Captivated by the MUD & LACE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance newly released from Jay Northcote. MUD & LACE is the fourth book in his Rainbow Place series set in Porthladock, Cornwall. I really enjoyed BETTER PLACE, and was eager to continue reading this engaging series. MUD & LACE features a not-so-straight man who falls for a drag queen with a monthly gig at the Rainbow Place cafe–and they both have some issues to confront.

About the book:
When Wicksy falls for drag queen Charlie, they discover that both sexuality and gender can be fluid.

Simon Wicks—Wicksy to his rugby teammates—has only ever been interested in women. But when he sets eyes on Lady Gogo, a drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place, he can’t stop thinking about her. He knows there’s a guy behind the fishnets and make-up, but he’s ready to explore his fantasies, and Lady Gogo is game for making them come true.

Charlie adores performing in drag. It allows him to indulge in his love of cross-dressing while earning some extra cash. Fooling around with a mostly straight guy in secret seems like a fun diversion, and gives him the chance to explore his feminine side. He feels safe wearing the mask of his confident alter ego, because the real Charlie is hidden from view.

When Wicksy sees more of the guy behind the make-up and glitter, his attraction to Charlie persists, and he realises he’s bisexual. In turn, Charlie begins to understand and accept his gender fluidity. As their mutual journey of self-discovery brings them closer, the secrecy becomes increasingly hard to deal with. If they’re going to have a future together, they both need to find the courage to show people who they really are.

Although this book is part of a linked series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

My Review:
Simon, called Wicksy by his rugby mates, is a regular at the Rainbow Place cafe. His teammate is dating a server there, and the team helped to get the place up and running after vandals smashed it up before the grand opening. Wicksy’s not shy about his interest in the stunning Lady Gogo, a new performer, but he’s not quite sure what to do about it.

Charlie is just 20 and trying to make sense of his life. He’s been out as gay for several years but his best mate, also gay, is rude about effeminate men. Charlie fears telling his pal about the drag shows he does to blow off steam and earn some cash would hamper their friendship. And, Charlie’s not sure he wants his mum to know about how he feels when in his Lady Gogo persona. Because Charlie feels empowered and sexy, glamourous and desirable–a far cry from his normal appearance. Wicksy, being a strapping lad, is catnip for Lady Gogo, and lights a fire within Charlie, too. But, is this handsome man really desiring a woman, because Charlie’s “lady parts” are all costume.

Wicksy’s keen on Lady Gogo, and they start canoodling, with Charlie in drag. It’s fun for both men, and these clandestine trysts help each man re-center their interests. Wicksy is recognizing that he’s not so much worried about Charlie’s sexual plumbing, while Charlie is owning his body and sex appeal in ways he hadn’t considered before. I really liked how this relationship grew–first from an acknowledged place of deliberate contradiction, Wicksy “pretending” Lady Gogo was female while Charlie indulged his inner femininity, to a more realistic recognition that sexuality is how we respond to attraction. Wicksy is a bit late in coming to terms with his desires, but he doesn’t make Charlie feel ugly in his male presentation, either. If anything, the reverence Wicksy always grants Charlie gives Charlie the emotional strength to challenge his own inner questions. It was nice that Charlie got to meet some new people who really supported him, and who offered counsel on his concerns about potentially being trans.

There’s a little separation when Charlie and Wicksy struggle to keep their budding relationship on the down-low, bu tit doesn’t take too long to get things back on the right path. They make the necessary arrangements to live their truth, which enables them to come out as boyfriends, in the end. This one had some very steamy sexytimes, and moments of sweet emotional connection. Even when Wicksy and CHarlie weren’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye, their disagreements were always respectful, and insightful. They pushed each other to be better men, and the story shown for all their effort.

Interested? You can find MUD & LACE on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Finding the Path to a BETTER PLACE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance newly released from Jay Northcote. BETTER PLACE is the third book in his Rainbow Place series set in Porthladock, Cornwall. It’s a fun series, though this book features a man in an emotionally abusive relationship finding the courage to seek a new and better love.

About the book:
Joe deserves better. Meeting Dylan helps him see that.
After a recent redundancy, Joe takes a few months off to try and make it as a writer. His partner, Harry, is less than supportive but Joe is used to that after ten years together, just like he’s used to Harry’s controlling nature and his drinking habit.

