Us Three

UsThree1BlurbIn his junior year at a public high school, sweet, bright Casey Minton’s biggest worry isn’t being gay. Keeping from being too badly bullied by his so-called friends, a group of girls called the Queen Bees, is more pressing. Nate De Marco has no friends, his tough home life having taken its toll on his reputation, but he’s determined to get through high school. Zander Zane’s story is different: he’s popular, a jock. Zander knows he’s gay, but fellow students don’t, and he’d like to keep it that way. No one expects much when these three are grouped together for a class project, yet in the process the boys discover each other’s talents and traits, and a new bond forms. But what if Nate, Zander, and Casey fall in love—each with the other and all three together? Not only gay but also a threesome, for them high school becomes infinitely more complicated and maybe even dangerous. To survive and keep their love alive, they must find their individual strengths and courage and stand together, honest and united. If they can do that, they might prevail against the Queen Bees and a student body frightened into silence—and even against their own crippling fears.

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 Reviews

“I’ll need to collect my thoughts about this book and the message it contains, but while I do that, y’all go buy this, m’kay? And then make sure every high schooler reads this too.” from Sandra

“I just fell in love with this story and with these three guys. It took me a couple chapters to get with the flow of writing as being told from three distinctly different POV with emails, diaries and in real time. But once I figured out how the book was going to read, I was completely engrossed in the story. The storyline was engaging and thought provoking and the three ML were so endearing. While there were a couple rough patches with some deep seeding hate, there was a lot of love in between. This is a must read guys, especially if you’re looking for a story about finding true love in the oddest of places and not only standing up for yourself, but what is right and the the people you love.” from T.M. Smith from TTC Books

“Mia Kerick isn’t a new author to me, I’ve read her novel ‘Out of Hiding’ not too long ago but after reading the premise of ‘Us Three’I had my doubts. A Young Adult ménage? How should that work? Frankly I wasn’t too keen on starting this one but my curiosity finally got the best of me and after reading only a few pages I couldn’t put the book down anymore. Point taken! Better trust your instincts, Tina! …

Mia Kerick describes the relationship development between these guys just wonderful. All three of them are so cute… and the way they come together and figure themselves out is so beautiful written. Their way through hell together is a real tearjerker, so brace yourself for a bumpy ride to high school hell and back. No graphic sex btw… but lots of touching, intimate scenes. Wonderful done. 🙂

I totally lost myself in this book. It’s sad since one of the loveliest characters is the target of the most vicious bullying I’ve ever read about but I liked how Mia shows us Casey’s struggle with his head and his emotions, how he grows, how he opens up to friendship and love. I loved how amazing Nate and Zander are for Casey even though they have their own personal issues. Casey, Nate and Zander are incredibly sweet and I just loved them so much. I was so hopeful for them in the end and trusted they would be alright.

Overall, Us Three is powerful, moving, thought provoking and flawlessly told, and these boys will now and for always have a special place in my heart. Parents, love your children, cherish them, listen to them! Teachers, give bullying no chance… and add this book to your reading list!” from Tina

Chapter 1

 

 

NATE’S DIARY

November 5

“Dude Least Likely to Keep a Diary.” Out of the whole junior class, that’s what I’d be voted.

But in your face—cuz here it is! Yup, Nate DeMarco’s Diary.

Nate’s feelings.

Not gonna make no excuses for it. And I sure as shit don’t owe nobody no explanation, even if there was a soul alive who cared to hear one, but I figure that this journal is gonna help me keep my shit together. See, I’m no talker, not that I’m some wise old owl who sits up there in the oak tree watchin’ and thinkin’ and figurin’ shit out. Not him either. I’m just the smart motherfucker who’s already put it together that the shit hits the fan way the fuck less when I keep my goddamned trap shut. And I learned my lesson the friggin’ toughest way possible, but there’s no need for me to spill out all of those dirty details at this stage of the game. It’d take too long, anyhow, and I haven’t got all day here.

It’s like this: I keep my mouth shut, say, ’bout 99 percent of the time, and sometimes that sucks. So from now on, so as to avoid explodin’, like I almost did on my little sister last night, if there’s somethin’ so major it’s gotta get said, I’m gonna write it the fuck down right here.

Too bad little “Mr. Pink Polo Shirt” hasn’t figured that out yet; the kid babbles like it’s goin’ outta style. Like in Survey of French class today, this is what went down: the little dude set himself up for gettin’ completely shit on. A-fuckin’-gain. I don’t know why he always tries to sit with those bitchy girls. Probably, it’s cuz none of the dudes’ll let him sit with them. Like they’re all scared shitless they’ll catch “gay” from the kid. Funny thing is, Mr. Pink Polo Shirt, I think his name is Casey, or somethin’ like that, well, he’s never tried to park his sparkly ass at my lonely table. Guess he has his own set of prejudices against big dumb oafs.

The dude’s probably creeped out by me. I have that effect on people, so I been told. Whatever. And I told that bitch who was dissin’ him where to get off. Said somethin’ like, “Lay the fuck offa him, or we gonna have us a problem.”

Know what? She lay the fuck offa him. It won’t last.

