Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
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.
Publisher: Manifold Press
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Friends to Lovers
Word Count: 49000
Setting: Sydney, Australia
Languages Available: English
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.READ MORE
“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.”
“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!”COLLAPSE
Ije on Goodreads wrote:
Enjoyable story with interesting characters. Loved the different perspective on Australia and Australians, and the ending was realistic, rather than cliché.
Mark on Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews wrote:
If I had to describe this story I would call it ‘slice of life’ – ‘a story telling technique that presents a seemingly arbitrary sample of a character’s life.’ Although I don’t think this sample of Mitch’s life could be described as arbitrary. Another way of describing this would be to borrow from my mentor Viv Thomas and describe this as a story of a ‘second choice life.’ A slice of second choice life. … This is a great book, kind of philosophical and a really refreshing change from my usual magic, murder, mayhem and mates.
I feel the most important thing to say upfront about this book is that it’s not a traditional M/M romance. It’s there but really only plays a very minor background role in the overall story. Knowing this beforehand then you can sit back and enjoy the story for what it is; a story about investigative journalism and how Mitch has a nose for digging up the dirt on people no matter where he lands up. This is what intrigued me and I have now read a number of books where the MC(s) are gay but that’s it; they just are.
Honourable Mention in the Rainbow Awards 2015.