What Happens at Christmas, by Jay Northcote
Release Date: November 19, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5
Buy Link: Amazon
* I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. *
When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?
Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.
Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.
In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?
Friends to lovers is definitely a trope that I adore, and combine it with the Christmastime setting, and trying to make a terrible ex-boyfriend jealous? Whew, yes please!
Jay Northcote is excellent at writing shorter novellas that really pack an emotional punch. Her characters are always realistic and interesting, and written beautifully.
Tall-dark-and-handsome Sean with the melted-chocolate eyes– Justin’s oldest friend and his unrequited crush.
I love the internal dialogues here. The way both men justify keeping their distance, and their fears and hopes. The plot itself is pretty obvious in its end-result, but the way the characters interact with each other makes it something special and unique.
“Yeah?” Justin looked thoughtful. “Are you sure?”
Duh. It would hardly be much of a sacrifice to flirt with Justin all night. It would actually be a relief not to have to hide the way he felt for a change.
“Sure,” Sean replied. “I think I can manage to fake that I’m arse-over-tit infatuated with you. As long as it’s only for a few hours.”
While the plot is rather predictable, and the Evil Ex-Boyfriend is stereotypically Evil, the characters and emotions of Justin and Sean really make this novel enjoyable. I loved watching them circle around each other, so worried about destroying their friendship that they didn’t want to risk pushing for romance.
If you want a short, sweet holiday romance, this one should definitely make your list!
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