Today I am so pleased to welcome Anna Martin to Joyfully Jay. Anna has come to talk to us about her latest release, Heart of Gold. She has also brought along a great giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thank you so much to Jay for letting me come and tell you all about my new novel Heart of Gold, which is out today! Though circumstances are slightly different than what I expected when I was writing it… The story is set at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, which I thought would be happening when I released the story. Times may have changed, but I decided to release the book anyway. There’s no reason why we can’t still have a summer of love, after all!
The novel follows Matty, who’s a triathlete on his last attempt to win an Olympic medal before he retires. But when he arrives in Tokyo he runs into Clarke, who he was having a secret affair with during the London 2012 Olympics, before Clarke had a career-ending accident. The spark between them is still there and Matty has to figure out what’s more important – winning an Olympic medal, or rekindling a romance with the only guy who’s ever really captured his heart.
The book is out today on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited – I’d love it if you checked it out: https://amzn.to/3g71yDK
I’ll also give away a copy of the story – leave a comment below to enter!
Clarke looked good. Older, definitely, and sexier. Matty wasn’t fool enough to not notice that. A little scar tugged up the corner of his top lip, but other than that, it was impossible to tell anything had happened to him.
Very few people in Tokyo wouldn’t have heard of the swimmer Clarke Roberts and his accident at the 2012 Olympics in London. His story, and Clarke himself, were now part of modern Olympic legend.
Matty had been in the arena for Clarke’s race. Clarke had sailed through his heats, and he was tipped for a medal in the 200m freestyle final. That was a big deal—Canada hadn’t produced many medal-winning Olympic swimmers in recent years. Clarke had become something of a superstar in the sport, and he had the charm and good looks that promised his star would go far.
Matty had been determined to be in the stands to cheer him on, even though every seat in the London Aquatics Centre was technically sold out. His competitor’s pass meant he could squeeze in among the other athletes.
Matty had only watched the footage of the accident back once. It was hard to get hold of, since none of the TV broadcasters would replay it. It was too horrific. Even now, after the conclusion of a year-long investigation, no one was sure what had happened. Something had been on the floor around the pool, some kind of cleaning liquid, and Clarke had slipped on it, losing his footing and flying into the air.
He’d tumbled, trying to save himself, and cracked his back on the hard tile. As the momentum from his fall tipped him into the pool, he’d hit his head, staining the water with blood.
The lifeguards had sprung into action, two of them diving in and pulling his unconscious body from the water while the audience watched on in horrified silence. The lifeguards had saved him from drowning, but by pulling him out of the water, they worsened his injury. His broken spine.
Matty had watched it all from backstage, unable to let anyone know that it wasn’t just someone on Team USA who had gotten hurt. It was the man Matty had kissed good luck before they snuck out of Clarke’s room the morning of the race. It was his lover, his friend, the man he’d whispered late-night promises to—they’d made plans for Clarke to come to St. Louis to train. They were going to get an apartment together. They were planning to come clean about their relationship before the Rio Games and go as partners on different teams, playing up their romantic rivalry for the cameras.
No one knew. Not their teammates, not their coaches, not Clarke’s ridiculously overbearing mother. And so, after the accident, Matty couldn’t get any information from anyone other than what was publicly available.
They’d had to evacuate the Aquatics Centre while the pool was drained and cleaned of Clarke’s blood, which was everywhere. It had taken over a day to clean and refill the pool. The schedule for swimming events was tight, and all the other events were pushed even closer together. Not one country complained. Not one competitor.
Clarke underwent a fourteen-hour operation at a top London hospital, with world-renowned surgeons taking over his care. Then he spent another three days in an induced coma while the sports world clung on to any news of his condition and collectively prayed for his survival. Matty had holed himself up in his room in the Olympic Village and lived a hellish circle of crying and panic attacks, knowing that if anything happened to Clarke, he wouldn’t hear before anyone else. He wouldn’t be able to go into the hospital room to kiss him good-bye before they turned off his life-saving equipment. He wouldn’t be invited to the funeral.
It was hell. And the pain of possibilities didn’t end quickly.
At the Games’ closing ceremony, there had been an official moment of silence, for prayer and reflection, in honor of Clarke. Team Canada had worn pins specially made with pictures of Clarke’s face. He became the poster boy of the Olympics—the tragic hero who maybe, should have, could have won.
Matty Webber knows that Tokyo 2020 is his last chance to take home an Olympic medal for Team USA. And it’s not like he hasn’t been trying—this will be his third Olympic games, after he came so close to glory in Rio de Janeiro and London.
Clarke Roberts gave up his Olympic dreams after an accident at the 2012 Olympics ended his career—and along with it, any chance of continuing the secret, passionate affair he’d been having with Matty. So when he arrives in Tokyo ready to prove himself as a rising star in the sports commentary world, running into Matty is a less than ideal distraction.
Eight years after their clandestine romance ended in tragedy, Clarke and Matty have another chance to rekindle the relationship that burned fast and bright in London. But between Clarke’s interfering mother and Matty’s desperation to finally win a medal in the Triathlon, there’s plenty standing between them and romantic gold.
Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south west of England and now lives in Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before turning her hand as a professional writer.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theatre (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), visiting friends who live in other countries, Marvel Comics, learning new things, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.
Although her most recent work is in the LGBT Fiction genre, in the past Anna has worked on a variety of different projects including short stories, drabbles, flash fiction, fan fiction, plays for both children and adults, and poetry. She has written novels in the Teen/ Young Adult genre, Romance, and Fantasy novels.
Anna is, by her own admission, almost unhealthily obsessed with books. The library she has amassed is both large and diverse; “My favourite books,” she says, “are The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.” She also several well-read copies of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park books and re-reads the Harry Potter novels with almost startling regularity.
Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading and creative ass-kicking provided by her closest friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept any responsibility for anything Anna has written.
Anna has brought a copy of Heart of Gold to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, July 22nd at 11:59 pm ET.
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