It takes Toadie getting shot to make Steph admit the truth – she’s in love with him! Neighbours star Carla Bonner reveals all…

Max has been out of Steph’s life for months. How’s she feeling about him?
“Torn. She still loves him but she’s also angry with him. I think she wants to move on because she knows she has to prepare herself for the fact he might never come home.”

And Toadie’s been her rock?
“Steph and Toadie have been friends for years, but it’s never extended beyond friendship. Until now…”

Tell us more…
“I think it’s inevitable when you start spending so much time with someone that after a while they just fit into your life. Toadie’s been a fantastic support to Steph, there every step of the way.”

So what brings it to a head?
“They get caught up in a terrifying seige! Katya goes to Steph’s to make peace but Guy follows and takes them hostage. He’s got a gun and Steph’s terrified because baby Charlie’s in the house.”

And Toadie?
“Toadie being there really reassures her and when it looks like it’s going to end in bloodshed, Steph and Toadie share an unspoken moment of understanding – they love each other.”

What happens next?
“Zeke lashes out at Guy and Toadie takes over and wrestles him to the ground. His only concern is getting Steph and Charlie out safely. He’s a total hero.”

So they escape?
“Nearly. Toadie thinks he’s knocked Guy unconscious but as he’s leaving, Guy shoots him! Guy tries to make a run for it but Steph pins him to the ground until the police come.”

Toadie’s not dead?!
“No, but he’s badly injured and Steph keeps vigil at his hospital bedside… and tells him she loves him.”

Are her feelings real?
“I think so. They’ve just risked their own safety for each other so it‘s inevitable their emotions are running high. The fear of losing Toadie proves how strongly she feels for him. The real turning point is when she takes off her wedding ring.”

Is this the right time for Steph, after all she’s been through with Max?
“There’s rarely a right time for love. Sometimes you just have to accept that it comes along when you need it – and deserve it.”

So will she stick with Toadie?
“For now, yes. She thinks she’s over Max, she loves Toadie, things are looking good for Steph. Then a face from the past turns up…”

A spanner in the works?
“Bound to be!”