What Happens At Christmas

What Happens At Christmas - Jay Northcote Review originally posted at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

4.5 stars

Jay Northcote really has a knack for writing stories with sweet young men you can’t help but love and want to see find their way to each other. Long-time friends to lovers, each having kept their crush on the other quiet for reasons that changed over the years, finally taking the chance. Yes, it’s been done before, but Jay Northcote has done it really well here with Justin and Sean, and the Christmas setting just adds to the cute and sweet factor.

The two MC’s grew up together and while Justin was out since they were young, Sean only came out fairly recently due to fear of his father’s reaction. Justin always believed he was crushing on his straight best friend, but Sean was crushing on him as well. After coming out Sean couldn’t find the right time to try to express his feelings; either Justin was dating someone or Sean was ready to leave on a nine month trip. Now he’s back, Justin is rid of his awful ex (who is also Justin’s co-worker) and Sean is going to pose as his fake boyfriend at the company Christmas party. That all goes better than expected, especially once they get home and get busy. The morning after both fear it will be awkward and can’t bear to have it affect their friendship. They also both want more, but are quiet as they secretly assess the other’s reaction. Take all these feelings, add in some snow, some snuggling, a couple of gibbons and some holiday magic and you’ve got a sexy, romantic and very sweet story.

It was so much fun to read the build up to them finally declaring their feelings. The men know each other well and are totally comfortable with each other as friends, it really shows during their “pretend boyfriend” times and serves to amp up the chemistry in each small touch and look. Once they have had a taste of what the next step in their relationship can be, the tension buzzing beneath the surface is palpable. The dual POV works, with insight into both their reasons for holding back, fears of an uncertain future and their worry that things will go horribly wrong if they finally voice their feelings.

If you love a good Holiday story, with a slow build, and a very worthwhile payoff, grab the hot chocolate and don’t miss this one.