My NOT So Anonymous Best Friend by Elizabeth Arroyo - LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult
My NOT So Anonymous Best Friend
by Elizabeth Arroyo
Publication date: April 29th 2022
Genres: LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult
Noah aka NOS2321: Gamer. Weeb. Up-and-coming rock star. And gay. Encouraged by his anonymous pen pal, XES6969, Noah takes the leap and comes out of the closet—no instructions needed—accidentally sending his father to the hospital during his reveal. Despite his horrible dating track record which included two girls (because it was required that he at least try) and one boy (because he had to start somewhere), Noah believes in happily ever after. That belief gets tested when he falls for Evan Santiago.
Evan aka XES6969, believes in sacrificing yourself for those you love. Learning NOS’s identity hadn’t been his fault. Except he carries the lie which begins to fester, trapping him into silence. When a stray football brings them together, Evan no longer wants to keep silent. And when he learns that Noah is interested too, he takes a chance at love, risking everyone he’s tried to protect, including himself.
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As if the cosmos decided to force me to drool, Evan Santiago rode into the lot on his motorcycle. He wore a helmet with the visor down, hiding his face, but I didn’t need to see to know. The guy was all tight muscles and badness. He parked two spots away from my light blue jalopy with the word WEEBS 2 on the license plates and stickers of Kirito, Asuna, and Zero Two on the windows around my car. He dropped the kickstand and gracefully swung one powerful leg over the seat as he got off the bike. He pulled off his helmet and shook his deep black hair to perfection and crouched to get his satchel out of one of the saddlebags on the bike. His tee lifted, revealing a sliver of pale skin at his back.
Damn. When had I started looking at Evan Santiago this way? I blinked away the moment and turned to the empty seat beside me. I caught sight of Sasha approaching the secret love of my life, having silently crept out of my car. I hadn’t even heard her close the door! Her little skort swayed over toned legs.
Was I really thinking she was competition? Was I competition?
Evan acknowledged her and she said something to him. He lifted his eyes in my direction—the color of green flames—forcing me to lose my breath. No. Evan couldn’t see me through the glare of the windshield. Nope. But that look still held me in some sort of trance. As if an invisible line had jettisoned out of his eyeballs and wrapped around my chest, crushing me.
Yeah, too much anime for me.
Then he suddenly looked away, and the crushing sensation lifted. I inhaled sharply, filling my lungs with much-needed oxygen.
Why was I thinking of someone else when I had Carlos? That was not a good sign.
Sasha took Evan’s arm, and they walked into the school together as if they were a couple. Were they a couple? The idea of them together left me confused. Nothing new, really. Just another normal day in the life of me. Evan was not interested in me. Despite the burning looks he gave me. Certainly, I was misinterpreting them. Maybe the guy had a bad case of acid indigestion. Or I had a bad case of TMI—too much imagination. With an audible sigh, I headed into the school alone.
If I had to draw an abstract version of my high school, it would be a prism of varying stars and stripes. I was a stripe, while people like Evan Santiago were stars.
Elizabeth is the Latinx author of speculative fiction novels for teens. Her YA contemporary debut, My NOT So Anonymous Best Friend, is slated for release on 4/29 by Evernight Teen.
Before she started writing, Elizabeth got her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She then went on to work in foster care programs, mental health facilities, and youth organizations within the Latinx Community, providing services to youth and families.
She now spends her time writing romance, binge watching anime, and spending time with her family.
Elizabeth currently resides in Chicago.
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