Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Review – The Manny © Sara Bell

Title:  The Manny

Author: Sara Bell

Publisher: Torquere Press

Main Characters: Tate Fuller's & A.J. Boyd

Tate Fuller's life is a God-awful mess. He's flat broke, his dead lover's parents are suing him again and his asshat landlord A.J. Boyd is evicting him from his bike shop, the one constant in Tate's life. He's starting to think things will never look up when sees an ad in the paper for a night and weekend nanny. So what if the guy who's doing the hiring is none other than A.J. himself, or if A.J. makes Tate's blood heat with something other than anger?

After having his wife dump him because she claimed a bisexual man could never be faithful, A.J. Boyd has stopped being surprised when life throws him curve balls. Stopped being surprised, that is, until he finds out his ex-wife has died and left him with a six-week old daughter he didn't even know he had. Now he's sleep-deprived, scared stiff, and ready to do something really stupid, like hire the stubborn, infuriating, cocky Tate. And if the tension between them's hot enough to restart the Chicago fire, well, so be it

The process server came to let Tate know the Michaelsons were suing him -- again -- exactly ten minutes after he got the disconnect notices for the gas and electric at his shop. Since it was Tate's experience bad news came in threes, he couldn't help wonder what fresh hell was in store for him next.

His answer came an hour after the process server left, when A.J. Boyd, his landlord and all-around pain in Tate's ass, strolled into the shop with a triumphant smile on his too-handsome-not-to-have-had-some-work-done face.

"You're late on the rent." A.J. was practically bouncing on the balls of his Italian-leather clad feet.

Tate swallowed. He had exactly forty dollars in his checking account, his credit cards were maxed out, and he had yet to notify his lawyer of this newest development with the Michaelsons. "I'm not even a month behind yet." Close enough. Twenty-eight days, but still… "Look, I'm good for it. I've got three bikes as good as sold and another guy who's waiting on financing. As soon as the money comes in –"

"I'm filing evection proceedings first thing tomorrow," A.J. said cheerfully. "No hard feelings."

Tate felt like he was drifting in the middle of the Atlantic in a leaky washtub. No matter the bad shit that had happened to him in the past two years, he'd always had his shop to fall back on. His former landlord, Red Hanks, had been a mentor to Tate, teaching him the ins-and-outs of the bike building trade, selling him the business and renting him the building. They'd been more than business associates: they'd been friends up until a year and a half ago when Red had a massive heart attack walking through his own living room on his way to the Sunday dinner table. Red's wife hadn't wanted the responsibility of paying taxes, keeping up codes, etc. etc, and so she'd decided to sell the building Road Hog Custom Cycles was housed in. She'd offered it to Tate first, of course, but thanks to the Michaelsons, he couldn't finance a stick a Juicy Fruit, much less a commercial property in Chicago. Enter A.J., who'd snagged the building from Red's widow for a song and had proceeded to make Tate's life hell ever since.

"You can't do this," Tate said. "I have rights."

"You and Red didn't have a lease, which means you and I don't have a lease." A.J. looked at him with something akin to pity in those emotionless blue eyes of his. "You're month to month, buddy. I don't have to have a reason to want you out. I --" From the pocket of A.J.'s black suit coat, his cell phone chirped. He held up one slender finger as he answered. "Hold that thought."

A.J. walked to the far corner of the main garage space to take his call. With his white-blond hair and sun-kissed skin, A.J. looked more like a California surfer god than a real estate mogul, but Tate supposed everybody had their talents. Too bad one of A.J.'s chief accomplishments was adding to Tate's mile-long list of woes.

"Yes. No, I understand," A.J. was saying into the phone Tate couldn't help but notice he was holding in a death grip. "No, I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Right. Goodbye." He killed the connection and looked at Tate, all the color gone from his cheeks. "I have to go. Remember what I said." All the warmth had drained from him along with the color. "I want you out."

Tate watched him go, wondering which of them was the more miserable bastard.

The Manny © Sara Bell

 

My Thoughts.

THE MANNY is one of those books  where the beauty lies in the detail and I did enjoy those details. The books does not really veer far from the blur so this is more a round up of my thoughts on the book.

I came across Ms. Bells work recently and decided to start with this short read, The story begins straight off with the two main protags at each others throats and naturally my sympathies went with the underdog, which in this case was Tate Fuller.

Tate is barely managing, who am I kidding Tate is barely surviving – with losing his partner and a pending wrongful death lawsuit nipping at his heels and to top it off he’s late on his rent, how much worse can it get. Well when A.J. Boyd walked through the doors of his bike shop it just got extremely worse – because A.J doesn’t give him a chance he wants him out and no arguments about it.

A.J. Boyd the “asshat landlord”  has his own share of troubles and a shocker is closer than he could even imagine. When A.J. finds out he is a father and not under the most ideal of circumstances he is not happy, but one look at Madeline, his six weeks bundle of pinkie goodness and he was lost.

As much as he love Madeline he knows he has to get some sleep because babies and commercial life do not go hand in hand. Luckily for Madeline, Tate is also on the hunt for a job and he has just the right amount of experience and training – A.J. is not so happy about Tate turning up at his door – but when Madeline stops crying for the first time in what feels like weeks he would have make a deal with the devil if he did that.

And so begins the dance of passing the baby over muscled shoulders and across the kitchen table into big work worn hands in and out to work, there also begins the lusting glances and the sly little smiles and I was loving it.

As expected something had to give and it did in a big way – A.J. and Tate themselves were their own worst enemy, but nastiness has away of floating to the top and when one surprise after another has A.J.’s and Tate’s backs against the wall – they have to do their own soul searching to see if they can make it together after all is said and done. 

Sara Bell is a new voice to me, but I am liking her style – it is so easy to read, before I knew it I was as caught up in the love affair between the two men just as much as members of both their families were. The support cast in this was fantastic, direct, and the look you in the eyes and put a whole lot of hurting on you type of people and I loved them.

I will say that I thought she did an great job of defining A.J. and Tate, as short as this book was I got to know them really well. The storyline itself I thought was really good and I only wish there was more of it – as it was a pretty decently put together plotline.

THE MANNY is definately one I would recommend. 

 

4 Speak To Me:

Tam on 23 February 2010 at 12:42 said...

Usually when you put men and babies together you get an "awwww" moment. I just wasn't sure about his but it may be a good option. I'll keep it in mind.

Chris on 23 February 2010 at 13:50 said...

I really liked this one, too!

Lily on 23 February 2010 at 15:09 said...

I've read a couple of her other books and enjoyed them. This one sounds good too. Another for the TBB.

Blodeuedd on 23 February 2010 at 17:21 said...

Where beauty lies in the details, gotta love that :D