August 29, 2014
“EJ’s tale of a college baseball star and the demons he fights is powerful and captivating. Once you’re involved in Ernest’s world, you are invested for the ride. Fans of this genre will say EJ hit it out of the park!” Alex J. Cavanaugh, Amazon bestselling author of the Cassa series
”Great cast of characters. Lots of fun humor. Romance. Win! Definitely recommend!”
“It is an inspirational, heartwarming story in which any reader is likely to get lost.”
“This story made me laugh and cry and it was so great to read something sweet and awesome from a guy.”
“Perfectly Ernest offers an emotionally genuine tour through depression, friendship, and love.”
“It’s wonderful when a story’s voice is so strong as to drag you into someone’s head so it feels natural. I devoured Perfectly Ernest.”
“…captured my heart from page one.”
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Perfectly Ernest Excerpt 1 – E.J. Wesley
What does one read when feeling mildly suicidal and very melancholic?
I chose the collected work of Sir Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Published at seventeen, he was forced to leave Cambridge—where he was an ace student—before getting his degree to help care for his widowed mother and family. His second poetry collection was so slammed by critics, he didn't publish again for a decade. He only went on to be best buds with the Royal Family and one of the most decorated poets of all time. Driven, optimistic, a dedicated family man and friend—if he were a poet superhero, I might be his brooding archenemy.
No, I had the distinct feeling Big Al wouldn't put up with my bullshit if he were around today. Ernest, why doth thou protest like a twaddling child? Go forth! Seize the virtuous day!
The book was large enough, I decided to take over the musty love seat in the back corner of the poetry section. I kicked off my shoes and draped my legs over the arm. At nearly six feet, four inches, the couch was more like a big chair. Anyway, this was dinnertime at the cafeteria, so I knew I’d have the place mostly to myself.
Resting the hardback on my stomach, I flipped through the pages, tapping my fingers to the beat of a classic Strokes tunes. I quickly found a winner:
Ask Me No More
Ask me no more: the moon may draw the sea;
The cloud may stoop from heaven and take the shape,
With fold to fold, of mountain or of cape;
But O too fond, when have I answer’d thee?
Ask me no more.
Ask me no more: what answer should I give?
I love not hollow cheek or faded eye:
Yet, O my friend, I will not have thee die!
Ask me no more, lest I should bid thee live;
Ask me no more.
Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal’d:
I strove against the stream and all in vain:
Let the great river take me to the main:
No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
Ask me no more.
I’d been swimming up stream my entire life. And for what? Two years of college felt like a waste. If the pro scouts talked to the Walrus, was he likely to give me a glowing endorsement? Doubtful. My only real friends were on the team, but if word got out that I’d thrown the game on purpose, I couldn’t see many of them showing at my next birthday party. The demands of life had left me exhausted. Maybe the time had come to go with the flow and let the river take me where it would…
Someone brushed my leg.
“Sorry,” I said, not really looking.
I figured my body was sticking out too far, so I scrunched my all the way onto the couch. I flipped through a few more pages. Another brush came, but it was more of an insistent tap this time.
“Yeah?” I asked, laying the book in my lap.
A girl wearing a floral dress, sneakers, and a lavender cardigan looked down on me from the end of the couch. Her lips and cheeks were an identical shade of sunset pink, the former moving quickly.
“Forgot I had these on.” I slipped my headphones off. “What’s up?”
“I was curious.” She offered me a tight-lipped smile. A ponytail of curly red hair swayed behind her. “How much longer are you planning on using that book?”
Her arms were folded over her torso, her hips jutted slightly to one side.
I shrugged. “Just started with it. Might be a while.”
She adjusted a set of thick-rimmed glasses with a wrinkle of her nose. “I really need it.”
I laughed a little too loudly for being in a library. She startled.
“Sorry, it’s just that I can’t imagine anyone needing it more than me right now.”
Her gaze drifted to my torso. My shirt had ridden up, revealing my abs. I smiled at her and she flushed. She was pretty, in a huffy, confrontational sort of way.
Her eyes rolled slightly. I wasn’t sure if she was more exasperated with herself or me.
“I’ve got a big day tomorrow, and I really have to have that book.”
I scratched my chin, pretending to think. There was no reason I couldn't pull up poems on my phone, or find another book. Still, so could she. And I hated being bossed around.
“I’ll leave it out when I’m done.”
Her hands went to her hips. “I’m sure you think hanging out in libraries, pretending to read poetry, is a great way to pick up chicks—or whatever it is baseball players are doing for giggles these days. But some of us are here to actually learn and require this information to do so.”
Realizing I was wearing one of my team T-shirts, and that she hadn't been checking me out earlier, embarrassed me more than I was insulted by her basically calling me an athletic chimpanzee. I hid my stomach with the book. I’d dealt with her type before. Jocks weren't supposed to read, think, or eat with utensils.
I put my feet on the ground. “What makes you so sure I don’t require this as much as you? Maybe I’ve got a paper to work on?”
It was her turn to laugh too loudly. “I’m quite familiar with the English department. I’m pretty sure you don’t. Anyway, Isn’t there a team tutor who’d do it for you?”
Well-played, overly presumptive and judgmental stranger.
“Not that it’s your business, but poetry is really important to me. My mother…”
I realized she was standing there, eyebrows arched, waiting for me to finish. But I couldn't. At last, I’d found a way I hadn't let my mother down.
I pushed the book into her arms and took off at a trot. Halfway to the stairs, I remembered I wasn’t wearing my shoes. She watched me as I ran back, a confused grin on her face. Dangling my flip-flops from one hand, I patted her on the shoulder with the other.
“Thanks for being such a pain in the ass,” I said.
“No seriously, thank you. You’re a lifesaver.”
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