Thane Benedict was the last person Loren Knight would have chosen to be her guardian. However, there it was: he was indeed to have charge of her until she was twenty; and here she was, at Moonrock, his vast cattle station in the middle of Australia's Outback, for the next two years.
Thane tucked Loren's arm in his and they strolled towards a bush track where white gums spread their silver branches and twisted, mottled trunks shone like silver in the light stolen from a full moon. A romantic night, full of sound laughter and music drifting out from the shed. Gradually, as they lengthened the distance between them and the shed, the music faded and became lost altogether.
"Where are we going?" Loren asked.
He glanced down, his face appearing more lean and angular than ever in the shadows cast by the gently-swaying branches of the trees.
"I'm your guardian, remember? -- you can relax."
The brooding silence of the bush dropped again, oppressive and intense. Over the moon a thin veil of cloud writhed and swirled, throwing stealthily-moving shadows across the eucalyptus scrub....