Title ~ The Dating Game
Author ~ Jay Northcote
Published ~ 22nd September 2014
Genre ~ M/M Contemporary Romance
Five sex-free dates—how hard can it be?
When they were at uni, Owen always had a bit of a crush on Nathan. But Nathan was apparently straight, and Owen was too busy with other guys to take his crush seriously.
When Nathan moves back to Bristol after a year away, Owen hears that Nathan has come out of the closet, and he propositions him. Nathan doesn’t want to be just another notch on Owen’s bedpost, though, so he challenges Owen to prove he can be serious: five dates before they have sex.
Owen doesn’t think that sounds too difficult. He’s expecting Nathan to find his charms irresistible anyway. But as they grow closer, Owen begins to care more about proving himself to Nathan than he does about getting him into bed.
I think the word I'd use to describe this story as a whole, is adorable. The idea of two guys; one who normally plays the field (Owen) and his long term crush (Ethan)—who wants more than just a one night stand—testing the relationship waters between them by agreeing to five dates without sex, is quite simply cute and endearing.
Owen is one of those characters who even though he has a bit of rep as a love 'em and leave 'em type, is really likable and you can feel his consternation when 'straight' Nathan, who he's been jonesing for as long as he's known him, appears back on the scene and the big news is that his crush has actually come out, finally giving Owen a chance of getting him into his bed. However Nathan's not playing that game. Even though he's secretly been crushing on Owen too, knowing his usual relationship modus operandi, he's very wary of just becoming another notch on Owens bedpost, so he comes up with a suggestion that's either going to make or break the possibility of a true relationship happening between them....
"I'd like to get to know you better first. I think we need more than one date for that."
"Okay, so what's your magic number? Try me."
Nathan's brow furrowed as he considered the question for a moment.
"Five," he finally said. "Five sex-free dates...."
What follows is an account of each of those dates over a period of five weeks and the temptations they have to fight as the two of them begin to get closer, and how they deal with it. Now the first thought is "Damn, does this mean that if the guys have to abstain, then we don't get any sex in the book either?...*pout*"
The answer is...rest easy my "What no sex!!!!" Friends...LOL. Jay Northcote gets around that very cleverly by giving them a sort of codicil in their contract, in which they agree that:
"Kissing is fine....no orgasms. That's the line."
"Please tell me I'm still allowed to wank, otherwise my balls might explode."
So...you can imagine, despite the slightly manipulated no sex rule there's still some mighty fine snogging sessions happening during this five week sexual hiatus (I LOVE kissing scenes, and these did not disappoint at all!) plus some extremely yummy phone conversations between the two of them involving a nice bit of hand action and some suitably, naughty talk. Yay! Phone sex!!!! And it works because Ms Northcote has given us two lovable characters whose partnership really does shine on page because their chemistry clicks straight away.
This is a shortie novella (1527 locations on kindle) but in Jay's hands that doesn't really make this any less enjoyable as once again she manages to mix sweet and endearing with moments of fan yourself sexy, making this a great choice to sink into when you just want something as a filler between longer reads...the sort that sometimes you just need to pick up to wind down with after an emotional onslaught book session, or to give you that contented feeling back if the last read just didn't make the grade or left you feeling unsatisfied.
The angst factor is low, the little bit of conflict that does occur is sorted in a flash really, but sometimes that's just what you want and in this case it's the attraction, connection and growing friendship that turns to much more than just the initial feeling of lust between horny guys, that makes this such an enjoyable story to choose. The actual dates they decide on themselves are fun; one of my faves including a visit to a kids playground and some swings, and are surprisingly romantic at times.
As for making it through the full five dates without giving in to the itch? That's the fun part...but whatever happens you'll definitely come away smiling at the end. I did and it was a big sappy one. Short, sweet and definitely satisfying. Enjoy!
Buy It Here
Short exclusive excerpt from The Dating Game by Jay Northcote
“Okay. Are you hungry yet? Or do you want to go somewhere for a drink before we eat?”
“Maybe a beer first, but I’m easy.”
Owen snorted. “No, you’re not. Mr Five Dates Before We Fuck.”
He was only teasing, but when he glanced sideways, Nathan’s face had pulled into a frown.
“Yeah, I know it was a stupid idea,” he said. “I feel like an idiot about it already.”
A spike of unexpected guilt shot through Owen. He turned and put out a hand to cover Nathan’s where he was gripping the railing.
“Hey,” he said lightly, waiting till Nathan turned to meet his eyes. “Okay, so maybe at first it seemed like a stupid idea. But you know? After one-and-a-half dates, it’s not looking so bad.”
Nathan looked uncertain. “Really?”
“Yeah.” Owen squeezed Nathan’s hand. “I mean… I’m not saying it will be easy. But this dating thing is kind of fun.”
And Owen meant it, even if he was still going to try and persuade Nathan to hurry things along a little—because he was crap at being patient.
About Jay Northcote
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
Leave a comment below for your chance to win an eBook from Jay’s backlist. The giveaway closes on the 30th September and Jay will choose a winner on the 31st.