Dylan, a server at Rainbow Place, is fascinated by Joe as he sits in the café and works on his laptop. His attempts to flirt are met with awkwardness at first, but gradually Joe opens up. Dylan is disappointed when he learns Joe isn’t single. As their friendship develops he begins to worry about the nature of Joe’s relationship, especially when he witnesses Harry’s behaviour in person. Abuse isn’t always physical, and Dylan knows that from experience. His concern helps Joe see his relationship for what it is, and gives him the courage to end things with Harry.

Free to act on their mutual attraction, Joe and Dylan dive headlong into something that becomes serious fast. Joe revels in the passion and intimacy he’s been missing out on for so long, but Dylan is worried that Joe is on the rebound. He puts on the brakes, knowing that they need to slow down to make this last. For this new relationship to work, Joe needs to show Dylan that he’s ready to move on from the past.

Although this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone and has a satisfying happy ending.

My Review:
Joe and Harry have been monogamous partners for the past ten years. Recently, Joe was laid off from his position at the university, and he’s taking several months before looking for a job to write a novel. This decision was agreed upon by Harry, but Harry’s not totally happy about it. He feels Joe is wasting his time on a lark, and he’s not shy about letting his feelings known–even in public.

The time off has allowed Joe the opportunity to see how skewed the roles have become in their relationship, and he’s not happy about Harry treating him like an errand boy and housekeeper–these are two men in their forties. While in the Rainbow Place cafe writing, Joe meets Dylan, a server. Dylan’s totally attracted to Joe, and he makes some attempts to let Joe know this–which makes things awkward.

Dylan, a survivor of an abusive partner, sees the dangerous situation Joe is in, before Joe does. Joe had thought himself simply dissatisfied, but Harry’s drinking, coupled with his controlling behavior and spiteful outbursts, are steps along the abuse continuum. Dylan speaks up as a friend, and Joe takes a critical look at his life. He’s not married to Harry, but they split the bills and their living arrangement. For Joe, it’s become little more than a roommates situation, as the emotional connection between he and Harry has withered–and is being ripped apart with each new fight. Joe makes the decision to separate…but he can’t really leave. This only feeds Harry’s growing rage, and leaves both Dylan and Joe vulnerable. Especially once Joe and Dylan begin dating.

There was a lot of great emotional connection points for readers in this one. Joe’s predicament, falling into a lackluster rut with a longtime partner, felt very real. As many times as he tried to address his feelings and needs with Harry was as many times as he was shut down and belittled. He was truly sympathetic, and I didn’t even mind how he was connecting so strongly with Dylan at this point. It felt very realistic for Joe to be introspective about his relationship with Harry when he’s being admired by a younger, sexier, man. He tried hard to mend things with Harry, but it wasn’t meant to be–and that’s just life. Dylan’s history of abuse was poignant, and allowed the reader to imagine how difficult it would be to fall for another person after the one you thought loved you became physically abusive. Personal judgment is really high on Dylan’s priorities, and he can’t rely on the excitement of new love to support him in the long run. Using his skills gained in years counseling, Dylan’s able to set reasonable boundaries that protect both him and Joe from careening into emotional disaster. Dylan’s boss and friends at Rainbow Place play a role in making life easier for Joe, especially. I expect to see more of all these guys in future stories.

Interested? You can find BETTER PLACE on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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New Life SECOND CHANCE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary transgender M/M romance newly released from Jay Northcote. SECOND CHANCE is a mature romance for two old mates who’ve reconnected under strained circumstances. Nate fell hard for Jack when they were schoolmates, but a lot has changed in twenty years…. Can their rekindled friendship ever be more?

About the book:
Everyone deserves a second chance.
Nate and his teenage daughter need a fresh start, so they move back to the village where he grew up. Nate’s transgender, and not used to disclosing his history, so it’s hard living where people knew him before. When Nate reconnects with Jack–his best friend from school and unrequited crush–his feelings return as strong as ever.

Jack’s returned home to get his life in order after an addiction to alcohol caused him to lose everything: his job, his driver’s licence, and nearly his life. He’s living with his parents, which is less than ideal, but rekindling his friendship with Nate–or Nat as Jack once knew him–is an unexpected benefit of being back home. Jack is amazed by Nate’s transformation, and can’t deny his attraction. Trying for more than friendship might ruin what they already have, but the chemistry between them is undeniable.

