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Publisher's Summary

Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie - Big Mac to his mates - are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.

When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn't expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your straight friend can only end badly...unless there's a chance he might feel the same.

©2015 Jay Northcote (P)2016 Jaybird Press

What listeners say about Helping Hand

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very hot, very sweet, and very nicely narrated

Mac (James) and Jez (Jeremy) are two broke friends/roommates. Stuck for entertainment they stumble into a new way to pass the time.

Jez has “experimented” with other boys while in the all boys prep academy before university, but Mac has only ever identified as straight. So when the two of them find themselves bored, a little drunk and a little hot after watching an episode of “Game of Thrones” – it’s Jez who suggests they find some porn to work the tension off. At first, the rule was no touching, but a bit of watching. Since that worked so well…

Over time things progress from watching to touching, to sucking to… you get the idea.

Interestingly, it’s the kissing and the cuddling that make each of them wonder “am I gay/bi”.

It isn’t until they are “outed” that they have to face facts and admit that this might just be something more than they bargained for.

**

The smexy times are really, really hot and the slow build to the love affair is rewarding and fulfilling.

My only wish would be for more time in Mac’s head – somehow – because I didn’t feel like I really got to understand his motivations very well. Jez was so clear but Mac more of a mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and give it 4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

I’d really enjoyed Mark Steadman’s work on Lover’s Leap and so I was excited to see how he’d do here. Well… he was great! I loved his version of Mac – solid, steady – and he does the British humor so well – nice dry delivery and all that. I really like his voice and found this amazingly easy to listen to and thought it really brought the story to life.

Highly recommended!

Narration 5 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book by great author

Another hit by Jay Northcote! I absolutely loved this story from start to finish. Two men who didn't realize they were attracted to other men, but figure it out together was a nice plot. I loved the way they handled the ups and downs and awkward moments. While this rang a bit like 'gay for you' it didn't at the same time. I really loved the way it all worked together.

It was a great read that was sweet and sexy all at the same time. I loved the secondary characters as they only added to the story and make it just that much better.

The narrator did a good job with the story, except I specifically remember in one sexy scene he started reading it too fast as if it was a bomb going to go off instead of a hot and heavy scene.

I received a free copy of this book to read for Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Pleasant surprise. Quite enjoyable tale

I was immediately and pleasantly surprised by the story. I, too, was expecting hot sex but instead got a sweet and perfectly paced love story.

It’s a classic trope, and a fantasy of countless gay men, to jack off with a buddy and have it escalate. But Northcote works absolute magic with the cliché and elevates it so it doesn’t even seem like a trope. Within a minute of Jez and Mac watching porn together I was drawn into the story.

I’ve listened to a few books by Northcote and liked them but hadn’t been blown away. This story changed all that. Northcote will now be one of the authors I follow closely.

Narration Review:

I’m often hesitant to listen to self-published audio books. I know paying for narration is expensive and sometimes authors have to sometimes sacrifice quality for monetary reasons. That is not the case here. Mark Steadman did a great job with Jez and Mac as well as the other characters.

Recommended narrator for sure.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Short, sexy as hell and fun!

Any additional comments?

One of the things I love most about this story is how neither Jez or Mac think of themselves as anything other than straight, but when their friendship gets more physical and their emotions get more involved as they grow closer, being together is not an obstacle, it's just right for them.

I had so much fun reading this story, and am so happy I enjoyed the audio just as much.

While Mark Steadman does have a couple of minor issues with pauses and his inflection, overall his narration was good and lent an even more sexy tone to the story (which was a huge bonus!). I liked his style and his accent was easy to follow for this non-Brit.

Short, sexy as all hell, and a fun listen I can totally recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not a fav...

Any additional comments?

Wow! I usually adore Jay Northcote's tales but this one is definitely not one. The writing is good and of course the characters are lovely; I think I wanted more of the emotional connection between the characters rather than the sex.

Now, please do not get me wrong, if erotica is your thing, this story is perfect for that 'I wasn't gay until I found you' type of tale that's incredibly steamy.

So, though not my favorite from this author and perhaps if the narrator (who isn't bad) had had a younger voice, close to the ages of the characters, it may have helped a bit. The narrator sounded about 3 or 4 decades older than the young college students.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

oh wow, I was not expecting how good this was

Pros: Good writing, believable characters, HOT BISEXUAL BOYS, a sweet and sexy love story. The reader is very good, too

Cons: er...too short, maybe? no, scratch that, it's just the right length. The short length means the story can keep up the same heady pace that a new passion can have.

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  • AT
  • 12-28-20

Good narration and a story that hooked me

I’ve had this book- and most of the Housemates series- sitting in my library for over a year now and I’m kicking myself for just now getting to them. I have a soft spot for shorter books that feel as though they’re full-length. Helping Hand felt complete and wholly satisfying with a great mix of likable characters, a tiny bit of conflict, seriously steamy scenes, and a good story.

I ended up both reading and listening to Helping Hand and can confidently say it’s a win however way you choose. The narrator has a great voice and quality that works with the characters’ personalities and tone of the book. The writing was smooth as well, with a good mix of dialogue, palpable chemistry, and relationship development. Helping Hand simply was a story I was eager to keep reading/listening to at every opportunity. I’m definitely keen on continuing the Housemates series and would recommend this title to anyone who enjoys bisexual awakening stories or college-age romances.

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I love this series and this is one of my favorites

I enjoy a friends to lovers romance, and Jay Northcote always writes great characters and friendships. Jez and Mac are ont of my favorite couples in the Housemates series. They are funny, their relationship starts on a whim and is full of sexy, steamy moments. Yet, they also struggle to figure out the new status, their feelings and how they define themselves. They remain a favorite couple of mine in the next books of the series, there is just something so lovely about them.
The narration was good, I liked the accents and how the narrator delivered each voice uniquely.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great OFY, friends-to-lovers romance!

