Today I welcome new-to-me author A. Zukowski and a book that has been described as “a wonderful story of redemption.” Other reviews call it by turns wonderful, emotional and harrowing. But then, leaving the past behind and forging a new path to a better futures doesn’t just take courage. It takes blood, sweat and tears, too, sometimes quite literally. So, while this may not be a book for everyone, I’m looking forward to reading it.
Liam for Hire
Liam Murphy has kicked his drug habit and now pays for the high living costs in London as an escort. His life is finally in balance. His only problem is that he obsesses about the minimum number of times he has to bend over to make ends meet. As long as he has his emotions under control, it’ll be fine. That’s what Liam keeps telling himself until he meets the young widower Alastair, also known as Ali, whose emerald eyes remind him of Ireland.
Featuring Liam from The Boy Who Fell to Earth.
Excerpt from Liam for Hire by A. Zukowski
“You don’t need to lie about your age to be untruthful. I don’t have anything to hide.” The only thing no client will get from me is emotional attachment, as hackneyed as it sounds. It’s not good for me or for them. I need to protect myself. No one else will.
Ali nods, as if he understands my reasoning. After finishing the joint, I light up another cigarette and take a large sip of the whisky that clouds my head. I realise I’m enjoying the conversation. Here in this little garden, I am able to relax. Living in my box room in the crowded flat isn’t good for contemplation. But then, who am I to complain? I can hardly afford anything else.
As we listen to the hum of the London suburb and the distant sirens that cut through the city’s streets all night, Ali’s curious gaze fixes on my face as though he really wants to know the real me. “And you’re Irish, right?”
My accent is unmistakable. “Yup. Born and bred in West Cork.”
Ali plays with his wedding band and he takes a gulp of his whisky, almost finishing it. “So, how long have you been in London?”
“I came to London nearly four years ago.” But most of the first three years were shrouded in a drug-induced fog. I’m not proud of it.
“Do you miss home? Do you ever feel nostalgic?” Ali stares dreamily at the shadows of the garden. I wonder why he’s the one who seems to be pining for something.
I look intently at the dark sky as I consider his questions and finally I realise what ‘home’ means to me. Even with a roof over my head I’m still homeless in my heart. Brick and mortar don’t mean anything. I’m not sure if I want a real home right now, somewhere I belong. Not that one is on offer or available to someone like me. Some days, I long for the freedom of the streets, strange as it may sound to anyone who has never been homeless. My bedsit and the job are like a hamster’s cage, giving me temporary shelter but making me go round and round in circles.
I reply, “I don’t miss the actual places. I miss the stars and the inky nights. Sometimes I think I can smell the seaweed on damp sand and hear the sound of the waves on Inch Beach if I close my eyes. I yearn for the thunderstorms and the crystal dewdrops clinging to long grass. I want to hear the tunes played on a bodhrán and the low notes from the clarsach.” I inhale deeply, then slowly breathe out, thinking about those beautiful things I once shared with someone I thought I loved and would spend the rest of my life with.
About A. Zukowski
I am a London-based British writer who grew up in the gay village and red light district of Manchester, UK.
I was trained in screenwriting at the University of the Arts, London; National Film & Television School and Script Factory, UK, followed by a series of misadventures as a film journalist, writer and producer of short films. My stories are based on personal and emotional experiences, and feature strong LGBTQ-identified characters.
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Buy from Amazon