Title: In Memory of Us
Author: Ana J. Phoenix
Genre: New Adult, Multicultural M/M Romance
Publisher: Loose Id
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Word Count: ~28,000 words (~100 pages)
Kite’s had a crush on Shin since middle school, but never acted on it until the eve of his yearly trip to the States, when he slipped up and kissed his best friend. Shortly after, a tsunami wrecked the country and his hometown, and put all his plans on hold. Now, two years later, he’s back in Japan and he wants to set things right.
When he finds Shin, though, his former best friend isn’t who he used to be. Losing his parents changed Shin and now, instead of following his heart, he’s dedicated his life to studying for university entrance exams and ignoring everything else. He won’t let Kite get close, denying his obvious attraction and all their good memories.
Kite doesn’t want to give up on Shin, but he can’t shake the feeling that there’s something his friend isn’t telling him. Something else that happened two years ago on the day of the tsunami. He doesn’t know what it is, just that it’s destroying his friend—and possibly their shot at love.
Shin continued down the road, back where he’d come from. He couldn’t have been gone longer than twenty minutes, but when he unlocked his apartment and stepped inside, he found Kaito lying on his back on the floor next to the futon, asleep. A strange if not completely unwelcome sight to come home to. Especially considering that Kaito had undressed to his shirt and boxers, and said shirt had ridden up a bit to reveal a line of skin, showing his hip bones.
Definitely not an unwelcome sight.
Shin took off his shoes and sat next to him. Just to look. Nothing more. He’d promised himself he wouldn’t get involved with Kaito anymore. He understood that Kaito was a big part of his past, not of his future, but looking at him like this, it seemed like no time had passed at all since they’d been best friends and bandmates and maybe, possibly, more. Shin remembered wanting them to be more, though he hadn’t had the courage to come out about it. He’d been working up to it when the tsunami tore his town, his family, and his reality apart.
Shin closed his eyes against the painful memory. The ruins of Otsuchi had burned for days. He took a deep breath and counted down from ten, the way he did every time an earthquake caught him off guard these days.
“You okay?” Kaito’s voice made Shin snap his eyes open, only to look into Kaito’s. Realizing how close he was sitting to his teenage dream made Shin think of backing away, but he couldn’t. It was a physical impossibility to move his body when Kaito looked at him like he cared, though Shin had given him every reason not to. Kaito was special that way, and it had always made Shin feel a little more powerful to be special to him, even as friends. But what he felt looking at Kaito now wasn’t friendly admiration. There was nothing remotely platonic about the way he wanted to undress and crawl into Kaito and forget his troubles wrapped up in the heat of his body.
Turning away from that took every ounce of willpower he had, and he thought his legs should be shaking as he got up, but they carried him just fine. What he thought and what his body thought didn’t seem to line up often anymore.
“Shin?” Kaito asked, sitting up.
Shin looked at the window instead of him. “I’m fine. I… Uh… I wasn’t staring or anything.” As soon as the words left his mouth, he wanted to bang his forehead on the wall for this poor attempt to make himself seem innocent.
“It wouldn’t have bothered me if you had.” Kaito made it sound like a joke, but it wasn’t, was it? Shin scraped a hand through his hair as he started to feel uncomfortably warm.
Ana is a writer of m/m romance and erotica. Her interest in hot guy-on-guy action was first sparked by reading scandalous Japanese mangas. A dirty secret she couldn’t resist. In a long bout of insanity – also known as her life — she decided to learn the language and escape to the land of sushi, sumo, and yaoi.
She’s since moved back to Europe to be with the love of her life – delicious European chocolate.
Now she resides in the sunny part of Germany where she fills her days chasing her dreams and writing about men in complicated relationships. Her family believes she’s writing “erotic manga stories.” She’s pleased they got the erotic part right, at least.
To keep with the theme, I’m giving away a small goody bag with Japanese things. (Giveaway open to everyone anywhere in the world.) Japanese good luck charms play an important role in the story, so I’m including one in this gift bag. It was purchased at a traditional Japanese shrine and is supposed to help with relationships! Leave a comment here to be entered into the drawing!
Must be 18 to enter. Giveaway ends April 15th at 11:59 CDT. Good luck.