New release from Nicki Edwards
One More Song
Read an excerpt below
Can a city boy and a country girl find a way to be together?
Harrison Baxter and Edwina Campbell lead completely different lives.
Much has changed for Harry since he escaped his home town of Yallambah ten years ago, headed for the bright lights of the big city. Now he’s the star of Melbourne’s hottest musical, and feels more at home centre stage than anywhere else. Why bother going back to Yallambah to visit his parents when his father couldn’t care less about his success?
Meanwhile, nothing much has changed for Edwina in the last decade, which is exactly how she likes it. Eddie adores her career as a nurse and loves the Yallambah community – she can’t imagine living anywhere else. And even if she wanted to, she could never leave her beloved grandparents, who raised her like their own daughter. She’s not going to abandon them in their old age. Not for anything.
So when Harry and Eddie bump into each other on one of Harry’s flying visits home, their instant mutual attraction seems as pointless as it is intense. There’s no way they could ever make it work.
Or is there?
Excerpt from One More Song by Nicki Edwards
‘I still can’t believe you arranged a charity concert of Les Miserables in such a short amount of time. You must be doing something right,’ Christine Jennings said once he was settled at the kitchen table.
‘The director’s parents lost their property in the Black Saturday fires. When I told him what happened up here last summer he was more than keen to do something to help.’
‘How awful for him. Thank God we learned something from Black Saturday or we might have lost lives here too. Please thank him.’ Christine squeezed his arm tighter this time. ‘And thank you.’
‘What’s next after Melbourne? Overseas?’
‘That’s the plan. My dream is West End.’
Christine smiled. ‘It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, let me tell you. There’s nothing like coming home to ground you. Especially when you can live in a place as amazing as this.’
‘Time will tell.’ He felt claustrophobic every time he took the Tourist Drive turn-off on the highway towards Yallambah.
Christine flicked the button on the kettle. ‘Can you believe it? From rock star to rising musical theatre superstar in a few years. I’m so proud of you.’
Harry dipped his head at the compliment. ‘I was hardly a rock star.’
‘You sang in that band for two years.’
Harry laughed. ‘That band was made up of a few local guys and we sang in the pub when they couldn’t find anyone else. We didn’t even have a proper name.’ He was embarrassed they’d flippantly called themselves The Rams once and it had stuck.
Christine prided herself on discovering Harry’s ‘gift’, as she called it. She’d been at the pub one night when the power had gone out. The Rams were about to pack up and go home early when one of the guys convinced Harry to sing. He ended up performing without a microphone for over an hour, with only his acoustic guitar for accompaniment. The crowd had gone ballistic, shouting for more. Christine was the most vocal of the lot of them.
The next day she’d contacted the coordinator of Beechworth’s Opera in the Alps who also happened to be one of her best friends from her former opera days. The two women rocked up on his doorstep out at Thornhill and demanded he sing for them. A week later he was in Melbourne auditioning for an opera company he’d never heard of, and a month later he was living in a share flat in St Kilda having won an opera-singing scholarship. It had been a whirlwind ride and he’d barely had time to stop and reflect on it.
The following year he was nominated as a candidate for the Victorian Opera Student of the Year and although he didn’t win, he drew the attention of a director who was looking for undiscovered talent for her production of Dogfight. Harry sang for her and impressed her so much that he was offered a role at the audition. Five years later, after performing in Dogfight, then Rent, then The Lion King, an opportunity came up for him to play the coveted role of Marius in Les Miserables.
It had been a ten-year dream journey. And although people tried to compare him to a young Hugh Jackman, Harry brushed aside any comparisons other than they were both tall, Aussie singers.
‘Still single?’ Christine asked.
He nodded. ‘Yep, and I’m not looking. I’ve got plenty of time until I have to settle down.’
‘How’s your dad doing these days?’ she asked, thankfully changing the subject.
‘Fine,’ he replied cautiously. He had no idea how his father was.
The doorbell rang. ‘Oh. That’ll be Edwina.’ Christine got up slowly from the table and pulled a face. ‘Unfortunately she’s not going to be pleased when I tell her my news.’
Harry followed her and when she opened the door, his breath caught in the back of his throat. The woman standing there was willowy tall and slim, yet with enough womanly curves to cause a man – him at least – to take another look. Her long brown hair was pulled into a simple high ponytail giving her a youthful appearance. A faint smattering of freckles covered her nose and her full lips were pink, the same colour as the tinge in her cheeks. The eyes that met his were the colour of the ocean on a stormy day. He glanced at them again and blinked in surprise. They had the tell-tale red-rimmed look of someone who’d recently been crying. He wondered what, or who, had upset her.
He swallowed. He realised he was staring but it was difficult not to.
‘Hello, Edwina,’ Christine greeted her warmly. She turned to Harry and caught his arm. ‘Do you know Edwina Campbell?’
‘No. I don’t think we’ve ever met.’ He put on his best smile and held out his hand. ‘Harry Baxter.’
Edwina smiled politely in return and shook his hand.
‘Hi,’ she said. ‘I know who you are. The opera singer. Nice to meet you at last. I remember hearing you sing in that band at the pub years ago. You were okay, as I remember.’
Of all the things about him, why did she have to remember that? He groaned and pulled a face. ‘I’m pretty sure we were terrible.’
‘Okay, you were terrible,’ she agreed.
They both laughed.
‘Harry’s home for Christmas,’ Christine explained. ‘Then he’ll be back for the charity concert.’
An awkward silence fell. There was nowhere else for the conversation to go.
Harry took a backwards step towards the gate. ‘Well, it was nice to meet you, but I’d best keep moving or Mum will send out the SES on a search and rescue mission. Have a lovely Christmas, won’t you.’
Christine beamed a smile at him. ‘Yes, Merry Christmas, Harry.’
As Edwina stepped aside to let him pass, their gazes connected again briefly and his heart sped a little faster. He gave her a little wave, and strode down the path. When he glanced back over his shoulder a rush of pleasure whipped through him when he caught her looking at him. As he jogged back to his car, it took all his willpower not to spin around and keep staring at her.
Where to buy One More Song
available in paperback and eBook