The lovely Jay Northcote might have brought us a story about cold feet but her brand new novella is guaranteed to warm your heart. We love having Jay visit us at Sinfully and today she's not only treated us to some of her personal Christmas memories, but she's also generously gifting a book from her back catalogue. Plus we have an excerpt from this sweet, sexy seasonal romance that will definitely get you in the Christmas mood.
Christmas Memories With Jay
Thanks, Sinfully Sexy for hosting me today. It’s lovely to be here again :)
I’m here today to tell you about my Christmas novella, Cold Feet, and for this post, Macky wanted to know about my favourite childhood Christmas memory and whether it involved a favourite present.
I had to think about that one for a while, but actually I really don’t remember ever getting a present that I was particularly blown away by. Not that I didn’t get nice things, I’m sure I did, and I’m sure I loved them. But that wasn’t the part of Christmas I got most excited about. I know it sounds cheesy, but for me, the best thing about Christmas was having all my family back under one roof.
I’m the youngest of four girls—by a long way. My eldest sister left home to go to uni when I was a toddler, and my second sister left home when I was about six or seven. I really missed not having them around, so I used to love seeing them when they came home for Christmas.
I can’t pick out one particular favourite memory, but all of my best ones involve us playing games and making each other laugh. My family is crazy (in the good way) and we’d play silly games and it was awesome. We used to play Give Us a Clue (where you have to act out the titles of books/films/TV shows) and that game invariably ended up with my mum laughing so hysterically that she cried. That would set the rest of us off and I loved it. Laughing like that is one of the best feelings in the world.
Cold Feet by Jay Northcote
Author ~ Jay Northcote
Release Date ~ 8th December 2014
Genre ~ Contemporary MM Romance, Christmas
Best friends snowed in together. When the heat rises, will they get cold feet?
Getting snowed in at a remote cottage in Wales with someone he’d fancied for ages isn’t exactly how Sam expected to spend Christmas. His feelings for Ryan are pointless. Ryan’s straight—or so he thought.
Until now, Ryan’s kept his feelings for Sam buried. Why ruin a friendship over what might only be gay experimentation? Playing it cool seems safer, until a cold snap makes sharing body heat vital. In their Welsh safe haven, anything seems possible.
As Ryan’s reserve melts away, Sam wants more than stolen kisses under the mistletoe. But a sudden thaw means making decisions. They could face the New Year together—unless one of them gets cold feet.
It might be cold and miserable outside at the moment because crappy winter is upon us, but this smashing little seasonal novella is sure to warm the cockles of anyone's heart, as Jay Northcote has brought us another warm hearted, sweet, gentle romance with just the right amount of conflict and some very nice Christmas feels.
We've got two stranded guys; best mates...one gay, one "straight" (or is he?)... a pretty basic, remote welsh stone cottage...lots of snow...forced close confinement...having to share a bedroom so cold that nothing short of huddling together in one bed will stave off the freezing temperature....
Do you see where this is going? <winks>
I'm sure you'll have no trouble putting two and two together as it's not rocket science to guess the outcome, but like always Jay makes the journey from beginning to end so enjoyable that you're just happy to sit back and let this cute story wash over you till it gets to its endearing finish!
I knew I was in for a bit of a treat, so I got myself all cosy and for the next few hours just thoroughly enjoyed watching Sam and Ryan dance around each other until the inevitable happened; but of course staying true to form, it isn't all sweetness and light and there's some soul searching to do before they finally wake up and smell the (Christmas) coffee!
The two of them share a flat with a couple of other friends at uni, but as the story opens its Christmas holiday week and Sam is picking Ryan up from his mum's so they can drive to the cottage in Wales that belongs to their other mate Jon's parents. Jon is driving up with his girlfriend Trina and the idea is that the four of them will spend a couple of nights there together before going back to have Christmas with their respective families. Only things don't work out that way, when first of all they get a text to say that Jon and Trina are having car trouble; so probably won't arrive till the next day, then overnight there's a change in weather conditions and a huge fall of snow leaves them snowed in and the other two unable to get there at all! Suddenly things are a bit more awkward, as both Sam and Ryan are hiding feelings from each other that become more apparent when the awareness that for the first time they're going to be completely on their own together sets in, without anyone else around to act as buffers for their respective, unspoken attractions for each other. Sam is gay and happily out to family and friends, but Ryan is conflicted about his sexual identity so plays the straight guy amongst his peers. Neither of them wants to spoil the friendship they have by confessing their true feelings so they push them to one side and just toddle along as normal but of course it's always simmering below the surface and is harder to hide when it's just the two of them pretty much on top of one another.
