Title ~ Nothing Ventured
Author ~ Jay Northcote
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 12th November 2014
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.
Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.
Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.
Okay. Hands up. Who would like to do a twelve mile, assault course style, cross country race in the middle of winter; running through sludgy mud, braving pits of icy water, climbing over slippy walls and crawling under slimy cargo nets? Well not me, that's for sure and definitely not ex rugby player but now slightly unfit Aiden, who wakes up one morning with a hangover and the realisation that in a Tequila induced drunken state he's been railroaded into doing something that has him groaning with his head in hands. The trouble is Liv, his good friend and work colleague; who had him agreeing to it when he was pissed and full of bravado, will have his balls in a vice if he backs out, so he knows he's pretty much snookered. Plus if he does try to get out of it he's going to look like a complete dick because another of his colleagues,Greg from marketing, who's in his fifties and even more unfit than Aiden has agreed to do it AND it's a charity run so it looks like he's just going to have to suck it up and run.
He's got three months to get in shape for the Mad Mucker, but unfortunately the only person who can help him get there is Liv's, arrogant cousin Matt, who's just returned from a stint in Australia. A personal trainer; he's fit as a butchers dog with an arse that makes Aiden's mouth water, especially when it's encased in bum enhancing Lycra running shorts, but from what he can see the guy is straight and a bit on the bossy side. However if training is what he has to do, he might as well do it with some eye candy, but that come's with its own problems too!
"Matt looked hot as fuck again today. He was wearing the same tight red running top. But this time, instead of baggy running shorts he was in sleek black running tights that hugged his powerful thighs. Auden tore his attention away quickly. The last thing he needed was to be running with a boner; he'd have enough trouble keeping up as it was."
Matt's a real taskmaster, really putting his trainee through his paces but that doesn't stop Adrien having a bit of fun by flirting with him. At first it seems like it's falling on deaf ears but after a while some of Matts responses to Aiden's teasing banter have him wondering if Matt really is a straight as he seems.
...Aiden still couldn't decide whether Matt was interested or merely enjoying the attention of a gay man. Some straight men were happy to be flirted with, but that was as far as it went. Being wanted by a gay guy stroked their ego's and maybe even fueled their latent fantasies but they went back to women for reality.
It doesn't take a lot of overthinking to see where this relationship is going, and the blurb itself lets us know that after a bit longer in each other's company, the unavoidable happens and they end up engaging in a sort of friends with benefits situation, which for a while suits both their needs. Nothing particularly surprising at all, but what I did love were the dynamics between Aiden and Matt once their relationship took a different turn and how their separate outlooks on their sexuality, thoughts about love, and respective family backgrounds, impacted the direction their partnership took. Again, not anything that hasn't been used before to fuel a romance and its path to completion and HEA, but both had distinct personalities that made this particular pairing really work. Plus the fact that the chemistry, like in all Jay Northcote stories, is electric doesn't hurt too much either!
Aiden's casual attitude to love is colored by his own broken family history. Happy just hooking up with his ex boyfriend, and sometime fuck buddy Pete; they meet fairly regularly, catch up on stuff going on in each other's lives, have great sex, if neither of them is involved with anyone else at that moment in time, then get on with their lives till the next time they feel horny and fancy a get together. All very amiable because the sex is just a byproduct of them being extremely good mates.
Matt is bisexual but keeps it under wraps. He's had experiences with other men, but for the long term, he's conditioned himself into believing that his future will be with a woman, in fact he's just come out of a five year relationship with a girl back in Australia, hence Aiden's belief that he's straight.
Matt's issues stem from a rocky father/son relationship and it's that which rules his feelings and choices. A roll in some mud and the subsequent shower, leads to the start of regular, supposedly uncomplicated sex which works pretty well for them both until it becomes patently obvious they're starting to get under each other's skins and finally it just comes down to them overcoming the emotional restrictions they choose to put on themselves, so they can recognize what's really happening between them and do something about it.
I loved watching the progress they made over the course of the story as they went from just the odd BJ and steamy after training shower sex, to moments of real tenderness in the bedroom. Sizzling no strings sex gradually transitioned into true passion but it didn't happen overnight, which was a nice change. I really enjoyed how Jay Northcote paced the development of their relationship and that in turn kept me engaged in seeing them make it to the end. I'm wondering now if Pete will get his story told because I really liked his character, and it was quite clear he was searching for love too. Hot and sexy but sweet and satisfying; I had a great time reading Nothing Ventured. Oh and the actual race when it came around was fun too. Still wouldn't get me running it though...give me a big comfy chair where I can curl up with my kindle any day!
Buy it Here
Meet 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.
Jay will be gifting one lucky reader an e-book from her back catalogue (Excludes Nothing Ventured) to one lucky reader, all you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below.