Doubting his feelings are reciprocated, Nate fears he’s risking heartbreak. Jack’s reluctance to tell his parents about their relationship only reinforces Nate’s misgivings. With both their hearts on the line and their happiness at stake, Jack needs to make things right, and Nate has to be prepared to give him a second chance.

How about a little taste?

A hint of cigarette smoke carried on the wind caught Nate’s attention, and he realised he wasn’t alone. A hunched figure sat on a bench by the church. Wearing a heavy coat with the hood up, their head hung low staring at the grass between their feet rather than at the landscape stretched out before them. A cigarette hung from bony fingers that protruded from black fingerless gloves. As Nate watched, the man—because Nate could see his face now—raised his head to take a long drag before stubbing the cigarette out on the bench.

A shock of recognition made Nate’s heart jump, thudding erratically. Jack.

Torn between conflicting urges to approach and flee, Nate stared at him, powerless to move.

How many years had it been since Nate had seen him? At forty-five Nate found each year passed faster than the one before. It must have been twenty years at least since he’d seen Jack, maybe more, and longer still since they’d spoken properly. Their last meeting had been nothing more than an awkward exchange of greetings when they ran into each other in the village pub one Christmas. The distance between them had cut Nate like a knife, so different to their teenage years when they’d been best friends, and almost inseparable.

Jack slumped forward again, letting the cigarette butt fall from his fingers. He put his hands over his face and Nate recognised despair and hopelessness, because they’d been his companions in the past. Acting on instinct, he approached.

“Sorry to intrude,” he said, pausing in front of Jack. “But are you okay? Is there anything I can do?”

Jack jerked his head up in surprise. His pale cheeks flushed as he shook his head. “Not really. Just having a bad day. You know how it is… or maybe you don’t.”

“I do.”

Nate studied him. The years had changed Jack, of course, but the essence of him was still the same. Sharp features, the strong nose Jack had always hated, even more defined with age, but more balanced now with dark stubble and the lines that the years were beginning to carve around his eyes and mouth.

As Jack stared back, Nate realised there was no recognition dawning on Jack’s face. To Jack, Nate was a stranger. Five years on testosterone had changed Nate to a point where Jack couldn’t see the person Nate had been before. Normally this was something Nate was glad about, but now he felt a pang of regret.

My Review:

Nate and Jack were the best of friends in school, but that was twenty-five years ago. And, Nate was Natalie, back then. Nate had a terrifying crush on Jack, who was out-gay before they left for uni, and he couldn’t bear to here of Jack’s sexy exploits so he dropped their friendship.

Nate’s sexual dysmorphia continued to grow into his twenties, even after having a child. Near his late thirties he recognized he was trans, and has had treatment since–to the point where he “passes,” which is a bit of a situation when he runs into Jack back in their small hometown.  Nate and his duaghter have moved to live in a smaller locale, and share Nate’s childhood home with his mum. Jack had a terrible break-up and became alcoholic, lost his license and job and is rebuilding at his parent’s home now.

Jack thinks Nate is a sexy man–and Nate’s not about to correct his misunderstanding on how they’ve known each other years–until it sort of washes out on a chance encounter. Still, Jack’s intrigued and Nate’s still suffering that darned crush. They agree to strike up their friendship once again, and soon add the physical. Because friends-with-benefits is sure to preserve their hearts. Jack doesn’t want to fall in love again, and Nate’s afraid to upset his life with more drama–now that his daughter’s well-recovered from some teenaged-angst/depression.

As with all books from Northcote, this one’s a steamer. It’s also sensitive, and engages the reader in the struggle for trans acceptance. The situation, coming “home” changed irrevocably but having acquaintances not honor that, is tense, and both Jack and Nate feel the pressure at times. Jack’s parents are rather boorish about it, often using wrong pronouns and calling Nate by his dead name. It’s upsetting, and Nate and Jack both must struggle through. Jack’s decisions aren’t the best in this regard, because he really cares for Nate, and is afraid to have he heart broken yet again.

I liked the shenanigans these two get up to, trying to have some private time in a place where privacy is at a premium, and watchful eyes abound. It’s a sweet and tender mature romance, and it had both gravitas and respect for person and situation. And steam. Don’t forget the steam.

