Eddie appears at his first Show Queen meeting…
‘I had hoped to introduce our new entrant,’ said Sarah, ‘but it appears he’s been waylaid.’
‘Nah, I’m here,’ said Eddie, tipping his wide-brimmed hat as he strode in. His colossal size made the high-ceilinged institute feel small. ‘G’day,’ he drawled, sounding like an Aussie tourism advert.
Margot Shulte, who seemed to be more in the Show Queen for the attention than any urge to help the community, tittered. Alice felt an overwhelming desire to shoot daggers at her. She hadn’t liked Margot much at school and her laziness so far in the competition had done nothing to change that opinion.
Even Alice had to admit that, with his broad smile and undeniable rugged handsomeness, Eddie was a total country-boy hottie. That he’d clearly come straight from farm work only added to his appeal. He wore jeans tucked into a pair of calf-high heavy-duty leather boots, a checked flannelette shirt with the cuffs folded up one turn, and a sheepskin-lined oilskin vest with a thread of blue baler twine dangling from one of its pockets. Eddie looked capable, trustworthy, fit and more than a bit sexy.
‘Eddie Argyle. Sorry I’m late. We’re still calving at home and the little sods have no respect for meetings. Or dinnertime.’ His gaze connected with Alice’s. He waved his hat her way. ‘You can blame Alice here for me joining in the fun.’
Several whispers sounded. Steph regarded Alice with a furrowed brow. Alice glared at him, her cheeks on fire, but unlike every other recent encounter Eddie’s grin didn’t falter.
‘Granny B!’ he said, spotting Audrey Wallace.
Alice wondered how he was familiar enough to use her nickname, then remembered that Eddie and his brother, Harry, played football with Mrs Wallace’s grandson-in-law, Josh Sinclair. Harry had even been groomsman at Josh’s and Emily Wallace-Jones’s wedding.
Mrs Wallace lifted her cheek and Eddie dutifully planted a kiss on it. ‘Looking flash as always. Hey, Tiff, how’s things? Great dress. Another of your own creations?’
To Alice’s annoyance, he kissed her, too, then Sarah. Mrs Wallace was the only one who didn’t blush like a schoolgirl.
He took the seat next to Alice, scraping the chair over a fraction when his bulk overflowed into her space.
‘Sorry,’ he said, not sounding even remotely apologetic.
He leaned forward, his focus on Sarah and twirling his hat in his hands, oozing eager energy, like a giant sheepdog puppy.
Alice wanted to hiss at him, but she couldn’t. Especially after his announcement that his involvement was her fault. What was the story with that?
What was the story with Eddie altogether?
Country Shows and Title Woes
The moment I finished Summer and the Groomsman I knew I had to write a sequel featuring Harry’s brother Eddie. We only spy Eddie at the end of that story, when he comes to help Harry out of a bind. Even then he was easy to imagine. I could picture him laughing at his older brother, thinking smug thoughts about how he’d never get in a twist like that.
Eddie would be all the things that Harry wasn’t – confident, clever, charming and good with the ladies – while still retaining all the Argyle family traits of decency and big-heartedness. A man with swagger, but a lovable one.
The title even came to me straight away – Eddie and the Showgirl.