Tuesday, October 23, 2018

"Can’t Buy Me Love" by Martin Humphries

Can’t Buy Me Love
by Martin Humphries

Can’t Buy Me Love by Martin Humphries

Can’t Buy Me Love is the first book in The Cost of Loving series by Martin Humphries. Read an excerpt below and download your FREE copy today. Also available: Love For Sale, Free Love, Love Don't Cost A Thing, The Price of Love, and Love Hurts.

It’s the sixties, and London might be swinging, but not for our girl Edith. Raised in a miserable home full of anger and hate, life for poor Edith seems to hold little hope. But she finds plenty when she teams up with her older gay cousin, Ronnie, who makes her his mission with a plan to re-shape her into the fabulous young woman he knows she deserves to be.
Once free of her father and her weak, defenseless mother, her transformation is swift and dramatic. Suddenly, life is an exciting adventure, full of twists and turns, as Edith’s coming of age becomes a roller-coaster ride of glorious highs and frightening lows, including a father who comes back to haunt her. But where will it take her, and how will it end? Who will win, and who will lose?
This Can’t Buy Me Love Bonus Edition offers the first two of six volumes in The Cost of Loving series. If you like stories of success over adversity, family dramas and sexual diversity, then you will love Martin Humphries’ bitter-sweet voyage of discovery through some of the most exciting years in living memory. Years chock full of changes of every kind, when being gay usually spelt trouble with a capital T.
Start traveling this fascinating journey through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s today by buying Can’t Buy Me Love, and follow Edith through London, Europe and Hollywood, over two decades, as she matures from troubled teenager to famous beauty.

