Here’s a Valentine’s Day excerpt from GEORGIE GIRL.
On Valentine’s Night, Truman arrived early to pick me up for our double date with Lacey and Findley. My parents kindly left us alone in the living room.
Truman looked adorable in a big, army green parka. Pulling a heart shaped box of candy from his pocket, he shrugged the coat from his shoulders, threw it across a chair, and caught me up in a kiss.
Breathless and grinning, I handed him his valentine, not a thought of Kelly on my radar. Lacey could assume anything she wanted, but I knew my virtue was proven. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Legacy.”
He unwound the blue cashmere scarf his parents had given him for Christmas that made his eyes hot sapphires. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Georgie Girl.”
He sat and ripped the envelope open with a thumb. My face pinked when he read the signature aloud.
“I love you too. Now, it’s your turn.” There were a lot of words inside my card. “I wrote you a poem.” He sniffed. “It’s not that great.” But his eyes skated my face as I silently read the words:
A boyish name belies
Her tender feminine ways.
Like her fingers through my hair,
Love twines through my days
Something stirred deep inside me. He liked it when I played with his hair. I read the words again, wanting to capture them like snowflakes on my tongue. “True, it’s too much.”
“Nah. You’re my sweetheart,” he murmured, the words roping around my heart.
My parents thumped around the back of the apartment, my mother calling to Ronnie to come get in the bathtub. Truman and I leaned against the back of the sofa. We kissed, our lips parting, melding. He slipped a hand into my hair, gathering it into a knot at the nape of my neck. Settling into his embrace, I kissed his cheek and earlobe, the one with the single freckle.
Ronnie popped up from behind the sofa. “Surprise!”
I screamed. Truman huffed out a breath of disbelief, his jaw appearing to have come unhinged. I was on my feet, ready to murder my brother.
“What the hell are you doing, you little monster?” I shouted. Ronnie scooched down and crawled from behind the sofa. He sprinted for the kitchen door and turned the knob, looking wildly over his shoulder. Our father jerked the door open.
My parents stood woodenly on the other side, my father’s face following Ronnie as he pushed roughly past.
“Do you know what that little brat did?” I said, my hands on my hips. I wanted to drag my brother by one scrawny arm down to the river and drown him.
“Back down, Georgie,” my father said.
“No, I won’t.”
My father raised his eyebrows about two inches. “Elizabeth George—”
“Georgie,” Truman said from the doorway. I’d all but forgotten he was there. He addressed my parents. “Ronnie played a little trick on us.”
“He invaded my privacy,” I said, my voice raised. “He had no business—”
“I don’t like your tone, Georgie,” my father said.
My mother sat down at the table where two cups waited for coffee, and turned my father’s chair around with her foot. He heaved a sigh, and sat looking up at me, with his long hands on his thighs.
“What in the world happened?” my mother asked.
“Ronnie was hiding behind the sofa.” I looked at Truman, who nodded slightly. “We were exchanging valentines. He jumped up and scared us half to death.”
“They were hugging and kissing, too,” Ronnie called from the safety of the hall.
Wanting to squash his head like a bug, I covered my face with my hands, but peeked through a crack at Truman, who was staring at his watch as though it had just appeared on his wrist.
“Ronnie,” my mother said, “please, go to your room.”
My hands fell. Were they going to let me have it for talking ugly to Ronnie in front of Truman?
My father scrubbed his hand over his mouth, his eyes moving between Truman and me.
“About your conduct with Truman . . .” my mother said.
My face flamed as brightly as the burner beneath the coffee pot. “We were just kissing.”
My father closed his eyes. “We didn’t know Ronnie was there,” I said feebly.
My father shot me a look. “This is not about Ronnie.”
“Georgie and Truman,” my mother said evenly. “It’s normal for you to want to share your affection, but remember when you’re in the throes of young love, it’s easy to get . . . swept away by feelings.”
My pulse raced with mortification. I could feel the heat coming off Truman’s face.
He turned to me. “Your parents are right. What we were doing was inappropriate.”
The only thing holding me up was breathing. What? We weren’t doing anything wrong, I said with my eyes. The rattling boil of the coffee pot drew our gazes. My mother got to her feet and lifted it from the stove.
Truman lowered his chin and spoke to my father. “I didn’t act like a gentleman,” he said miserably. “I imposed on your . . . hospitality. I’m sorry.”
My mother looked at me and raised a brow. But shock had taken my tongue and lopped it off. “We know you’re a gentleman, honey,” she said.
My father stood and put a hand on Truman’s shoulder. “Thank you, Truman. Considering your apology, you may still escort Georgie to the movies as planned. But we’ll expect you to have her in this door by curfew and then say goodnight.”
“Yes, sir. Absolutely.”
“We’ll talk with you when you get home,” my mother said to me.
Truman and I retrieved our coats and left the apartment.
“Want my scarf?” he asked.
I glared at him. “No!”
“You took my parents’ side and embarrassed the heck out of me! How could you?” My teeth chattered with rage. Truman unwrapped his scarf. I shook off his hand. “I don’t want your damned scarf.”
. . .