The Scarecrow & George C
Publication date: June 3rd 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance
High school senior Van Liss is barely human. He thinks of himself as a scarecrow—ragged and unnerving, stuck, and destined to spend his life cold and alone. If he ever had feelings, they were stomped out long ago by his selfish mother and her lecherous boyfriend. All he’s been left with is bitter contempt, to which he clings.
With a rough exterior long used to keep the world at bay, Van spooks George Curaco, the handsome new frycook at the diner where he works. But George C senses there is more to the untouchable Van and refuses to stop staring, fascinated by his eccentricity. When Van learns that George C is even more cold, alone, and frightened than himself, Van welcomes him to his empty home. And ends up finding his heart.
Their road to trust is rocky and, at times, even dangerous. And looming evil threatens to keep them apart forever.
Fair warning: You may want to strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
*All proceeds of this book go to charity: True Colors United.
“True Colors United implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people.”
At least I don’t have to worry about my bosses wanting to get busy with me. They’re too passionately busy with each other. How fucking sweet. “Sounds like a blast. Have fun.”
This is about the extent of small talk I’m capable of. I hurry to my locker, where I pull out my messenger bag, lift the flap, and after untying my apron, I pour in the cash that’s weighing me down. Not that I’m complaining. Then, I pull on my flannel coat and oversized top hat, change into my boots, sling my messenger bag over my shoulder, and head back through the restaurant to the front door.
I hate that I have to come and go through the restaurant. That I have to be the real me—not food server me—in a place where I have a well-defined role. Not a role I’m exactly comfortable with, but one I can deal with. And I can “fake nice” when I’m working, but beyond that, it’s too much of an effort. And when I finally step onto the street and pull in a long-awaited breath of cool air that doesn’t stink of greasy food, he’s beside me.
“Van,” I say and sigh.
“I’m George…George Curaco.”
“Whatever.” I pull the flannel shirt around me tightly and turn away from him. But I have a job to do before I storm off. “You need to leave me the fuck alone, George C…or find a new job.”
I wonder if he steps back or gasps or covers his mouth with his probably greasy hand in response to my rudeness, but there’s no sound of movement.
“You can’t stop me from looking at you. Or asking you if I can carry your bag…to wherever it is you’re going tonight.”
I grit my teeth—it’s a trick I learned when I was a kid. To prevent me from screaming.
“Can I carry your bag?”
My jaw still clamped, I shake my head.
“May I carry your bag?”
“Leave me the fuck alone.” Since I’ve voiced everything necessary on the subject of him and me, I brave a final glance. I need evidence that the puppy is down on the sidewalk, writhing in pain, having been kicked by the lying little bitch. But he doesn’t appear even slightly pathetic. The kid is studying me—his eyes seem serious, even sad, as usual, but he’s wearing a smirk. It hits me that George C isn’t sad at all. “It’s just your eyes…they look sad, but they’re not.”
“Just like your words. They make you seem mean…but you’re not.”
Oh, yes, I am!
George C pulls my bag from my shoulder by the long strap. “So where are we going?”
I snatch it back with a hiss. It’s louder than I intended. “I have no clue where you are going, but I am going home. Alone.” George C has succeeded in getting under my weathered, burlap scarecrow skin. This surprises me, as it hasn’t happened in years. I don’t curse at him again or spit on his shoes, which I’ve been known to do. I just storm down Depot Street in the direction of our duplex. To the second-floor suite I claim as mine. The Batcave. My safe space.
“I enjoyed our chat, Van. Really, I did.” His voice is soft and raspy, yet it carries all the way to me, and I’m at least ten steps away already.
It must be the direction of the wind.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it’s a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.
Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology. Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit at http://www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.