Book: The Other Five Percent
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Publication Date: July 10, 2017
Length: 158 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Logan Vanderveer has a joke he’s been telling since college: he’s ninety-five percent straight. He did some experimenting in school, but none of the men he fooled around with inspired him to abandon “the plan”: meet a nice girl, get married, and settle down, just like his parents always said.
None of them except Ellis Floyd, who aroused desires and feelings that scared Logan. So much so that he abandoned their burgeoning relationship just as it might have become something. But four years later, Ellis is back, and Logan finds himself questioning his sexuality in a big way.
Ellis doesn’t fit into Logan’s plan. He’s happy being a starving artist, whereas Logan has sold his soul to corporate America. Ellis is ripped jeans, and Logan is tailored suits. And, most notably, Ellis is out. But seeing him again is dredging up memories—like how it feels to kiss Ellis, and that time they almost went all the way. With chemistry like theirs, Logan isn’t sure he can—or should—keep ignoring the other five percent.
Hello, everyone! This is Quinn Anderson, author of The Other Five Percent and the Murmur Inc. series. Thanks so much for following my blog tour. I’m thrilled to be here and to talk about my latest novel, coming out July 10th. Stay tuned for fun facts about The Other Five Percent, an inside peek at writing it, and to find out more about our dashing leading men. Leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win a $10 Riptide Publishing gift card!
The Other Five Percent is a friends to lovers to enemies to friends.... sort of. I wouldn’t know really how to classify it and I think once you read it you’ll understand why. Logan has a serious identity crisis in this book. His mind has blocked out a past that Ellis (the other MC) has been haunted with for years.
I was slightly nervous this was a GFY and one that was tilting toward serious bierasure. I am so glad I was wrong. Logan has gotten into his head that he is 95% straight. And that he isn’t gay. Which I love how Ellis is like “You forget the whole B in LGBT.” I love how Ellis guides him to understand and how Logan has so much support. For reasons, fear had lead him down this path of not accepting who he truly is.
Quinn Anderson takes coming out to an interesting level. There’s no age restriction on when a person can say “I’m Gay.” Or "I’m Bisexual.” You have to accept it for YOU and only then can you expect others to believe you.
Ellis’s pain was felt strongly in this book. His confusions and fear of falling for Logan again were loud and warranted. I also felt for Logan and give him major props for not giving up and for seeking the answers and acceptance he desperately needed to be a person Ellis deserved.
I liked this story and what it stood for. Logan had humorous moments and Ellis brought a great intensity to this book. I recommend this for sure.
He swallowed the groan bubbling up in the back of his throat and jiggled a trouser-clad leg just to have something to do. There were only three people in line ahead of him, but in Starbucks time, that could mean anywhere from five minutes to twenty-five. There was also a hoard of people standing on the other end of the counter, waiting for their drinks. Three baristas flitted between the various machines, snatching up cups and jugs and syrup bottles, but no matter how quickly they spat drinks into outstretched hands, they never seemed to make a dent in the throng.
Forget traffic. This was the true early-morning rush hour. The things Logan did for sweet, sweet caffeine.
The line shuffled forward, and he shuffled with it, his polished brown brogues making a soft noise on the tile floor. He looked down and wiggled his toes, watching the calfskin bulge. They’d cost almost as much as his suit, but his boss was always telling him, “The shoes make the man.”
I guess that makes me a baby cow.
Mr. Cooper had a whole arsenal of pseudo-wise sayings that he liked to trot out whenever anyone asked him a question. Things like, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained!” and “He who hesitates is lost!” It was decent-enough advice, Logan supposed, but once, when he’d attempted to ask Mr. Cooper about the quarterly sales figures, he’d been met with, “All’s well that ends well!” It wasn’t exactly helpful.
He shook his head to himself, and a strand of blond hair fell across his eyes. It caught the early-morning light and blazed white. Surreptitiously, he glanced at his reflection in the polished surface of a nearby espresso machine. Dents in his impromptu mirror turned his brown eyes into lopsided smudges sitting atop his cheekbones. His suit—which had cost most of his last paycheck—was transformed into a gray, amorphous blob. He swept a hand over the rest of his combed hair, fixing the errant strand. Or at least, he was pretty sure he fixed it.
