WHAT: Steamy, heart-pounding romance set in tropical Queensland, where feisty heroine meets mysterious dude playing the stock market on a laptop from his boat. Apart from the stock market, he works at Cooktown’s youth centre which has given him the chance to make a difference and to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark. The local GP is hiding her own secrets (naturally) and struggling to raise her teen daughter alone.
When a severe cyclone threatens to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger. Northern Heat by Helene Young (published by Penguin) is the sixth romantic thriller by a Qantas pilot who writes in her spare time.
Looking for a holiday read? I have a copy of Northern Heat to give away. Read on…
WHO: Helene is a check captain with Australia’s largest regional airline. Her job is to ensure aircrew can handle all inflight emergencies. It comes in handy for writing fast-paced suspense novels. When she’s not writing or flying you can find Helene sailing the high seas with her partner, Capt G, and Zeus the salty sea dog, aboard their catamaran Roo Bin Esque.
Helene won the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012. She was also voted favourite romantic suspense author by the Australian Romance Readers Association in 2010 – 2014, and was shortlisted for the same award in 2012.
Looking for a tropical paradise to sail in?
Helene recommends her own
northern heat in Queensland.
Sailing the Coral Coast
by Helene Young
Do you dream of romantic holidays sipping champagne on a tropical beach as the moon emerges from the ocean, casting a silvery pathway over the water towards you Maybe you’d love to go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, watching the soft coral rippling in the current as iridescent fish dart among the branches.
How about lazing on Whitehaven Beach, polishing your skin with silky fine sand?
If this is your dream then it’s time for a sea change. The Australian east coast state of Queensland is blessed with an amazing coastline. From Moreton Bay in the south to the unspoiled Torres Strait in the north there’s myriad places to explore.
The Whitsunday Island group, east of Airlie Beach, is one of my favourite spots. I love sailing there in winter when the majestic humpback whales make their annual pilgrimage north to birth their calves. On one occasion seven of the giants headed straight for us. There was no wind so without our engines running we couldn’t move out of their way. It was mesmerizing and terrifying in equal parts as they bore down on us.
At the last instant, like a troupe of synchronized swimmers, they sank below the surface with graceful flicks of their tails. For an eerie minute we held our breath until the sound of the familiar blow of air came from behind us. I’m convinced they were amusing themselves.
Sunrise and sunset are my favourite times of day. At an anchorage off Moreton Island the dolphins, and sometimes the dugongs, come out to play as the sun turns the bay to liquid gold. North of Rockhampton, in the pink blush of dawn at Pearl Bay, wizened turtles popped up next to us as we paddled the kayaks ashore. They looked as surprised as we were. Stingrays cast barely a shadow on the sand until they skittered out of harm’s way.
The coastal towns have their own charm too. The Gold Coast mellows into the Sunshine Coast. Laid back Airlie Beach parties on through the night. The residents of Townsville head to Magnetic Island to laze on palm-fringed beaches. Cairns and Port Douglas share their tropical ambience with tourist and locals alike. Cape Tribulation brings the rainforest to the reef. Cooktown’s great for a yarn and a history lesson. Keep tracking north and you’ll find yourself in the Torres Strait where the azure water is so clear you can watch the crabs scuttle about, metres below you on the sandy seabed, as your ferry takes you to Thursday Island. I know where I’d rather be when the winter winds rattle through the southern states bringing sleet and biting cold. What about you?
Leave a comment on this blog post, flick me a Tweet @TravelTaster or a comment on Taste for Travel’s Facebook page. You know the drill. In two weeks’ time I’ll throw all the names into the battered sunhat and pick one at random. Open to residents of Australia.
* Cover image courtesy of Tourism Australia. Bottom picture of a yacht at sunset courtesy of blog. queensland.com. Other images courtesy of Penguin Australia and Helene Young.