Gay Book Reviews welcomes Anna Martin to the blog today to give us a tease for her new book , coming out this Friday, May 20.
Hello! Thank you for joining me today at Gay Book Reviews where I’ll be talking about my new book, ‘Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, and One Time I Kissed Him First’.
Some of you might know me as a British writer—when I attend events in the US my accent usually makes me stand out! Though I’ve written a few books set in the UK, most of my stories are in the US, where I actually spend a fair amount of time these days. This book is set in Virginia Beach for one very good reason—one of my best friends grew up there, and she was willing to give me all sorts of great local information to pepper through the story. (Not that I’m opposed to doing my research, but having first-hand knowledge of an area is invaluable to a writer!)
My friend, Katie, actually makes a cameo appearance in the book as my thank you to her for all her help. She’s the hockey-playing, ass-kicking blonde!
Setting the book on the beach was also a nod to the English seaside town where I grew up. One of the early scenes of a bonfire on the beach was definitely inspired by how I spent a friend’s birthday last summer, so despite being on the other side of the Atlantic, there does seem to be some similarities between the two beach resorts!
Here’s a little teaser from the book—I hope you enjoy it!
By seven, the snow had stopped falling, and most of what had stuck had turned to thick sludge. Evan hated driving when the roads were so slick, not that he had much of a choice. Katie’s parents lived on the other side of town, and there was no way Evan was going to cycle when it was so cold out.
He’d dressed, as he’d been told to, in a long-sleeved white tee and his green flannel shirt, dark blue jeans and his boots, and had styled his hair so it fell back from his face. He wasn’t particularly fashionable, not like Scott, who always looked like he was ready to walk an MTV red carpet.
Katie’s family owned a big, shiny new house that also looked like something that belonged on MTV Cribs. Evan had been here only once before, for the party she’d thrown after prom. The memories that alcohol hadn’t stolen from that night were a little patchy, though he still remembered where he needed to get to.
From the outside, things were pretty quiet. A few cars were parked on the drive, several more lining the street, and apart from all the lights both inside and outside the house making it look lit up like a Christmas tree, things seemed calm.
Of course, that changed once Evan got inside.
Music was playing, not the obnoxious rotation of overly cheery seasonal pop hits he’d grown accustomed to, but the dirty hip-hop he only now remembered Katie loved. The family room looked packed, though a quick scan of the crowd didn’t reveal Katie’s familiar blonde head, so he went to the kitchen instead.
There is an appealing sweetness to this love story and the epilogue is one lengthy very happy HEA. I encourage you to give this book a read!CP's ReviewHe turned quickly, only just managing to catch the armful of girl. “Hi,” he laughed, hugging Katie tightly and breathing in her cinnamon-sweet smell.
“How are you?”?
“Awesome. It’s good to see you.”
?“You too.”?Katie slipped her hand in Evan’s and walked with him through to the kitchen.?
“You got half the neighborhood here?” he teased.?
Katie rolled her eyes. “I know. It’s mostly my brother’s friends, though. He’s back from college too, and apparently they’re doing the whole reunion thing.”
“Is that not what we’re doing?”
“Huh.” She stopped short. “I guess so.” After a second, she shrugged and tugged Evan’s hand to make him follow. “Most of us are downstairs. Andy is here. Did you see him yet?”
“I only just arrived.”?
“Let me get you a drink.”?
“I’m driving,” Evan said, holding up both hands.?
Katie pouted. “One beer? Or someone made mulled cider if you’d prefer that.”?
“I’ll take a cider.”
…a nice “friends to lovers” story with a feel-good vibe, that reads easily.Ele's's ReviewShe poured him a glass of the rich, spicy hot cider that was being kept warm in a huge soup pot on the stove. Evan wrapped his hands around it, appreciating the warmth, then followed her downstairs.
It was almost a relief to see a room full of people he knew.
There was hugging and backslapping and a lot of laughing, and Evan was forced to admit his mother had been right. These were his friends, and his sexuality apparently made no difference to them. It was a relief.
Despite trying very hard not to look, Evan couldn’t help but notice Scott wasn’t in the basement room that Katie’s parents had turned into a cozy den. He tried not to hide his disappointment and took a seat on a low, squashy sofa, strangely pleased when Katie deposited herself on his lap. He accepted her with a laugh, wrapping his arm around her waist. It was different now he was out. There wasn’t the same pressure to act “straight” while trying not to lead girls on, just in case they got the wrong idea.
About half an hour later, someone tapped Evan’s shoulder while he was refilling his glass of cider—that Katie had promised him wasn’t alcoholic. He turned sharply, then felt his face flush as he laughed.
“Evan fucking King.”?
Evan set his glass down so he could accept Scott’s ferocious hug. His best friend was wearing a worn black leather jacket, which smelled of the cold, and a thick wool scarf around his neck. His cheeks were cold too, suggesting he’d only just arrived, and Evan settled into the hug. They weren’t likely to break it any time soon.
“Fuck, I missed you,” Scott said. His voice sounded a little gruff.
“I missed you too.”
Title: Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me (and One Time I Kissed Him First)
Author: Anna Martin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty, Lili and Ele
When you realize you want to marry your best friend at age six, life should follow a pretty predictable path, right? Maybe not.
As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At seventeen, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next ten years.
When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.
Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south- west of England and now lives in the slightly arty, slightly quirky city of Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, baking weird and wonderful sweets, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.
Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.