“Line’s moving, pretty boy,” said a gruff voice behind him. Logan peeked over his shoulder just in time to watch a guy fold large arms over a Day-Glo construction worker’s vest. “Gonna stare at yourself all day?”
Logan squeaked out an apology and closed the gap. Now there were only two people ahead of him. Just as he was starting to feel optimistic, the customer at the register pulled a checkbook out of her bag. Who the hell even carried checks anymore?
He was tempted to play with his phone, but if he got distracted and let the line move ahead again, he had a feeling Mr. Day-Glo wouldn’t hesitate to cut in front of him. Instead, he fiddled with his cornflower-blue tie, which he’d accidentally knotted too tightly. It would strangle him if he moved his neck the wrong way. His job didn’t require him to wear suits to work—most of the guys in his department walked the razor’s edge between “business” and “casual”—but suiting up made Logan feel mature. Sophisticated. Like a real adult.
At twenty-three, he was one of the youngest hires Harrison & Cooper had ever made. He spent most of his time feeling like he was tricking the older employees into accepting him as one of their own. Looking the part helped, in his experience. He even had a monogrammed briefcase that he’d spent an exorbitant amount of money on. He took it to work with him every day, even though all it held was a few empty file folders and the occasional banana.
The check lady finished paying—finally—and joined the pool of waiting customers. He consulted his watch again: 8:23. It was weird how time could crawl and yet still make him wish it would slow down.
Logan eyed the guy in front of him. Middle-aged. Sunburned. Wearing khaki cargo shorts and a shirt with a print they could hear a state over. A tourist? Probably. Maybe he was stopping through town on his way to Atlantic City. There weren’t a whole lot of other reasons to come to Brigantine, tiny island that it was. Logan would know. He’d lived here for a year now and could say with certainty that there was jack all to do.
He leaned forward, eavesdropping with what he hoped was masterful subtly.
“Can I get a cup of coffee?” the man said.
A simple enough request. Logan looked at the barista.
“What kind would you like?” The smile on her face looked like it had been plastered there for so long, it was now a permanent fixture.
The man responded in the unhurried tone of someone who has nothing better to do. “Just a regular cup of coffee.”
“We have a few different kinds, sir. Which would you prefer?” The barista waved behind her to a row of hand-written signs above three coffee pots.
The man leaned over the counter and squinted at them. “What’s the difference? I just want a cup of coffee.” Each slowly formed word flayed Logan’s skin from his bones.
“Well, Pike Place is our biggest seller, but our dark roast, Sumatra, is popular as well.”
“You’ve already lost me. Which one is regular coffee?”
“Oh my god,” Logan blurted out. “Guy, it’s not that hard. They have three different roasts, and you can have them decaf or regular. That’s a total of six choices. Think you can manage that? If not, I recommend you go for caffeinated.”
The man and the barista both glared at him. Logan instantly regretted opening his mouth.
“Rude,” said the man.
“Sir, please wait your turn.” The barista’s chastising tone still somehow managed to be polite.
Logan muttered an apology and ducked his head down. Guilt washed through him. Since when was he one of those dicks who acted like they were the only people with places to be? Morning Douches, as he called them. The kind of people who treated every minor inconvenience like a world-ending calamity. Next he knew, he’d be asking to speak with a manager over getting a dash of nutmeg instead of cinnamon. He did not want to be one of them.
He knew what part of his problem was. Three long months had passed since he’d had his last cigarette. They were supposed to be out of his system by now, but the need for nicotine still niggled at him. Whoever had said the first twenty-four hours were the hardest was full of shit. The hard part had come months later, when random cravings popped up out of nowhere. He was stuck in this horrible limbo where it had been too long for him to relapse with dignity but not long enough for the habit to have died hard.
He’d already announced his success to everyone at his office. If he fell off the wagon now, he’d be the boy who cried nicotine. He shoved his hands deeper into his pockets to keep his fingers from twitching.
Jonesing or not, he should have kept his mouth shut. If Abby and Rachel knew he’d mouthed off to a stranger, they’d skin him alive at their next Sibling Night. They’d want to pore over every aspect of his life and figure out the “source of his discontentment” or whatever new self-help crap they were peddling this week. But they weren’t here, so unless they had one of their weird sister-ESP moments, he was off the hook.
