Title: Helping Hand
Author Name : Jay Northcote
Publication Date & Length: June 26, 2015 – 33, 000 Words
Wanking with a mate isn’t gay—as long as you keep your hands to yourself.
Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie—Big Mac to his mates—are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.
When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn’t expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your straight friend can only end badly, unless there’s a chance he might feel the same.
This is a smutty, good-natured new adult romp. Two university roommates in a shared house accidentally start to explore their gay sides one drunken evening.
The story is as advertised. Bedtime or bathtime reading, not necessarily one for a public transit commute. For an erotic short story it is very well written. The characters are carefully drawn, the late adolescent angst is almost palpable and the sex scenes are very, very hot.
There aren’t many UK m/m authors, so Northcote’s British language and setting was a pleasant surprise. I’m guessing that any UK fans of Channel 4’s Fresh Meat will have no trouble imagining Mac, Jez and their shared house.
This is a very sexy short story that manages to be hot without being cheezy. Northcote even adds a little emotion and a touch of humour. A good read.
This felt like a quick read, but it packs a punch. I have never read this author before (I say that a lot in my reviews), but I really enjoyed her style. Jay Northcote gives us a very sexy, heart-pounding story with two very lovable characters, Jez and Mac. They aren’t perfect and that is what I love when reading, imperfect characters. This story had humour, wit, heart-felt moments that will endear the characters to you. And, the whole reason for the title….. oh YES, some steamyyyyyy sexy times!!!!!! I do love me some smutt, with my stories 🙂 It felt like you were a fly on the wall, you could feel the intensity between Jez and Mac, with heart-pounding clarity! I will definitely read more from this author.
To be honest, I was afraid it was going to be another “gay for you” or “suddenly gay” story—not one of my favorite tropes, but I was willing to lay that aside for a fun read. Instead, I was beyond happy to find something about a genuinely bisexual young man coming to terms with his identity and embracing it in full. My favorite line in the whole thing is when Jez says “his bisexuality wasn’t a phase, and even if he ended up with a woman, it wouldn’t mean he was magically straight.” Because yes, that’s how bisexuality works, and I loved reading it right there in print. All my thank you’s go to the author for saying it.
On the other side, Mac’s reaction is equally realistic. He’s not ready to embrace an identity word, and that’s perfectly fine. But neither does he deny who he is, and I loved that as well. Rather than just a “gay for you” story, he’s still thinking about and working through complex feelings. Though the story is told only from Jez’s perspective, I still felt like I had a good sense of where Mac was coming from.
Afterwards, Jez blamed the alcohol for loosening his tongue, because he didn’t think about it before he spoke. The words tumbled out before he could stop them.
“Man, I’m seriously horny now. Have you got any decent porn on that laptop?”
“Huh?” Mac snapped his head around to meet Jez’s gaze. Jez’s heart pounded erratically, but his dick was still standing to attention. “What… you mean, you want to wank in here? Now? Wouldn’t that be weird?” Mac sounded seriously freaked out.
Jez backtracked quickly, cheeks hot. “It doesn’t have to be weird. I’ve done it before with guys at school, and it’s never been a big deal. But don’t worry about it. I’ll go and watch my own stash instead. But I need something soon, ’cause I’m gonna explode after watching that sex scene.”
Jez was expecting an instant no from Mac. He wouldn’t have blamed him. A lot of guys wouldn’t be into what Jez was suggesting. Jez’s heart still thumped hard, but his arousal didn’t abate despite his anxiety. He was shocked by how much he wanted this.
Mac bit his lip and frowned. “Seriously. You’ve done that?”
Jez shrugged, trying to look nonchalant. “Yeah. Like I said, it was no big deal. Just guys messing around.”
Mac stared a moment longer, then he stood, and Jez’s heart sank as he walked away. But Mac only went to fetch his laptop from the dining table. He sat back down and then opened it and tapped in his password.
“What sort of stuff do you wanna watch?” Mac’s voice was gruff and he focused on the screen rather than Jez.
Fuck. They were really going to do this, then.
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.