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Wongan Creek #1

Whispers at Wongan Creek

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Wongan Creek has a second chance at life, but new possibilities unearth long-buried secrets...

Travis Bailey may as well be Wongan Creek. His family has farmed canola for generations, and he sometimes feels like he holds the community together with his bare, dirt-stained hands. Between caring for the farm, his orphaned niece and his elderly, ailing neighbour, he doesn't have time for himself. He doesn’t have time to fall in love.

Social worker Heather Penney is living on borrowed time. When her mother died of Motor Neurone Disease, she took the initial blood tests and now nothing is guaranteed, let alone a future with a family and a home and a child. Wongan Creek, and its resident protector, might be getting under her skin, but she can't afford to get attached.

But even as a new mine revitalises the small town, old secrets threaten resurface, and Travis and Heather find themselves fighting to save the farms and the futures of Wongan Creek's long-time residents—and possibly their own lives.

155 pages, ebook

First published November 1, 2016

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About the author

Juanita Kees

21 books103 followers
Finding love and hope in small towns with dark secrets …
Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America.

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5 stars
123 (44%)
4 stars
91 (32%)
3 stars
50 (18%)
2 stars
6 (2%)
1 star
7 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,029 reviews2,630 followers
November 4, 2016
Travis Bailey was running the family canola farm and caring for his twin sister Tracy’s six year old daughter Casey, while keeping an eye on his elderly neighbour Harry. Tracy had died two years prior while Travis was away and he felt a whole lot of guilt. Their parents had become grey nomads after Tracy’s death as they tried to come to terms with what had happened.

Heather Penney was the social worker assigned to Travis and Casey; making sure Casey was happy and well looked after and Travis wasn’t a bad carer. She was new to Wongan Creek and found the locals friendly and accepting. Heather had had a sad and lonely upbringing and was reluctant to commit to any relationships because of her health and what her mother had gone through.

While the sparks were obvious between Travis and Heather, they had more to be concerned about. Harry was having memory problems and the local bigwigs, the Bannisters, were hounding him about selling his land to them for mining. As old secrets began to surface, the danger intensified until Travis knew time was fast running out. But could he find a resolution before it was too late?

Whispers at Wongan Creek by Aussie author Juanita Kees is a rural romance novel with a delicious ripple of suspense running through the pages. Some nasty people reside in this book, but some wonderful characters do as well. I loved Casey – she’s a little sweetheart! And Harry is a crusty but loveable old guy with a soft heart. A great book which I recommend highly.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Bree Verity.
Author 22 books28 followers
February 5, 2017
Intriguing Rural Romance
With a million things on his mind and a million things to take care of for his own farm and that of his elderly neighbour, Travis doesn't need the distraction of the new social worker Heather.
But as secrets come out, so does the passion between Travis & Heather. Only one big secret of Heather's could destroy their relationship before it even gets going.
Rural romance at its dusty best.
Profile Image for Helen.
2,183 reviews12 followers
November 4, 2016
This is such a great story so many emotions you will be laughing shedding tears and sighing as we journey a path to a HEA that is fabulous there is danger along the way bullies to be dealt with but above all we have a hero who is just gorgeous caring loving, a hero to dream of sit back and enjoy.

Heather Penney is a social worker working in the town of Wongan Creek this is a rural town but with a gold mine as well and at the moment she is working with Travis Bailey and his niece Casey and getting closer to them every day, but Heather has a few worries about her health that prevent her from getting to close to anyone she lost her mother to a dreadful disease and is sitting on a time bomb wondering if she carries the gene but Travis is hard to not get close to but when she is threatened by the town bullies things get decidedly heated between them.

Travis Bailey works his farm land and is caring for his orphaned niece Casey as well as his neighbour Harry who has Alzheimer's he has felt guilty about the death of his twin sister but falling in love with someone is not on the cards he needs to put everything into looking after Casey, but he cannot help the way he feels for social worker Heather Penney and when she is threatened it is time to open up and perhaps give into these feelings.

I loved this story from page one the characters come to life on the pages and Harry is such a great guy you will laugh and smile but the depth of love that is shown between Travis and Heather and with Casey thrown in and the ladies from the CWA this really is a story that I can highly recommend. there is danger suspicion threats and secrets to unfold and uncover but the love that flows will truly have you smiling don't miss this one.
Profile Image for Shirley Wine.
Author 32 books44 followers
January 9, 2019
An edge of your seat read.

I enjoyed Whispers At Wongan Creek from beginning to end. It was filled with an edgy suspense that kept returning again and again to the rumours and the whispers that kept on surfacing ... were these Whispers concealing a much darker truth than the townsfolk suspected. .. not to give anything away, this was a thoroughly entertaining read, peopled with delightful Hará tres like Harry who keeps losing his sheep to the thoroughly nasty villain whose charm lulls his neighbors and friends into a false sense of security. I recommend this book to anyone who likes their romances with an edgy vibe.
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,630 reviews56 followers
July 7, 2019
Whispers At Wongan Creek is about how family secrets and guilt can destroy a family. Travis Bailey never believed that his twin sister committed suicide, leaving her daughter Casey alone in the house. However, his parents and the community do not agree with him. So Travis Bailey continues to battle on looking after the farm, Casey and his neighbour Harry. However, Travis Bailey life became more complicated after Harry went missing. The readers of Whispers At Wongan Creek will continue to follow Travis and Casey to find out what happens.

I love Juanita Kees books and Whispers At Wongan Creek continues my love affair with her books and her writing style. I like Juanita Kees portrayal of her characters and the way they intertwine with each other throughout this book. Whispers At Wongan Creek was well written and researched by Juanita Kees. I like Juanita Kees description of her settings and the way they fit into the plot of this book. I was surprised by the ending of this book.

The readers of Whispers At Wongan Creek will start to understand the devastation that Motor Neurones Disease and Alzheimer's have on the suffer and everyone around them. Also, the readers of Whispers At Wongan Creek will learn about Canola farming.

I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Claire Boston.
Author 38 books319 followers
January 19, 2017
Juanita Kees has done it again with a book full of loveable, quirky characters that you want to get to know. Whispers deals with regrets, issues about aging and health, but is still funny, engaging and emotional. It's well worth a read.
Profile Image for Claire Louisa.
1,477 reviews93 followers
February 12, 2019
In a category of rural romantic suspense, this book was full of heart, interesting characters, community, secrets and a couple of unsavoury characters. At the heart of the story are Travis and his niece Casey (who's absolutely adorable) who have both suffered a great loss and are working hard to prove to the powers that be that they should remain together as a family. Travis is a gorgeous guy (I'd love a Travis of my own) and a great uncle and has a huge heart for the people in the community.

Recently new in town is Heather Penney from social services whose job it is to assess whether Travis is fit to be Casey's guardian. The sexual tension between the two makes doing Heather's job and her resolve to remain professional much harder. They both try to resist, knowing crossing the line could be detrimental to Travis' cause.

Then we have Harry, a fabulously lively character, who is suffering from Alzheimers. Harry is Travis' neighbour and pretty much part of the family, that being said, Travis has taken on the responsibility of looking out for Harry and helping him out in his day to day tasks and in his bid to try to keep his land. This is a really lovely relationship and really shows us what communities can be like in supporting the people around them. We need more of this kind of support, not just in small towns, but in the city too, where so many people get left to fend for themselves.

All the characters we meet in Wongan creek, except for the Bannisters, are wonderfully diverse and very community spirited.

There are plenty of secrets to be uncovered in Wongan Creek surrounding Travis' sisters death, Casey's father and a truly horrible character Zac. Some of these secrets will help heal, some will cause trouble and there's a great twist thrown in there too.

A highly enjoyable read that I definitely recommend. 4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Dísir.
1,663 reviews168 followers
November 21, 2016
This is a lovely read that brings the rural setting of a small Australian town vividly to life and two unlikely people together, while perfectly capturing the strong ties that the characters have to the land and the struggle that they face as it undergoes the inevitable development that comes. But as with small towns, some secrets stay murky until something catastrophic forces them to come to light.

I loved Travis Bailey and the heavy sense of responsibility that he has tried to shoulder from the start. The mystery and the slight suspense surrounding Heather Penney, his niece's lineage and his twin's death that Juanita Kees adds to the story gives it a shimmering layer of depth and excitement I hadn't felt in a long time while reading a 'rural romance' so to speak. And even if I scoffed at Heather's cowardly act at the end (whose grovelling felt too easy), I still found Kees's pacing excellent, the scenes building up to the climax (which isn't really as explosive as it is) feeling like a tightening noose that I almost dreaded. There are twists and turns in the plot which surprised me right up until the end, yet Kees wraps it all up quite nicely that is quite worthy of a Hallmark movie.
Profile Image for Lily Malone.
Author 21 books168 followers
August 17, 2017
Really enjoyed this story of Travis and Heather. Travis in particular is brilliant at doing a balancing act between his farm, and raising his niece, plus keeping an eye on his increasingly forgetful neighbour - who has 'misplaced' his sheep (again) as the story starts.
Travis's care for his elderly neighbour is one of the highlights of the book. This is such a big issue everywhere but in country towns when men or women have farmed the land all their lives and have such a great connection to it, and begin to lose that connection through age, or ill health, it's really very sad.
I like the suspense line that runs in this book. Some parts that stood out for me (other than every time Travis rode his horse with his shirt off ;) ) involved the interaction between Travis and his young niece. I don't want to give spoilers so I can't say too much, but the way Juanita Kees unveils the full extent of past events in Wongan Creek is really well done.
Another heart-warming rural story that leaves me wanting to read more!
Profile Image for Talking Books.
858 reviews4 followers
October 2, 2016
I absolutely loved this book! Travis' outlook, his demeanour, his heart of gold, everything about his character was completely endearing, Heather equally so. From the start of the story their characters stood out. I was captivated from the first page and couldn't tear my eyes away from this oftentimes riveting read. Many characters to like, some less so, but both collide for an unmissable read. Twists in the story and confronting moments throughout that kept the pages turning. The townsfolk were completely spectacular, and a few of them whom you can't help but be drawn to with their perceived happy, charged personalities. An altogether unforgettable, heartwarming read.
Review copy received from Escape Publishing for an honest rating
Profile Image for Susanna Rogers.
Author 10 books7 followers
January 8, 2017
This is the second rural romance I've read by Juanita Kees and it's even better than the previous one. The story has heaps of heart provided by the wonderful hero Travis who takes care of his nice, and more heart provided by Heather, the social worker who wants to help against all odds. There's also a great cast of characters. A fabulous read.
Profile Image for Sonia Bellhouse.
Author 5 books6 followers
November 10, 2019
Travis Bailey is a stalwart of Wongan Creek and an all-round good guy. He's caring for his elderly and sometimes disorientated neighbour Harry, as well as his orphaned niece. There are many burdens on his broad shoulder as he's been left in charge of the family farm. His day brightens when they are visited by the replacement social worker Heather Penny. She's there to check on Casey his niece's wellbeing. Heather has her own secrets and burdens, trying to recover from her mother's death from motor neurone disease and her own health fears. Zac Bannister the town bully also intrudes into both their lives
None of this stops either of then feeling the strong pull of attraction to each other. While Travis's adored niece Casey wants nothing more than a happily ever after for Travis and Heather,
Profile Image for Renee.
Author 54 books149 followers
February 3, 2017
A fantastic rural romance with depth and an underlying mystery.

I had a particular soft spot for Harry - the tough old farmer who lived on the adjoining property and who was slipping into dementia. I loved the romance that developed between Travis and Heather and the lighthearted humour that wove through the story. Deeper issues such as sexual harassment and how mining affects a farming town were also explored.
Profile Image for Dawn.
465 reviews
December 14, 2016
Welcome to Wongan Creek where Travis is keeping the farm going, raising a niece and helping neighbors while Heather is trying to work and keep going in spite of her health. Travis and Heather have a journey to find their future together. Always enjoy these rural settings with good plot and characters to keep the reader enthralled.

Ebook from Netgalley and publishers with thanks. Opinions are entirely my own.
60 reviews2 followers
April 27, 2017
Love, sadness, and happy times again.

I had a really hard time putting this book down. It has a good story line. I cried during the happy times and it made me think about my own feelings about my love life and feelings. I really like the book.
Profile Image for Mojca.
2,133 reviews143 followers
October 15, 2016
***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

The story was good and nicely written, the characters were interesting (if a little too stubborn and self-pitying on the heroine's side), the mystery or suspense was nicely drawn out and gripping at the appropriate times, but the story was a tad too long. By the half-mark it started dragging, and most of the scenes and/or inner monologues came off as fillers without much true purpose.

It would've worked better as a short story.
Profile Image for Jocelyn.
1,163 reviews2 followers
May 9, 2021
Wow,what a fantastic read from Australian Author,Juanita Kees!!!:)
Absolutely loved Heather & Travis' story:)
3,224 reviews26 followers
May 9, 2018
Lovers of romance novels will enjoy this story. I thought it would be a bit more and was mistaken; not my cup of tea, but it is well written and characters are interesting, so I am sure lots of women will enjoy this tale. Just not for me.
345 reviews8 followers
October 8, 2018
Somehow this read a bit too much like mills and boons to me; just couldn't get absorbed into the story and abandoned it.
Profile Image for poppy.
4,592 reviews26 followers
November 15, 2016
Absolutely loved it,this is the first book ive read by Juanita Kees and i cant wait for more.I just loved travis and the way he approached life this book will make you cry so be warned will also make you chuckle though. Recommended its great
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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