Author ~ Jay Northcote
Publisher ~ Jaybird Press (self published)
Published ~ 4th September 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debts. Focused on his goals, he’s working as an escort to pay his way. He enjoys the no-strings sex and doesn’t have the time or inclination for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal—especially not with a client.
When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex before, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should have known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him, he has an inheritance to support his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT wouldn’t cover the cost.
With each appointment the lines get increasingly blurred. Something is developing between them that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction, but they come from different worlds and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.
Length: 49,000 words
If you’ve read Helping Hand you’ll remember Josh as Jez and Mac’s openly gay housemate who knew just what to say to help them sort through their issues (if you haven’t read it this one definitely works as a standalone). What we didn’t know then was that Josh has been paying for school by working as a self-employed escort.
After chatting with Josh at a bar, the seemingly straight laced Rupert is surprised when Josh tells him sex will cost him. Something about the proposition excites Rupert and he agrees. Their night together is the sexy start of Rupert regularly hiring Josh and with every meeting the line between business and pleasure blurs causing complications on both sides. Josh is so laser focused on his plan to get through school without debt it's hard for him to see any other options outside of what he's been doing, no matter what he feels for Rupert. The fact that he hasn’t considered having a relationship with someone since he started his business has him blindsided by his feelings for Rupert almost from the start.
There are the expected ups and downs, miscommunications and hurt feelings as the two men each fall harder and hope for more. Both have their own issues and neither one wants to upset the fragile friendship/romance that is developing, but of course that only leads to more problems. One particular scene, when Josh decides things are getting too complicated and he needs to treat Rupert as any other client, was particularly difficult to read after getting so caught up in all the other emotion filled encounters between the two. It all comes to a head when Rupert hires Josh for a weekend as his date for his mother’s wedding to a man Rupert doesn’t like.
While this is similar to other rent-boy falling for client stories I’ve read, Jay Northcote again managed to make me really care from the start. Having both Rupert and Josh’s points of view definitely helped that along and so did the fact that I already had a soft spot for Josh from the first book. Of course there is a lot of sex in the book and it is smoking! Rupert may come off as a mild mannered IT guy, and is often sweet and tender, but he also knows what he wants in the bedroom and isn't afraid to ask for or demand it.
As Josh struggles to find a solution to his money issues and his growing feelings for Rupert, his housemates Jez, Mac and Dani are all willing to lend some helpful advice, but only Josh can decide if Rupert is worth taking a risk on. Jay Northcote has found a way to consistently write novellas that don’t skimp on story development, emotions or sexy times and this is another one to add to that list.