Manifold Release Day: Julie Bozza and Liam Livings

manifold

Our two new books for 1 February publication are fascinating stories about men faced with unexpected challenges, and we’re very excited about them both. They are available across the Amazon sites, All Romance eBooks and Smashwords.

Julie Bozza

We’re sure you’ll agree with us that a new Julie Bozza title is always an event.  This time she brings us MITCH REBECKI GETS A LIFE, in which fish-out-of-water Mitch struggles to cope thousands of miles from his native New York in what – for him – is the alien environment of Sydney, Australia …

Investigative journalist Mitch Rebecki loves his job and loves New York. He doesn’t mind making enemies, either. When a crime boss threatens retaliation, Mitch’s editor sends him out of harm’s way to Sydney. In exile and resentfully working on lifestyle pieces, Mitch is miserable. But he makes a friend or two, meets a man … and discovers that Australians do organized crime, too, in a small way. Mitch soon finds himself in too deep on all counts, and trying to head home again seems the only solution.

EXCERPT

The next morning, Mitch arrived at work to find a note on his desk – in Tom’s own handwriting – directing him to Tom’s office ‘ASAP’. This was followed, in the typically understated Australian way, with three exclamation marks. Mitch shrugged, put his satchel down on his desk, and went to obey.

If Mitch had expected Tom to be angry and concerned about the bomb that hadn’t after all been a bomb, he was disappointed. Instead Tom seemed to be bubbling over with excitement. His eyes were sparking, so much so that Mitch worried vaguely about electrical fires. Tom even stood from his desk, and came to usher Mitch to a seat, before closing the door.

“I’ve got an idea,” Tom announced. “A great idea, a wonderful idea …”

Mitch was too numb to respond in kind. He nodded, indicating he was willing to hear what Tom was obviously dying to tell him.

“I really miss home,” said Tom, rather unexpectedly. “You’ve never been to Australia, right?”

Mitch shook his head, wondering where the fuck that came from.

“You should go. The people, the sunshine, the beaches, the splendor …” Tom looked about him at the artwork, the postcards, as if seeking inspiration. Which he must have found, because it then spilled forth: “The soil in the Outback can be as red and rich as blood, like the land is bleeding. The ocean’s an opal come to life. The sand’s either the purest white or gold–dust, and –”

Mitch so wasn’t in the mood. “Very poetic. But I’m not interested in a vacation, Tom.”

“I’m not talking about a holiday, mate,” Tom replied in more reasonable tones. “I’m talking about you going underground for a while, keeping your head down until it’s safe here. You can work for my cousin Eva, she’s editor for the Herald in Sydney.”

Not a chance in hell. “I don’t think so,” said Mitch.

Tom, of course, sailed right on. “You’ll need to be clever about this, it’s like going undercover. You can write under a pseudonym – and leave the investigative journalism behind for a while.”

“What? But that’s all I –” He only just managed to stop himself in time. That’s all I have. That’s all I know. Mitch gathered himself, and came up with an argument that he could live with, that any New Yorker would understand. “Yeah, great, Tom, but the fact is I can’t afford to pick up and go live overseas. My rent swallows up most of my salary, and you can’t expect me to let a Manhattan apartment go.”

Unfortunately that just made Tom’s eyes spark again. It was as if he were in love with his own idea. “I thought about that.”

“Great.”

“You work part–time for Eva, and she’ll pay you accordingly. Plus you write weekly lifestyle pieces about Australia for our Sunday magazine –” Tom waved a sample of the glossy supplement, as if Mitch hadn’t thrown it in the trash a thousand times already – “and I’ll continue your salary. I’ll even pay your airfare and some of your living expenses.” He concluded triumphantly, “What d’you think about that?”

Mitch rolled his eyes at the sheer indignity of it all. “Lifestyle pieces, my God … I’m better than that, Tom. I’ve always been better than that.”

Tom sagged just enough to acknowledge the assertion. “I know, I really do, but that’s not the point. I’ve cleared it with Gail – she’s editing the magazine now. She’s okay with you contributing –”

“Okay? She should be flattered! But you wanna exile me from everything that’s civilized? I ain’t ready for a sabbatical, Tom!”

“Do you even have a choice right now? Don’t tell me you’d rather get your head blown off, and let Cicioni walk away scot–free.”

“I can’t walk away from this,” Mitch insisted. He leaned forward to add, “I can’t walk away from what I do. You should know that, Tom.”

“Mitch, it’s just getting too dangerous right now.”

“All the more reason to see it through!”

“It’s not like you’re a cop on a case,” Tom argued.

“No! I’m a journalist on a story. A serious journalist on an important story.”

“The story will wait!”

Mitch stared at the man. “Said no editor ever.”

Tom shot him a grumpy glare. “Let Special Agent Danes do his job.” And then he cried out in frustration, “Leave it alone, Mitch! Go to Australia. Try something new. Oh, yeah – and while you’re at it – get a life!”

