Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie - Big Mac to his mates - are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.
When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn't expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your straight friend can only end badly...unless there's a chance he might feel the same.
©2015 Jay Northcote (P)2016 Jaybird Press
Lily reads, writes, and reviews m/m romance.
5 wonderful stars from me!
The tags "Love is Love" and "Love Wins" fit this story perfectly. Neither Jez nor Mac would label themselves as 'gay' at the start of the story and even by the end they are reluctant to slot themselves into such restrictive pigeon holes. They love each other and that's all that matters. But to reach this conclusion they have to move from friends, to friends with benefits, to lovers and then finally boyfriends. What starts out as just sex and helping each other out gradually leads to a physical and emotional connection between the two young men as they battle to sort out who they are and who they want to be with.
I loved every part of this story. Jay's characters are realistic in their behavior and mannerisms. I adored how the physical intimacy between Jez and Mac gradually developed along with their feelings for each other. I understood their desire to keep their special arrangement hidden from the other housemates and their reluctance to admit this was anything but giving each other a helping hand in the bedroom. Jay, as per usual, wrote smoking hot scenes and I thought she surpassed herself this time with portraying the sizzling chemistry between these two lovely boys. The story gave me wonderful 'feelz' from start to finish. Fantastic!
5* also for the audiobook. Great narrator - perfectly suited to Jez's college character. Loved hearing this story.
"Very hot, very sweet, and very nicely narrated"
Mac (James) and Jez (Jeremy) are two broke friends/roommates. Stuck for entertainment they stumble into a new way to pass the time.
Jez has “experimented” with other boys while in the all boys prep academy before university, but Mac has only ever identified as straight. So when the two of them find themselves bored, a little drunk and a little hot after watching an episode of “Game of Thrones” – it’s Jez who suggests they find some porn to work the tension off. At first, the rule was no touching, but a bit of watching. Since that worked so well…
Over time things progress from watching to touching, to sucking to… you get the idea.
Interestingly, it’s the kissing and the cuddling that make each of them wonder “am I gay/bi”.
It isn’t until they are “outed” that they have to face facts and admit that this might just be something more than they bargained for.
The smexy times are really, really hot and the slow build to the love affair is rewarding and fulfilling.
My only wish would be for more time in Mac’s head – somehow – because I didn’t feel like I really got to understand his motivations very well. Jez was so clear but Mac more of a mystery.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and give it 4.5 of 5 stars
I’d really enjoyed Mark Steadman’s work on Lover’s Leap and so I was excited to see how he’d do here. Well… he was great! I loved his version of Mac – solid, steady – and he does the British humor so well – nice dry delivery and all that. I really like his voice and found this amazingly easy to listen to and thought it really brought the story to life.
Narration 5 of 5 stars
Overall 5 of 5 stars
"Pleasant surprise. Quite enjoyable tale"
I was immediately and pleasantly surprised by the story. I, too, was expecting hot sex but instead got a sweet and perfectly paced love story.
It’s a classic trope, and a fantasy of countless gay men, to jack off with a buddy and have it escalate. But Northcote works absolute magic with the cliché and elevates it so it doesn’t even seem like a trope. Within a minute of Jez and Mac watching porn together I was drawn into the story.
I’ve listened to a few books by Northcote and liked them but hadn’t been blown away. This story changed all that. Northcote will now be one of the authors I follow closely.
I’m often hesitant to listen to self-published audio books. I know paying for narration is expensive and sometimes authors have to sometimes sacrifice quality for monetary reasons. That is not the case here. Mark Steadman did a great job with Jez and Mac as well as the other characters.
Recommended narrator for sure.
"Short, sexy as hell and fun!"
One of the things I love most about this story is how neither Jez or Mac think of themselves as anything other than straight, but when their friendship gets more physical and their emotions get more involved as they grow closer, being together is not an obstacle, it's just right for them.
I had so much fun reading this story, and am so happy I enjoyed the audio just as much.
While Mark Steadman does have a couple of minor issues with pauses and his inflection, overall his narration was good and lent an even more sexy tone to the story (which was a huge bonus!). I liked his style and his accent was easy to follow for this non-Brit.
Short, sexy as all hell, and a fun listen I can totally recommend!
"Fantastic short story."
Definitely a recommend and the narration is fantastic. Looking forward to more by this author.
"Hot and Sweet"
Not sure, only listened to audio version.
It was well paced and Mac and Jez's romantic relationship was allowed to build. But their chemistry was instantaneous.
Laughed a few times
Enjoyed even though predictable. Not a lot of tension, but good style. Worth listening, don't know how it reads.
"Great book by great author"
Another hit by Jay Northcote! I absolutely loved this story from start to finish. Two men who didn't realize they were attracted to other men, but figure it out together was a nice plot. I loved the way they handled the ups and downs and awkward moments. While this rang a bit like 'gay for you' it didn't at the same time. I really loved the way it all worked together.
It was a great read that was sweet and sexy all at the same time. I loved the secondary characters as they only added to the story and make it just that much better.
The narrator did a good job with the story, except I specifically remember in one sexy scene he started reading it too fast as if it was a bomb going to go off instead of a hot and heavy scene.
I received a free copy of this book to read for Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review.
"A short story with a good bit of character devolpm"
A hot sexy story with decently flushed out characters.
His accent was fantastic and really set the correct stage for the story. I just wish a little variation between the two MC's was done.
Jez of course. I loved his journey through the book in regards to his relationship with Mac.
*** I was provided a copy of this audiobook for a fair and honest review ***
Jez and Mac are roommates in a house in college who start out as friends and end up as something more. The book starts off innocently enough with the two deciding to stay in on the weekends instead of going out with their other roommates. For Jez it's to save money and for Mac he needs to concentrate on this studies.
One night Jez suggests they watch porn together, they do and as the weeks go by their encounters start to progress from wanking next to each other, to helping each other and it continues until they become sexually involved.
Then Jez does something he never expected, he falls for Mac in a big way and the two of them need to figure out what to do about how their "relationship" is going to proceed.
There was something about this story I really liked, I think it was Jez's realization that it was more then just getting off with Mac and dealing with how that changed not only his situation with Mac but with his whole world view. I really loved Jez and wanted the best for him. Mac was a little harder to get a handle on as the story is from Jez's view but it was nice to see him deal with the changes in his life in a mature, adult way and not act like a a*&hole.
I liked the narration on this, Mark Steadman's accent help sell the story I just wish there had been a little better distinction between Jez and Mac's voices but overall it was a good job. And the sex scenes.. holy heck they were hot.
"Not a fav..."
Wow! I usually adore Jay Northcote's tales but this one is definitely not one. The writing is good and of course the characters are lovely; I think I wanted more of the emotional connection between the characters rather than the sex.
Now, please do not get me wrong, if erotica is your thing, this story is perfect for that 'I wasn't gay until I found you' type of tale that's incredibly steamy.
So, though not my favorite from this author and perhaps if the narrator (who isn't bad) had had a younger voice, close to the ages of the characters, it may have helped a bit. The narrator sounded about 3 or 4 decades older than the young college students.
"Amazing story with great narrator!"
I absolutely love Helping Hand. The story is still great after reading it as an ebook when it came out and I believe Mark did a wonderful job bringing it to life. He made the story flow well, there were a few spots that he read a bit odd to me, but everyone reads stories in their own ways. Overall I enjoyed Mark's rendition of Jay's amazing story.
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