Title: What Happens at Christmas
Author: Jay Northcote
Narrator: Mark Steadman
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Run Time: 3 hours and 41 minutes
Category: Holiday Romance
At a Glance: If you are looking for a sweet and happy Christmas story that’s relatively low on the angst and is sure to leave you with a smile, I highly recommend this little gem.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: 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?
Review: Justin is not looking forward to his company holiday party. In fact, he has no intention of going when he knows his cheating ex is going to be there. The breakup is still pretty fresh, and he doesn’t want to see Andy, and he certainly doesn’t want to see him without a date! His coworker Jess keeps trying to coax him into going, and will be his “date” should he need one.
Then Sean, Justin’s best friend, shows up at his doorstep, fresh back from his overseas travels. He needs a place to camp out until he can find a job. Justin is overjoyed to have his best mate back around. He’s been pretty lonely since the breakup, and he’s so glad to see Sean. But Sean and Justin are both harboring secrets.
Sean’s mum passed away when he was young, and his dad had no use for Justin—didn’t want Sean to be around him because of the gay. For that reason, Sean didn’t come out to his dad until quite late, and it put a strain on Justin and Sean’s relationship for a while. But Justin has always secretly fancied Sean. After YEARS of thinking Sean was straight and he wasn’t going to go there, Justin’s not going to mess his friendship up, even though for the first time he’s single and Sean is there.
Then Sean suggests he act as Justin’s fake boyfriend for the company party—it’ll be fun and Justin will not have to face Andy alone. Sean is certainly no fan of Andy’s and he’s happy to help. Plus, it’s not exactly a hardship to act on what is his little fantasy as well. It seems that Sean has been wanting Justin for years as well. But after holding out on him, and on his sexuality, and Justin usually having a boyfriend…well, the timing has just never been right.
The guys go to the holiday party and have a good time. They play their parts perfectly (as they should since it’s not really acting), and managed to spread a little karma to Andy—who apparently hasn’t been exactly truthful with his new boyfriend. That’s a little bit of fun for both Justin and Sean to see.
Sean is avoiding his dad since they hadn’t really parted on good terms, so he asks to stay at Justin’s over Christmas, even though Justin is headed to Scotland to see his parents who’ve recently retired and moved. But the weather gods conspire to keep Justin in London, instead. And maybe, just maybe, Justin and Sean can finally be honest with each other about everything. 🙂
Oh oh oh. One of my favorite tropes, friends to lovers. And at Christmas! Even better. I got this book last year, but somehow I never got around to reading it, so when I saw Jay Northcote was putting this out in audio, I definitely wanted it. I listened to it on a VERY early morning drive to Cincinnati, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Northcote writes such warm and lovely stories, and Mark Steadman does a wonderful job of bringing Sean and Justin to life. If you are looking for a sweet and happy Christmas story that’s relatively low on the angst and is sure to leave you with a smile, I highly recommend this little gem.
You can buy What Happens at Christmas here: