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Wongan Creek #2

Secrets at Wongan Creek

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Still waters run deep in Wongan Creek...

When spray drift ruins his crop and throws his ability to hold on to the family farm into question, Harley Baker wants to confront his neighbour and shout his rage and worry to the sky. But arguments are tricky when the woman whose herbicides killed his crop is also the woman he’s loved his whole life.

Tameka Chalmers knows that her father’s farming methods are outdated, inefficient, and even dangerous, so when Harley charges her with the loss of his livelihood, she can only accept the blame. There’s so much she would like to do differently, but her father’s rule is absolute and if she wants to keep working the farm she loves, she must do as she’s told.

But the simple action of speaking with Harley, the man she wants but can never have, starts an unexpected chain reaction of events that throw everything she’s ever known into question: her past, her family, her life. Dark secrets come to light and when Tameka is injured in a house fire, she and Harley have one small chance to seize a lifetime of happiness, if only they are able to rise from the ashes and claim it.

142 pages, ebook

First published August 1, 2017

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About the author

Juanita Kees

15 books104 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
38 (54%)
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17 (24%)
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11 (15%)
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Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,228 reviews2,728 followers
July 22, 2017
Life had been exceptionally hard for Tameka Chalmers ever since her mother had left the farmhouse eight years prior. Left with her drunken, aggressive father – a man she tried continually to please but never succeeded in doing so. Tameka managed their farm, Golden Acres, with little help from her father; trying to persuade him to change his chemical spraying of their crops to a more environmentally friendly one. But he just laughed at her, seeming to enjoy the spray drift that ruined their neighbours’ crops.

Harley Baker of Baker’s Hill near Wongan Creek was one of those neighbours who was losing crops – he was also the man Tameka had loved since she was young. But their association had been brought to an abrupt halt by her father – now all she had was a hardened heart and a surety that she would never be able to have what she really wanted.

But when Tameka was caught in a fire, barely escaping with her life, the secrets that had been hidden for so long began to fracture. What would the future bring for Tameka and Harley? Would Tameka have to leave Wongan Creek to find the peace she so desperately craved?

Secrets at Wongan Creek (#2 in the Wongan Creek series) by Aussie author Juanita Kees is set in the rural landscape of Western Australia, in the drought and hardship of growing crops and keeping farms viable. But it’s also filled with suspense and mystery, of heartache and sorrow, and of hope and forgiveness. An intriguing romantic suspense, Secrets at Wongan Creek is one I highly recommend.

With thanks to NetGalley and Escape Publishing for my digital copy to read and review.
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,756 reviews60 followers
May 3, 2020
Secrets At Wongan Creek is book two in the Wongan Creek series by Juanita Kees. One morning Harley Baker found his crops destroyed by spray drift. Harley needed the crop to save his farm. Harley was so angry and worried about his future; he yelled at Tameka Chalmers. Tameka Chalmers knew that her father was in the wrong she took the blame. However, when Tameka nearly died in a house fire things changed for Harley and Tameka that affect their lives forever. The readers of Secrets At Wongan Creek will continue to follow Harley and Tameka to find out what happens.

Secrets At Wongan Creek is an enjoyable book to read and an excellent addition the fantastic Wongan Creek series. I love Juanita Kees portrayal of her characters and the way they intertwine with each other throughout this book. I like the description of the settings that allowed me to engage with the plot. Secrets At Wongan Creek was well written and researched by Juanita Kees.

The readers of Secrets At Wongan Creek will learn about the consequences of pesticide drift on farming communities. Also, the readers of Secrets At Wongan Creek will understand the consequences of jealousy.

I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Dísir.
1,674 reviews174 followers
July 1, 2017
It’s easy to get lost in Juanita Kees’s take on the Australian rural communities. Essentially Kees does a wonderful job of setting up the Wongan Creek the way of life, how farms are run and the challenges they face especially when the secrets each family has come to light in the worst way possible. There’s as always, a touch of suspense and a whole lot of mystery when it comes to Harley and Tameka’s families whose lives are so intertwined that these bonds have the power to heal as well as to burn.

Unfortunately, I found myself liking this book less than its predecessor, even if Kees does try to write about an abused, downtrodden woman stuck in the middle her warring loyalties. Nonetheless, it was difficult to sympathise with someone who could not to speak out against what she knew was wrong that had her languishing in the doldrums for years. Although I understood Tameka's need to defend her family ties, I didn’t like her way of burying her head in the sand and carrying on with the reasoning that it was best to go on that way because everything was already so badly screwed up, while being ridiculously hurtful to people around her who just didn’t deserve her appalling behaviour.

It only had to come to a head for Tameka to see the error of her ways and it had to take the entire community—or at least the family that she believed she’d wronged badly—to extend that forgiveness first before she decided not to run and push. While I liked that Hayley didn’t give up on her, I honestly thought he deserved better than Tameka who’d built so much concrete around her heart that she was nothing but rude, self-pitying and stubborn to do any better, lashing out first to prevent others from seeing all the things she’d not made right. Throw in a completely evil man made only of cruelty, and well, the villain of the hour couldn’t get any clearer.

I’m rather mixed about this story overall; the rural setup is what appealed to me most here, though I couldn’t say the same of the characters. Yet Kees’s Wongan Creek is a series is something I’d love to see developed and I’m sort of eager to see what else is in store here.

*ARC by netgalley
(grateful, as always, mind)
Profile Image for Lily Malone.
Author 22 books168 followers
July 23, 2017
This second book in Juanita Kees Wongan Creek series delves into some harder territory, and while I don't necessarily like the subject matter, I like that dark edge in my reading choices.
This plot races along to a gruesome discovery, and a fitting end for the nasty piece of work who is at the heart of so many tragedies for Tameka.
A lovely rural setting with interesting backstory about trying to farm with organic/environmental principles in a community where several farmers are so very set in their inorganic ways.
Good job, Juanita Kees.

Profile Image for (Eileen)  Dunn.
43 reviews2 followers
April 2, 2019
This story is pacey and gritty. I really enjoyed how Kees wove the love story so adroitly through the narrative.
The gradual revelation of sinister events in Tameka's life set against a backdrop of community unrest for which she feels responsible, kept me engaged and eager to read more. A great story, Juanita Kees. I look forward to reading the other stories in the series.
Profile Image for Claire Louisa.
1,648 reviews97 followers
February 26, 2019
4.5⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wow, this book certainly packed an emotional punch, at times I read with disbelief at the damage a person can do to another, emotionally and physically. Book two in the Wongan Creek series certainly lived up to my expectations following my enjoyment of Whispers at Wongan Creek.

We meet Tameka aka Tikki who is struggling to keep her farm running while dealing with a father she seems afraid of. We quickly get the idea there is some sort of abuse going on in that household, just what and how far that abuse stretches is the tale that Juanita Kees weaves as we delve into the past of Tikki and her neighbour and old love Harley.

There are many secrets that begin to be uncovered after a fire that nearly clains Tameka's life. Memories come to the surface, old friends are thrown together, a town fights to keep its livelihood and shocks come left, right and centre.

Tameka's father is a cruel hard man, one I could never begin to understand. Tameka's belief she is to blame and responsible for all her father has done, is hard to understand. Thankfully I've never been in an abusive relationship the way she has, and hopefully I never will be. The guilt she carries for everything around her is huge and overwhelming. Domestic abuse is one of the ideas dealt with in this story, one none of us could understand unless we've been there.

The town of Wongan Creek fluctuates between holding Tameka responsible for their farming problems and realising she is not her father. The town however, I feel, has a lot to answer for in the fact they turned a blind eye to what might have been going on in Tameka's home. For a small community, I felt angry that that community spirit and involvement wasn't used to ensure that all was well, despite how much her father was disliked.

Harley and his family are just lovely  and I loved that Harley had never given up on Tameka who he completely loved back when they were teenagers. Harley's parents are just the kind of parents you'd wish for, loving, supportive and understanding, it was beautiful to see how they took Tameka under their wing without even blinking.

Farming and its issues is once again highlighted in this tale. The need for changes to be made in today's society to find different ways of doing things that will work better both for the environment and because of the environment, as well as because of the way we now import so much that our farmers can't compete. Diversification is the key to surviving and Wongan Creek is starting to find ways for this to happen.

A tale full of twist, turns and shocks, that will keep you reading until you uncover the truth.

Profile Image for Ayekah.
1,114 reviews
July 19, 2017
My first read by this author and I'll say I was a bit taken aback by the storyline and turn of events in the book. I was reeled in by the rural setting and what seemed to be a very typical fight among farmers, spraying heavy chemicals vs resorting to less harmful and more eco minded treatments that are better for growing and less harmful to both food and soil.

That said, this book took an incredible twist with the abuse that Tikki put up from her father for years and said not a word to anyone. Who continued to spray harmful chemicals, killing neighbors crops from the drift making her and her father even more a pariah then he already was. Tikki had given up hope that the town would ever accept her, even her mother left her, disappearing one day when she and her boyfriend Harley who lived on the neighboring property were caught in a compromising position. Her father did nothing but drink and order Tikki around.

It isn't until their is a fire in which Harley gets seriously injured that things start coming to light and not everything is as it seems in their home, or what's now left of it. The father disappeared the night of the fire and hasn't returned. The house is a total loss, there is no insurance, bills past due and the safe is empty. During Tikki's moments on the kitchen floor during the fire she has a flashback to when they were kids and when Harley lost his younger brother in a fire. It was ruled an accident but Tikki's memories say otherwise.

As her life starts to unravel, more truth surfaces and when her father returns holding her at gunpoint with Harley the story takes yet another turn. Truths long buried surface and the story is horrendous.
Her father is a sociopath to the max.

Now a few words about the story, this book was labeled Romance. It's not. Perhaps best just labeled as fiction. A brief warning may be beneficial for those who are adverse to domestic violence.
I fully understand batter spouse/child syndrome, yet I find it hard to believe that at any point here in this story which takes places over some years that she didn't say a word. Even after the fire and staying with Harley who was her first love and the only redemptive piece of the book. His dog Loki as well. There are many implications in this story that I don't find suitable for all readers. It's not a happy book, and lastly it's not even entertaining. Enough to say that the blurb is quite misleading and hopefully those considering the book will read reviews prior to making the choice to read.
Having said all that, the author writes well. She's a good story teller.

**arc from NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for a fair review**
Profile Image for Helen.
2,314 reviews12 followers
August 17, 2017
MS Kees really knows how to pull a reader into a story with her words that bring to life characters who have been to hell and back and this one is emotional, moving and suspenseful one that should not be missed. I was looking forward to revisiting Wongan Creek and I am glad I went.

Tameka Chalmers has lived in the township off Wongan Creek all of her life on a farm with her mother and father but when her mother leaves after what is known as the big bang and is never heard from again Tameka is left to live with her drunken cruel father and she has not only lost her Mum but her best friend as well neighbour Harley Baker. So when a spray drift goes wrong on her farm and there is a fire at her home, this starts a chain of events that will change a lot of lives.

Harley Baker and his family run the neighbouring farm to Tameka and along with Harley’s brother Ryan these three kids were inseparable till a tragedy takes Ryan away and then an act of love years later separates Tameka and Harley, but now with the loss of his crop and his dog Loki doing damage to Tameka’s crop they are bought back together. Harley is still just as much in love with her as he was when they were 19 but can he convince Tameka that they should be together?

This is a really good story so very well written the characters show their depth and the strength that people are capable of when tragedy happens and how love can help heal so many secrets revealed in this one. Oh there were tears and there was cheering when Tameka’s father got his just deserts, I highly recommend this book it is a fabulous story, oh and I want a Loki he is the best dog and Harley is a hero to die for along with his great parents and the community as a whole. Thank you MS Kees I loved it and I hope I have done it justice.
3,281 reviews11 followers
August 12, 2017
I sat down thinking I would just start reading Secrets at Wongan Creek by Juanita Kees. Usually I read for a while then come back to the book later but this book gripped me so that I forgot the time, reading it straight through. It has been a long time since I have done that. On my reader it was 168 pages so that’s quite a one-stop read but I was so involved in Tameka’s dire situation that all else around me fell by the wayside.

Part murder mystery, part childhood friends/ first and only love reunion, part family drama and all great story, this is one compelling read. The first book I have read by Janita Kees but certainly not the last. The characters in first book in the series play a minor role in Secrets at Wongan Creek. Finding their book, Whispers at Wongan Creek, on sale I snatched it up, eager now to read more by this author.

The farming difficulties suggested in the preview does not even begin to prepare me for the twists and turns I did not see coming. This is an upcoming author with an amazing ability to tell a story.

An ARC of the book was given to me by the publisher through Net Galley.
1,895 reviews3 followers
August 4, 2017
A great book with an awesome plot. I truly enjoyed the characters, the Australian setting and the author's writing. I have not read the previous book in this series and that did not pose a problem. I recommend this book.
2,147 reviews24 followers
July 6, 2017

A pretty good read, I liked.
Profile Image for Susanna Rogers.
Author 10 books7 followers
October 22, 2017
I absolutely loved this book. It's my favourite book by this author so far. The reasons – well, there are lots of them. The characters are well rounded and believable and I felt for them. The writing is wonderful, the romance beautifully crafted and an underlying dark storyline masterfully handled. Most of all I loved this book because it’s passionate and full of emotion.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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