Author: Jay Northcote
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska
Amazon: Nothing Serious
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella/158 pages
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Review Summary: A fun romance with two very likeable characters who almost lost each other because they were afraid to say the “L” word.
Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.
Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.
As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close and “nothing serious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?
Before I start this review I must say what a pleasure it was for me to read a romance that’s unabashedly British and lots of fun.
Mark had been dating his girlfriend Rachel for 9 years, since they were both in university. He was relatively inexperienced at 29 as his only other sexual partner had been one girl when he was 18. The sex with both women was tepid at best, but he thought that was the way it was with everyone. It took him a long while to realize that he wasn’t interested in Rachel because she was the wrong gender. Their parting was amicable after the recriminations and Mark hoped that he and Rachel could remain friends after the initial hurt was over. He met Jamie on moving day and knew for sure he was gay as he wanted to lick him all over. 😀 When his box of personal effects broke and revealed all of his toys Mark was ready for some one-on-one time with his new acquaintance with the hot body.
Jamie was only 22 but he obviously had a lot more experience with man-on-man sex as he had been out for years, but he didn’t want to rush things with Mark; he wanted to make it good for his first time if everything worked out the way he anticipated. Their date was amazing and both men realized that they liked each other on a personal level in addition to the sexual attraction. They took the actual sex slowly although they had oral sex and fooled around. After their first date they decided that “friends with benefits” would be wonderful as Jamie wasn’t currently in a relationship and Mark wanted to learn as much as he could about gay sex. Jamie was a good teacher and Mark, in addition to being a quick learner, was the teacher’s pet. 😀
Three weeks after they decided on their friends with benefits arrangement they were seeing each other several times a week with Jamie staying over most of the time. Mark was even invited to supper with Jamie’s family, and while he was surprised at the invitation he had a great time as the parents, who were very accepting and supportive of Jamie’s sexual orientation, did their best to make him feel welcome. However, Mark was bothered by his emerging feelings for Jamie which went way beyond friendship, and he was concerned that if Jamie found out, their casual affair might be over. Jamie had the same concerns because he, too, was having softer feelings for Mark and he was afraid of revealing that he might be falling for him.
Will these guys get their act together before their emotions blow up? Since this is a romance you can guess the answer, but before Jaime and Mark decided to come clean to each other and declare their feelings I wanted to smack both of them because they were very close to committing the major sin that I hate in these books – they didn’t communicate – but luckily it was nowhere near A Big Misunderstanding.
I liked the MCs, the writing was fresh and I loved the British terms; sometimes I laughed out loud at the guys’ antics, but readers who love lots of angst may not find the story to their liking as there are no major internal or external conflicts. I thought there was a lot of sex for such a short book but the frequency was understandable as this was Mark’s first taste of gay sex and he had some ground to make up; it was like he was let loose in a candy shop. 🙂
There wasn’t much of a plot but the author didn’t pretend that the story was other than a fun read so I didn’t feel that there was anything to criticize as I knew from the blurb the type of story this was going to be and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I thought that Nothing Serious was better than most books of the same type. There was no insta! love as it took the guys almost 2 months before they realized they were in love, and even longer to declare themselves.The MCs and the secondary characters were all well drawn and I liked Jamie’s family who behaved the way most of us wish real parents would act toward their gay offspring, and their behaviour didn’t seem to be fake. Jamie was very close to his parents, especially his mother who was really caring and she was a key figure in their big boisterous family. I was pleased that Mark’s ex girlfriend Rachel was treated very sympathetically, which is a pleasant departure from the way many female exes are portrayed in M/M books.
If you’re looking for a fun read with two terrific characters I have no hesitation recommending Nothing Serious. The British setting and the writing were a bonus.