But before he started chatterin’ nervously again, to no one in particular, Pink Polo boy kinda stared at me. Never seen blue eyes so fuckin’ big.

CASEY’S REAL LIFE

“I WANT to go back to online school, Mom. I hate it here.” I dropped down beside Mom in the passenger seat of the Volvo. “Can I? Pl-eeease….”

Sometimes begging works… at least, it’s worth a try.

Mom glanced into the backseat where my little sisters were going absolutely berserk, trying to get my attention. They’d gotten used to having me around when I was schooled online last year, and they missed me now when I was at school all day. “Stay in your car seats, girls. Casey will play with you when we get home.”

“Hiya, my pretty Sarah-lee, and my sweet Lola-belle!” I spun around in my seat to face the twins. I wasn’t about to throw a hissy fit on these two little angels. “Mom’s right. Casey will paint your nails at home, but for now you’ve got to stay in your car seats. That a deal, ladies?”

My little blonde dolls looked at each other, nodded, and then settled back into their seats. Fiddling with her ponytail, Lola asked, “How long ’til we get home, Mommy?”

“It won’t be long.” My mother looked over at me and smiled patiently. “So, back to you and high school…. What happened today to make you want to go back to McMartin Virtual High School?” 

“It’s not just what happened today. It’s every day… nobody gets me there. I don’t fit in at Benjamin Franklin High.”

Any more than Wendy fits in with the Lost Boys….

Or Clay Aiken fits in at a Metallica concert….

Or Grey Poupon mustard fits in a peanut butter sandwich….

Or… well, face it, I could go on forever, but I thought I’d spare the effort and stop there.

“I don’t know why I can’t just do online high school like I did last year.” So maybe I was having a minifit, but it was a last-ditch effort to stop myself from getting depressed. Some people might relent in the face of my tantrum, but not my mother—the woman was always convinced that she knew best. “Believe me, nobody there would miss my, as they call it, ‘glittery butt,’ if I got hit by a car and died tomorrow.”

Casey, the girls will hear you!” She was way too protective of the girls. She was also way too late with her warning.

“Glittery butt!”

“Glitter butt, Casey!”

“I want glittery nail polish, Casey!”

“Me, too!”

My sisters were cute but they were like Yellow-naped Amazon Parrots. In their presence, anything, and everything, that came out of your mouth was fair game to be repeated, just like “Polly want a cracker?”. And so, to an echoing chorus of “glittery butt, glittery butt, Casey has a glittery butt,” I tried to very earnestly spell out my position to Mom. As I said before, it was a last-ditch effort at maintaining my sanity. “I got all A’s in McMartin Virtual High School last year. And I was happy doing it. Deliriously thrilled, in fact….”

“You had no one to socialize with but me, Dad, Sarah, and Lola.”

I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes, but I did that a lot, so I couldn’t be positive. “What’s wrong with you guys? Nothing, and I mean nothing is wrong—you guys are my peeps!”

“Peep! Peep!” Backseat commentary.

“You need to associate with kids your own age.”

“So they can rag on me mercilessly? Sign me up for more of that!” My eyes were rolling now; there was no way around it.

“You need to develop coping mechanisms… your doctor said so.”

I snorted as spitefully as I could manage, knowing fully well that the twins would hear and copy it, which they did. But neither Mom nor the doctors understood the way it felt to be me at school, and it was frustrating.

“Unk! Orph!” from the backseat.

“And you need to be involved at school, so you can be accepted into a good college.”

I snorted again. “I’ll get involved at the soup kitchen—you, of all people, know I can cook. Or maybe I could volunteer my time as some little old lady’s personal shopper! That would be a win-win situation all around.”

“Rmph! Urf!” The backseat snort-fest continued.

“Really, Mom, the Benjamin Franklin High School band director has made it abundantly clear to me that he doesn’t want a male baton twirler to lead the marching band in the homecoming parade, and that’s the only extracurricular activity I’m qualified for.”

“What about art club?”

“Just because I like rainbows doesn’t mean I can draw them.”

“Okay, then. How about joining the band as an instrumentalist?”

“The last time I picked up my clarinet was in fourth grade. I’d have trouble playing Hot Cross Buns!”

“You could be on the basketball pep squad.”

“I’ve already been warned against that. I’d be taken down on my way out to the parking lot after the first game I went to… and by the cheerleaders, not the players.”

Mom pulled the car in to the driveway. “Have those girls been giving you trouble again? Because, if they have, I need to make an appointment to see the principal so we can sit down and discuss it with their parents again. Remember, Casey, they are the only ones who have been officially warned of anything.” She got out of the car and went to the backseat to take Sarah out. I could tell she was getting worked up, and I told myself firmly to suck it up. After all, the kids at school may call me “crybaby” and “wimp” and “sissy” but that didn’t mean it had to be true. 

And I needed to figure out how to put up with their bullcrap, anyway. Mom didn’t have to know that Elly and Liz and Marcy, and their whole gang of mute disciples, were on my case again, like white on rice.

