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Authors: Kayte Nunn

Rose's Vintage

BOOK: Rose's Vintage
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Published by Nero,

an imprint of Schwartz Publishing Pty Ltd

Level 1, 221 Drummond Street

Carlton VIC 3052 Australia

[email protected]

Copyright © Kayte Nunn 2016

Kayte Nunn asserts her right to be known as the author of this work.


No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior consent of the publishers.

The National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry:

Rose's vintage / Kayte Nunn.

9781863957991 (paperback)

9781925203707 (ebook)

Love stories.



Author photo: Jane Earle

Cover image: Wells, Stocksy

Graphic: Ohn Mar, Shutterstock

For Andy, for keeping the home fires burning.



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7


Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18


Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36


Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46




to trim (a tree, shrub or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to encourage growth


f ever there was a place for the zombie apocalypse, this could be it, thought Rose, shivering in the wind, which felt like it had blown direct from Antarctica to the Shingle Valley. Parallel rows of bare, withered vines stretched across the landscape as far as the eye could see, stark against the washed-out grey sky, while in the distance the dark shadows of what she presumed must be the Shingle Hills loomed, looking very much like a giant's crumpled, discarded handkerchief.

It was eerily quiet. The wind whipped her hair around her face and she stamped her feet and flung her arms about her body in a vain attempt to bring some circulation back to her numb fingers. They had frozen into claws from being curled around the steering wheel of her little yellow car for hours. When she'd bought it in Sydney last week, she'd forgotten to check whether the heater worked.

That had been her first mistake. Her second had been failing to pack anything approaching winter wear. She'd never imagined Australia would be this cold. This wasn't the sunshine-and-board-shorts culture she'd been led to believe existed year-round in the land downunder.
Home and Away
had a lot to answer for. Jeans, Birkenstocks and t-shirt – even one with long sleeves – offered little protection against the freezing wind that cut clean to her bones.

A few minutes earlier, the car's tyres had slipped in thick mud as she trundled up the tree-lined dirt road, her head bumping uncomfortably on the roof of the tiny vehicle. It had been a long drive, but a straightforward one once she'd escaped the tentacles of the city and sailed north over the Harbour Bridge. She'd found Kalkari Wines easily enough, spotting the timber sign with the curlicued name embossed on it in black as she hurtled along the road heading out of Eumeralla, the small town that sat smack in the centre of the valley.

One day when Rose was a child, she and her brother Henry had played a game in the backyard, trying to dig a hole all the way to Australia. She had kept at it long after he lost interest, digging a crater so large it could have swallowed her whole. When their mum saw it, she blew her top and insisted they fill it in, chuntering that Rose had damaged the roots of her precious hydrangea bush, and that Rose could have buried herself alive. Rose remembered being indignant at the injustice of it; she'd worked hard at digging that hole. Now, she felt like she had kept on digging and had finally popped out the other side.

It was nothing like she'd expected.

She mentally snapped the elastic on her big-girl panties, took a deep breath of the icy air and walked up to the cellar door, a low timber-and-stone building beside the public carpark. Behind it loomed a very large, industrial-looking shed with a corrugated roof. The sign next to the cellar door stated opening hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She looked at her watch. Just after eleven. She tried the handle. The door didn't budge. Peering through the dusty glass, she could see a few wine barrels and a bar running the length of the room, but no signs of life.

To her right a lone magpie cawed mournfully.
One for sorrow
, thought Rose. She saw signs in everything, from bad news coming in threes to black-and-white birds foreshadowing doom.
This isn't looking good.

Doing her best to ignore the magpie, which had cocked its head at her inquisitively, she headed to her left, leaving the carpark behind, and followed the other drive, marked ‘private'. As she rounded the bend, she came upon a house – and let out an involuntary gasp. Even on such a gloomy day, it was an impressive sight: sandstone walls with huge rectangular windows were topped by a gabled dark shingle roof with chimneys at either end. A pair of grand sandstone columns flanked a vast iron-studded timber door, and the square front porch was bookended by a couple of straggly lavender bushes in tarnished copper urns. As she looked at the house framed by the hills behind, Rose thought she'd never seen anything quite so intimidating or so beautiful in her life. She had a distinct feeling of deja vu: that she'd seen it before, known it before …

Get a grip, girl!

Nerves were making Rose's pulse race – she wasn't used to subterfuge. That was all Henry's doing. Feeling a little anxious and a lot like an intruder, she knocked timidly on the door.

And then knocked again, louder this time.

Getting no response, she walked around to the back of the house and found a wide verandah scattered with assorted kids' paraphernalia: rusty bikes, a half-built Lego tower and an array of different-sized muddy boots, lined up from tiny to gargantuan. A few ruddy chickens scratched around in the dirt. Signs of life there at least.

‘Hallooo!' Rose called out. ‘Hi there! Anyone home?'

‘Ain't nobody here but us chickens.'
The old jazz tune sprang to Rose's mind.

Just then she heard the rumble of an engine and the scrunch of tyres on gravel. She hurried round to the front of the house again to see that a battered four-wheel drive had screeched to a halt at the front door, scattering gravel as it braked. Rose watched as a willowy, platinum-haired girl, who – with her puffy ski jacket and knitted beanie – wouldn't have looked out of place on the slopes of St Moritz, climbed down from the front seat. Close up, she could see that the girl had the kind of peachy clear skin that looked as if it was lit from within and a small diamond piercing that twinkled in her nose. She looked all of about seventeen.

‘Hi,' said Rose, ‘I– I wasn't sure if anyone was home.' The arse-freezing cold made her teeth chatter.

BOOK: Rose's Vintage
9.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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