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Good Housekeeping
Mina V. Esguerra, Contributor
January 30, 2011

No Strings Attached

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nostringsattached.jpgThe author of the quirky novel My Imaginary Ex comes back this year with a realistic story of romance that will make you question your notions of love.

In No Strings Attached, Mina V. Esguerra introduces a class act in smart and reliable Carla. She’s so good at her job she can make miracles happen at the last minute, but while most of her girlfriends are married, Carla’s still single and fast approaching 30. Enter Dante, a sexy, if arrogant, man who injects a little excitement in Carla's life when they start dating. The only catch is he's five years younger than her. Her guy best friend tells her to just enjoy the ride, but there's a niggling thought of the back of Cara's head warning her that Dante’s too good to be true.

Has Cara finally met her match, or is she on her way to making the biggest mistake of her life? Grab a copy of No Strings Attached to find out. Check out the excerpt linked below for a preview.

Read excerpt 



Sometime early September, three months after the "fling" started, I finally told a friend about it. But maybe I shouldn't have told Tonio, my model-handsome slut of a Guy Best Friend. (I call him that to differentiate him from Mary, Girl Best Friend.) Anyway, I poured my heart into that carefully worded sentence, and he just laughed at me.

I had to reach over and hit the emergency stop button on his treadmill because he knocked down his towel and could have tripped over it. Didn't want anything to happen to that face—especially because of my little announcement.

We were at the gym that Tuesday evening, side by side at the treadmills. I was doing a light jog, he was in the middle of his regular sprint, when I said it.

"I've been dating a younger guy."

He caught himself on the rails and held on, but was still laughing. "Is this the same guy from Batangas? How much younger?"

I sighed. "Five years."

"Shit, Carla, that's nothing." A toned arm reached down to grab the fallen towel and he started up the treadmill again. "Five years means something when you're teenagers. But you're twenty-nine and he's..."

"Yeah I can do the math."

"Carla, Carla, Carla." He had a smug look on his face. "I always knew I'd hear something like this from you one day."

"Ugh, not when you say it like that."

But who was I kidding? I wanted this kind of reaction. Not just acceptance, but actual encouragement, and it was why I came to Tonio in the first place. Apart from being the only other single person in our college barkada, he would be the least judgmental (relatively). I had gone through enough self-doubt in the three months that I'd been kinda sorta in a relationship.

Tonio and I met in college, through common friends who started hanging out at a tambayan together. At most we were probably two dozen, but after college the group whittled down to six core people who still kept in touch. There was me, Tonio, Mary, two other girls and one other guy.  Every few months we still tried to have dinner together, but by now almost ten years had passed since college graduation and it was harder to coordinate schedules.

Also, everyone else, except for Tonio and me, were married with children.

Back then my friend Tonio—now going by Anton—was not a buff manslut yet. He was good-looking, sensitive, if a little overconfident. I was extremely unfashionable and a little chubby around my waist and on my face. Still we actually had a little flirtation going on for several years. Our friends thought we would eventually end up together. For three weeks soon after graduation, we actually did, but it didn't last.

Fast forward ten years, and he ended up becoming my Guy Best Friend. I used to have only one best friend, Mary, but a wedding and a kid later and I stopped inviting her out every single time I needed to vent. Tonio's lifestyle was a little more accommodating—we went to the same gym and lived close enough to each other to frequent the same supermarket. He also bulked up and started calling himself Anton. I dropped twenty pounds, despite a continued fondness for baked goods. And we both learned the importance of correct clothing sizes and flattering haircuts.

You'd think that we'd still be hung up on each other after becoming exponentially more attractive, but no. Our transformations actually underscored how great we were as friends, because it revealed something that I hadn't even admitted to myself. That we were different from the rest of our barkada.

"Why?" I demanded, slowing down on my treadmill. "Why aren't you surprised?"

He smiled as he shook his head. "Couldn't figure out what exactly was wrong with you, but now that you said it, yes—dating a younger guy is the solution."

"There's nothing wrong with me," I protested.

"Okay, I didn't mean it that way then. Replace that with different. But you know what I mean, right? We're not like our friends anymore."

What Tonio meant, I assumed, was that in the past five years our other friends had joined a club—the Marriage Club—and since then they started operating on a whole other wavelength. They seemed to get one another though, talking about in-laws and kids and breastfeeding and pre-school.

