Hear a reading from the novel A Heart This Big by Cheyenne Blue @Iamcheyenneblue on this episode of Book Clips, the mini podcast that gives listeners a taste of a book.
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Australian country girl Nina Pellegrini runs a program for city kids to experience a taste of rural life at Banksia Farm. But when a child is hurt and a lawsuit threatens, Nina is determined to find the best legal assistance to help her save the farm.
Enter high-flying lawyer Leigh Willoughby, whose city world is far from the farm’s chaotic mix of kids and animals. She certainly doesn’t have time for small cases that don’t pay or farm visits that wreck her cool—and her clothes.
Still, the warm-hearted Nina and her challenging, twelve-year-old daughter, Phoebe, are awfully hard to say no to. What on earth has she gotten herself into?
A captivating opposites-attract lesbian romance about a city woman discovering her country heart.
please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect
you were listening to book clubs a mini podcast in which authors and erasers do readings from novels check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book hi I’m Cheyenne Blue and I’m here today to read from my brand-new novel a heart this be I’m going to start at chapter one Nina’s set down the wheelbarrow rotated her tight shoulders and indulged in a moment of pleasure watching her daughter Phoebe walked alongside mr. PT holding the gray pony’s lead rein close to the bed as she’d been taught mr. Peattie play-doh sily around the paddock is flicking back and forth as he listened to Phoebe’s voice mr. Petey’s rider Billie clutched the saddle with both hands his red t-shirt was a little too small and showed a strip of chunky tummy between it and his pants trying through the little straighter Billy Phoebe’s clear voice floated back to Nina mr. Peattie will be more comfortable if you do Billy jerked to attention like a soldier making mean a smile Phoebe’s good with the little kids you wouldn’t think she’s only 12 herself fella stood next to Nina straw stuck out of her wispy hair but her hands were as clean as ever her nails manicured yes she is Nina allowed herself a moment of pride before turning back to the wheelbarrow Stella however continued to watch her son her work apparently forgotten Nina side if only Stella would show the same commitment Phoebe did can he take that wheelbarrow to the muck heap and empty it sell Stella wrinkled her nose I don’t know her gaze went back to Billy who was now urging Phoebe to let in trot remember I showed you how last time Nina managed a reassuring smile for Stella before she turned and marched off to the bomb exactly how had fella thought she could help a bang for your farm when they struck the deal she was scared of the animals and attempted any physical chore in a very half-hearted manner Nina side Billy and his obvious love for the animals had won her over and Stella was part of that package Stella trail behind her what do you want me to do Nina shot a glance at the Silla minted wheelbarrow and cost her short reply if Banksia farm was to gain anything from sellers assistance Nina had to come up with something Stella was able to do the dollars she could have received if her paying child had billy’s place in the band Kids program flashed through her mind but she pushed the thought aside no she would always make room for the Billy’s of the world even if their parents couldn’t pay or were useless around the farm she grabbed the ponies hay nets and stuffed them with more force than necessary fella stood in the doorway twirling a strand of hair around her finger I’ve been thinking nina summons a smile how about I show you what’s involved in moaning the farm shop it’s a pleasant task you just have to sell the farm produce to visitors would I be by myself not at first I’ll show you what you need to do but once you’re confident I’ll leave you to it I don’t think I’ll be very good at that I’m not that good at talking to people why don’t you give it a go at least even in her own ears Nina’s voice sounded artificially encouraging most of the volunteers loved working there I’d rather not if you don’t mind Stella came further into the barn Nina saw the flash of apprehension in Stella’s blue eyes and cost a snappy reply it was hard for Stella as a single parent she always seemed so diffident so lacking in confidence that was another reason Nina had agreed to take billion to barn kids maybe being around Banksia farm benefits Stella – no worries then you don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with she was running out of options for sell although she handed to her the hay nets can you hang these in mr. P teas and jellybeans stalls remember the knot I showed you use that I think so Stella took the hay nets and wandered off Nina heaved a sigh of relief hopefully Stella would hang the Nets correctly she would have to check later she’s throwback to the ignored wheelbarrow and push – the muck heap with economical movements she fought the foiled straw and manure onto the top of the heap luckily it was a quiet day at Banksia farm most of the regular barn kids were at school but Phoebe and Billy’s school had a kid-free day there was no sign of cellar Nina walked down the barn until she caught sight of Stella’s bright cotton frock in jelly sparks seller was waiking something from her sandal the unsuitable open-toed sandals Nina had told her not to wear and the hay net sat lopsided Lea on the floor without a word Nina went in and hung it up I’ve tromelin something that smells bad Stella balanced on