'It had only been a week or so since they'd packed up and left uni to go home for the holidays, but Sam had missed Ryan like crazy. He was used to being around him all the time, and having a break from that had only served to reinforce how totally gone for Ryan he was. He suppressed a sigh. He was the ultimate gay cliche, secretly and hopelessly in love with his straight best friend.'
Little does Sam know that Ryan is having similar conflicting thoughts!
'On the surface they might have seemed to like an unusual combination, what with Sam being an ubergeek and Ryan being on the Rugby team. But when you dug a little deeper they had a surprising amount in common. Sam teased Ryan for being a 'secret geek,' and threatened to out him. Ryan's laughter at that joke was always a little forced, because Ryan had a different secret he was putting a lot of effort into hiding. And Sam was part of the problem—because Ryan's feelings about Sam were...complicated.'
The whole package was sweet and engaging. I loved Sam and Ryan; loved that it wasn't too twee or schmaltzy. There's not really that many supporting characters, as its mainly centered around the two leads but I also liked the compassionate little sub plot set around Mari; an older, lovely, down to earth welsh lady they meet during their stay at the cottage. Their interaction with her, and her cats, just added a touch more Christmas cheer to the story and brought in a link to Ryan's family, which in turn gave a bit of insight into his personality and why he acts the way he does before they finally get their act together just before the new year starts.
There's no high drama in this at all but that doesn't mean it hasn't got its little emotional moments, and I'd say it's not quite as 'steamy' hot as usual but it's still sweetly sexy and a perfect comfort read, feel good story. The sort of novella that leaves you warm inside, smiley and satisfied. I'm very happy to keep this one for another cozy reading session...and I doubt I'll be waiting till next Christmas to visit it again. Another thing that drew me in, was that my much loved Grandma lived in Wales, in exactly the same sort of out of the way cottage these guys stayed in and the mention of lighting a log fire took me right back to my childhood and the holidays and visits we spent with her. Back in time to the comforting smell of woodsmoke and the sight and sound of logs crackling and spitting in the grate! Just thinking about it...and I can truly smell it again. Smell-O-vision whilst reading! Lol...Ahhh...happy memories!
Buy it Here
Afterwards, Sam denied he’d started it.
He’d been aiming for the tree behind Ryan, not at Ryan himself, he insisted. But whatever its intended target, Sam’s snowball hit Ryan perfectly on the back of his neck, exploding on impact and sending powdery snow down the gap between beanie and jacket.
After that, mayhem ensued. Snowballs flying as they ran and ducked, laughing and trash-talking each other. They were in a small copse with a few trees and bushes for cover, but as soon as one of them ventured out in search of a new patch of snow to make missiles with, the other would take the opportunity to release a fresh barrage of snowballs.
Finally, frustrated by Sam’s surprisingly good aim, Ryan reverted to his rugby skills and tackled Sam, knocking him full length into the snow with an “Oomph!” Of course, Ryan went down too. But by then he was too wet and cold to care.
They were on a slope, and the impact caused them to roll together, over and over until Ryan wondered if they were going to turn into a giant snowball like characters in a cartoon. But they finally came to rest, panting and laughing as the slope levelled out.
Sam ended up pinned beneath Ryan, laughing out loud. He’d lost his hat at some point in their tumble, and his hair was in his eyes. Snow crystals had caught in it, glinting in the sunlight. His smile was wide and infectious, and Ryan laughed too, dazzled for a moment. Then Sam’s gaze drifted over Ryan’s shoulder and focused on something above them.
“Is that mistletoe?” he asked.
Ryan pushed himself up and offered a hand to Sam to help him back onto his feet. Then he tilted his head back to squint at the spherical tangle of leaves in the bare branches of the tree above them. “I think so.”
Ryan met Sam’s eyes again, then realised he was still holding his hand. They each had gloves on, and Ryan wished they didn’t. He wanted to feel Sam’s skin. They stared at each other for a moment, and Sam licked his lips. They were pink, a little chapped from the cold, and Ryan’s gaze locked onto them. His heart surged, and panicky heat flooded him.
Meet Jay Northcote
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her amazing, occasionally ridiculous husband, two noisy-but-awesome children, and two cats.
Jay 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 writes contemporary gay romance, usually set in or near her home town of Bristol. She enjoys the challenge of bringing the men in her head to life through her words
Jay Northcote will be gifting one very lucky reader an eBook from her back catalogue. (Excludes Cold Feet) All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.