Book One in the Arizona series
It’s 1984, and fifteen-year-old Arizona is doing his best to take care of his younger brothers and sister while their daddy drives a truck cross-country and spends his paycheck on booze and gambling. In small town southeastern Louisiana, his family is known as the lowest of the low, and they say it’s on account of a family curse that’s so ugly, no one would dare speak of it.
Then Arizona’s daddy loses his job, and things go from bad to worse. He baits Arizona into a fight, and their brawl results in him and his brothers and sister being split up by Social Services. Arizona is determined to make a better man of himself and take care of his siblings, but he’s up against a world controlled by adults, small town prejudices, and unfathomable family secrets that will change everything he thought he knew about himself.
- 1 To Be Read list
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Under 18
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 3 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Class Differences, Coming of Age, Death of Parent
Word Count: 77,000
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
PEOPLE SAY I lived an extraordinary life. Funny thing is, it never felt like that to me. Maybe your life is extraordinary, and you don’t even know it. I guess it all depends on who’s doing the looking, and if they’re looking from the inside out or the outside in.
All I can say, from the inside looking out, my life sure never seemed extraordinary. Especially as I got bigger and the whole world got bigger, and I could see plenty of folks who were a lot more extraordinary than me.READ MORE
I grew up in Le Moyne Parish, Louisiana, one of them what they call Acadiana parishes in the southwestern part of the state. You had your poor folks like my family who lived on John’s Island, your rich folks who lived in Franklin Acres, and the little city of Le Moyne in the middle where everybody did their business whether it was shopping at the Piggly Wiggly, dropping off their mail at the post office, or going to church. On Sundays, my brothers, sister, and me would watch the well-dressed Franklin Acres families coming out of the big, white stone, stained glass Our Lady of Grace cathedral while we was pulling our wagon of groceries on the other side of the street. Walking home from school on the shoulder of Parish Road 108, we’d see them folks speed by in shiny sedans and sports cars. Sometimes a group of boys from Saint Augustine’s Academy would slow down in a Pontiac hot rod, and they’d shout mean things and toss junk at us from their cars.
We were John’s Island trash, low down swamp rats, and worst of all, Fanning freaks, which made us the lowest of the low. Folks said we was cursed on account of my great granddaddy. I didn’t know the whole story back then. My grandma would only say Luke Fanning done a terrible thing what lost his big house, his acres of farmland, and everything else.
But in 1984, when I was fifteen years old, I wouldn’t have said my life was more bad than good nor good than bad. It’s true, we didn’t have much but a rickety old house and a bad reputation. The house could’ve used a new roof, and it was something other folks would call an eyesore on its half acre of weedy land. But we had each other, us four kids, and we didn’t know any better than to say our lives was just about the way they was supposed to be.
Us four is my younger brother Duke, my younger sister Dolly, Little Douglas who was just four years old, and me. Plus we had Grandma Tilly and Grandpa George who lived next door at the very end of our sleepy dead end street. My daddy drove an eighteen-wheeler coast to coast, so he wasn’t home most of the time. That was best for everyone concerned.
You likely noticed I didn’t mention my mama. That’s because Louisa Fanning drove off an icy highway into Lake Verret coming home from church two Christmas Eve’s past. She was only twenty-nine years old. That went down as another chapter in the cursed Fanning history.