one leg as she inspected the bottom of the other sandal where can I wipe it on the straw Nina’s voice was as pleasant and even as she could make it really Stella overbalanced and her foot went down in the straw oh no I trod in something again Nina clenched her jaw so hard her teeth ached the door of the barn crashed opened ma where are you footsteps thud Adan the concrete ma Phoebe’s voice cracked with panic I’m here fee where’s the fire Nina’s pulse raced with her mother’s concern and she stepped out of jelly stall fie skidded to a stop her eyes were wide and her complexion was unnaturally sallow what’s happened Nina’s gaze darted over her daughter from head to toe blood Lazare blood nothing obvious but what then she gripped Phoebe’s shoulders willing some words out of her bitterly fell off I think he’s hurt his arm and he’s talking funny oh Nina shot a glance at Stella and she struggled to keep her voice calm you did good fetching Neifi where’s Billy now the sitting on the ground in the paddock he says he wants whistles for dinner and Superman is riding mr. P to the airport Phoebe’s voice was husky as if with on shed tears worried jumped in Nina’s stomach let’s go see Stella and Phoebe had to jog to keep up with Nina’s swift steps Billy often talks nonsense Stella said I’m sure he’s fine Nina shot her a glance Stella was no helicopter parent but her Airy unconcerned seemed a little callous Nina’s glance swept around the paddock mr. Peattie grows on the far side by the road his reins trailed to the ground her gaze snapped to Billy he sat hunched over and one hand held the other arm what seven-year-old ever stayed still like that and left he had to unless he’s badly hurt Nina swallowed hard against the panic that bubbled in her throat fie catch mr. PT and put him in the barn then fetch one of the pony rugs and come back as fast as he can he nodded and went off at a run Nina hurried over to Billy in crouch hey mate what’s the matter Billy gaze up at her his eyes unfocused I fell out of the sky my arm hurts can I have a look Nina forced a smile Billy shook his head nah Stella crouched – and gently brushed Billy’s hair from his forehead underneath the riding helmet can mummy look Billy nodded and bit his leg when Stella lifted Billy’s hand from his bad arm it was bent in a way that no normal arm should be oh seller said her voice small she jerked back Nina glanced at her Stella was milky white and washed out she didn’t want to casualties on her hands she fought down a wave of queasiness focus was Billy’s broken arm the only injury what should she check another deep breath steadied her and her first aid training jumped back into her head Billy do you know where you are I’m at the farm mr. Peattie and I were flying really high then a cloud fell on us and Superman said Mr P she had to take him home Superman pushed me off he pointed upward why is the sky green nina met Stella’s eyes over Billy’s head he was an unusual kid with a vivid imagination but this was weird talk even from him sweet baby Jesus please not a head injury Mina peered into Billy’s eyes what was she looking for think her pupils that was it she glanced from one to the other they looked to be the same size but it was hard to be sure did you hit your head my head hurts Billy whimpered and leant back into Sellers arms that was enough a broken arm was one thing but a head injury could be serious particularly in a child Nina stood fished her phone from her pocket and glanced at selleth who had regained her color but still looked fragile and unsure still we need to call for an ambulance I’m going to step over here to make the call okay sella stared at her for a minute then her hunched position unfurled I’ll stay with my kid Nina nodded and smiled at Billy I’ll be back in a moment Billy the Kid he’s gone to get you one of mr. peaches rugs to keep you warm she stepped back a couple of paces away and face Billy while she lifted the phone to her ear Stella sat on the ground cradling him to her chest and singing softly the triple-zero operator was calm and efficient and after the initial questions said an ambulance was on its way ask him some basic questions the operator said keep him talking Lena returned to Billy sighed and crouched so my little mate what’s your name Billy looked up at her tears sparkled in his eyes and tracked moisture down his dusty cheeks William Robert Placido Moran and I live at 52 lorikeets close linville Sydney New South Wales Australia the world the universe spot on Nina smiled at him how old are you I’m seven years one and eleven days my mummys 34 years five months and 15 days where’s mr. Peattie did you hear that Nina said into the phone Billy doesn’t normally slow like that to Billie she said Mr P she’s gone home for his dinner Phoebe returned her to jog a horse swag in her arms Nina draped it around Billy careful to avoid the broken arm is there any blood or clear fluid in his ears the operator asked Nina shifted to look carefully not that I can see should I remove his helmet no leave it the ETA for the ambulance is four minutes keep talking to him and watch in case he falls unconscious how are you Stella okay Stella tightened her arms around Billy’s chest I’ll be better when Billy is Billy whimpered stop squeezing the mummy at a hurts cell are loosened her grip sorry sweetie mummy’s just looking after you a mother protecting her young Nina’s swallowed down the worry hopefully Billy only had a broken arm and a minor concussion and nothing worse but what did she know Nina peered into Billy’s eyes again searching for any change he stared back at her his blond hair