye packs up and leaves Adelaide for a new job in the country, it's not only a chance at a fresh start. Six months ago, the first guy she'd ever loved shattered her heart before moving home to Broken Hill. Deep down inside, Maddy is hoping that living in the same town will give her an opportunity to prove to Luke that she's one temptation he can't resist. But when she arrives in Broken Hill, Luke White is not the same guy she knew in the city. And it soon seems very clear that he doesn't want her there. Although Maddy settles in quickly, excelling at work and partying with her new friends, she can't understand why Luke is remaining so distant. Particularly when all her instincts are telling her that they're meant to be together – and that he feels the same burning attraction. As Maddy learns more about Luke's family and background, she begins to understand that his mixed messages are caused by balancing what's expected of him with what he really wants. Maddy gave Luke her heart long ago and, despite their differences, she knows she'll only ever be happy with her hot country boy. But how can she convince him that she's the risk he needs to take?
Maddy is ready for her adult life to begin. She packed up her belongings in Adelaide and moved to a small town in the outback for her first teaching job. The fact she chose Broken Hill as her first placement may have a little (or a lot) to do with a boy who broke her heart six months ago. Luke may think she’s a high maintenance city girl but Maddy is out to set him straight. The Luke she meets in Broken Hill isn’t the same guy she knew in Adelaide. He doesn’t want her in his life – or in his town. Determined not to give up, Maddy embraces all the country has to offer and finds out if she has what it takes to be the girl she thinks Luke wants.
Charming the Outback is one of those fun and romantic reads that you don’t want to put down until you know just how everything plays out. Maddy is a determined young woman who wants nothing more than to find out what went wrong with her relationship with Luke. She likes to party and spends her weekends rubbing shoulders with footballers wives and girlfriends. He grew up on a sheep station and has a passion for geology. They seem to have nothing in common. But Maddy knows they were great together and refuses to just let things go. I have to admit moving to his town and befriending his mates probably wasn’t the smoothest move but Maddy does make Luke take notice of her.
They have such great chemistry together. I loved reading their interactions and just how their relationship grew and the obstacles they had to face. Maddy does come across at first as Luke’s polar opposite but she’s determined and stubborn in the best possible way. She really loves Luke and I found myself admiring how she wasn’t willing to let his pigheadedness get in the way of what could be the best thing to ever happen to either of them. She’s upbeat and has a great camaraderie with her new friends in Broken Hill. And while Maddy is willing to do whatever she can to prove to Luke she can be the woman he needs, she never betrays who she is at heart. As much as she loves love and loves Luke – you can tell she always loves Maddy and won’t be someone else just to be with him. I also really enjoyed the setting. You get a small taste of the Aussie outback with the town of Broken Hill being highlighted as well as what day to day life on a sheep station must be like.
You don’t need to have read Winning the Player to enjoy Charming the Outback. I have not read Leesa Bow’s previous novel which introduced Maddy, Luke and other characters who appear in this book but I don’t feel like I missed anything. Everything and everyone made perfect sense within Maddy and Luke’s story however I think some events may have been a little more poignant had I read the previous books.
Overall, I thought Charming the Outback was such a sweet story. I loved the secondary characters and how they impacted on the story. But most of all I loved Maddy and Luke.