“Where Love Grows” by Jay Northcote

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When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.

Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.

Luke is more used to a concrete jungle. He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.

A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.

This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.

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“Mud & Lace” by Jay Northcote

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When Wicksy falls for drag queen Charlie, they discover that both sexuality and gender can be fluid.

Simon Wicks—Wicksy to his rugby teammates—has only ever been interested in women. But when he sets eyes on Lady Gogo, a drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place, he can’t stop thinking about her. He knows there’s a guy behind the fishnets and make-up, but he’s ready to explore his fantasies, and Lady Gogo is game for making them come true.

Charlie adores performing in drag. It allows him to indulge in his love of cross-dressing while earning some extra cash. Fooling around with a mostly straight guy in secret seems like a fun diversion, and gives him the chance to explore his feminine side. He feels safe wearing the mask of his confident alter ego, because the real Charlie is hidden from view.

When Wicksy sees more of the guy behind the make-up and glitter, his attraction to Charlie persists, and he realises he’s bisexual. In turn, Charlie begins to understand and accept his gender fluidity. As their mutual journey of self-discovery brings them closer, the secrecy becomes increasingly hard to deal with. If they’re going to have a future together, they both need to find the courage to show people who they really are.

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“Nothing Special” by Jay Northcote

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Noah thinks he’s nothing special. Average height, a bit on the skinny side, and cute but rather geeky, he’s relentlessly ordinary. He certainly doesn’t expect to be noticed by Sol, the gorgeous dark-haired stranger Noah sees on his commute home most days. But when Noah’s friend, Dom, persuades Noah to take a huge risk in a bid to get Sol’s attention, things turn out better than Noah dared to hope. Noah and Sol start dating, and much to Noah’s surprise, his feelings seem to be reciprocated.

But Noah’s insecurities make him doubt Sol. He doesn’t believe he’s interesting enough or sexy enough to hold Sol’s attention, and as Sol tries to get closer, Noah’s instinct is to pull away to protect himself. If their relationship is going to survive, Sol needs to convince Noah that he sees Noah very differently than Noah sees himself. Because to Sol, Noah is something very special indeed.

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“Stuck with You” by Jay Northcote

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Two clashing colleagues stuck together for Christmas–will opposites eventually attract?

Patrick has been single since he broke up with his cheating ex almost a year ago. With Christmas looming, he’s resigned to spending it alone with only memories of happier times for company. When a business trip with a co-worker leaves them stranded in the Lake District due to heavy snow, it seems Patrick will have company for Christmas after all. It’s a shame his companion is Kyle, who’s undeniably attractive, but annoying as hell.

Aware of Patrick’s reluctant admiration, Kyle basks in the attention even though Patrick isn’t the type of man he normally goes for. Averse to relationships after being hurt in the past, Kyle enjoys the occasional hook up, but has given up on seeking anything more meaningful.

Stuck together, their antagonism escalates along with a heavy dose of sexual tension until it finally ignites. What starts as a Christmas fling soon feels like something special; but will their tentative connection melt away as the snow thaws? If they’re going to take a chance on finding happiness together, they’ll have to put their differences aside and learn to trust one another.

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“Nothing Serious” by Jay Northcote

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What happens when “nothing serious” turns into something more complicated?

Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.

Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.

As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close and “nothing serious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?

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“Pretty in Pink” by Jay Northcote

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Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy—and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.

Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes—normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest—first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

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“Secret Santa” by Jay Northcote

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Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship…

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.

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“Summer Heat” by Jay Northcote

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A summer fling is an ideal cure for a broken heart. But when it’s with your best friend, things get complicated.

When Adam is dumped by his boyfriend, a week away at a beach resort seems like a great opportunity to get over his ex. Sun, sea, and no-strings sex will be just the boost he needs to move on with his life.

Adam’s best friend, Finn, agrees to accompany him at short notice. Finn’s had a crush on Adam for years, but is determined to put his feelings aside and be the perfect wingman in Adam’s time of crisis.

A spontaneous threesome with another guy forces Adam and Finn to confront their attraction to each other. Having a holiday fling together wasn’t part of the plan, and as their trip heats up, they soon realise that one night of fun won’t be enough for either of them.

