Welcome to my stop on the Burn Baby, Burn Baby tour! Today I have a great excerpt from the book to share with you!
Burn Baby, Burn Baby
Author: Kevin Craig
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: December 11, 2014
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.
Half of Paul Simon opens my door. Doesn’t matter which half it is, it destroys the mood.
“Francis,” Paul stage-whispers. I open my eyes, but don’t move. “Francis. I have a tummy ache.”
“That’s because you gorged yourself on cookies. Don’t you believe in pacing yourself, young man?”
He rubs his tummy and approaches the bed.
“Wait,” I say. “Shut the door.”
He does it, and he momentarily disappears in the sudden darkness.
“Come here, bud,” I say, as I pat my hand on the bed beside me. “Come here.”
I hear his little feet clomping on the carpet and then he bounces in beside me.
“Lie down beside me, bud,” I whisper. Like people should always whisper when they’re in the dark. Why do we do that?
“It’s so cool, Francis.” I cuddle close to him and look at the ceiling with him. I know he loves my ceiling.
“You gonna be okay?”
“I don’t know. I feel like I’ll be throw-uppy.”
“Just lie still for a while. Look at the stars with me. They always make me feel better about things.”
“Yeah,” he whispers. “I like your stars, too. Simon and I should have these, too.”
He says this like he’s all adult, or something. It kind of hurts my soul, he’s so sincere and adorable. It’s like it’s an imperative that they get them. Now. I attempt to make a mental note about it. They’re douchebags and all, but I don’t mind making Paul Simon happy every once in a while. What are big brothers for?
“Yeah. Maybe you should.” I add this to my to-do list. Find a glow-in-the-dark universe to stick to Paul Simon’s ceiling.
We lay there, still like dead things, for about ten minutes before I hear his breathing change to a slow steady shallowness and I know he’s asleep. Here comes the big test. I wonder to myself how drunk I really am. If I drop him, he’ll freak. But I weigh the options and decide to give it a go. It is, after all, Paul.
I get him up, but he’s heavier than he looks. And it turns out I’m drunker than I feel. I make it to the hallway when Trig swoops in and takes him out of my arms. He carries him to his room and comes back, stealth-like, like it was nothing. He puts an arm around my shoulder.
“Thanks, bud,” he whispers. “I needed that.” His eyebrows do a dance. I shrug. I’d probably do the same if the tables were turned. I mean, she’s smoking hot. And she actually wants him. I’d take the opportunities when they came, if it were me. I might be the hideous guy with no hot girls into me, but it’s not hard to imagine what it would be like.
We head downstairs. The arm around my shoulder quietly keeps me vertical. He doesn’t say anything about my obvious drunkenness. I mean, he did supply the booze, right? What’s he gonna say?
“Can you… um.” I kind of point to Simon with my body, or my hand, or something. Anyway, I gesture toward Simon.
“Sure, bud,” he says. He slinks into the family room, leans down and brings Simon up into his arms like he’s made of feathers. “I’ll meet you downstairs.”
Trig slips past me as Simon moans and snuggles into him. Trig heads upstairs with him, while I head for the basement.
Kevin Craig is the author of three previous novels; Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, and The Reasons. He is a 4-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Novel Award. Kevin is also a playwright and has had eight 10-minute plays produced. His poetry, short stories, memoir and articles have been published internationally. Kevin was a founding member of the Ontario Writers’ Conference and a long-time member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). He is represented by literary agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group.