Review: Like a Lover (Housemates #2) by Jay Northcote

Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debt. Focused on his goals, he pays his way by working as an escort. He enjoys the no-strings sex because he doesn’t have time 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, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should’ve known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him he has an inheritance to fund his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT support wouldn’t cover the cost.

With each encounter the lines get blurred, creating something 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.

Have you ever had the Atomic wings at Wing Stop?

I went there once. Talk about on fire. Or as my cousin once delicately put it, "tongue slap your brains out hot". Yep. Not for the faint of heart. More akin to near death experience by face melting.

This novella is in that 'tongue slap your brains out hot' neighborhood. Josh is hot. Rupert is hot. They have hot sex. Even the cover is hot! Look at that thing! 

I mentioned it's hot, right?

The sex is varied and copious. This is erotica at its finest. If you're on the hunt for hot mansex, frotting, oral, rimming or quasi-public handsyness, you've hit the jackpot.

The plot is thin and predictable as is the relationship development.

This trope between a rent boy and his client falling in love I actually buy. Sex is an intimate act with or without money being involved. I imagine the lines are easily blurred between professional and personal, especially within the context of an ongoing relationship. Mix in the circumstances under which Josh and Rupert meet coupled with the fact that they're hot for each other right from the start and it's a seamless progression into personal rather than professional. Northcote did a first-rate job of portraying that progression and the angst that ensues.

I had to suspend reality a bit for Like a Lover, a task which I'm getting vaguely better at, for a couple of reasons.

The first being the dynamic between Rupert and Josh. Rupert is circling the Gideon Cross aka crazy train possessive block and he's trying to date a rent boy? My initial endgame for these two was they'd be splitsville inside a year with Rupert finding a Josh clone, but never getting over him then devolving into a drinking problem and maybe a sex addiction with only Josh doppelgangers that he would pay to call Josh and then wail at the end because they could never be him!

But as the story unfolded Josh's characterization evolved unexpectedly.

Josh starts off as this cocky, self-assured, sexy rent boy whose milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

And POOF! suddenly he's this shy, blushing, insecure, angst ridden and lonely wannabe boyfriend? 

I get being lonely and wanting someone to watch bad tv with and cuddle, but I liked first incantation Josh. 

Initial Josh was a BAMF! and I hearted him. That Josh has been dealt a shit hand by life and told life to go fuck itself. He didn't have time for self-pity. He had a life plan and it didn't involve wallowing or feeling sorry for himself. That Josh was resilient, confident and charming. Frankly, I was sad to see him go and I don't think he had to, but BAMF Josh and boyfriend Josh somehow became mutually exclusive.

So, second incantation Josh and Rupert might make it, but I'm still thinking Rupert will suffocate him over time. You can't cage a free bird even if it is in a gilded cage.

I had a couple other niggles one being the money. Where is Josh's money going? He acts as though he's on the brink of homelessness, but he's popular and he ain't no bargain basement rent boy. He's not a drug user. He's not into extravagant things. He's not a clothes horse. He doesn't party like it's 1999. Hell, the two months that he's charging Rupert alone are a financial windfall, yet he acts like any second now he'll be panhandling on the streets? How much does it cost to be a student? Ramen isn't expensive.

The other niggle is the pacing slows to a crawl in spots. All the talk of roses at the wedding resort springs to mind and during those times I started to think this novella would wend up in the 3 hearts range. But then Hedonistic Cupcake would read another face meltingly hot sex scene and tell Logical Cupcake where to stick it. 

So... Hedonistic Cupcake says...

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Clearly, she wears the pants around here.

Hedonistic Cupcake:  7,289,234
Logical Cupcake:  2

Hence the 4 Tongue Slap Yo Brains Out Hot Hearts.

An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Buy links:
Amazon UK

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