Length: 38,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.
Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.
Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other.
Secret Santa — and it’s not just Santa who is (keeping) secret(s). Boy, if ever two men made dating, and therefore life, complicated for themselves, it has to be Luke and Theo.
I had to smile that while they manage to deal with the somewhat treacherous intricacies of Grindr without any real problems, despite Theo being new to the app; it is the rest of their lives, and what they don’t tell each other that almost trips them up. I mean, we all know that we need to be careful about what we diverge and what we believe while chatting online but, as this story shows, it is advisable to also pay attention when dealing in a more direct fashion. Or, novel idea, try to not keep secrets from each other.
I have to be honest and admit that the secrets both Luke and Theo were keeping didn’t really work for me. After all, there’s nothing shameful about a temporary job as a store Santa and keeping the fact that you are co-parenting a child secret when you’re looking for something more meaningful than a hook-up seems somewhat nonsensical. Then again, characters not communicating has never been my favourite trope, so this one is probably on me rather than on the author. And, I would like to add at this point that while I had no complaints when it came to Luke and Theo, I think Archie, Theo’s four year old son, was the male who stole my heart in this book.
As for the book in general, it’s a Jay Northcote special, which means Secret Santa is a well written story, featuring two cute men, amazing sexy times, and plenty of moments to make you grin from ear to ear. But then again, I wouldn’t have expected anything else. Jay, for me, is a safe bet when I’m looking for a comfort read. This Christmas, he once again delivered on that promise.
December 4 - BooksLaidBareBoys
December 8 - My Fiction Nook
December 12 - Valerie Ullmer, Padme's Library, Nicole's Book Musings, Wicked Faerie's Tales & Reviews
December 14 - Books Lovers 4Ever, Making It Happen, Slashsessed, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Reads
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.
One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.
Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.
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