Home > Second Chance at First Love_ Prequel to The Storm Boys Series

Second Chance at First Love_ Prequel to The Storm Boys Series
Author: N.R. Walker





Paul Morgan has been running his luxury camping tour business in Kakadu National Park for the last five years. Taking small groups glamping, hiking, climbing, and swimming. It’s been a busy five years, a hard five years, as he tried to forget the man he left behind.

Derek Grimes pushes people away—a self-preservation reflex. Because they can’t break his heart if he breaks theirs first, right? Five years on, lost and lonely, he tracks down the one and only love of his life. Maybe seeing how Paul had moved on will help Derek move on too . . .

Paul can’t believe it when a familiar name pops up on his client list, and Derek can’t believe how good Paul looks, or just how happy living his dream job has made him. The spark between them never waned, but five years on, they’ve learned a few things about themselves and what they want.

They could have everything they ever dreamed of—if they’re prepared to trust each other. Because a second chance at first love comes but once in a lifetime.









I tightened the ratchet grip on the back of my Cruiser and went back for the canisters of water. I’d done many five-day tours, taking groups of tourists from all walks of life out in the wilds of Kakadu National Park. It was my job, my business, and I loved it.

But I was nervous today.

I’d read the manifest, double checking all insurances and permits were in order. I was taking four individuals. Two women from Norway—both in their twenties, backpacking around Australia. One Australian woman in her fifties—an avid bushwalker, ticking Kakadu off her long list of conquests.

And Derek Grimes.

Thirty-three-year-old from Darwin, amateur astronomer.

My ex-boyfriend.

There could only be one Derek Grimes, thirty-three years old from Darwin who liked astronomy, right?

It had to be him.

It had to be.

Did he know I was running this tour specifically? That he’d be stuck with me for five days in the remote scrub of the tropical Top End?

Well, he was about to find out.

Instructions were to be at the meeting point in Darwin by seven am. From there, we’d drive out to the national park and do some sightseeing on the way. It was also so I could stock up and get essential supplies in Darwin before we left. And it was also the last stop of civilisation before venturing out into the vast, vast parklands. If they wanted a Coke or any kind of fast food, it was now or never.

We’d spend all of day one travelling, stopping to see the Mitsuaki Tanabe rock carving site, then on to the Mary River stop to see the crocodiles and have lunch. From there, I’d be taking them to my camp. It was a good hour off the main road, on a dirt track that was mostly inaccessible when the weather turned to shit. It was a solid first day of mostly touristy things, with a lot of hiking, and everyone was always glad to get to camp in time for dinner and an awesome sunset that only Kakadu could put on.

August was the dry season, which was peak tourist season. That didn’t mean it never rained; it just meant it wasn’t tropical monsoonal storms every afternoon.

And the next five days were supposed to be good weather. A bit of rain, not stinking hot and humid, but still hot for some. It was the Top End, after all. Most tourists underestimated just how hot and humid it got here, and what those kinds of temperatures did to the human body.

Some days were so bad, being locked in a sauna would be a reprieve.

But I loved it.

I loved the heat and humidity and the enormity of the most beautiful wilderness on Earth. I didn’t even mind the mosquitoes, the wild water buffalo, the crocs, and other critters. But mostly, I loved the lack of people.

Even the limited crowds of Jabiru Visitor Centre in peak tourist season were enough for me. You can have your cities and rat races. Give me open space any day.

Give me anywhere where there is no chance of running into ex boyfriends who reminded me of how much I fucked up . . .

The first two of my client group turned up. Marit and Kari, backpackers from Norway. They both had long blond-ish hair plaited down their back, sun-kissed skin, wide blue eyes, and excited smiles. They’d been in Australia for five weeks and were loving every minute of it. They wore shorts and singlet tops, and I liked that they wore sensible walking shoes. Given they’d been backpacking for five weeks, they were well-accustomed to the Outback and Top End, and I was happy about that.

Next to arrive was Norah. With an H, as she was quick to remind me. She was fifty-six years old, from Sydney, and had done hiking trails all over the world. She came prepared, or so she said. Her backpack was expensive, but it looked well-used. She wore sensible hiking clothes and boots, which made me happy—I’d seen some ill-prepared and stupid people wear even stupider clothes out here—but she was already wiping sweat from her brow, and it wasn’t even seven o’clock in the morning. And it was August, one of the milder months.

I’d have to keep an eye on her and make sure she stayed hydrated, for sure.

“Norah, this is Marit and Kari,” I said, making introductions. They’d be spending the next five days together in the middle of nowhere, and I was glad they all seemed pleasant enough. I tapped my clipboard. “We’re just waiting on one more.”

The one I was both dreading and so very excited to see.

The one that had my stomach in knots . . .

“Oh, here comes someone,” Marit said, nodding over my shoulder.

I turned around to see him walking toward us. He was carrying a duffle bag in one hand and a telescope case in the other. It was him, all right. God, he looked good. Still as handsome as ever. His dark hair was longer than it used to be, shaggy on top and was still damp. Just showered, maybe? The sleeveless shirt showed off his broad shoulders and defined biceps and a new tattoo. His chiselled jaw and his dark eyes . . .

Zeroed in on me.

Just short of reaching us, he stopped dead in his tracks. His duffle bag landed at his feet, fingers tightened on the handle of his telescope case. His jaw ticked. For a second, I thought he might have swallowed his tongue. “You?” he breathed.

“Nice to see you again too, Derek.”

He sighed, looking back at the visitor centre, probably wondering if it was too late to cancel.

“Oh. You know each other?” Marit asked, her eyes wide.

I gave her a bright smile. “You could say that. It’s been years though, right Derek?”

Derek mumbled something I didn’t quite catch. It was probably just as well.

“Drop your bag at the tailgate,” I said to him. “If you’re still coming with us, that is.”

He glared at me for a long second, and I wondered if he was about to bail. The tic in his jaw always gave him away. But he huffed as he brushed past me, and I had to bite back a smile. I made very quick introductions, and while they made small talk, I went to the back of the Cruiser to stack their bags. Resting my hands on the tailgate, I paused to catch my breath.


The only man I’d ever loved.

Still as gorgeous as he had ever been.

This was going to be a very interesting five days.

Get it together, Paul. Be professional. What happened between you was a long time ago.

I could do this.

Easy as.


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