Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for Love Punked by Nia Lucas. I will be sharing an extract from the novel.
When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.
Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.
Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.
Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.
“EARTH TO ROBERTS! Jesus woman, you gonna write on my bloody shirt or what?”, I am jolted out of my slightly nauseous daydreaming by Gio Romano, brandishing a marker pen and pointing at his graffiti-scrawled shirt.
Today is the last day before study leave starts and my peers have all lost the proverbial plot. Teacher’s cars have been egged and ketchup’d in the car-park, leading to two of my classmates being led away in handcuffs following their arrest for criminal damage after the ketchup stripped the paint off the cars. Well played lads.
There has been a water fight which saw an entire corridor of art-displays ruined and another five of my peers being frog-marched home under suspensions and the pièce de résistance was the arrival of the two ambulances which were required when another group decided to try stacking the picnic benches on the hockey field. They managed to make it to five benches high before the pile collapsed on them and the resultant crush injuries required paramedics.
The remainder of the Class of ‘96 are now sat under armed guard in our common room, Mr. Gibson threatening bloody deaths to anyone who so much as farts out of turn.
“You ‘kay Roberts? You look well peaky?”, Gio’s face is scrunched up in concern which surprises me.
As a rule, I avoid Gio Romano. After being at school together for our entire childhoods and adolescence, the coffin nail in our fractious association was that night at the Under 18’s Disco last year, when he and Daniel McNamara rode roughshod over my fragile teenage ego. He always makes a point of taking the piss or catcalling me on the bus, winking at me like he’s hilarious when I retaliate.
Gio, the grandson of Italian immigrants, has become a little bit of a heart-throb this year though. He’s by far the most physically matured lad in Year 11, he’s over six feet tall and whispers abound about an alleged six-pack. He’s also got the olive skin and dark curls that give him a bit of an edge on his more doughy, rural peers. To me, he will always be annoying Gio Romano who used to pick his bogies in Mass and whose willy I reluctantly observed in the home corner at playgroup when we were four. He’d cried when I’d dropped my own knickers and showed him my fairy. To be fair, I think he was expecting a woodland creature with wings. They were probably tears of disappointment.
He still considers Daniel McNamara to be his ‘best mate’ and on the school bus, my ears prick up when I hear him reading aloud Daniel’s letters to the lads. Daniel is loving life in New Zealand, a surfer apparently and in possession of a tanned, blonde girlfriend whose photo elicited whoops from the lads.
Today though, our interaction is a continuance of what I can only describe as a ‘thawing’ in our association. I think that Adam has said something to Gio, I’m actually certain that he has, because it’s often Adam AND Gio who wade in when the comments directed my way get too bawdy or the girls looks become too vicious.
Right now though, he’s not wrong. I do feel peaky. In fact, I feel proper poorly.
“Gio, I don’t feel very well”, as I stand to run to the nearby loo, I am astonished to see that the common room carpet has also decided to come for a little jog with me. In fact, it’s jogging very fast towards my face.
When I start to come round, my body is gently bouncing, as if I’m on a horse. I can’t open my eyes right now because they are too heavy and it’s too hard but I’m definitely riding something. I can feel something warm and firm against my cheek, strong supports against my back and under my knees and I can smell something nice, like herbs and lemons.
I think I’ve got on that bloody horse with Humiliation Palmer-Smart.
Then my horse speaks, “Don’t you chunder on me Roberts, we’re nearly at sick bay, don’t you bloody hurl on me now”, it turns out that when horses speak, they do it with Gio Romano’s voice.
I find the energy to prise open one eye and peer out like a tortoise.
“Gio?”, I think that Gio Romano is carrying me.
“Roberts, you wanna be grateful I caught you back there. Your face was headed right for that floor and honestly, you can’t afford to get any uglier”
I’ve thrown up all over him before I even realise what’s happened. To be fair, he doesn’t stop moving nor does he drop me but he’s not happy,
“FUCK’S SAKE ROBERTS!! That is pure rank”. I’m not listening though, the darkness has claimed me again.
About the Author:
I am a UK based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.