Josh is an escort, working to get through school without mountains of debt. He doesn’t date or do relationships, as he doesn’t have time, and doesn’t think any guy would want to date a sex worker anyway. When his client stands him up, Josh’s eye catches an attractive man further down the bar and he decides to see if he can interest him in hiring Josh instead.
Rupert surprises himself by agreeing to pay Josh for sex, but he finds Josh incredibly attractive and decides to take a chance. Things are intense with the guys and they have a hot night together. Rupert would love to see Josh again as a date, but Josh is clear that he will only spend time with Rupert as a client, so Rupert agrees. But he does make an effort to spend time with Josh not having sex as well so he can get to know the man better.
Before too long, Josh is seeing Rupert far more than any other client, far more than is wise considering he is starting to have feelings for Rupert. Josh knows there can be no future for them together. Josh needs to work to pay off school and there is no way Rupert can handle him seeing other clients. Josh isn’t even sure how Rupert feels about him. And Rupert doesn’t want to scare Josh off by making it clear how much he cares. Now the two men must work up the courage and be honest about their feelings and see if there is a chance for them to really be together.
Like a Lover is the second book in Jay Northcote’s Housemates series and features Josh, one of the roommates in Helping Hands. While Jez and Mac make a brief appearance here, you could read this book as a standalone with no problem. Most of the story focuses on Rupert and Josh on their own so you can jump in easily.
This second story in the series takes on a little more depth than the first. Yes, there are still a lot of hot sexy times (a lot). But unlike the first where the sex carries a lot of the plot, here we get a story that is a bit more developed to go along with it. It makes sense as the first story is really about how the guys meet and get to know one another through their sexual encounters (i.e. joint wanking sessions), while despite being about a client and prostitute, the guys here spend more time really developing their relationship. As I said, it is still super hot and there is still lots of sex, but I think Northcote really does a great job building the connection between the guys and showing how they are falling for each other, especially as the book moves further along.
The conflict Northcote has built is one that both men really struggle with. Rupert wants more from Josh almost from the start, but he knows if he pushes, chances are good that Josh will back off. Josh has been clear there needs to be a line between client and boyfriend, and even though they take baby steps toward building something, Rupert doesn’t want to scare Josh off. At the same time, Josh is falling for Rupert, but he doesn’t know Rupert feels the same, not to mention he doesn’t see any way to make the transition from client to partner. Northcote keeps the story moving well and it doesn’t get mired in lack of communication. These guys really care for one another and I enjoyed watching them find their way.
I would have liked to understand Rupert a bit better, specifically what motivates him to accept Josh’s original proposition. Not every guy would agree to see a sex worker, especially since Josh picks him up, Rupert doesn’t seek him out. So when he gets to that moment where he is asked for money, what makes Rupert agree? Once he gets into things with Josh, we see that Rupert gets a bit of kick out of the taboo of it all, not to mention really falling for Josh. But at the start, I wanted to understand better what pushes him in that direction.
That is just a small issue, however, and overall I really enjoyed this one. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.