Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debts. Focused on his goals, he's working as an escort to pay his way. He enjoys the no-strings sex and doesn't have the time or inclination 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 before, but when Josh propositions him, he can't resist. He should have known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him, he has an inheritance to support his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT wouldn't cover the cost.
With each appointment the lines get increasingly blurred. Something is developing between them 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.
©2015 Jay Northcote (P)2016 Jay Northcote
I'm an unabashed fiction fan: mostly M/M, Romance, Erotica, Suspense, Thrillers, Action, NA/YA genres.
Let me get this out of the way first, okay? WOW! Josh is a sex worker?! What a FANTASTIC plot twist!
I knew when reading Helping Hand I wanted more of Josh. And boy did Jay deliver for me!
I loved this! I loved how much Josh and Rupert began to feel for each other, I loved the hesitancy in admitting their feelings, I loved how Josh wasn't willing to compromise in the end, I loved all the super, fantastic, hot, hot, hot sex, and mostly? I absolutely loved that despite Josh being paid for sex - this wasn't all dark and angsty.
I thought Marc Steadman lived up to his name...the narration was steady (I didn't notice any overt pausing or tone problems), it had a nice flow, and Steadman offered good character voices.
One of the things really imperative in getting the narration for this story right, in my opinion, is the sex scenes. With Josh being a sex worker, but also really liking, and eventually falling for, Rupert, it was important for the heat to come through in the narration and Steadman definitely brought out the passion they have for each other.
All in all I thought Steadman did really well and I hope he'll continue to carry on with the series.
In Helping Hands we met Josh as the roommate of Jez and Mac. He’s known in the house as a “player”, but in reality, he’s a rent boy. So each night out he works hard for the money in order to go to university. His parents are out of the picture and he doesn’t want student loans.
Rupert is a shy IT guy who normally has a hard time meeting people. When he’s stood up at the same bar as Josh one night, the two strike up a conversation. When Josh makes it clear that he’d love to spend more time with Rupert, but it’ll cost him, something takes over Rupert and he finds some new-born confidence.
Their connection is phenomenal and both parties are left a bit shaken. They quickly make plans to be together again, and again, and again. Though there is always an exchange of money, it begins to feel wrong as their emotions get involved.
Finally, on a long “working” weekend where Josh poses as Rupert’s boyfriend, the lines get so blurry as to be non-existent between “client” and “lover”.
This book was another wonderful example of Jay Northcote’s ability to give us a very sweet romance, no matter the circumstances. Yes, there were times when I wished she’d delved a bit deeper into the emotional impact Josh’s job had on both parties, but I appreciated that from early on Josh admitted to fantasizing about Rupert while with his other “clients”.
I think that – if you can believe it- there was more physical scenes in this story than needed to be. I wanted to have more of an emotional connection between these guys than I saw on page. Yes, they did do some other, non-sex related things with each other, but I didn’t get to see enough of it to really buy into their HEA.
Rupert is a super sweet MC and though Josh isn’t a bad guy, I didn’t ever see him as being quite “worthy” of Rupert… he just needed to spend more time with the guy as himself, not as his escort.
That being said… I enjoyed reading this and the writing was excellent – as always – and I will certainly look forward to any more books in this series.
3.5 of 5 stars
Michael Steadman has narrated two other “British” books, the first in this series and a book by JL Merrow. I really like his style. He’s a bit “rough” (which is great) and sometimes sounds a little stilted, but for the most part he’s excellent at the emotion and making the listener feel like this is a more of a “sharing” of a story rather than a “telling”. I really find him easy to listen to and he really adds to the overall experience.
4.5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
How does a writer put together a book forgetting to put any ounce of a plot in it? Every chapter is almost completely sex except for Rupert's mother's wedding. This should have been listed under erotica because it sure isn't a story.
I had already read this book and given it 5 stars so I knew going into it, I already loved the story and the book. This is a really well done rent boy/escort book and the development of Rupert and Josh's relationship was hot and steamy. As a bonus, we got to see Jez and Mac again from the first Housemates book.
In regards to the audiobook, I liked it a lot. I've never listened to narrator, Mark Steadman, but he sounded great. As an American, I am a complete sucker for a British accent. The only thing that detracted from it was that he did not distinguish his Rupert voice enough from his narration voice. Overall this was a very enjoyable book and audiobook and I highly recommend it!
**I received a free copy of the audiobook from the author**
It was short and really cliche. Josh was a college student moonlighting as a sex worker to avoid college debt. When his "date" stood him up, he hooked up with another bloke Rupert.
Obviously the business relationship eventually gave way to feelings and Josh didn't know how to deal with it. The rest of the book was Rupert and Josh hiding how they feel about each other, and trying to figure out how to bring up redefining their relationship.
This love story was cute and sweet albeit too much sex. I like how Rupert didn't judge Josh's choices and saw the guy underneath it all. The characters were so likable that I was rooting for them almost from the beginning. Jay Northcote's writing was entertaining but narrator was just okay. I would have enjoyed a little more variation when changing characters. Thankfully, this book was written in third person, so it was easy on audio to know which character was speaking. I was able to follow the conversations with ease. This is a decent rent boy story and lacking in heaviness or angst.
*Special Thanks to the author for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.
"Hot yet fluffy story"
I read the ebook a year ago and at the time it became my favourite Jay Northcote book, full of fluff and hotness. I adored Josh and Rupert. And I LOVED their story as it developed and the chemistry that sparkled between them. Their many bedroom encounters were sizzling and yet somehow sweet at the same time. Once I started the ebook I continued reading all day until I was finished. I was willing the boys to work out how to be together and for them to find their HEA. Jay's writing gripped me throughout and my heart tugged as they fell in love and with how much they wanted each other. Their story has so many 'aww' moments and lovely 'feels'—exactly what I look for in an m/m romance. Josh and Rupert are hot and sexy, but they are also nice guys you are rooting for from the beginning.
I thought Mark’s narration of Helping Hand (the first story in the Housemates series) was great and was looking forward to listening to this version of the story. He has a clear and suitable English accent that matches the university-aged characters and overall the production of Like a Lover was good. I did, however, find myself wishing there was a little more variation between the two MC's voices. The other characters on the whole were more distinct. Rupert’s voice was very similar to that of the narration as a whole, and sometimes for me Josh’s voice was rather lackluster with not enough emotion or the right emphasis for the mood. Although still good and enjoyable overall, I think I prefered Mark’s narration of Helping Hand and the ebook of Like a Lover.
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