Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.
“Do you really wanna go there?” Unlike the fake lunch block that I spend every day with Jazz, my real lunch block with Emily has been a total bitch lately. I can’t say who the major target of the bullshit is—Emmy or me—as neither of us has a sizeable fan club at Fiske High School. But I will say that the front table by the salad bar can be a cold place, and that’s not just because of the draft that comes in from the hallway.
“Nice makeup, girl-boy.” It seems Edwin Darling hasn’t forgotten my nickname from grade school, which sucks for me.
But this diva never backs down. “Thanks. Haven’t you heard—I was the head makeup artist on Evita?”
“Eh-what-uh?” Eddie the Appalling wrinkles his greasy forehead and runs his hand over his buzz-cut hair. Clearly, he is unfamiliar with Tony Award winning Broadway musicals. Not that I’m shocked. He quickly shifts his attention to Emily. “How do you put up with him, fat-ass?”
My BFF isn’t as good as I am at deflecting evil taunts. She looks up at him with wide eyes and seems to lose her appetite, pushing her salad toward the middle of the table.
“Oh, that’s cold, my darling Eddie.” (See what I did with his name, there? Clever, I know.) I stand up. “I wouldn’t go there if I were you.” I then “rawr” at him like a ticked-off tigress, throwing in a clawing gesture to get my point across. “Do you really wanna go there?”
I can tell by the look on his face that he’s remembering how long it took for the scratches on his face to heal after our last entanglement.
“I personally could live without going there, but you know me—I’m impulsive as hell.” I fold my arms across my chest and thrust out my right hip. “Piss me off and I’m likely to do abso-fucking-lutely anything.”
The bulk of my attention is focused on my adversary, but it’s impossible to miss that we’ve gathered an audience. An audience of indifferent “watchers”—the multitudes of apathetic teens who will later text each other, “did you see the homo and the bully go head-to-head at lunch today?” They don’t matter one smidgeon in the scheme of things, but my Emily does.
At this point, Eddie and I are eye-to-eye and chest-to-chest. Lucky for him, one of his thugs bails him out. “Get too close to that fag and you’ll get AIDS—am I wrong?” The big oaf grabs Eddie by the arm and pulls him away.
But he doesn’t remove his gaze from mine. “You better watch out when we’re off school grounds, pansy.”
If I said I didn’t shudder, I’d be lying.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.
Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. 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.
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