Title: Starting From Scratch (Housemates Book 5)
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: April 12, 2017
Genre(s): Gay contemporary romance, college student, transgender, new Lease on life
Page Count: 249 pages
Reviewed by: Natosha
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
Length: 57,000 words approx.
In all truthfulness I view this book as being an inspiring read about a man knowing who he is on the inside and being strong enough both mentally and physically to make his outside feel and look the same.
Ben is transgender. He has went through much of the process to make his outsides match who he knows he is on the inside but he still has the mental insecurities to deal with. He has yet to be with another man physically and is extremely insecure with what might happen when he does finally meet someone and want to tie it to that step. The time comes along sooner then he could have imagined when he meets a friend and ex of one of his housemates, Sid.
From the moment Sid met Ben he knew that there was something different about him. He was genuine and open as far as getting to know someone but when Sid tried to get him to go home with him on the first night Ben turned him down. Surprisingly to Sid, he was ok with that because he realizes that he would really like to get to know Ben better and see where things could go between them. So that is what they decide to do and start exchanging texts back and forth.
The more Ben gets to know Sid the more he realizes he would like to have more with him but he is scared of how Sid will take the fact that he is Trans and has not taken the step to change certain parts of his anatomy.
How will Sid handle this news? Will Sid still feel the same after he finds out Ben’s secret?
Ben in my opinion is such an extremely brace and extraordinary person. He realized that his outside and inside did not match up and instead of dwelling on it he took charge and made the two come together. Ben knew this was not going to be easy but he could not picture doing it any other way. What makes him even more brace is when the time came to either let Sid in or to push him away, he chose to let him in even though he did not know how he would react.
As far as Sid character goes he was amazing also because he never turned his back on Ben and did not let it scare him away. Instead he did research so he knew why to expect and he jumped feet first into a relationship with Ben and never looked back. That makes him a good guy.
I enjoyed reading this book and taking the journey of Ben and Sid’s relationship with them through the good and the ba. This story was written beautifully and with so much respect. That makes me love Jay Northcote as an author even more then I had previously. Definitely a recommended read.