Seventeen Nights by David Leightley978-1-925447-29-3 **Price includes shipping within Australia**
Was it the bleak month of February that set him on his way – or perhaps guilt? But who’s to know back then? Paul Collins is a man hiding a grisly past with an aversion to anyone saying they love him; he also avoids dark, damp dismal places – hurting his head. He has a dislike of single beds, especially metal-framed beds. What he does like is sex… a line of one-night stands: which, is all he can handle… and with men.
Love was beaten out of Paul at an early age. He meets his nemesis in the guise of the tour guide, Antonio Rodriguez: a man equally disillusioned by love hits a brick wall seeing Paul Collins staring at him… his smile a tease. And that night a challenge is accepted where Paul keeps his eye on the tour guide… only to verify he enjoys his job.
There is a variable mix on the tour with a strong American presence. Lilly, likes watching and there’s also Australians. Then there’s Sally and Doreen. On top of that, there’s David – he’s for plucking. Hopes are dashed, but then again there’s Honey Rose and Will Kostopoulos: with special needs.
Fatima, is a turning point in Paul and Antonio’s fierce opinion of each other – that of a whore and saint. Lisbon is where Paul and Antonio believe they are cursed. Provoked, Antonio turns Judas and denies what he feels. And a Portuguese man complicates matters, leaving Antonio breathless at what he witnesses.
In Seville, Willy and Honey Rose involve Paul and Antonio in a situation that involved their special needs. The grand mosque of Cordoba is where they capitulate, and that night sailing the Guadalquivir River in Seville they seek each other.
Vengeance muddies the water – and stirred by the Kotsopoulos’s they set out to discredit Antonio because of his relationship with the queer Irishman. From sensible Europe to the enticing smell of North Africa is life changing, and the desert winds have David in its sight capturing Antonio’s imagination. Doreen upstages Honey Rose. Paul is bedeviled by the past. David mourning his loss, has in his sights… Frank Worth, while Sammy faced her future that’s tied to the past.
Antonio and Paul’s developing relationship exposes their vulnerability. A traditional Hammam piques Frank and Willy’s curiosity. In Rabat Antonio has the opportunity to exact retribution. It is also in the Hammam where Willy and Honey Rose hatch their plan for Paul and Antonio’s destruction. Changing not only their lives but also that of Frank and Irene. David has to make a choice, while Honey Rose and Willy are given gifts.
Photographs taken in the bathhouse shatter dreams, setting Paul and Antonio on a course of annihilation... and in not a pretty way. Despite Doreen’s good intentions, she reads Paul’s journal causing trouble. Not even the beauty of the Alhambra Palace can shake the prevailing sense of failure haunting Paul and Antonio. Meanwhile, Willy and Honey Rose although ecstatic – they are also in pain. A visit to a bodega is especially harrowing for Antonio passing Paul in ribbons of vines, they continue in opposite directions. Repentant, Doreen has plans for the Kotsopoulos’s at the farewell dinner, right back where it all started… in the Plaza Mayor.
Forced to attend Paul reminisces. Antonio also reflecting sets out to replay Will and Honey Rose. Horrified, they watch the proud Spaniard they had all come to love act ugly. At its end, Antonio gives Paul what he promised for watching him for seventeen nights – and that is a ticket.
On the railway platform Antonio stares at the steel rail tracks as a sleek shiny black crow struts imperiously towards him, and its soulful cry mocks him as it climbs into the sky in front of the train slowing down.
Antonio approaches the lone figure and takes the ticket from Paul’s hand. Tossing it to the wind, Paul hears Antonio saying what he’s wanted to hear all his life…
"What are we waiting for…let’s go home."
Trim size: 6 x 9 inches (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Page count: 598
Internal pages: B&W
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