Friday, September 4, 2015

ARC Review: Like a Lover (Housemates #2) by Jay Northcote

Like a LoverBlurb:
Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debt. Focused on his goals, he pays his way by working as an escort. He enjoys the no-strings sex because he doesn’t have time for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal—especially not with a client.

When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should’ve known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him he has an inheritance to fund his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT support wouldn’t cover the cost.

With each encounter the lines get blurred, creating something that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction. But they come from different worlds, and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.

Todd’s rating:

So let's say you're sitting in a bar, minding your own business, getting stood up by an Internet meet up, and the really cute brunette across the way, who has also gotten stood up, makes and maintains eye contact.

What do you do?

Seeing as how you're not stupid, you flirt back when he comes over and asks if he can sit down, right?

And what do you do when, after a bit of eye-fucking, you're told that it'll be $200 for the first hour and $100 for each additional hour? I mean, growing young escorts have to eat, right?

Well, in this case, 26 y.o. shy and introverted ginger IT guy, Rupert, is secretly thrilled by the idea of 'owning' someone for a little while, so he jumps at the opportunity like a cat on a rat.

Although 22 y.o. pierced emo-twink, Josh, thinks that the guy at the bar is extremely attractive and would love to scratch an itch without cash involved, he can't.

That money will continue to pay for his college tuition and a better future for himself, so even if he has to ride into that better life on his back, he's going to do it. No regrets.

So the bargain was struck and our tale of sex for cash turning into true love began.

As with most books about rent boys, the two MC's wasted no time hitting the sheets. Within the first few chapters, Josh was legs to Jesus and actually enjoying it this time. A lot.

And Rupert found Josh simply addictive, which led to several repeat 'appointments.' And feelings.

But who in their right mind falls for a hooker?

And who this side of crazy falls for a 'client' who's paying them for time between the sheets?

Evidently, that would be Josh and Rupert, mutually, which I loved seeing unfold.

We've all seen the good ole' prostitute and john scenario done several times before this. Hello, Pretty Woman is on TBS just every other week, so yes, been there, done that.

But Jay's take on this trope was refreshing and entertaining, so I really enjoyed being along for the journey.

And this time around, we're privy to dual points of view from both ends of the cash flow, which was much better than only being in the head of one of the MC's.

Other than the expected "does he really like me or is he just acting because I'm paying him?" and "does he only want me for the sex?" insecurities, the remainder of the drama came from Rupert hiring Josh to attend his mother's (pretentious) wedding.

Add one homophobic (asshole) groom and the stage was set for an explosive turn of events, where everything came to a head and feelings were divulged. Then, thankfully, discussed like adults.

My heart ached for the dilemma in which both Josh and Rupert found themselves as self-doubt and fear of rocking the boat, possibly causing the other to bail, made both guys hold their tongues about their feelings for far too long.

We do finally get our HEA, overcoming a huge impasse, when a compromise was reached that allowed both MC's to maintain their dignity.

To reiterate, this is a very sexy read, wrapping up the sexy times with a 'not-so-virgin' olive oil scene in the kitchen, but the on-page scenes are, thankfully, only between Josh and Rupert.

Josh also does retire his little black book toward the conclusion, so no worries about cheating once they became a couple, which would've been a huge deal for me.

My only slight disappointment was there we only cross paths with Mac a few times in this story and Jez even less, so I missed a bit more of a crossover between the two stories.

But that lack of intermingling between stories 1 and 2 does make this book even more readable completely as a standalone book.

If I had to pick a favorite, gun to my head moment, I must admit that I did enjoy the shorter first book just a *teeny bit* more, mainly because hello, str8 guys 'going gay,' duh.

But this one was a solid 4.25 *EVOO-oooh!* stars for me, and I highly recommend this fairly-low angst story, too.

My ARC copy of this book was provided by the publishers in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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