This month I’d like to share with you what I’ve been working on lately. It’s an excerpt from my upcoming release Two Man Station, which will be published by Riptide. I don’t have a release date yet, but we’re well into the editing process now.
Two Man Station is set in the small town of Richmond, in the Queensland outback. My main characters, Jason and Gio, are the two police officers in town. Gio has only just moved to Richmond, under a cloud, and Jason doesn’t exactly welcome him with open arms. But you know that’ll change!
This was a weird one for me to write. As some of you may know, I’m a dispatcher for the police, so writing a book about police officers set in my division was actually a very strange thing. The lines between day job me and writer me definitely blurred!
For all that, I had a lot of fun writing it. Jason and Gio were interesting characters to create, but it turned out I’m especially fond of Taylor Jason’s ten-year-old son, who insinuates himself into Gio’s life from Gio’s first morning in town.
I hope you like the excerpt! And yes, this is literally all there is to Richmond. It’s definitely a culture shock for Gio:
When Jason Quinn woke up, Taylor was gone. There was a half-finished bowl of cereal in the kitchen sink and the milk had been left to slowly curdle on the table. The back door was open.
Jason didn’t panic. He figured he was still half sunk in sleep when he was climbing the new guy’s back steps, and by the time he’d pulled himself into a state approaching wakefulness he could already hear Taylor chattering away inside.
Time to remind Taylor that boundaries were a thing that existed. He’d been the same with Dan and his family. At least Dan and Gabby hadn’t minded having Taylor underfoot all the time. He’d liked coming over to visit Gabby and the baby. He’d been inconsolable when Dan put in for a transfer to Cairns.
“Who’s coming to live here now, Dad?” he’d asked one night, sniffling into his pillow.
“I don’t know, mate.”
Taylor had scrubbed at his eyes. “Will they have kids maybe?”
“Maybe,” Jason had told him, tousling his hair. He hoped whoever got the spot did have kids, for Taylor’s sake. Jason just wanted someone he could work with as easily as he could with Dan. Someone he could trust to have his back.
Turned out they’d both been shafted, hadn’t they?
Jason knocked on the screen door and then opened it. “Taylor? You in here, mate?”
Taylor poked his head around the kitchen doorway. “Dad! I’m helping Gio unpack!”
“You’re supposed to be getting ready for school,” Jason reminded him.
“What time is it?” Taylor asked.
Jason squinted at his watch. “Eight thirty.”
“Shit!” Taylor’s eyes went owlishly wide.
And it was probably time for a refresher course on appropriate language while they were going over that boundary thing again.
“Go and get your bag and your shoes,” Jason said. “And your lunchbox is in the fridge.”
“Can I get money for tuckshop?”
Taylor’s face split with a grin.
“Bye, Gio!” he yelled, pushing past Jason to get to the stairs. “Bye, Dad!”
Gio appeared in the kitchen doorway, leaning in the frame. He was wearing track pants and a faded Green Day shirt. “Sarge,” he said, nodding.
“Morning. Sorry about . . .” Jason made a vague gesture that he hoped encompassed Taylor’s lack of boundaries, Taylor’s lack of polite language, and pretty much Taylor himself.
“It’s no problem.” Gio’s expression was impossible to read.
“You settling in okay?”
“Yeah.” Gio didn’t hold his gaze. “Fine.”
“Okay,” Jason said. “First shift today, huh?”
“I’ll see you at two.”
Gio lifted his gaze again. “Yes, sarge.”
Jesus. The guy was an absolute fucking delight, wasn’t he? No wonder they couldn’t wait to see the back of him down the Gold Coast. Jason was tempted to ask him which telephone box they’d held his farewell party in.
“Okay,” he said instead. “I’d better get Taylor to school.”
He was halfway down the stairs again when he heard Gio locking the door behind him.