And there was no reason Mom had to know that I’d again become scared, as in, seriously worried about my physical safety. Knowing me, the “drama queen,” as they all said, I was overreacting and merely feeling slightly intimidated, not truly scared. “Intimidated” was the best word to describe my constant emotional state since first grade. That is, until everything escalated and I’d shifted from “intimidated” to “petrified” during freshman year.

Casey, your mother is absolutely right; you need to develop some coping mechanisms. And maybe learn to kickbox.

I stepped to the back of the car, opened the door, and unbuckled Lola. “Out you go, girlfriend!” As I placed her on the ground beside the car, I remembered the one unexpected thing that had happened to me today. When Liz had knocked my binder off the table to let me know that my “twinkling presence” wasn’t welcome anywhere near her, that enormous scary guy who always lurked in the back of the room in French Survey had stepped forward, sent Liz a look to kill, and growled something like “Lay off him, or we’re going to have a problem.” It was a very dramatic moment, for me, at least.

Nobody has ever defended me at school before.

zanderZ@catchme.com

Dan the Man-

Soccer season’s gone, gone, gone, as Phil Phillips would sing. (Not a bad tune—you think?) Wish like hell you could’ve seen me play, though. I kicked some serious ass in the last couple of regular season games. Did okay in regional playoffs, but not okay enough, looks like. No championship for Benjamin Franklin High School this year. That totally sucks.

Ma had a date Saturday night. The dude was a big time player. So maybe “PLAYER” was written all over him, but Ma couldn’t see it for the life of her. Surprise—NOT! She was all “Billy, come on in,” “Billy, how about a drink?”, “Billy, don’t worry, I’ll do you later.” And you’ll never believe this LOL 🙂 Their date mostly happened in her bedroom, and “Billy” didn’t leave until Monday morning. Come on, Ma! That sucked too.

Shit, I miss you, man. Don’t mistake my meaning—I’m pumped about what you’re doing. College is where I’ve set my sights too, but it still bites that you’re halfway across the country. I’d frigging kill to sit down with you for an underage brew. Hehehe.

You asked about my classes and grades. I got that shit under control. Chemistry with Jenkins isn’t easy, but I can’t say you didn’t warn me. Real glad I didn’t take honors. And I’m definitely throwing in the towel on math after this year. Calculus isn’t in the cards for me. But I’m acing Am Lit, Psych, and PE.

And then there’s Survey of French. It’s got such a weird mix of kids in it. Take me—I’m in it to check out the language, in general, to see if I might want to take French I with one of my senior year electives and then maybe keep going with it in college. (If I’m not going to take any more math, I figure maybe I’ll go for a second language and hopefully the college admissions boards will realize that I’m not lazy, I’m just not mathematical.) But most of the kids in Survey are just trying to fulfill the language requirement for graduation, so there are a lot of “who’s your mother’s?” in there. (You know, kids who would be challenged by the question “Who. Is. Your. Mother?”) It’s easier by a mile than French I, but it still counts.

And there’s this one really smart kid in Survey who gets ranked on so frigging badly, Dan. It’s tough to watch. (Remember that thing I told you about me? You know, how I think I might be. This kid, Casey Minton, is definitely that way. And he can’t hide it, or even tone it down, I don’t think.) Casey’s biggest problem is that, since all of the dudes stay away from him like he’s got a STD they could catch by sitting in a chair beside him, he tries to hang with the girls. And the girls in our grade, bro, they can be real nasty when they want to be. Especially when they get together in a pack and target somebody. Let me tell you, it’s like “ouch” watching that kid try to survive at school. Today, one of the girls pretty much diced him up into bite-sized morsels and ate him for a midmorning snack. Scariest thing is, she’s a “friend” of mine. Liz Trainer. Come to think of it, bro, all of the nastiest girls run with my gang. So what does that say about me?

Anyway, how’re your classes going, dude? Has economics become any clearer to you? It’s all just supply and demand, right? Hahaha. And what about that girl from the third floor of your dormitory you said was cute—Abby, right? Any progress in that department? Fill me in ASAP. Little brother must know all!

GTG, D-man. Homework is calling and if I want to get my ass out of this town, I have to get into a decent college somewhere else. Which translates into—do your homework, dipshit.

I’m out.

Zander

Treaser

 

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Book Trailer

 

As some of you remember from the cover reveal post here is the link to the puzzle…

Play Here

Math

 Other Info about the book:

In April 2014 it was listed as a Top Pick on TRR
The Romance Review

Us Three Award Image

AREBestseller

 

The book was also on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for the first month that it was published.

YA GLBT Discussion Book of the Month on Goodreads

 in

May 2014 Us Three

In October It was an

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2 Comments on “Us Three

  1. Pingback: #TRRparty #Featured #Book Us Three by Mia Kerick (@MiaKerick @dreamspinners @harmonyinkpress) | The Romance Reviews

  2. Mia Kerick, would you perhaps venture to write a sequel for US THREE? It would be extremely interesting to explore the story of how these young men come to full acceptance of their sexuality as well as their uncommon relationship (especially in the face of the social complications that come with being teenagers). Do they stay together? How does Nate’s dysfunctional family figure into this? What happens if one or more of them decide to pursue a college career?
    I, and for that matter, many, of your readers would appreciate it. Thank you

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