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Jackie McKay has been awarded a grant to complete a study in the serene wilderness of the North Island of New Zealand. The serenity of life in the bush is shattered, however, when Ethan steps into her life and rescues her from drowning. This is not the first time Ethan has stepped into her life though - he was a student from her teaching past and that isn't all the history that Ethan reminds her of.

The story follows Jackie's personal development throughout her study break, as she becomes one of a small community of locals, each of whom also have a history to confront. Between the people she meets, the troubles of new love and the looming shadow of Mac, Jackie has to come to terms with not only what is important for her daughter, but what she herself needs to move forward in life and love.

Kathy Sutcliffe

Kathy Sutcliffe lives in the Central North Island town of Rotorua, New Zealand.


She teaches Year 7 and 8 students at Rotorua Intermediate and has 4 children of her own.


When not writing, working or looking after her children she enjoys exploring the great outdoors.




ISBN 9781922120014 (PB, 226pp) AU$30 US$24 NZ$33 £15
ISBN 9781922120021 (eBk) AU$16 US$13 NZ$18 £8

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Feature article in The Daily Post about Kathy and Write My Face



from Chapter 1

The first shock of freezing water jars my teeth and makes my lungs go tight. I gulp air as I’m dragged under and dive. When my lungs feel they are about to burst I kick furiously and surface, gasping. Oh, God. I’m in trouble.

“Hey!” A male voice yells from the bank downstream. “Try and make it over to me. There are rapids up ahead.”

I do not need to hear that right at this very moment. I dive once again and thrust out my arms with long swift movements. My belly slithers along the slimy river stones in eel-like fashion and when the dark shape of the bank comes into view I crouch and kick off from the stones, surfacing near an overhanging bush. I grab wildly at a nearby branch, ignoring the sharp pain as twigs gouge into the soft skin of my hands and arms. I rest, trying to control the urge to scream. If I manage to hold on, the guy will hopefully be able to get to me – if he can see me amongst all this foliage – and haul me to safety. I’m about to call out when a tanned arm reaches down and grips my wrist.

“Easy. I’ve got you.” His voice is firm but not unkind, and the panic I felt seconds before diminishes.

He drags my shaking body to the bank and heaves me from the water. I collapse on the riverbank. Hot tears sting my eyes and I make myself into a ball, trying to hug some warmth back into my shuddering limbs. The guy disappears momentarily but I soon hear the crunch of boots on stones and he’s beside me once again. I don’t look up, just huddle, my face hidden from view by my arms, overcome with embarrassment at not only having been dragged from the water but also the fact that I am totally naked.

“Pretty swift water here.” He places my towel around my shoulders.

“Thanks,” I say, avoiding his eyes. My voice sounds small and dull compared to his, as though the swiftly flowing river has washed all the colour out of it. The river stones are smooth and warm but I shiver uncontrollably. A dog appears at my side and nudges me with its wet nose. I’m not keen on dogs I don’t know, so ignore it.

“You okay?” The guy’s warm hand on my shoulder is consoling.

“Yes, thanks.” My stomach churns and I’m afraid I might throw up.

He stands and whistles to the dog and they both head off up the track. He’s guessed, I presume, that I’m embarrassed and want to be left alone. I huddle under my towel, cold and shocked. Shocked that I could have drowned if I’d been here alone. Shocked that I was so stupid to enter the water without checking it out for swift currents and rapids first.

Not a good start to my new adventure. My so called “study leave” where I’m attempting to better myself but also trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing with my life. As I stagger to my track pants and sweat shirt and pull them on, I think of my darling Rachel, about to flap her wings for the bright lights of Wellington and Victoria University and I try hard not to think of the yawning space she’ll leave behind her. I think of Mac, with his fiery temper, and hot kisses, with his wife, two small girls and baby on the way. Christ. No. Maybe I don’t want to think of him.

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