It wasn't that they became boring to us; we just didn't get it. I knew why Tonio wasn't into it. Years ago he discovered he was an attractive guy and started exploring his potential as a "player." Now at twenty-nine, he still enjoyed that life, and any opinions he had about breastfeeding, I wouldn't want to hear.

I wasn't sure why I wasn't into all that domestic couple stuff, though. I wasn't the type who slept around like he did.

"I'm not like you," I said.

"Are you bringing him to our birthday party?"

That was the question, wasn't it? I did just tell one of my closest friends that I was seeing him. Did that make it official? "I don't know yet."

The answer tickled Tonio. It sounded weird and new coming from me, the most relationship-illiterate of the bunch.  "Are you having fun right now?"

I almost said no, just to spite him, but it wasn't true. "Yes."

Tonio laughed. "Maybe you're just a late bloomer."

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  • Chachic Jan 31 2011 @ 02:15pm Report Abuse
    Here are some reviews from Filipino Book Bloggers of No Strings Attached, in case anyone's interested:




    Last modified A long time ago
  • Catie Hernandez Feb 06 2011 @ 04:38pm Report Abuse
    i love this book

    it's funny & i just love the way

    the author well describe each character(s)

    hope to meet some1 like DANTE ! hahahaaaaa
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Newvel Matubis Feb 11 2011 @ 03:50pm Report Abuse
    i supeerrrrr looovveeee this book! i'm soooo kilig! :) it's funny too!!! it's a kind of story that happens in real life. i want my own DANTE! ^___^
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Jin Feb 21 2011 @ 05:45pm Report Abuse
    really, the summary at the back of the book doesn't give justice to the contents. it's really good! you may not totally relate to it, as in 100%, but surely, it will remind you of your good, old college years, as well as the present.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • FrustratedWriter Mar 01 2011 @ 04:49pm Report Abuse
    I love the story, I PROMISE!

    This kind of story happens in real life, and i can actually relate on it.It's not boring at all, I almost lost my way to work just reading this 'coz i am enjoying it, i just can't stop! It's crazy, funny and comfortable to read.

    I hope I can also send and share my written stories with you guys.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • goddess Mar 17 2011 @ 11:22am Report Abuse
    where can i purchse this book?

    i went to national bookstore megamall but to no avail.

    response is highly appreciated.

    Last modified A long time ago
  • Anna Cortes Apr 03 2011 @ 12:14am Report Abuse
    Keeps me smiling everytime I turn the page. The book's great, characters seemed non-fictional. And the story, delivered very well. Love Tonio's character, much like the series How I Met Your Mother's Barney Stinson. And Dante's the boy every girl would hope for. :)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Kym Alere Apr 04 2011 @ 05:54am Report Abuse
    I LOVE THIS BOOK SOO MUCH!It's soo kakakilig! I'M SO TOUCHED IN THE CHAPTER 19.. I wish I could have MY DANTE someday! :)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • kc hacutina Apr 08 2011 @ 10:46pm Report Abuse
    i wonder were i can buy copies of these..can't find one in bookstores...
    Last modified A long time ago
  • freefirefly May 13 2011 @ 01:59am Report Abuse
    Finished reading the book in two hours. What a page turner!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • marikar Jun 27 2011 @ 12:09pm Report Abuse
    I want to read this book... Where far from City. Can we buy it thru online?

    Keep up the good works!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Anne Margaret Junio Aug 16 2011 @ 05:25pm Report Abuse
    I really, really salute Summit Book Writers. They are original. They are driven by reality sweets and spices. I adore them all. I wish I have all Summit Books. Grabe! Excerpts palang nakaka-hook na! Gosh.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • tiana mari de asis Aug 19 2011 @ 09:32pm Report Abuse
    yes it realy happens in real life..coz i can relate to dat..

    m 29 yrs old and i am inlove/in a relationship with a 24 yr old guy..6 years age gap,huh!...

    thats why when i saw this book from a magazine stand i ddnt think twice,i grab a copy...as i was reading,i cant stop smilling.and thingking "am i readning my story?".;-)

    two thumbs up MINA V.ESGUERRA!...super love it;-)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • cleng Sep 26 2011 @ 11:23am Report Abuse
    Where can I buy Summit Books? Thanks.
    Last modified A long time ago
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