Interested? You can find SECOND CHANCE on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Out Today! SECOND CHANCE


Hi there! Today I’m getting the word out for a new contemporary transgender M/M romance out now from Jay Northcote. SECOND CHANCE is a mature romance for two old mates who’ve reconnected under strained circumstances. Nate fell hard for Jack when they were schoolmates, but a lot has changed in twenty years…. Can their rekindled friendship ever be more?

About the book:
Everyone deserves a second chance.
Nate and his teenage daughter need a fresh start, so they move back to the village where he grew up. Nate’s transgender, and not used to disclosing his history, so it’s hard living where people knew him before. When Nate reconnects with Jack–his best friend from school and unrequited crush–his feelings return as strong as ever.

Jack’s returned home to get his life in order after an addiction to alcohol caused him to lose everything: his job, his driver’s licence, and nearly his life. He’s living with his parents, which is less than ideal, but rekindling his friendship with Nate–or Nat as Jack once knew him–is an unexpected benefit of being back home. Jack is amazed by Nate’s transformation, and can’t deny his attraction. Trying for more than friendship might ruin what they already have, but the chemistry between them is undeniable.

Doubting his feelings are reciprocated, Nate fears he’s risking heartbreak. Jack’s reluctance to tell his parents about their relationship only reinforces Nate’s misgivings. With both their hearts on the line and their happiness at stake, Jack needs to make things right, and Nate has to be prepared to give him a second chance.

How about a little taste?

A hint of cigarette smoke carried on the wind caught Nate’s attention, and he realised he wasn’t alone. A hunched figure sat on a bench by the church. Wearing a heavy coat with the hood up, their head hung low staring at the grass between their feet rather than at the landscape stretched out before them. A cigarette hung from bony fingers that protruded from black fingerless gloves. As Nate watched, the man—because Nate could see his face now—raised his head to take a long drag before stubbing the cigarette out on the bench.

A shock of recognition made Nate’s heart jump, thudding erratically. Jack.

Torn between conflicting urges to approach and flee, Nate stared at him, powerless to move.

How many years had it been since Nate had seen him? At forty-five Nate found each year passed faster than the one before. It must have been twenty years at least since he’d seen Jack, maybe more, and longer still since they’d spoken properly. Their last meeting had been nothing more than an awkward exchange of greetings when they ran into each other in the village pub one Christmas. The distance between them had cut Nate like a knife, so different to their teenage years when they’d been best friends, and almost inseparable.

Jack slumped forward again, letting the cigarette butt fall from his fingers. He put his hands over his face and Nate recognised despair and hopelessness, because they’d been his companions in the past. Acting on instinct, he approached.

“Sorry to intrude,” he said, pausing in front of Jack. “But are you okay? Is there anything I can do?”

Jack jerked his head up in surprise. His pale cheeks flushed as he shook his head. “Not really. Just having a bad day. You know how it is… or maybe you don’t.”

“I do.”

Nate studied him. The years had changed Jack, of course, but the essence of him was still the same. Sharp features, the strong nose Jack had always hated, even more defined with age, but more balanced now with dark stubble and the lines that the years were beginning to carve around his eyes and mouth.

As Jack stared back, Nate realised there was no recognition dawning on Jack’s face. To Jack, Nate was a stranger. Five years on testosterone had changed Nate to a point where Jack couldn’t see the person Nate had been before. Normally this was something Nate was glad about, but now he felt a pang of regret.

I’ve already finished reading this one, and loved it. I’ll share my review next week.

Interested? You can find SECOND CHANCE on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Finding Him PRETTY IN PINK–A Review


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance just released by Jay Northcote. PRETTY IN PINK is a sweet coming out story about a questioning man who falls for his neighbor–a gender bending out-gay man. This is a book in the Housemates series, but can be enjoyed on it’s own. Other books in the series I loved include WATCHING ANS WANTING, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT and STARTING FROM SCRATCH, which introduce our main characters for PRETTY IN PINK.

About the book:
Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy–and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.
Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes–normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest–first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

My Review:
Johnny is a tall, lithe man who often plays up his androgynous looks. He wears his blonde hair long, likes to glam up with guyliner, and enjoys lacy lingerie from time to time. Johnny’s not one to play a female, but he does like messing with straight men–and seeing how they enjoy his very masculine touch. So, he’s down when his new neighbor, Ryan, thinks getting it on with a bloke might be a bit of fun.

