Title: Helping Hand
Author: Jay Northcote Narrator: Mark Steadman
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Release Date: May 13th 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 3 hours and 20 mins
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie – Big Mac to his mates – are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.
When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn’t expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your straight friend can only end badly…unless there’s a chance he might feel the same.
I love the tags and pictures posted for “Love is Love” and “Love Wins” on social media and Jay’s story fits this perfectly. Neither Jez nor Mac would label themselves as ‘gay’ at the start of the story and even by the end they are reluctant to slot themselves into such restrictive pigeon holes. They love each other and that’s all that matters. But to reach this conclusion they have to move from friends, to friends with benefits, to lovers and then finally boyfriends. What starts out as just sex and helping each other out gradually leads to a physical and emotional connection between the two young men as they battle to sort out who they are and who they want to be with.
I loved every part of this story. Jay’s characters are realistic in their behavior and mannerisms. I adored how the physical intimacy between Jez and Mac gradually developed along with their feelings for each other. I understood their desire to keep their special arrangement hidden from the other housemates and their reluctance to admit this was anything but giving each other a helping hand in the bedroom. Jay, as per usual, wrote smoking hot scenes and I thought she surpassed herself this time with portraying the sizzling chemistry between these two lovely boys. The story gave me wonderful ‘feelz’ from start to finish. Fantastic!
I loved the story when I read it last year and I think I enjoyed the audiobook even more. Mark Steadman narrates the story well. His voice, tone, and pace are perfectly suited to Jez’s college character.