Title: The Dating Game
Author: Jay Northcote
Pages/Word Count: 103 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: Five sex-free dates—how hard can it be?
When they were at uni, Owen always had a bit of a crush on Nathan. But Nathan was apparently straight, and Owen was too busy with other guys to take his crush seriously.
When Nathan moves back to Bristol after a year away, Owen hears that Nathan has come out of the closet, and he propositions him. Nathan doesn’t want to be just another notch on Owen’s bedpost, though, so he challenges Owen to prove he can be serious: five dates before they have sex.
Owen doesn’t think that sounds too difficult. He’s expecting Nathan to find his charms irresistible anyway. But as they grow closer, Owen begins to care more about proving himself to Nathan than he does about getting him into bed.
Review: Owen had a crush…a secret crush on someone he thought he knew was a quiet straight boy, Nathan. But that was before and Nathan hadn’t been around for a while, until he walked into the same pub Owen was in, declaring he was back in Bristol to stay. However, misconceptions run on both sides of the road for these two young men, and when Owen suggests a hookup with Nathan after finding out that he is indeed gay, he is dismayed to have his reputation thrown back in his face. You see, Owen never stays around for second dates, so when Nathan insists on five— with a no sex clause—Owen swallows his frustration and agrees. The real question now is, can these two men see it through and make it to date number five without throwing in the towel along the way.
Jay Northcote’s The Dating Game takes a simple love story and puts a twenty-first century spin on the dated practice of good old courtship! Owen must woo Nathan and somehow convince him that despite all evidence to the contrary, he is not a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy—well, not anymore. As this story unfolds, we watch a mating ritual as old as time: one man courting another, slowly trying to convince him to take a risk and fall in love. For anyone this would be a tricky task, but for Owen, who is not really sure he even knows what love looks like, this could be nigh on impossible. And yet, as is often the case, when we find that we are drawn to another person, all those worries seem to disappear…until the fifth date.
The Dating Game is, simply put, a story about falling in love, one date at a time. The beauty of this short novel is its two main characters. Owen and Nathan both came to the table with a heaping sense of insecurity but a determination to make it work. The slow building friendship that rapidly led to deeper emotions was fun to watch. For a story that focuses solely on two characters, I never felt a lull in the action and yet this is not some epic saga with tons of plot twists. Instead, it’s a story of exploration, of tiny moments that come together to make a story that moved along swiftly, and easily held my interest. I was rooting for these guys by the second chapter!
Author Jay Northcote took two lovely young men, threw in some sexual tension and some delightful getting to know you moments, and crafted a sweet love story. If you are looking for a lighthearted story that leaves you feeling warm and cozy, then The Dating Game is the one for you!
You can buy The Dating Game here:
The Giveaway: Jay Northcote is offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-title from her backlist (excl. The Dating Game), reader’s choice.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED
About the Author: Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.