Almost 18, Alex is firmly in the closet and desperate to get out. Working hard to get the grades he needs to go to university, were he will be finally able to live out and proud away from his bigoted, homophobic father is his only hope. When Rainbow Place, the new café in town and LGBTQ+ safe heaven, is vandalized Alex can’t help but join the cleaning efforts. And there he meets Cam.
23 year old Cam can’t help but be attracted to the young, beautiful guy he meets at the café, and when Alex shows up on opening day he seizes the chance to talk to him, and maybe a bit more. He soon realizes Alex’s home situation is more complicated, and despite wanting him romantically, backs away in favor of being friends. When Alex fails to get the grades he needs he is devastated, and when he is outed by his father Alex finds himself homeless AND jobless. Cam steps in and offers his couch until Alex is back on his feet, but will they be able to keep their friendship without crossing the lines they drew? With so much sexual and emotional between them, how can they not cross them?
The magic of Jay Northcote’s writing to me is the sense of community he creates. He has a wonderful touch for creating a group on friends were each is interesting and unique in his/her/their way. In this series, much like his Housemates books, you get the feeling of an ongoing story and enjoy all the side characters popping in again with an update. The other part of his writing I absolutely adore is how he describes sexuality and sexual acts. Jay brings a realness to every scene, both physically and emotionally, he shows situations that are not pure romantic idealism, and for that I admire his writing and storytelling.
I have to admit it took me a bit of time to get into the story of Cam and Alex, I was a bit put off by the fact Alex is not 18 yet even though it was just a few months and 6 years apart is not such a big age difference. I eventually learned to like them, when Alex grew and matured so did his story and it was an amazing transition to read. They go from casual almost hook-up to friends, to eventual lovers and it took the time it took because Alex needed to understand who he is first, stand up for himself and figure out how he want to live his life. Cam’s refusal to be more than a friend to him is frustrating but in the end it gave them the safe place to be themselves so they can find to courage to be a couple. It was a VERY satisfying ending to an emotional journey of self-discovery and growing up.
As always, Jay’s writing is funny, witty and sexy, with a bit of angst and a lot of self-restraint to make the fire burn that much hotter when they let lose.
Number of stars out of 5