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The Good Daughter - Honey Brown

The Good Daughter

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Published: 28th June 2010
Format: ePUB
$12.99

In the small rural town of Kiona, Rebecca Toyer and Zach Kincaid come from very different sides of the track. When Zach's wealthy mother goes missing, Rebecca – the truckie's daughter – finds herself the centre of attention and an important piece of the puzzle. Both teenagers become caught up in, and drawn deeper into, a tangled and dangerous situation, and as they each come under greater scrutiny, neither has ever felt more isolated. What begins as a sunny school break, an easy-going two weeks discovering romance, descends into hard lessons in sex, loyalty, love and betrayal. Confrontations are extreme and the possibilities shocking, but it's the familiar way the dust settles and the sense of history repeating that is the most disturbing of all.

About The Author

Honey Brown lives in country Victoria with her husband and two children. Her debut novel Red Queen was published in 2009 to critical acclaim and won a 2009 Aurealis Award. The Good Daughter is her much-anticipated second novel.

1

No coincidence that Zach Kincaid takes the bus seat next to her on the last day of first term, during the trip home, when there are only the out-of-towners left, the kids that stare glassy-eyed out the windows, not watching as he kicks his bag towards her under the seats – as though to herald his imminent arrival, all hail King Kincaid – and heaves himself up from where he is positioned dead centre in the back seat, not listening as he slides in beside her and starts with the taunts.

'Bark for me, Beccy,' is his favourite, and what he says after a moment of staring at the side of her face.

'Woof.'

'We both know you can do better than that.'

Rebecca closes the book she's reading and drops it into her open school bag. She zips up the bag and pushes it with her foot until she feels it nudge up against his bag. She can smell him. It's a familiar scent, as much in his clothes as on his skin. The Kincaid family scent. Fresh linen best describes it, but even that's not right. It's unnerving but not unpleasant. It stirs up memories of his house, the hushed rooms and dusted sideboards, clean carpet, the hum of electrical appliances. She hopes her family scent is well hidden under a layer of Impulse deodorant – none of the damp smells that no amount of airing can dislodge from the rooms of her house, none of the dog smells, the garage degreaser smells that seem to have worked their way into every porous surface within a one-kilometre radius of her father's shed and into the weave of every cushion and every curtain in the house. If Zach can smell her, if he smells her as acutely as she smells him, she hopes it's just the sweetness of the deodorant.

'So, Rebecca, what are you doing over the Easter holidays? Anything exciting?'

'I might come over and visit you – we could do something exciting together.'

He smiles, crooked teeth on show, top lip curled. Here on the school bus she can more than match his leering smile, always able to go toe to toe with him in a public place where she knows he can't really do much harm.

'I know you're toyin with me, Toyer. All talk.'

Rebecca twists her lips and eyes him. Strange that it doesn't seem to matter that, when broken down into separate pieces, his features are anything but perfect. Even when put together the picture isn't great. An illusion really, his handsomeness, a trick of perspective: smoke and mirrors. Something only boys can pull off. Girls need at least one redeeming feature.

Rebecca says, fed up, bored already with school holidays, thinking she's perhaps bored of Zach Kincaid, 'You're so full of shit. I bet if I touched you, you'd run a mile.'

'You reckon, do you?'

She mimics his voice, widens her eyes, makes out he's childish – 'I reckon.'

'I wouldn't.'

He's looking at her, his gaze going from feature to feature, over her hair, down her neck. He's avoiding her eyes though, because to look into her eyes would be to confirm too much. She glances around the bus. No-one behind them. Couple of landed gentry swots reading further down in front of them. The kid opposite has got that zombie gaze, eyes fixed ahead, fringe stuck to his damp forehead, not liable to wake from his trance even if they did start making out.

Zach says, his voice lowered, words thick in his throat, 'Let's go up the back.'

He goes without looking at her, bending for his bag and staying bent, stepping into the aisle and sliding onto the back seat in one fluid movement. He slouches in the shaded corner, averts his face. Rebecca follows, holding onto the steel backs of the seats, tossing her bag in beside his.

She learns that up close he has a smell all of his own – not the family scent, a softer scent that clings to his skin, in his hair, strongest behind his ear where his hairline meets his neck. She finds out he's unsure and nervous – his hands shake, he blushes, she can feel the pulse in his neck, his heart is pounding in his chest, and he squirms like a child when she unzips his jeans. He pales and swallows when she touches him. He whispers for her to stop, and she's bemused – stop? She's only touching him.

But he clasps her hands, pushes them away, says Careful, like she's handling volatile liquid. He seems to want to put an end to what was only getting started. When she won't let her hands be brushed away he says, Jesus, Rebecca, and bites his bottom lip.

It's as though he can only bear the quickest glances down at what she's doing. He breathes more heavily than she does.

She says to him, 'You're not going to kiss me, are you? It's all right for me to kiss you, but there's no way you're going to kiss Rebecca Toyer.'

'Shit,' he mumbles, 'I don't know . . .'

She tries to kiss him but he tilts his head to avoid it.

'Someone might see us,' she teases, then asks, 'Would you kiss me off the bus?'

'Yes.'

'Don't you think that's really pathetic? It's very clichéd, you know – good and bad side of the tracks, the fact that you'll go to school and tell everyone Toyer sat up and begged for it, had to throw the poor girl a bone. Don't you think I know that's what you'll say? If I was a rich kid like you I wouldn't be so hung up on what people thought.'

'Stop it.'

'Stop what?'

He doesn't answer.

For a while she looks at him, her hand still down the front of his jeans, the jolts from the dirt road coming up through the chassis, dust and sunlight mixing together in the air.

'My mother told me about boys like you. She said boys like you sleep with the sluts and marry the virgins and then sleep with the sluts again. But then my mother also told me educated women are a waste of space. So I don't think I should take too much notice of her advice – what do you think? I bet your mother has warned you about girls like me.'

He's not listening, his eyes are half shut and his hands are by his sides now. She touches him less self-consciously, curious, the first time she's let her fingers feel their way over a boy's erection. She knows he thinks she's more experienced than she actually is, and in a way that makes her bolder.

'You know what else my mother told me? She said no-one with money will ever want me. And you've got money, Kincaid. Aren't you worried that being near me might whittle away your fat inheritance? Is this one hectare gone?'

'Stop,' he says, closing his hand around her wrist.

'Wonder what sex would be?' she whispers in his ear. 'A whole 100 hectares?'

He bends forward and shoulders her away. He swears under his breath, his neck and back tense, and a shudder of what seems like revulsion ripples through him. 'Fuck.'

Rebecca senses her mistake, thinks perhaps she'll never get the kiss she wants from Zach Kincaid, never get to know what it's like to have his hand rest on her knee, or to hold his hand, or to have his arm possessively around her shoulders, so close to at least getting the kiss.

Years of setting up defensive strategies cause her to say, 'Got a hanky? Or do you want to borrow mine?'

'Piss off.' But as she goes to move he hooks his foot around hers under

the seat. He gives her a sheepish grin over his shoulder. 'I would kiss you on the bus, Rebecca.' 'Out the front of school?' 'Maybe.'

ISBN: 9780670074433
ISBN-10: 9780615588834
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 28th June 2010
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.4  x 2.100
Weight (kg): 23.0
Edition Number: 1