Title: Nothing Ventured
Author Name & Publisher: Jay Northcote (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 12, 2014 – 142 pgs
When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.
Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.
Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.
I liked that Matt was bisexual, and I loved how his genuine struggle was shown–it’s a very real thing that some men don’t feel like it would be equally okay to fall in love with someone who wasn’t a woman. I also like that he put Aiden in his place about what bisexuality means. That was terrific.
On the other hand, I was not terribly impressed with the dynamics of their sexual interactions. I think it’s very touchy to imply that “real” sex means penetration and that the ultimate sign of submission is to allow someone else to do it. It particularly bothered me that the bisexual character had to show his willingness to “submit.” It was another thing that made Aiden unlikable–the story is in his POV, after all, so presumably this is how he thinks of relationships.
Because I like the author’s style in general, and because it’s clear the writing is excellent even if I disagree with some of the premises, I still found things to enjoy.
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her amazing, occasionally ridiculous husband, two noisy-but-awesome children, and two cats.
Jay 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.
Jay writes contemporary gay romance, usually set in or near her home town of Bristol. She enjoys the challenge of bringing the men in her head to life through her words.