Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Mud, sweat, and reluctant romance. Can Aiden and Matt sort out their feelings before race day?
When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.
Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.
Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.
Ky's review: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.
About the author:
Casual to serious!
I'm a big fan of this trope when it's done right, and in this case it was perfect. Matt and Aiden had an arrangement and they stuck to it. They were training buddies with benefits that eventually and inadvertently became friends with benefits.
As characters, Matt and Aiden had enough differences between them that there was no way to mix them up. Aiden was the more sarcastic one, the one who spoke up more easily, whereas Matt was more quiet, kind of an introvert and focused on healthy living.
Aiden was an open book from the start where Matt had many layers that he revealed once he started feeling comfortable with the other person.
We only get Aiden's point of view in the story but it didn't bother me and it worked well here. Matt had his issues but he was pretty open about them with Aiden.
And this brings me to another trope: coming out. Matt was bisexual but he was hiding that part of himself from his friends and family, choosing to only pursue relationships with women. When things with Aiden began to get serious that became a problem for them.
This story became even better by the presence of many secondary characters. There was just the right balance, they were included so the story felt more real but they never stole the lights from the main couple. Plus, including them meant that we got to see Matt and Aiden interacting with other people too, instead of it just being the two of them for the whole story.
From the blurb it's obvious that this book deals with training, fitness, setting goals and achieving them. A big part of it was about Matt and Aiden getting ready for the Mad Mucker but along the way the relationship between them changed. The two were intertwined and one wouldn't exist without the other.
The day of the race was interesting with little events happening here and there and the author smartly choosing to skip the miles where nothing really happened except from them running. Instead, we got to see them struggling and overcoming the difficulties as a team. I liked the whole idea behind the race and how it was more about each person setting a goal and meeting it and less about the competition.
Another "oldie but goodie" by Jay Northcote!
** A free copy of this book was provided by the tour organizer for an honest and unbiased review. **
About the author:
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.
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