Happy by Chris Scully
Cover art by Bree Archer
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Chris Scully here today to talk about her latest novel, Happy. Welcome, Chris.
Hello! I’m Chris Scully. Welcome to the blog tour for my new novella, Happy, from Dreamspinner Press. Join me at various tour stops, where I’ll be sharing some guest posts, excerpts and more. Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway to win a gift certificate and ebook of your choice. Thanks for stopping by and joining me on the tour! And a very special thanks to my hosts today.
**SPOILER ALERT** I don’t consider any of the below to be true spoilers, but if you really don’t want any hints, stop reading now
Happy was written long before the current discussion around “Gay For You” and bi-erasure in gay and m/m romance. But in a way it’s very timely. Happy is definitely an “Open for you” story. It’s not something I consciously set out to write, although at the start Peter was bi-curious, but it just developed that way. Peter Georgiou is well aware of his attraction to both men and women, although he’s hesitant to openly accept it because of how that would be received by his traditional Greek Orthodox family. Part of that involves not using the label for himself. He’s not in denial about his sexuality, but there’s a whole side of himself he represses a bit rather than stir up the inevitable trouble at home. He’s got an ex-fiancée whom he genuinely cared for, and a new girlfriend that his mother set him up with. And frankly, he’s never met someone he’s prepared to out himself for. Enter Louie Papadakis, who has returned home after a long estrangement from his family. Peter admires Louie’s bravery, not only for coming out at a young age, at great personal cost, but also for being able to be his own person and escape the demands of his family. But Peter also sees how Louie is still treated by certain segments of their Greek neighbourhood, including Peter’s own ultra-traditional mother. With his best friends’ relationship as a guide, Peter is encouraged to follow his heart, and the more time he spends with Louie, the more Peter begins to understand that true happiness can only come from being his authentic self. The question is will his family be so accepting?
About Happy – Blurb
Growing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.
When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.
As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.
“Are you happy?”
It was a simple question. Should have been a simple answer. So why was it still rattling around in Peter’s head an hour after Adam had asked it? And why did his insides squirm uncomfortably every time he thought about it? Of course he was happy. Wasn’t he?
He rinsed his hands under the bathroom faucet and chanced a final glance in the mirror. The man staring back at him certainly didn’t look happy.
You’re a sad fucking case these days, Peter Georgiou, he thought tiredly, taking in the dark circles beneath his eyes and the retreating hairline that even the closest shave couldn’t disguise. His lungs grew tight, and he quickly averted his eyes before he looked too deeply and saw something he’d rather not see.
Peter cupped his hands beneath the water, letting it spill through his fingers before bending to splash his overheated face. He struggled to recall a time when he hadn’t felt this weight on his chest, but if it had ever existed, it must have been long ago. Before he knew what expectations were. What had happened to the boy who was going to get away and see the world? Be his own man?
He straightened and flicked his wet fingers at the mirror, shattering his reflection with droplets. With a sigh he reached for the nearby hand towel to dry it off. His image blurred for a second and then crystalized again as the water evaporated. He made a face and then looked away. Ugh. He shouldn’t have had that last beer. He was a gloomy drunk to begin with, but tonight he was more morose than usual.
When had it all started to go wrong? With his dad’s heart attack? When Elena ended their engagement? Or was it before that, even?
The sounds of laughter filtered up to the second floor through the floorboards of the old house. The party was winding down, but a few stragglers still hung on in the living room, having moved inside after darkness settled in and brought the mosquitos with it. Peter wondered if he could slip out without anyone noticing. Then he remembered he had no way to get home without Julian, unless he called a cab.
He was reaching for the door handle when voices drifted through the open window, too low to hear the words but loud enough for him to recognize the speakers. Curious, Peter crept to the window and squinted into the shadows. The bathroom overlooked the narrow backyard, and sound drifted easily. Through the fluttering streamers and paper bells stretching over the deck, two familiar figures moved about below, illuminated by the glow from the kitchen.
Adam hopped up to perch on the deck railing, facing the house as Joe filled a garbage bag with the litter from earlier in the evening. After a mumbled comment, Joe set down his bag and moved to stand between Adam’s splayed knees, his back turned toward Peter, his hands seeking out Adam’s hips. As Peter watched from his secret vantage point, Adam wrapped his arms around Joe’s neck and leaned down to kiss him.
It was slow and tender, and Peter’s stomach hollowed.
His best friends rarely displayed this side of their relationship in public. They’d always been affectionate with each other—Joe was a chronic hugger—even when they were only friends, so once they’d gone beyond that, not much had changed. Unless you happened to notice the way they looked at each other, or the way they finished each other’s sentences, or how one would know what the other wanted without him saying a word.
Peter did his best not to notice.
There was enough light from the house to see Joe’s hand slide up Adam’s pale thigh and under the leg of his shorts. Peter’s breath hitched. His groin filled with a slow heat.
About the Author
CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.
Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she’s found a home in gay romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.
Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.
Connect with Chris:
Available March 30, 2016
Link to Rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ff396dca2/
Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Other blogs on the Happy tour:
March 24: MM Good Book Reviews
March 28: Open Skye Book Reviews
March 29: Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy
March 30: Hearts on Fire
March 30: Divine Magazine
March 31: Love Bytes
March 31: The Novel Approach
April 1: Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words