Helping Hand was one of the first OFY/bisexual awakening stories I ever read, and it went a long way to cementing my love for the trope. It’s a short story but never feels rushed, and the characters are well-rounded and authentic. Jez and Mac’s friendship develops into something more very gradually when an unexpected attraction flares up between them. Even as they explore the physical side of things, they try very hard not to think about the deeper underlying emotions that grow stronger right alongside their shared passion. We only get Jez’s pov, so we know where he stands, even as he’s still figuring things out, but Mac stays a mystery. Jez is left guessing and doesn’t always get it right, and Jez and Mac both shy away from opening up about their feelings for each other. I liked that their take on labels with regards to their sexuality differs. They both experience what happens between them differently. I also liked how everything worked out in the end. After having suffered through a little angst alongside Jez and Mac, I loved seeing them find love and happiness with each other.

Narration: Mark Steadman did a good job with the narration of this story. He has a very pleasant voice and did great with the voices for Jez and Mac. I loved the way he paced the story and especially how natural and genuine he made Jez and Mac sound.

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Sweet

This “Friends to Livers” story in a university setting is very well done, as are all of Jay Northcote’s books. The characters are sympathetic and believable. Mark Steadman’s narration was spot on. This first book in the Housemates series, along with the rest of the books in the series, are well worth a read and/or listen.

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  • LGB
  • 05-19-16

Loved the story and narration

5 wonderful stars from me!

The tags "Love is Love" and "Love Wins" fit this story perfectly. Neither Jez nor Mac would label themselves as 'gay' at the start of the story and even by the end they are reluctant to slot themselves into such restrictive pigeon holes. They love each other and that's all that matters. But to reach this conclusion they have to move from friends, to friends with benefits, to lovers and then finally boyfriends. What starts out as just sex and helping each other out gradually leads to a physical and emotional connection between the two young men as they battle to sort out who they are and who they want to be with.

I loved every part of this story. Jay's characters are realistic in their behavior and mannerisms. I adored how the physical intimacy between Jez and Mac gradually developed along with their feelings for each other. I understood their desire to keep their special arrangement hidden from the other housemates and their reluctance to admit this was anything but giving each other a helping hand in the bedroom. Jay, as per usual, wrote smoking hot scenes and I thought she surpassed herself this time with portraying the sizzling chemistry between these two lovely boys. The story gave me wonderful 'feelz' from start to finish. Fantastic!

5* also for the audiobook. Great narrator - perfectly suited to Jez's college character. Loved hearing this story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nadia Lampis
  • 06-09-21

Love it 😁💖

So cute, beautifully British. Jay really has a knack for characterisation. I hope he writes something longish at some point, I feel like his books end too fast lol

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Claudia CG Lezár
  • 12-23-20

as good as the ebook

The story is always 4-5 stars, because if I wouldn't like the story as ebook, I wouldn't listen to the audiobook. I can't listen to an audiobook without knowing the book, that's not possible for me.

The performance from the narrator is also very important for me. I can't listen to a lot, because my English as a non-native-speaker isn't so perfect to follow a whole story over hours, when the narrator speaks too fast or too sloppy. Normally I have to SEE the person, who is talking to me in English. It took me a little bit, to come into the narrator, but at the end, it worked. I only have to take a few breaks between. I'm just not yet finish with the book, I’m over the half, but I listen enough to give a review.

PLEASE READ MY RATING SYSTEM!!!

To my ratings:

5* - very very good
it's like an A+

4* - very good and will be often re-listening
it's like an A

3* - it's more then a one-time-listening.
it's like a B

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DanNet
  • 12-06-20

Sweet story

I enjoyed listening to this bi awakening story between two seemingly straight guys. What started off as a drunken comment turned into a beautiful journey about falling for each other and taking a chance on each.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Starwarslover
  • 11-22-20

very good

this was interesting and sexy... well written story with a very good narrator.. some parts were a bit slower but overall the narrator did a good job with the characters personalities. i liked it a lot

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Modwena Farrell
  • 11-16-20

really sweet, short listen

This is such a cute story, two straight college room mates decide to engage in a little mutual relief but that blossoms into more exploration until they find that, just maybe they are not so straight after all.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ronald Betts
  • 11-10-20

A sweet awakening

A really lovely story of a man who finds his life changes with a little bit of experimentation which really pays off. This is another down to earth gem by Jay Northcote

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ulrika
  • 11-03-20

Hot and sweet

Jaz and Mac are both young and kind of clueless when it comes to love and life. This story follows them as they start experimenting, get closer, and fall in love. There's some doubt when it comes to feelings and if the other one feels the same, and interestingly it's the feelings that are scary to them, not so much the physical.

I wish that this book was longer and that we'd get to know Mac a little more. It's a low angst book with feels and heat.

Mark Steadman's narration is easy to listen to and I like his voice.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Curtis Bateman
  • 09-16-20

Not Northcote's best work but still enjoyable

Less plot/character development than other Northcote books, still plenty of very well written sex scenes

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HelenMK69
  • 02-11-20

Friends to lovers

What a lovely book with an HEA. Great writing again from Jay.
Two college friends, exploring and finding themselves. Great story, well worth the read or listen on Audible or both.

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  • Alan
  • 07-22-19

Sweet!

Light & short but heart-warming. Uni students, Jez and Mac, share a house with a few other guys and slowly fall for each other. I usually prefer romances where the narration is shared by both main characters, but it was interesting only being in Jez’s head as he tried to figure Mac out.