Ronnie’s Story …
“Do you think he’s diddling her?” Mum asked one Sunday as we all sat quietly eating our roast dinner.
I liked to come home for those as often as I could because - well, let’s face it - I was a young man living on my own and, of course, I couldn’t cook for toffee and certainly not like my mother could. Normally, the conversation was idle at best, but not today.
Something was niggling at her.
“Well, that makes a change from ‘pass the gravy’, I suppose. You’ve got my attention.” That was my father. He, normally, just liked to eat and not get involved in issues that might divert him from concentrating on his food, especially Sunday lunch.
We both stared at her.
“Well, it’s just that I was talking to Evey yesterday and she was quite angry about Billy. She never gets angry about Billy. She’s a total softy where that husband of hers is concerned, but she’s worried about Edith, I can tell. For somebody who keeps her blinkers firmly in place that only means more trouble as far as I’m concerned.”
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean that he’s being a naughty boy with his own daughter. Honestly, I don’t know where you get these ideas from sometimes, Stella, I really don’t.” Dad was rolling his eyes.
“From my brain, Freddie. From my brain. Where I do my thinking, which is what you should be doing sometimes. This is family we’re talking about. My family. My sister.” Mum wagged her fork at dad’s face and poked her tongue out at him. “You should show more concern. Anyway, I’d bet you the crown jewels that that’s behind all this.”
“That he’s diddling his own daughter! You know as well as I do that he’s made his mind up she’s not his. Are you going to change that for him? Good luck!”
“You don’t believe that, do you?” I chimed in.
“It doesn’t matter two figs what I believe, Ronnie. It’s all about what your uncle Billy thinks and if that’s what he thinks then nobody’s going to change his mind for him. Only he can do that. But, knowing him, I bet he’s taking it out on Evey - and Edith, poor thing - just to get his own back.”
“I hate to say this but she’s no catch, Mum. Why would anybody have a go at her?”
She rolled her eyes. “It’s got nothing to do with her looks. It’s all about vengeance. He’s getting his own back the only way that bastard knows how to.”
“Stella, language at the dinner table.”
That was my dad again.
Silly arse.
“Dad, we’re all grown up here, don’t forget. I think we can have the odd bastard over the dinner table and an occasional bugger and shit.”
“Ronnie that’s enough.”
My mother this time.
Silly cow.
“I swore because I’m upset. You know how I am when we talk about that pig and my sister and the miserable life he’s created for her. For them. And besides, Edith wasn’t always like that and that’s what makes me wonder.”
“Wonder what?”
“What he’s done to her, silly! To turn her from a kid who was full of life to that drab and lifeless rag of a girl she is today.”
And that, I had to admit, was true.
Being a decade older than Edith, I had seen her grow from a baby to a child to a girl and now to a wretch. It was sad to see the light in her eyes go out and to watch as she became a moody, sulky, miserable girl with a temper that sometimes she could barely control. Mum was probably right. Edith’s anger and aggression were, no doubt, a defense against her vulnerability and feelings of helplessness.
And it was sad to see.
She had been a fun-loving, lively kid and her world was all about the three W’s – where, when, why? Question after question after question until you thought she couldn’t know more if she’d swallowed every volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica. She wanted to know the reason for everything.
And then she didn’t.
That had all been well and truly kicked out of her now. She had become an empty vessel which we all wanted to fill up again. As a child she had shone and sometimes dazzled, but that light had flickered and died - that glow of a child revelling in the exploration of life.
I, for one, wanted to re-ignite it.
Why me?
Because I had been there myself.
Being queer in the fifties and sixties, you don’t survive without having the shit kicked out of you.
Sometimes for real.
I was one of the lucky ones.
I almost drowned, surfaced, found something to hold on to and survived, but you always stay water-logged no matter how hard you try to dry out. My light had extinguished and been reignited, but only a flicker remained.
The intensity was gone.
Just like Edith’s.
Maybe it will come back.
Maybe, in time, I’ll forget the mornings when I would wake up disappointed that I hadn’t drowned. Forget the helplessness, the hopelessness and the days when life didn’t seem the favoured option.
All that fear and confusion.
It all seems like self-pity, I know, but I only have one thing to say about that – what the fuck do you know? Just you try it.
And so I knew that, whatever Edith was struggling with, it was ugly and wretched and, quite possibly, life-threatening. That bright, lively, bubbly, inquisitive child who used to bob and sway like a balloon searching for more height with which to explore all of the world, stretching out far, far ahead.
What’s this?
What’s that?
Where’s the other?
Question after question after question, only to burst and sink, deflated, to a weedy, miserable corner of the earth where she could hide, abandoned, in a dreary place with no way that she knew of to free herself.
I saw myself reflected in those sad, deep pools whenever I looked into her eyes, and I wanted her to know that there was a way out and I would help her limp through it and get strong again. All she needed was someone standing in her corner. Someone strong enough to fight for her in the same way that I had longed, when I was her age, to have someone there to fight for me, as I struggled with my own demons.
 “So what are we going to do about it?” I said.
“What can we do? I’m her auntie but that doesn’t give me any rights.”
“Can’t we report him to the police?”
“For what? Beating his wife? They don’t care about stuff like that.”
“You don’t want to go dragging the police into it. It’s just family stuff.”
Dad again.
Daft sod.
“So, it’s alright to go bashing your missus about, is it? ‘Cos you only have to try that once with me, matey, and I’ll have your bollocks off and in the bird feeder.”
“Calm down, will you? All I meant was that if you call in the police for your sister then you’d have to call them in to half the families on that estate. It’s just normal family stuff. Wives get a bashing. It happens. It’s no big deal.”
“No big deal? I’ll take a swing for you one day and see how you like it.” Mum was almost shouting now. “And I know it happens alright. But kids don’t get messed about with where they shouldn’t ought. Then it’s time for the police.”
“Oh, yeah? And where’s the proof? Your sister wouldn’t say a word against that teddy-boy husband of hers; he can do no wrong in her eyes.”
“I bet she would, you know. If push came to shove. She won’t hear a word said against him but it’s not love that does that. It’s fear. She’s afraid of him. She’s afraid of him leaving her. She’s bloody afraid of everything is that one.”
Mum stabbed another roast potato, dripping with gravy, and raised it to her lips. She looked at both of us in turn with a fierce look that had a decision emblazoned across it.
“Mum, that was delicious. Now what’s for ‘dee-ssert’?” I said, stretching the word with my best American drawl.
Mum smiled the smile of a happy cook before her contented and admiring audience. “Glad you liked it. And you’ve been picking up too many words from that sister of yours. It’s still pudding in this house, mate, and don’t you forget it. Soon you’ll be asking for cookies and toemaytoes.”
“So? What’s for pudding?”
“Your favourite. Trifle.”
I swooned.
Sometimes it was worth coming home.
“Mum! I love you.”
“Don’t be so soft,” she said and smiled. “It’s only a bleedin’ trifle.” Then, just as she was about to start clearing up the dishes, she paused. “I think I’ll pay her another visit next weekend.”
“You know. My stupid sister - Evey.”
Ah. So that was the decision behind that fierce look.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“I found the book intriguing, depicting the life of a young woman coming of age in the 1960's, along with her gay cousin.” ~ Vern A’Dare Shoaf
“Interesting story. I grew up during this time period, too, so that made it doubly interesting.” ~ Renee Q Yancy
“Just a wonderful coming of age story set in the crazy 60s. The cast of characters would certainly make it on your guest list for the ‘It’ party, provided you are not a prude! Live this series and highly recommend!” ~ Ms. Maggie
“Being a baby-boomer I loved reminiscing through the music, fashions and lifestyle references. It was a very interesting story with several surprises. I enjoyed reading it.” ~ Kindle Customer
“A wonderful read. Much more than a take on homosexual relations. This is about growing up in the sixties and how it changed America.” ~ Joseph Skinkis
“I liked the book and enjoyed learning what it's like to grow up in the sixties. The main characters are well-developed and entertaining. I love how Ronnie takes Edith on as a pet project to turn her into wife material. It's all very interesting. I couldn't put the book down.” ~ Darcy Ya

About the Author
Martin Humphries
Martin Humphries is a first-time author who, once he started writing, couldn't stop. Now, after five industrious years, Martin has completed The Cost of Loving series of which Can’t Buy Me Love is the first volume.
Five more volumes, Love For Sale, Free Love, Love Don't Cost A Thing, The Price of Love, and Love Hurts, complete this dramatic coming of age story that spreads over two decades and two continents. It is a bittersweet, rollercoaster ride of a life lived in the spotlight and with the dark side well hidden from view.
After so many decades of life, Martin is full of stories that need to be told and is busy working on several of them right now. These include a sequel series to The Cost of Loving that follows our cast of characters through The Plague Years of the 1980s and beyond, when AIDS changed everything.
Martin lives quietly on Gabriola Island, one of the Gulf Islands off Vancouver, on Canada's wild and rugged west coast, but enjoys some excitement vicariously through his lively cast of imaginary characters.
It's a wonderful place to write, surrounded by so many other creative people, his partner of twenty-three years, Paul, and the best dog in the world, Alfie.

Sign up for the author’s newsletter and receive a FREE copy of Fun is on its Way, a prequel novella to The Cost of Loving series.

Fun is on its Way by Martin Humphries