Mercifully, the man got his coffee and shuffled off, leaving Logan to approach the barista in the manner of a prodigal son anticipating a scolding.
She eyed him neutrally. “What can I get for you, sir?”
Logan stumbled through his order: a venti coffee, a cappuccino with three shots of espresso, and a dirty chai. His fumbling was compounded by the fact that the barista was exceptionally pretty. Like, so pretty he almost apologized just for looking at her.
Making a move never crossed his mind, however, both because of his earlier faux pas and because he never hit on women while they were working. It was poor form to hit on someone who couldn’t tell you to fuck off without risking their livelihood. And with the way his love life had been going lately, he’d probably get hot coffee thrown in his face.
When he finished ordering, he gave her his name. He watched as she spelled it wrong on the cup—in what universe was Logan spelled with a y?—and then with a zip of a debit card, he went to join the under-caffeinated rabble on the other end of the store.
He took up a spot near a CD rack that had somehow survived the ravages of time and, now that he was free of the line, slid his phone out of his pocket. There were no new emails in his inbox and no frantic texts from his supervisor. He might have a peaceful morning after all.
Within minutes, another barista—a guy, this time—called his name and handed him a loaded drinks holder. He caught Logan’s eye and flashed a smile. “Your turn to get coffee for the office?”
Logan considered him. Hand tattoos. Gauges in his ears the size of silver dollars. Inappropriate, white-guy dreadlocks. And his name tag read, G-Dawg. He probably wouldn’t judge him.
“These are all for me, actually. I have a system. I start my day by pounding back the cappuccino to get a nice buzz going. When I feel myself flagging at around the ten-thirty mark, I go in for the coffee. And then the chai is for the after-lunch crash. Genius, right?”
Logan waited for the applause to roll in.
G-Dawg stared at him. “It can’t possibly be healthy to drink that much caffeine in a day.”
“Oh, this is nothing. I average eight cups a day. Once, I chugged a latte with six shots in it, and for an hour afterward, I swear I could hear colors.”
G-Dawg’s mouth popped open. “You were probably having a stroke.”
Logan frowned. So much for no judgment. “Maybe, but at least I quit smoking, right?”
“Uh, right. Have a, um, nice day.”
Logan took the drinks holder and had the cappuccino in his hand before he’d even turned away. Okay, so maybe quadrupling his caffeine intake wasn’t the best way to take the edge off his nicotine cravings. But it was still a much healthier alternative.
Or, at least, he was pretty sure it was.
He was just heading for the exit—ready to jump into his car and commit some minor traffic infractions in the hopes of getting to work sooner—when a voice stopped him dead in his tracks.
“I’m sorry, I need another minute. I never come here.”
The deep laughter that followed crackled up Logan’s spine. He knew that voice. He knew it from . . . somewhere. He jerked his head toward the register, but his view was blocked by a family ogling the baked goods display. He stood on the tips of his toes, his shoes creaking pleasantly, but all he could see was a spiky brown head.
Was it a celebrity? Logan was usually the first to say, Oh hey, it’s that guy, during movie night. Perhaps in his advanced age, his aptitude for faces was crossing over into voices.
He took a few more steps and craned his neck over the crowd, but he still couldn’t get a clear view. He consulted his watch again and cursed: 8:29. While he was busy playing detective, time was marching on. Drinks in hand, he half jogged toward the door on the other side of the store. Just as he passed the register, curiosity caught up with him. He couldn’t help sneaking one more glance, and he was rewarded with the mystery man’s profile.
Logan skidded to a stop so suddenly, his drinks nearly toppled out of the cardboard holder. Not a celebrity. Ellis Floyd. The name catapulted to the forefront of his mind and flashed like a neon sign. Holy shit. It had been . . . three, four years since they’d last seen each other? But there was no question that was Ellis.
Logan tried not to stare, but damn, Ellis looked good. Back in college, he’d had a waifish, starving-artist look going on, but adulthood had filled him out, piling muscle onto where there had previously been twiggy limbs and a slight frame. He even seemed taller than he had when they’d been at Rutgers together. A number of tattoos that were definitely new additions graced his exposed arms.
