4.5 stars Angst Level Author Provided Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Trans Virgin

Starting from Scratch (Housemates #5) by Jay Northcote

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Free on KU!


Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.


Wow – did I love this!

If you know Jay’s personal journey at all, I’m sure there is a lot of him in this story.

I think the information regarding transitioning is so scarce and I’m grateful that the world is beginning to see more and more about it. I picture all those people out there, scared, hopeful, worried, lonely – and I figure a story like this would about make them cry with the wonder of it.

When you can finally see yourself in someone else’s story – that’s got to feel absolutely amazing!

What I loved was how simple and sweet this story was. There was some angst surrounding Ben’s “reveal” but that was kept brief and for the most part this was a love story – not a love story about a transgender person.

For fans of the author and the series – this will be a must and a delight – if you are new to the author this is a great example of how well Jay creates wonderful characters who get delightful HEAs.

Highly Recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

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