Title: A Taste of Honey
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: 3/9/16
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Romance, Crossdressing, Humor
Boone Phillips asks his cross-dressing best friend, Rob “Honey” Coombs, to pretend to be his girlfriend at a family reunion, where he begins to wonder if he’s really as straight as he’s always believed. When an earth-shattering kiss sends Rob running to protect his heart, Boone has to convince Rob to give him another chance, or his first taste of Honey might also be his last.
He escorted Honey into the club, which was only about half full. That would change as the night wore on and the dancing got started, but for now they were led to a booth near the stage at the edge of one of the dance floors. Boone seated Honey, then slid in beside her as the hostess handed them menus.
Unlike Rob, Honey didn’t maintain a friendly distance. Instead, she scooted close, aligning her thigh against his, and looked at his menu instead of her own. “How hungry are you?” she asked, gazing at him with an all too innocent look in her wide blue eyes. Up close, Boone could see the artfully applied cat eyeliner enhanced by mascara on her natural lashes rather than the large fake lashes she wore when she performed. “We could start with nachos or maybe the stuffed jalapeno peppers and margaritas, of course.”
“I could definitely use a margarita,” Boone said. He couldn’t drink too much, since he was driving, but he felt the need for a little liquid fortification to get through this date with his sanity intact. He kept having to drag his gaze away from Honey, because he was far too fascinated with examining every detail. “The stuffed jalapenos are good, if you want to start with those.”
“Sure, we can share them. I like a little hot spice, don’t you?” she asked, all innocence, but Boone wasn’t fooled.
Boone stared at Honey, weighing his options. He could go through the evening feeling like he was out of his depth, or he could get himself under control and dish out some payback. He knew why Rob was doing this, after all; he wanted to prove that Boone’s plan wouldn’t work because Boone wouldn’t be able to act naturally with Honey. Even though Boone had already decided that he wasn’t going to go through with the plan anyway, his natural competitive streak had been roused, and he wanted to show Honey—and Rob—that he could give as well as he got. It was a game, after all, and Boone wrote games for a living, so he had to try to see if he could win.
“Definitely. Why do you think I asked you out, Ms. Honey?” he drawled with all the southern charm he had.
“Well, I’d like to think it’s because you have exquisite taste and finally noticed the perfection that’s been under your nose all along.” Honey leaned back and gave him a pointed look. “But we both know this level of hotness is too much for you.”
“This is a level of hotness I never even knew existed.” Boone tilted his head to one side, giving her a wink. “But I think I could get to like it.”
“That’s pretty big talk for a straight boy.” Honey nestled closer and leaned her head on his broad shoulder, and he caught a whiff of sandalwood. “I’m not sure you can walk the walk,” she added, stroking his chest with one perfectly manicured hand.
It’s just a game Honey—Rob—is playing with me, Boone told himself firmly. There was no reason to think of it as being anything more. Rob wasn’t really coming on to him, after all, and it wasn’t as if he had never touched his best friend.
“Oh, you might be surprised,” Boone replied. He slid his arm around Honey’s shoulders and leaned closer, breathing deeply. “I like your perfume. Sandalwood is one of my favorite scents. I think the only thing that’s better is cinnamon.”
He felt rather than heard her draw in a startled breath, but then she relaxed against him. “Does that mean if I wore a cinnamon scented perfume, you’d want to eat me up?”
Boone smiled to himself. One point for me. “Now that is an intriguing idea,” he replied. He’d never been big into flirtation before, but he was starting to think he could learn a thing or two from Honey. “Cinnamon scented Honey. Sounds like you could bottle that and make a fortune.”
I’m a sucker for GFY, friends to lovers’ stories! I like how much history Rob and Boone have together and the implied and stated history allows the story to progress faster than normal. There is quite a bit of buildup of the introduction to Honey and Boone’s family. Boone’s self-discovery is a drawn out a little bit but when he finally admits what he feels, the story starts to move really quickly. I love Rob’s self-awareness and confidence in totally being himself. He is a high energy, free-spirit which compliments Boone’s laid back, rock steady personality. They are well matched and being best friends who already love each other helps easily pave the way for a romantic relationship.
Overall, this is a quick, sweet read that you’ll love especially if you like GFY, friends to lovers’ stories!
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who collaborate on original m/m fiction. They began writing together in 2004 and finished their first original full length novel in 2011. Recently, they’ve begun collaborating on designing and creating costumes to wear and compete in at Sci Fi conventions, and they share a love of yarn and cake.
Arionrhod is an avid costumer, knitter, and all-around craft fiend, as well as a professional systems engineer. Mother of two human children and two dachshunds who think they are human, she is a voracious reader with wildly eclectic tastes, devouring romance novels, military science fiction, horror stories and Shakespeare with equal glee. She is currently preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.
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