Sunday, 22 November 2015


What Happens at Christmas, by Jay Northcote

Title: What Happens at Christmas
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press (self published)
Length: 37,000 words
Genre: Contemporary gay romance
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Release Date: Thursday 19th November 2015
Series info: This book is a standalone


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?

Buy Links: Amazon US            Amazon UK

Goodreads link: What Happens at Christmas


Justin’s phone chimed with a text, interrupting Sean’s train of thought.
Justin picked up his phone to read the message. “Ugh.” He put the phone back down without typing a reply and ran his hands through his hair.
“What’s up?”
Justin sighed. “It’s our work Christmas party next weekend. I’ve already got a ticket, and nearly everyone in the office goes, but it’s for partners as well. One of my co-workers, Jess, is bugging me to come, but I can’t face it. I bet Andy’s going to bring his new boyfriend. I know he’s a shit and I shouldn’t let him get to me, but the thought of him parading around with my replacement, and me being there on my own, isn’t very appealing.”
“Is it too late to find someone to take?”
“No, they don’t need final numbers till Monday.”
“Well, then. Take someone else and flirt like crazy in front of him. Show him you can do better and that you’ve already moved on.”
“But I’m not ready to date. It’s only been two weeks, and I’m still at the feeling-sorry-for-myself stage.”
“I’ll go with you,” Sean offered. “I could be your date. We could pretend we’ve got together and are a couple now.”
“Yeah?” Justin looked thoughtful. “Are you sure?”
Duh. It would hardly be much of a sacrifice to flirt with Justin all night. It would actually be a relief not to have to hide the way he felt for a change.
“Sure,” Sean replied. “I think I can manage to fake that I’m arse-over-tit infatuated with you. As long as it’s only for a few hours.”
“Gee, thanks.” Justin rolled his eyes. “You really know how to make an already-wounded ego feel better. But if you’re up for it, we should totally do it. Andy was always jealous of you before you went away. He saw you as competition because we lived together and were so close. I’d love to see his face when I walk in with you on my arm. I think he’ll hate it even if he’s moved on.”
“Okay.” Sean rubbed his hands together, excited at the prospect of getting to piss off Andy. “Let’s do it! Text your friend Jess back and tell her you’re in—with a hot date.”

Author Bio:

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.   Twitter         Facebook profile   

My Thoughts:

There is a reason why I keep on returning to Jay Northcote’s books, and if I had to summarise that reason in one word it would be: comfort. That wouldn’t be entirely fair though. While it is true that Jay’s books are mostly light-hearted, charming and comfortable, she always manages to give both her characters and the story they live through real depth. Combine that with her smooth writing, vivid descriptions and life-like characters and you’re on to a winner.

As with previous books by this author I felt as if I personally knew these characters shortly after starting the story. I was immediately invested in their struggle to move from friends to lovers and came very close to shouting at them when I wanted them to just get their act together and talk to each other already. Nobody (that I’m aware of) writes friends to lover stories quite like Jay Northcote. The dynamics between Sean and Justin make it perfectly clear they’ve been friends for ages. It’s in the little details, like the Christmas present they buy for each other (I’m not giving it away, but boy did I love that).

Of course, being as close as Sean and Justin are, has one major disadvantage too. They are afraid to tell each other how they really feel because the risk of ruining a long and close friendship is just too great. I adored how happy both of them were just to pretend at being boyfriends and the antics they get up to together. The morning they spend playing in the snow, had me grinning from ear to ear. If we ever have enough snowfall in Ireland I’m gonna build me one of those as well. J

I think it’s fair to say that Christmas stories don’t come much better than this. Cute, delightful, funny, comfortable, charming and very sexy ‘What Happens at Christmas’ is pretty much an avid reader’s Christmas wish come true.

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