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She blushed. ‘I just wish… I wish I knew what to do, Will. I promised to speak to Han, but I know what she’s going to say.’ She sighed.

‘Do you plan to see this girl again?’

‘I’ll have to. She’s come all this way. She mentioned a conference, but I don’t think she’d have made the trip if it wasn’t for Han.’

‘You can’t force your daughter to meet her.’

‘No.’ Cleo was silent for a moment. ‘She said she wants to know more about Stan, too. I can at least help with that.’ She bit her lip. ‘I do need to see her again.’

‘Not if it’s going to upset you.’ Will put his hand on Cleo’s and squeezed it. He wished there was something he could do to help.

‘No, I’ll be fine. She’s staying at Ruby’s B&B. I can see her there.’

‘Do you want me to come with you?’

‘No.’ Cleo smiled. ‘But thanks. This is something I have to do by myself. I feel sorry for her,’ she said. ‘She’s only just lost her mother and discovered she has a sister – a half-sister. I can’t imagine what it must be like for her. Now,’ she picked up her menu, ‘we should decide what we’re having. Let’s not let my problems spoil our lunch together.’

Will glanced at Cleo to make sure she was okay then picked up his own menu.

By the time they’d been served with their meals – quiche and salad with a cup of peppermint tea for Cleo and a steak sandwich and coffee for Will – they had changed the subject, and Will was telling Cleo about his conversation with Ted.

‘It’s the community meeting tonight, isn’t it?’ Cleo asked when they were waiting for the bill.

‘It is. You’ll be there?’ Will tried to hide how important her support was to him. He’d been thrilled to see her at the council meeting, to know she cared.

‘Of course. Are you expecting a big crowd?’

‘I’m not sure.’ Will scratched his head. But he knew Martin had managed to get another article in the local paper only that morning, and Owen and Nate had been out posting fliers all over town.


Cleo couldn’t believe the number of people who had crowded into the school hall, hired for the evening to host the meeting. She hadn’t known it would be such a big drawcard. Will must be pleased.

He was first to speak, rehashing the speech he’d given to council and receiving enthusiastic applause.

Then Martin took over, showing videos he’d taken at Dolphin Beach, videos which emphasised the beauty of the place. He described how development would take away the beauty of this special, unspoiled part of the coast, showing shots of similar developments which had occurred in other parts of the country.

Then it was Ted Crawford’s turn to describe the work of TurtleCare and explain how Dolphin Beach was one of the beaches to which nests of turtles returned to lay their eggs each year. His talk was illustrated by more images, this time of turtles making their way down a beach to the ocean. These drew oohs and aahs from the crowd.

Finally, Will returned to the podium to outline possible legal procedures which could be taken if council decided to approve the plan, concluding with a plea for the financial support which would be needed if they were required to mount a case to the Planning and Environment Court.

Cleo was impressed, more so, as people pledged their support for anything which would save the beach.

She was standing at the back of the hall with Hannah and Ailsa, waiting for Will and Martin to join them, when she became aware of Hannah stiffening beside her.

A smiling Kerri-Ann Randall was making her way towards them.

What was she doing here?

Cleo felt Hannah’s hand grip her arm tightly.


Cleo froze. She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. The room swirled around her. When she became aware again, it was to hear Kerri-Ann speaking.

‘You must be Hannah.’

The two girls – so alike they could be twins – stared at each other. Kerri-Ann’s smile faltered at the expression on Hannah’s face.

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