Some things hadn’t changed a bit, however. His hair still stuck up in all directions like it’d never seen a brush in its life. His mouth was scrunched to the side in thought as he consulted the menu. Logan had watched it take that exact form a hundred times, when Ellis had been mulling over a problem or a question on an exam. Seeing it again after so long sent a shock through Logan as powerful as if he’d touched a live wire.
He tried to tear his gaze away, but it was too late. Ellis must’ve sensed something, because he turned his head and looked unerringly at him. His brown eyes were bright behind his thick-rimmed glasses. And, oh God, his eyelashes. He’d always had beautiful eyelashes, long and inky. Logan used to call them unfair, and the term was as applicable now as ever.
For two immeasurable seconds, Ellis’s face was blank. Then recognition stamped onto it in big, bold letters. “Logan.”
It was as if Ellis’s voice opened some sort of channel in Logan’s brain. A memory flashed in front of his eyes.
Empty beer cans scattered around a cramped dorm room. A warm body sitting shoulder to shoulder next to his. Brown eyes that looked like chocolate drizzled with honey.
“Logan, why do you want to be my friend?”
“Because I like you. And I think we’re a little more than just friends now.”
Oh God. He’d forgotten all about that. Back in the day, he and Ellis had been inseparable. And, more than that, they’d—
“Logan? Is that you?”
The question startled him back to the present. Ellis had turned to face him, looking as surprised as Logan felt. Ellis took a hesitant step toward him, and the spell Logan had fallen under shattered. He about-faced and walked briskly toward the exit. It was rude as hell to walk away, of course, but for once he didn’t care. He couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
It was because he was late, he assured himself. A tearful reunion would cost time he didn’t have. He wasn’t freaked out, and he definitely wasn’t running away.
Why then did the mere sight of Ellis make him feel like all the oxygen just got sucked out of the room?
Everyone experiments in college, he reminded himself. The majority of them grow up, realize they were just hormonal and confused, and move on with their lives, just like you did. Seeing him again is bringing up all those old teenaged emotions, nothing more. It doesn’t mean anything.
It wasn’t until he made it out the door and plunged into the brisk morning air that he realized his hands were shaking. Coffee froth spat up from the mouths of the drink lids.
On autopilot, he weaved through the parking lot to his car. He fumbled for his keys and promptly dropped them. Setting the drinks down on the trunk, he took a deep breath and focused on the reflective specks in his black paint job. Then he exhaled as slowly as he could without depriving his brain of much-needed oxygen.
“Get it together, Vanderveer,” he muttered to himself. “You’re acting like you saw a ghost.”
Hate to break it to you, buddy, but you kind of did.
Now that the danger had passed, he couldn’t believe he’d walked out like that. And after Ellis had clearly recognized him too. His sisters’ spidey senses were probably tingling all the way across town. They always seemed to know when he’d behaved poorly.
Still, he was glad he had. If seeing Ellis could unsettle him this much, he couldn’t imagine what talking to him would be like. Though Ellis must think he was the rudest person in the world.
It didn’t matter. He repeated that to himself until he almost started to believe it. They’d had their once-in-a-lifetime chance encounter. Now they’d never see each other again. That was how lightning strikes worked.
Logan took another breath, and this time, when he went to unlock his door, his hand was steady. His briefcase was waiting for him in the passenger seat. He opened the back door first and nestled the drink holder into the seat, as per usual. Although, if he were planning on a speedy getaway, that might not be the best idea. He considered buckling it in for half a second before discarding that idea as too ridiculous even for him.
He shut the door with a sharp click and was just about to climb into the driver’s seat when a shadow fell across the window.
“Hey.” Ellis appeared at his side like a portent of doom. “Long time no see, lover.”
About Quinn Anderson
Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.
A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Sherlock, Harry Potter, Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Buffy, Marvel, and more. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere.
Her favorite television show is Avatar: the Last Airbender, her favorite film is Tangled, and her favorite book is Ella Enchanted. She can often be spotted at conventions, comic shops, and midnight book releases. If you're at an event, and you see a 6'2'' redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that's probably her. Her favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray, and Tamora Pierce. When she's not writing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, spending too much time on the internet, screwing the rules, finding the Master Sword, guided falling, consulting for the NYPD, guarding the galaxy, boldly going, and catching 'em all.
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To celebrate the release of The Other Five Percent, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 15, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!