This is set after the fallout between Alex, Stevie and Fiona. Alex is still not talking freely to Stevie and she feels shut out. Marcus has arrived at Drover's Run looking for Kilarney.
Quietly walking into the shed Marcus spots a woman up a ladder fixing the tin roof. He smiles to himself as he visually enjoys the back view of her. "Can I have another nail" She says without turning. He likes the sound of her voice very sexy. He wonders is she's pretty and single. "Thanks!" She offers. In his deep voice he smiles and replies "You're welcome." Shocked she spins unbalances and falls from the ladder into his arms.
Marcus quickly takes her face into his memory, beautiful brown eyes, high cheekbones , perfect lips and a smile that could melt a man's heart. She looks nervous but stays still for a minute looking at him. He smiles and says "Hello." She moves quickly to move from his embrace and he bends to place her feet on the floor. She quips "Nice catch." His smile broadens when she holds out her hand and says "Stevie Hall." He takes her hand and says "Marcus Turner pleased to meet you." They exchange small talk and she directs him to Kilarney where he's supposed to be.
Later in the day he's out riding with Alex when they spot the Drover's girls preparing their dam. Marcus convinces Alex they should go and say hello. Regan and Stevie walk over to the two men and Alex introduces Regan to Marcus and is about to introduce Stevie when Marcus smiles and says "Stevie nice to see you again."
She smiles back at him and says "I see you found Kilarney." His eyes take in her mouth and the way it turns up even before she smiles. Her warm brown eyes are a welcome sight and they shine as she smiles. He feels her hand and it's tiny in his own. He grins and says "Your directions were perfect thank you." Alex watches the interaction and doesn't like it. "Come on we'd best get going we haven't got all day."
Marcus glances at him but turns back to Stevie and says. "Are you going to the pub tonight?" Regan almost laughs. Alex looks pissed off when Stevie chuckles and says "I might." Marcus is still looking at her and says "You've got beautiful eyes." Stevie laughs and says "Thanks." "Come on Marcus." Alex says gruffly as he moves to get on his bike and continues "We've got work to do." Marcus begins to walk away and calls back "If you come to the pub I'll buy you a beer!" Stevie laughs and waves her hand as she turns back towards the dam. Regan says "Well he's cute and obviously very interested." Stevie glances back and says "Yeah he's alright." She catches Alex's eye and her heart flips and he stares at her but doesn't smile and moves away.
Alex and Marcus ride for awhile and stop for a drink. Alex says "So you'll be gone tomorrow?" Marcus grins at him and says "Well that's what I had planned but if Stevie comes to the pub tonight who knows!" Alex looks annoyed and says "Don't you have work to do in the city instead of worrying about women?" Marcus grins and looks at Alex and says "Mate are you blind or what she is gorgeous and easy to talk too and I'm guessing a whole lot of fun to be around. She's definitely worth hanging around for I'm sure."
Alex is uncomfortable having this stranger talking about her like that so only offers. "Don't mess around with her mate she's a really nice person." Marcus looks at him and grins and says "Is there something going on between the two of you?" Alex glares at him and says "No we're just neighbours but I won't see her being hurt or used." Marcus laughs and says "Hey she looks to me like the kind of woman that wouldn't want something casual. I'd bet she looks a treat dressed up too. No if I stay I won't be looking for a one night stand with her that's for sure" Alex feels like he has a lead weight in his stomach and he hopes Stevie stays home tonight.
Noise drifts from the pub out onto the veranda as Stevie breaths in the fresh air; she's startled by a voice. "There you are! I was hoping you'd be here." She turns to see Marcus grinning at her with a beer in each hand. She smiles at him and says "Hello.' Marcus takes the chance to really look at her face while he's talking to her and even though she's only in jeans and a jumper she is stunning. He holds the conversation with charm and wit and Stevie decides she likes him. Marcus is a gentleman, witty and easy on the eye. He watches her move as she speaks her hand brushing her hair from her face and he enjoys making her laugh and smile. She giggles and he smiles broadly loving the sound it makes he wants to hear her giggle again he's enchanted by her.
Inside they begin to play pool after a couple of beers she relaxes in his presence a little. Marcus is easy company and even though she's enjoying his playfulness he's not Alex. Stevie is surprised how light hearted she feels she'd almost forgotten what that felt like after all the months of anguish with Alex. There is an easy banter between them and she is enjoying herself when Alex appears playfully slamming money onto the table he quips "I'll play the winner shall I?" He winks at Stevie her heart drops to the pit of her stomach then levels back out in her chest. "Well it looks like that will be me." Marcus says as he sinks the last ball grinning at Stevie while he shakes her hand.
Alex takes the pool cue from Stevie. She glances up at him and he drinks in her perfume, her eyes sparkle as she smiles at him. She turns and walks back to the bar and his eyes take in everything about her. Her hair is loose around her shoulders and he knows how soft it is. She's wearing a dark pink jumper not her usual choice of colours but it suits her, makes her look warm, cuddly, and feminine. Her clothing follow the natural curves of her body and he smiles watching her jeans sway side to side enticing thoughts that alert his senses. "Your shot!" Marcus states dragging Alex's thoughts away from Stevie.
Both men play well and each doesn't want to lose. Stevie sits at the bar sipping her beer. Occasionally Alex grins at her or winks at her and she feels like a little bird waiting for crumbs. Riley joins her and she's relieved to have someone to talk too. Stevie tells Riley about the bet and this is the final game of three. Alex and Marcus are both competitive. Stevie thinks they're just trying to be the better man and doesn't even notice the undercurrent of jealousy that's pulling both men closer to her.
Alex wins the final game he winks at Stevie and has a cute grin on his face. Stevie grins at him but says nothing. He's delighted with the result and meters out Marcus's punishment push ups on the bar. Marcus is a good sport about it all and Stevie watches as Alex chuckles about his victory almost beating his hands on his chest. She smiles to herself loving being so near to him and the glances he gives her, the winks and the cheeky grins but that's all she'll get and her heart falters.