The passion might be scorching, but their hearts and friendship are on the line. If their romance is going to survive the flight home, they have to be honest about what they want.

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“Watching and Wanting” by Jay Northcote

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Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied…

Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth—going nowhere.

Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction.

Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated—and kinky—fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.

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2016 Favorite Reads – Sheri

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Looking back on my year of books from 2016 brings me great joy. It was a slower year but definitely not lacking in emotions, which I suppose sums up my year in general. I found myself gravitating towards comfort authors and sifting through older titles that I had previously missed. This perhaps was the most exciting; stumbling upon gems from years ago. I marveled as I uncovered truly amazing stories that were just as shiny despite not being brand new. I struggled to let go of a few captivating books and allowed myself to stay, transfixed with their beauty. Altogether, it was a wonderful year jam-packed with amazing books.

Without further ado, here are my favorites from this past year…..

 

“Brute” by Kim Fielding – Everything about this story rocked my world. I was utterly addicted and savored every word while listening to it on repeat. I had an audio book awakening this year and it was due to my infatuation of this book. If you haven’t read it yet…you must! AMAZON

 

Big Love” by Rick R. Reed – My adoration for this story stems from an individual character but all in all it’s a fantastic story. Reed is by far one of my favorite authors and it’s no surprise my top ten includes his triple R initials. This story is bursting with love and should not be overlooked. AMAZON

 

“Imperfection of Swans” by Brandon Witt – Slow and steady wins the race, right? It certainly did with this story! Witt is a fresh face for me and I really enjoyed his style. A powerful story with a personal touch and it left me overflowing with emotions. AMAZON

 

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“Foxes” by Suki Fleet – I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again….Suki Fleet is vastly underappreciated. Her words have great power and everyone should know them. Danny deserves infinite love and he’s got it from me. If you don’t know Fleet’s work, trust me, you really really should. AMAZON

“Selfie” by Amy Lane – Oh my! This is an amazing yet tragic story that doesn’t pull its punches. It is long and full of emotional afflictions but I connected with Noah and was completely vested in his story. Con demonstrates that broken hearts can indeed heal enough to love again and I was overwhelmed with his revival. So good. AMAZON

 

“SPECTR Series” by Jordan L. Hawk – Hawk is another new-to-me author and I was thoroughly impressed. I’m perplexed that I missed her before but grateful I was introduced to this series. John, Caleb & Gray create some seriously badass paranormal romance and I blissfully got my freak on with this trio. If you aren’t familiar, I recommend putting it on your list. AMAZON

 

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“A Mended Man” by Jaime Reese – Wow….this story was a labor of love. It’s an intense ride with intense men. It’s not an easy journey but it’s very much worth it. The Men of Halfway House are an obsession I am happy to surrender to. If you haven’t met these men yet, you’re sorely missing out.  AMAZON

 

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“Glasgow Lads” Series by Avery Cockburn – These sexy Scots stole my heart. I binge-read this series and grieved the final pages. Avery has a knack for creating the ultimate ‘opposites attract’ couple and they were dangerously dirty. And score! …Another new favorite author to add to my list! AMAZON

 

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“Imperfect Harmony” by Jay Northcote – I adore nearly every story Northcote delivers but this one especially touched my heart. I believe it was simply because it opened my eyes a little wider and I truly appreciate when a story leaves you with a different perspective. Kudo’s to Jay and I can’t wait for what he has to come next year. AMAZON

 

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“Wolfsong” by T.J. Klune – This book is my…beloved this year. I loved absolutely every single thing about it…except the long tortuous wait for the sequel. I’ve never experienced anything like it and doubt I ever will. Klune creates the paramount of PNR and if you haven’t read it…please do. AMAZON

 

This wraps up my best of 2016 but I can’t go without shout outs to: “Just Drive” by L.A. Witt, “Diamonds” by Nash Summers, “The Last Thing He Needs” by J.H. Knight, “Drawn In” by Barbara Elsborg and “Perfect Imperfections” by C. Cardeno. These are all remarkable stories that deserve high praise and just barely missed the cut this year.

2016 was a year full of highs and lows and I always find it best to focus on the many blessings I’ve received. I hope you were as fortunate as I was and 2017 brings you many joys, smiles and books that will shake any funk.

Hugs,

sheri