Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Received from Publisher
Blurb: When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?
Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.
Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.
In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?
Review: With its convincing friends to lovers theme, this story left me in a warm, fuzzy state of mind.
Justin and Sean are young men who have been friends since their age was in single digits. They’ve been attracted to each other for years, but for one reason or another, never fessed up to, or acted on the attraction. Well, one big reason being Sean went public with his sexuality much later than Justin did.
Justin is facing the annual company holiday party, fresh on the heels of dumping his cheating boyfriend – who happens to work in the same company. Sean happens to be returning to London following a stint globe-hopping, and Justin tells him he can crash at his place. The two friends are enjoying getting re-acquainted, and cook up the idea of going to Justin’s holiday party as a couple. Justin wouldn’t mind giving his ex a visual “neener neener” in the form of the tall, dark, and handsome Sean. And yeah, the role- playing as boyfriends would be interesting – to say the least. The story is told from alternating POVs, which is great since the reader knows exactly how both Justin and Sean feel – about this potentially disastrous situation – and about each other.
What follows is rather inevitable. The guys give in to their lust for each other – then brush it away as a one-off. Or try to anyway. They dance around the truth, denying, deflecting, excusing. Intermingled with this do we or don’t we dynamic is the fact that Sean had left for his world travels on the heels of coming out to his father. A particular event which didn’t go over resoundingly well, and which Sean didn’t stick around to navigate. He is wrestling with a potential Christmas trip to visit his dad, and while Justin thinks it would be a good idea, he convinces Sean to accompany him to his parent’s home in Scotland instead.
You know what they say about best laid plans, best laid intentions, best laid friends…. Things have a way of working out as they will. I liked how Sean and Justin were open and honest with one another – even if it took a while. There was a great mix of humor to be found along with the serious nature of where to take their relationship. The two men were good together, their long friendship helped ease the way to romance. The ending, aglow with the spirit of Christmas, was sweet and perfect for the holidays – all wrapped up with a bow.