Ryan’s long-harbored attractions for androgynous models, and he’s not averse to being with a guy. It’s not his life plan, mind, but he’s nearing the end of his uni days, and feels like some serious experimentation is in order. He’s got a few weeks before his revisions are complete and he takes his final exams, so why not blow off his pent-up steam with his sexy new neighbor, Johnny. Just so long as no one really knows. Except his housemate Ewan find out, and Ewan’s boyfriend…who is Johnny’s housemate. And then another person, and well, they’re just having some fun, right? So why is Ryan frustrated when Johnny invites randoms over for his own fun…

Oh boy, does this one get sticky! Ryan never expected more than one night with Johnny–it was what they agreed upon, after all. But both Johnny and Ryan recognize that their night was too satisfying to be a one-off. Hence, the friends-with-benefits charade. They are both into one another, but neither will admit to growing feelings. Johnny’s been hurt before by a cheating partner,and Ryan’s life plan is to check off his bisexual bucket list and find a suitable girl to marry. Unfortunately, they end up hurting each other with their silence, and the repair is awkward. I liked how their comrades help patch things up, when they think they are standing up for one, or the other. It’s a sweet story that ends up with Ryan coming out, and Johnny finding love–with Ryan, duh! There’s a lot of sexy business, and I loved the gender-bending kink both Ryan and Johnny share. It’s a tender experience, with loads of stereotype-defying moments.

It’s always fun to catch up with my fave housemates, too, and there’s brief reconnection with old pals from previous books as Ryan and Johnny work their way into love.

Interested? You can find PRETTY IN PINK on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Out Now! PRETTY IN PINK


Hi there! Today I’m getting the word out on a new contemporary M/M romance just released by Jay Northcote. PRETTY IN PINK is a sweet coming out story about a questioning man who falls for his neighbor–a gender bending out-gay man. This is a book in the Housmates series, but can be enjoyed on it’s own. Other books in the series I loved include WATCHING ANS WANTING, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT and STARTING FROM SCRATCH, which introduce our main characters for PRETTY IN PINK.

About the book:
Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy–and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.
Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes–normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest–first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

Interested? You can find PRETTY IN PINK on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Falling For A SECRET SANTA–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M Christmas romance just released by Jay Northcote. SECRET SANTA is a sweet story about a holiday mall Santa and the man he falls for. I really liked it, just like I’ve adored all Jay’s books to-date including SUMMER HEAT, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, and THE LAW OF ATTRACTION, and TOPS DOWN BOTTOMS UP.

About the book:
Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship.
Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.

Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.

Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other.

My Review:
Luke and Theo are two lonely men who want to find a partner, not a hook up. Still, the easiest way to find someone is through a hook-up app. Luke is attracted to Theo’s unconventional pic, and reaches out–and they seem to find a connection. They enjoy chatting so much, that they move off the app into private chatting and it seems to go very well. They meet in person, and hit it off.

Thing is…Luke doesn’t tell Theo his seasonal temp job is as the local mall’s Santa. And Theo doesn’t tell Luke that he’s co-parenting his son, Archie. The next time they meet, well, it’s when Luke brings Archie to see Santa. So, Luke isn’t sure if Theo is a married man cheating on his wife or what the story truly is. He’s afraid to ask, but soon learns the truth from Archie’s own lips. While he’s okay with Theo being a parent, he’s not okay with Theo giving his generic excuses and bald-faced lies regarding how he spends his time, and why he can’t meet up. It’s a weird situation for Luke, and he’s not sure if he should tell Theo that he knows all about Archie–especially as they continue to make return trips to Santa’s Grotto.

I really enjoyed this sweet read. Luke and Theo have some moral dilemmas to face: Theo doesn’t want to hide his son, but he’s had some bad reactions from men in the past, and he wanted to get to know Luke, at the very least, before potentially scaring him away with his news. Luke is a bit embarrassed about his current job, and then he’s faced with “unmasking” Theo, a man he’s growing to like a lot. He’s hopeful that Theo will come to trust him enough to tell his secrets, and each time Theo fakes an excuse, well, it’s hurtful. They have to take a mini-break, but when all the secrets are laid on the table they don’t hesitate to make things right. They knew they had something worth working out, and their happy ending comes (hard and often) on Christmas day. There’s some yummy sexytimes, and some sweetness with the kiddo. Archie is a cutie, and he acts very much like an unaffected 4 year old. I loved his love of all things dinosaurs, stuffed pals and Santa.

Interested? You can find SECRET SANTA on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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