Air Guitar and Caviar
Busker Dylan spends his days pulling pints in the local pub and singing on the high street, waiting for fame to call. That suits him fine, until beautiful, but frosty, air stewardess, Scarlett, tosses some coins into his hat but ignores his killer smile and his offer of pizza.
He sets out to get the girl, but Scarlett isn’t in the right frame of mind to date anyone, let alone a penniless, if charming, busker boy.
Dylan's desperate for his big break, but will it bring him the happiness he longs for? And with Scarlett's past threatening to ruin her future, will Dylan be left to make sweet music all on his own?
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Scarlett tries to avoid Dylan the busker who asked her out, but her niece is having none of it and Scarlett finds herself walking to the park with Dylan.
'There's the man who sings songs for Mummy. Come on.’ Elsa pointed at someone in the distance, and Scarlett recognised the outline of the busker, his wild corkscrew hair fighting its way out of a peaked cap.
She grabbed at Elsa’s hand. ‘Shall we walk the other way to the park, darling? The ice cream man is often on the corner of the street.’
‘No, I want to see the singer. He’s my friend.’ Elsa skipped ahead, leaving Scarlett no choice but to follow.
As they drew closer, Dylan broke into such a smile of welcome, it made Scarlett’s normally formidable exterior melt. She smiled back, relieved that he wasn’t bearing a grudge at the way she had turned him down.
He managed a little wave for Elsa, as he wound down the song he was singing, and when he’d finished, he rested the base of the guitar on his foot, casually holding the neck. ‘Hello again.’ His blue eyes pierced Scarlett’s once more, the intensity of them making her feel as if he was trying to read her thoughts.
She broke eye contact and took an involuntary step backwards, afraid he might hypnotise her with his eyes.
Elsa did the opposite and stepped forward, grabbing his hand. ‘This is Dylan. He’s my mummy’s friend – and mine.’ She beamed up at Scarlett. ‘We give him money.’ Elsa swung his arm, her small hand engulfed in his. ‘And he watches me dance, don’t you?’
Dylan winced. ‘Ouch, that sounds really bad. Hello, Elsa, Buster.’ He reached down and stroked the dog, while beaming at Scarlett.
‘You know each other?’ Scarlett asked, stating the obvious.
‘We have form together, don't we?’ He winked at Elsa and raised his hand to be high-fived.
‘Give him some money, and tell him your name. He'll make up a song with your name in it, honest he will.’ Elsa slapped Dylan’s palm with her own and danced a little jig around him.
Dylan raised an eyebrow. ‘Well?’
Scarlett hesitated. ‘I’m Elsa’s Aunty.’
He gave her a look that said Elsa’s Aunty would have to do better than that.
Scarlett sighed. ‘My name is Scarlett, but you'll have a hard time coming up with something that rhymes with it.’
‘That's a lovely name, and don’t worry, I'll write a song especially for you.’
‘It’s true, he will. He did one for me.’ Elsa looked delighted as she danced, drawing them closer together, circling around both of them and wind-milling her arms.
‘Don't sound so surprised. It’ll cost you, though,’ Dylan said, his eyes challenging.
‘Give him some money, Aunty Scarlett.’ Elsa pulled on Scarlett's sleeve, her face shining with excitement.
‘I don't want money, Elsa.’
Elsa looked from Dylan to Scarlett, a frown creasing her smooth forehead. ‘Would you rather an ice cream, then?’ She peered up at Dylan. ‘That’s where we were going, to the ice cream van parked all the way around the corner of the other street.’ She enunciated clearly, dragging out the word all, while gesticulating with her hand. ‘But I said we could get one at the park café afterwards, as I wanted to see you.’
Dylan gave Scarlett a sidelong glance that said she’d been rumbled, but he kept his smile in place. ‘They do a mean latté at the café by the lake, too, if you fancy one?’
The sincerity of his smile seemed to pull at Scarlett, but she shook her head, not wanting to offend him, but equally not wanting to spend time with him.
‘Come on, Dylan, I’ve got bread for the ducks.’ Elsa picked up his hat and shook it carefully. ‘And you've got lots of money in your hat. You could buy me a milkshake, too.’
‘No problem, beautiful girl.’ Dylan winked at Elsa as he wound his guitar strap around his neck once more and pushed his guitar around to his back. He slid the coins from his hat into his pocket and plonked the cap on Elsa’s head as he fell into step beside Scarlett.
If she didn’t know better, Scarlett would have bet Dylan’s last purloined pound that the whole thing was a set up, but as she glanced suspiciously at him, was unable to think of a single reason why he shouldn’t be there.
A tease of the cover for The Magic of Stars. The full cover will be revealed on January 12!
Author Bio –
Jackie Ladbury was desperate to become a journalist when she left school but was ousted within minutes on the day of the exam at her local rag because she'd forgotten to bring a pen.
Short and sharp lesson learned.
Her budding writing career was not on hold for long, though, as Jackie found herself scribbling love stories of pilots and 'hosties' while she flew in aeroplanes of various shapes and sizes as a flight attendant herself.
Fast forward a good few years and, after being short-listed in a couple of prestigious romantic writing competitions, Jackie decided it was time to discard her stilettos, say goodbye to the skies and concentrate on writing romantic novels, where the only given is a guaranteed 'happy ever after.'
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