flattened on his forehead underneath the helmet his blue eyes were wide and apprehensive the ambulance should be here with you in three minutes the operator said is there someone who can stand on the road and flag it down of course she should have thought of that feet run to the end of the drive and wave at the ambos when you see them leave the gates open on your way so they can drive straight through fede nodded and then took offered a run her skinny limbs flying over the rough ground do you want to ride in a big white ambulance Billy Stella said into his ear well a lights flash will it make the woman oiz I’m sure it will just for you good Billy’s voice slurred siren sounded in the distance hear that Billy Stella said they’d turn them on for you Billy gave a weak his eyelids fluttered the sirens stopped a minute later the ambulance bounced its way across the rough grass Phoebe ran behind and came to stand next to Nina Nina glanced at her this was scary enough for her how was Phoebe managing her daughter’s lower lip trembled and tears sparkled on her eyelashes Nina squeezed her hand bidding will be okay please let that be true two paramedics exited the ambulance one crouched next to Billy hey big fella what happened to you I fell off mr. Peattie I think his wings stopped working well that’s not good my name’s Bret what’s yours William Robert – CEO Moran I feel sick Billy wiggled out of Stella’s arms and emptied his breakfast over bright shiny booths Brett didn’t budge let’s take a look at you William Moran his colleague opened the back of the ambulance and wheeled out the trolley well taken to the University Hospital she said to Stella really ride along seller struggled to her feet brushing grass seeds from her dress yes of course Nina stood to one side as the female paramedic ask questions of Stella concern for Billy welled up once more and her guts twisted what if it had been fie who sat pale and sick touching a broken arm and spouting nonsense she’d have been beside herself with anxiety Stella for all her vagueness was handling this well maybe better than Nina would have if it were her kid in no time Billy was loaded and seller climbed into the back alongside him I’ll call you later Nina called see how he’s doing Salo nodded the ambulance call down the paddock to the gate and out onto the road Nina blew out a deep breath Billy was now in the best hands she forced to smile why don’t you and I have a laundry of lemonade after all that weakens call seller later to see how Billy is a tears slip down Phoebe’s sheet will he be okay Willie Nina wrap one around her I’m sure he will be sweetie broken bones heal quickly when you’re little like Billy Phoebe’s her shoulders hunched and she pushed away from lean aside was it my fault no definitely not it was an accident that’s all it wasn’t mr. Petey’s fault either I’ll go and pour the lemonade Phoebe turned away and walked towards the house Nina took a pace after her and her glance fell on the still open gate she jogged across to close it a car door slammed near mine when Nina turned she tightened her lips and a spark of anger ignited in her belly just what she needed John Wakefield’s dapper grey suit was as immaculately pressed as if he’d just picked it up from the dry cleaners which he probably had he approached her detering around the rutti dirt his gaze followed the ambulance speeding along the road the sirens came on in the blaze of sound probably at Billy’s request trouble in paradise he switched his gaze to her face no her smile stretched her lips in an insincere grimace it looks like there is an ambulance leaving here in a hurry she shrugged everything’s fine just a routine precaution oh how she hoped those words are true Billy would be fine kids fell off ponies all the time kids bounced they didn’t break except for Billy’s arm hopefully not his head I’m glad to hear he brushed imaginary dirt from the arm of his suit I wonder if you’ve had a chance to consider my offer on this Pellegrini she clenched her jaw did he never give up I have the answers no just as it was to your previous offer and the one before that I think you’ll find it’s a generous one do the research I don’t need to the answers still no the ambulance was nearly out of sight sweeping up the main road towards the hospital the lights and sirens were still on Billy must be enjoying the ride going to the University Hospital Wakefield said nothing serious I hope no horses a dangerous brute not mine still he shrugged a lot of overheads on a big place like this I hope you’re well insured Nena move back through the gate and closed it it was a flimsy barrier at best between them but the solidity and permanence of her land under her feet gave her confidence she lifted her chin you’re wasting your time mr. Wakefield please do not come again he rested a hand on the gate with studied casualness two million three hundred I think you’ll find it’s more than generous you could do a lot with that a fine education for your daughter a lovely modern house to live in the answer’s no it will always be no I’m not selling for a moment longer his cool grey eyes studied her Nina lifted her chin and messy stare until he turned away don’t lose my business card you may need it the arrogant bastard Nina gripped the gate with both hands nothing could make her sell Banksia farm nothing and that was me Cheyenne Blue reading chapter one from a heart this big you have been listening to book clips check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book if you are interested in showcasing your novel then check out the show notes for more information [Music]