Author: Jay Northcote
Pages/Word Count: 143 Pages
At a Glance: Like a Lover is a sweet and sexy addition to the Housemates series.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debts. Focused on his goals, he’s working as an escort to pay his way. He enjoys the no-strings sex and doesn’t have the time or inclination 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 before, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should have known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him, he has an inheritance to support his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT wouldn’t cover the cost.
With each appointment the lines get increasingly blurred. Something is developing between them 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.
Review: When Josh Morley was introduced in Helping Hand, book one in the Housemates series, the picture we got of him as the bar hopping party boy is more than a little different from the reality we see in Like a Lover. Josh is guarding a secret that only one of his housemates knows—that he’s been paying his way through school by selling sex. Life as a rent boy is his way of guaranteeing he’ll graduate free of debt. It’s the choice he’s made, it’s the choice he’s happy with, and it’s the choice that’s worked from him. Right up until he meets Rupert Blanchard, who charms his way under Josh’s skin, makes him feel things he ought not to feel for a client, and makes Josh start to wonder how long the motions of sex can remain separate from the emotions of it.
Googling “student sex workers,” because I’m curious like that, scored 18.6 million hits on the subject, so Josh’s story is not only a relevant one but might even be somewhat more prevalent than any of us imagined. Like a Lover is reality meets fiction, and in it, Jay Northcote explores many of the complications we’d anticipate when a paid escort happens to come across that one person who makes them begin to question everything: the issues that are inherent to Josh’s line of work when it becomes complicated by the growing bond with Rupert, finally coming to that point when being paid for sex begins to feel less like a business transaction and more like an insult, and then fearing there can be no compromise for a relationship to grow from what began in such a compromising proposition. The thing that elevates Like a Lover isn’t that it’s full of twists and the unexpected but that its heart and soul resides in the two men I loved spending time with while they themselves were busy falling in love with each other.
Josh and Rupert transcend their story because their thoughts and feelings are so honest, and the two of them are just so completely endearing I couldn’t help but want them to be together. But how can a relationship work if sex with paying clients is still on the table? That’s the proverbial elephant in the room, and we empathize with everything that’s stirring and growing between them, and understand how complex it all is, to the point of asking ourselves if we could share someone we love with anyone else, let alone a string of random anyones, which is the very question Josh and Rupert have to find the answer to before they can move forward—or decide to end what had barely had the chance to begin.
As much as I liked Mac and Jez in Helping Hand, I must say I liked Josh and Rupert and Like a Lover even more. It’s sweet and sexy and I found it impossible not to root for these guys to find their way to a happy beginning.
You can buy Like a Lover here: