Eli, why don’t you describe yourself to us.
I’m hot as hell. Ha! No, really, who cares? I mean, I guess clean up nice – and Nora likes the way I look, even when I look like shit. She’s obsessed with the dimple, and she gets all excited when I wear my dork ass glasses.
Where do you call home?
Edinburgh, Florida – GO HIGHLANDERS! Lacrosse team kicks ass, but there’s not much more to say about the town. The beach is too far away to make us a beach town. We do have a first-class funeral home. Crap restaurants – although we did just get our first real coffee shop – so maybe there’s hope for this hole yet.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to rap, especially before a game or when I’m working out. Chance, Kendrick, Mac Miller. But sometimes – not often – but sometimes I can appreciate the music my parents listen to. Paul Simon is okay if you’re trying to chill.
Do you have a special skill?
My special skill is playing attackman on the lacrosse team. My other special skill is getting knee injuries. No, they don’t mix well.
What is your biggest dream/wish/desire?
I gotta get this knee well again and then I’m on my way to North Florida to play lacrosse. I just need a decent, injury-free college career. There’s this push to make lacrosse an Olympic sport – which it should be. I mean, if race walking is one – my grandma can walk fast – why the frick isn’t lacrosse? I’d go to the Olympics, in a heartbeat. Other than that, I wanna be with Nora. Girl’s gonna change the world and I’m gonna be there when she does.
What’s your biggest regret?
Waiting so do something about my feelings for Nora – for never telling her how I felt. Keeping it in. Being a chicken shit. Lots of wasted years, man.
What’s your darkest secret?
Yeah. This can’t ever get out, but I love to write essays for English class. That’s as dark as it gets. I’d never share this info publicly – I get As on almost all my essays. If I turned in my other homework, I might even get an A in the class. Writing essays is awesome because all you gotta do is present a theory, and then prove it, with words. Like Nora does with science, except you don’t have to remember all those freaky ass formulas. Sometimes I think I could be a writer, or a teacher or something. Maybe.
What’s your favourite dessert/food?
That’s easy. Pie. We bonded over pie – me and Nora — homemade blueberry — the day we met – we were like nine, and pie was this recurring theme in our really weird friendship. I finally learned to make a pretty damn good one myself, so now she expects one weekly. Which is fine with me.
Describe your idea of an ideal date.
Anything, any place, any time, with Nora Reid. Girl is amazing, beautiful, smarter than me, smarter than you, smarter than anyone. I’m driving, though.
What’s your favourite pastime/hobby?
Dude, I love to bake – also hanging with Nora and/or watching Spongebob with my little brother.
What would be your idea of an ideal vacation?
I’ve spent eighteen years in Florida — flat land, palm trees, hot weather, sand everywhere. Some people think it’s paradise, but it’s getting old. I want to go to the mountains, to snow, maybe Colorado. Yeah, I’d like to check that out.
Describe the craziest thing you have done.
Probably my whole plan to get Nora to see me as more than a friend – to forget about her stupid first kiss hypothesis and give me another damn chance.
Who is your idol?
Don’t tell him I said this, but my Dad isn’t bad. He’s the police chief of our town and he’s really fair and a good guy. He doesn’t understand me – at all– and I wish he’d wear pants more instead of just walking around in boxers when my friends come over. But I guess he’s proud of me. That makes me feel pretty good. Also, Nora’s grandma. She’s having some memory glitches, but she is a great lady – totally wise – and she taught me everything I know about how to make a freaking good pie. Cold butter, baby. Ice cold.
What is one thing would you refuse to share?
Pie. If it’s my pie, no you can’t have any. Except Nora. She can always share my pie. Maybe my jock strap is a better answer, for obvious reasons.
What is the one thing that no one knows or could never guess about you?
Definitely the essay thing. Also that I like to bake. It’s weird, but making pie is probably the most relaxing thing in the world to me. Makes me forget all my troubles, and at the end you have PIE! It’s win-win.
Boxers or briefs?
Boxers, for real. A man’s gotta breathe.
Early bird or night owl?
Night owl. My brother gets up at the ass crack of dawn to do the crossword puzzle, in pen. Sometimes I’m just going to bed when he comes downstairs. Little dude’s got lots of issues, but he’s all kinds of awesome, and I love the kid.
Favourite fictional character?
You ever read Don Quixote? Dude was out of his mind. Really weird story – sad, too. I wrote an essay for English about the death of chivalry in that book and my teacher loved it – like, couldn’t stop talking about it. Got a 99, which is almost impossible in that class. Woman loves me. Probably would love me more if I actually participated once in a while. So yeah, Don was tragic, but kinda cool in a way, an interesting and messed up dude.
If you had to describe yourself as an ice cream flavour, what flavour would you be?
I’m only interested in ice cream if it comes on the side of pie.
Liked this interview with Eli? Then check out a swoony moment between him and Nora:
If more people paid attention to that first kiss, the world might be a better place. I’ve seen what it does, ending up with the wrong person. My parents, for example. Good at first, then boring, then mean, then ugly, and eventually just sad.
Speaking of the wrong person, I look up and lock eyes with Eli Costas, strolling toward me with a slight limp.
Immediately, my brain short circuits and I forget what I’m doing.
Eli. Neighbor, best friend, part-time chauffeur. That hair, dark and wavy, sticking out in ways that invite you to run your fingers through it. The olive skin like a real life Greek god, and eyes that look just like the blue oval in the watercolor sets Mom used to buy me when I was little. He’s tall, and a lacrosse maniac with an upper body to prove it. Your basic unrealistically attractive high school student usually only found in books or movies. The difference is, he’s real, and everyone wants him. Including me. It’s a battle I fight daily.
He flashes me a grin. One side of his mouth quirks up higher than the other, and a dimple cuts deep into his cheek. Holy cow.
As he moves into my airspace, I force myself to focus on counting the tortoise money. Five. Ten. Fifteen. Twenty. Twenty-five. Forty. It always takes me a minute or two to get my bearings when it comes to Eli. To remind myself that nothing can happen between us.
It’s a sad story. Of all the kissing I’ve done in the name of science, he was the first. Spring Break, eighth grade, Madison Dunn’s birthday party. My hypothesis was newly formed, and I had a huge crush on him. I was sure that he was the only human I’d ever need to kiss—that he was the lightning, the thunder, the sugar to my sulfuric acid. The night of the party, I decided to prove it.
I followed him into the garage, where he’d gone to get a Coke from the extra fridge. With total confidence, I kissed him, hard, on those full lips, right there in the glow of the refrigerator light.
It was horrible.
He’d just taken a giant swig of soda, which was probably why his lips were so cold. And then they were just…wet. Zero reaction.
When it was over, he moved in to try again, but I backed away. It was too late.
I shared my hypothesis with him, naively thinking he’d understand. He didn’t. He called me crazy, got mad, and wouldn’t talk to me. It was terrible. There was nothing I could do, though. I had to trust the result. I believed in my hypothesis. The universe had spoken loud and clear, and Eli became the first failed kiss of my experiment.
Nora Reid believes scientific laws control everything, even love. With her grandparents’ epic first kiss story cemented in her brain, Nora develops a hypothesis she’s determined to prove:for each person in the world, there is exactly one other person, and at first kiss, they’ll experience an immediate and intense reaction.
But after four years of zero-reaction kisses, she comes up with a new theory: maybe that pesky crush on her stunningly hot best friend Eli Costas is skewing her results.
She needs to get rid of him, and fast.
Eli Costas is an injury-prone lacrosse star with a problem—the one chance he had at winning over the girl next door resulted in the most epically sucktastic first kiss ever. And now she’s…trying to get rid of him? Hell no. It’s time to disprove her theory and show her exactly what she’s missing.
Disclaimer: This book contains a stunningly hot lacrosse player who isn’t above playing dirty to win over the stubborn girl-next-door of his dreams.
Christina Mandelski loves to bring the characters in her head to life on the page. When she isn’t writing, she spends time with her family, working as a substitute teacher, eating (sweets, usually), traveling and reading (preferably under an umbrella at the beach). Chris lives with her husband and two daughters in Houston. You can visit her at www.christinamandelski.com.