Liam Livings

Darryl, the hero of Liam Livings‘s new book ESCAPING FROM HIM, meets a delightful gallery of characters and is pitched headlong into a series of adventures when he finally decides to break free from his controlling older boyfriend and make a new life for himself north of the border in Scotland.

Darryl’s on the run – from controlling boyfriend Chris, an air-conditioner called Dave (deceased), an intolerable, claustrophobic situation and a person he just can’t be any more. The trouble is, he doesn’t have a plan – or any money – and all he knows is he needs to get away from everything. That’s where a lucky lift to Glasgow comes in, which turns out to be just the beginning of a whole new life …

EXCERPT

Full of McDonalds for dinner I’d found a table near where the lorry drivers sat for breaks, so I could strike up a conversation about ‘going north’, then my phone rang.

Chris.

Of course it was.

My finger hovered over the reject button before answering. I didn’t even say hello and I was hit with a tirade of pure Chris: “What the fucking fuck are you fucking doing eh? All my stuff in the bags? If you think you’re getting away with this, you really don’t know me. I’m not even sure how angry to get at the moment. This is just the warm up … ” He shouted at me about the state of the flat first. I put the phone on speaker, and sat it on the table. Then he moved onto the car: “Fucking police called about the car ’cause I’m the registered keeper. You little shit. It’s a good job you were insured. It took me a while to convince them of that. They still think you were drunk driving, that’s why you ran away, but some plumber said you didn’t smell of booze, but you were a bit dazed. You’ve had a narrow miss there.” And I let him shout at me about the car for a bit as I stared out of the window at the lorries doing a sort of mechanical ballet, manoeuvring between each other as one arrived and the other left. Their drivers formed their own little ballet too, sharing cigarettes, comparing routes – bits of paper I assumed were routes – before joining me in the warm for food, then changing partners, and doing it all over again.

I noticed the voice projecting from my phone had stopped.

“You still there, Darryl, can you here me?” Chris said, quieter now.

“Chris, I am sorry. I don’t know what came over me. It was the air con unit, the heat, my lenses, lunch with Lena, I don’t know. It was all of those things, and none of them. But I had no choice. I had to do it; I had to leave, because I couldn’t be the person I am when I’m with you, any more.”

“But I love you, babe.”

“Do you? Or do you just love me making dinner for you, doing what you want? Having someone to fuck for hours, on tap, whenever you want? Isn’t that what you love about me, Chris?”

Silence.

I picked up the phone to check he hadn’t hung up. No, he was still there. “I need someone who takes my dreams seriously. I need someone who loves how I’m always floating about in the Milky Way with my dreams, and who realises that’s who I am. I need someone who realises that doing a job I love, which means something to me, is as important to me, as whether the towels are piled up in colour order in the airing cupboard is to you. I can’t work in the KFC because I’d rather die. Some people can, they can just turn a switch and do a job which pays them, and come home and buy a new games console. I’m not that person. What’s so sad is that you still don’t know that, all this time of being together.”

“I always knew the age gap would be a problem. We’re from two different decades. Maybe it was never going to work.”

“We are. You’re right. Maybe it was always doomed to crash and burn.” I shrugged to myself. It felt strangely liberating not having to fight with him any longer.

More silence. “What about my car? Work’s going to hit the roof when they see it. What am I supposed to do about that eh?”

“It’s insured, like you said. When I’m settled I’ll send you a cheque, but to be honest, I think all the stuff I left, but paid half for it’s swings and roundabouts.”

“You what? You’re going to do what? You are un-fucking-believable. I literally, can’t … “

“Bye, Chris. Have a nice life.”

“You don’t know who you’re dealing with. I will come after you, and I will get what I’m owed, just you wait – “

I did know exactly what I was dealing with, I’d lived with his madness and moods and unbelievable temper for far too long. I put the phone down. And he was gone.

After a bizarre night in the service station, when I got talking to a group of other hitch-hikers: one an Irish man in his late twenties who had spent the last week on a drink and drugs bender and needed to get back to Ireland to see his ‘Mammy’ and a couple who were on their way back from a music festival, having lost their friends – and part of their minds too – and with no other means of travelling without money. I was relieved to climb into the lorry of ‘Call me Douggie,’ a long distance lorry driver with a thick Glasgow accent on his way back home from London with a load of fridges and freezers for Currys.

We had got talking over hot drinks in the early hours of the morning. I’d just about had enough of the bizarre antics and people I’d met trying to hitch hike, and he was feeling lonely before a long drive back home to see his wife and kids – two men about my age, called Jimmy and Gregor. “You’re not a smack ‘ead are ya?” Douggie had asked over hot drinks.

I immediately pulled back my sleeves to show off my perfect forearms.

“Right enough. I’m away to Glasgow. Any good to you?”

“Glasgow’ll do me fine.” And we had cheersed our tea and coffee.

 

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