Book Tour Air Guitar and Caviar

Book Excerpt

Dylan chats to Scarlett in the park when she takes her niece out for the day. She has turned Dylan ‘s offer of a pizza down but she is intrigued by him and enjoys being with him. She just isn’t in the market for dating.

Dylan sat back down next to Scarlett. ‘That’ll keep her busy, while we have a chat.’ His eyes levelled with hers. ‘Looking for a copy of the Big Issue sticking out of my back pocket?’ He narrowed his eyes. ‘I can see you’re trying to place me.’

‘Not at all,’ Scarlett lied, blushing at her transparency.

‘It’s okay. An understandable reaction, though, actually, I busk mostly for the experience, rather than the money. Although surprisingly, I do earn a fair bit. Mind you, it’s often Mickey Mouse money. If I ever make it to Zimbabwe, or Vietnam, I’ll be rich as a king. And people feed me – all the time – but let’s not get side-tracked by my uninteresting career path. What’s this about your job as a hostess for foreign men?’

‘I’m an air stewardess – cabin staff, hostie, whatever it is people call us these days.’

Dylan’s mouth drooped. ‘That’s a shame. I was hoping Elsa had exposed a grubby little secret, and you’d have to go out with me to guarantee my silence. I guess your job’s not altogether unlikely, thinking about it, though, given the proximity to the airport. EasyJet, or Ryanair?’

‘I work for a private airline.’

‘Oh, bad luck.’

‘Not everyone holds that opinion, actually.’ She knew she sounded prissy and sharp, but she’d worked hard to get to where she was, and he was hardly in a position to judge.

‘Maybe not, but you must miss out on all those holiday destinations.’

‘That’s true. I so wanted to go to Benidorm every year. I’m gutted.’

Dylan pursed his lips. ‘You don’t sound gutted.’

‘I’m being facetious. Sorry. I do travel to some interesting places, and meet some great people.’ Her annoyance showed in her tone. She often downplayed what she did for a living, and he’d beaten her to it. Ridiculous to be miffed, but she couldn’t help it.

‘Met many famous people, though?’

‘Yes, tons. Although met is a bit ambitious. Mostly, I serve them food and drink, and they fall asleep – though I am sometimes invited to go along to their shows, and suchlike, especially if they do their whole tour with us. Sometimes, I …’ Her voice cracked, and she pressed her lips together to stop them from wobbling. She closed her eyes momentarily, her eyelashes fluttering as she fought back tears.

‘Sometimes, you …?’

She shook her head. ‘Nothing.’

His stare was piercing when she opened her eyes, fixed on her face. He nodded, as if deciding not to push her. ‘So, you’re coming tomorrow?’

He changed the subject so abruptly, she had to backtrack in her mind to follow its path. ‘Oh, gosh, I forgot all about it …. Umm.’

‘I know. I blindsided you, so you wouldn’t get a chance to think up an excuse. Come along. It’ll be fun.’

‘I’ll try,’ she said, knowing that she probably wouldn’t. ‘Do you have a card?’ she asked. A business card was always a good cop out, when she didn’t want to commit to anything, and it usually put paid to further advances.

‘A card for what?’

‘A business card.’ As soon as she’d said it, she knew how foolish her words sounded.

‘I don’t. Do you have a business card?’ He seemed amused and disappointed in equal measure, but he held out his hand, his eyes boring into hers.

She stared back. ‘Why do you want my business card?’

‘I might want to hire an aircraft,’ he said, deadpan.

She was struck once again by the intensity of his stare, and his tenacity. She also saw, in those dimmed, bluebell coloured eyes, that he knew he’d been snubbed, and she instantly felt ashamed. She dug out her business cards and passed one over. ‘I’ll try and make it – to hear you sing,’ she said, suddenly meaning what she said, but fearing it might be too late.

‘It’s okay. You don’t have to. I’m going to go now. I should be working.’ His words sounded flat with disappointment, and his shoulders drooped. He stared at her business card, before sticking it in his back pocket and holding out the remains of his bread to her. It felt like he was returning his offered friendship along with the stale crusts.

She took the bread, and he plucked his guitar from the bench, threw the strap over his shoulder and the guitar around his back. ‘See ya,’ he said.

‘Bye. Maybe see you tomorrow.’ She tried out her best air stewardess smile, wishing she hadn’t been so standoffish again, while wondering why she had.

He didn’t smile back. ‘No worries.’ He offered up a small wave as he trampled across the grass taking a short cut. He whistled a trill tune, and Elsa looked up just in time to see him leave.

She waved manically, abandoning her search for good luck among the clover.

Scarlett wandered over to her. ‘How did you know that was Dylan whistling to you?’

‘Oh, he always does that for the scruffy dog he looks after, and now I recognise it. Mummy uses a similar one for Buster.’

‘That’s how you know him, through walking Buster?’

She nodded. ‘I thought he might want to be Mummy’s boyfriend, because they often chat when they meet up at the park, but she says she only has eyes for me, whatever that means.’ She gazed toward Dylan’s retreating back. ‘Our dog is much nicer than his, though,’ she added proudly, before stuffing a large piece of the bread meant for the ducks into her mouth.

Scarlett extracted the rest of the stale bread from Elsa’s fingers. ‘I’m sure you’re right. Come on, let’s get back to your mum. She should be home by now.’

About 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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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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