Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Joe deserves better. Meeting Dylan helps him see that.
After a recent redundancy, Joe takes a few months off to try and make it as a writer. His partner, Harry, is less than supportive but Joe is used to that after ten years together, just like he’s used to Harry’s controlling nature and his drinking habit.
Dylan, a server at Rainbow Place, is fascinated by Joe as he sits in the café and works on his laptop. His attempts to flirt are met with awkwardness at first, but gradually Joe opens up. Dylan is disappointed when he learns Joe isn’t single. As their friendship develops he begins to worry about the nature of Joe’s relationship, especially when he witnesses Harry’s behaviour in person. Abuse isn’t always physical, and Dylan knows that from experience. His concern helps Joe see his relationship for what it is, and gives him the courage to end things with Harry.
Free to act on their mutual attraction, Joe and Dylan dive headlong into something that becomes serious fast. Joe revels in the passion and intimacy he’s been missing out on for so long, but Dylan is worried that Joe is on the rebound. He puts on the brakes, knowing that they need to slow down to make this last. For this new relationship to work, Joe needs to show Dylan that he’s ready to move on from the past.
Although this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone and has a satisfying happy ending.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
*I received the book in exchange for an honest review*
CW/TW: alcoholism, one of the MCs is in a emotionally abusive relationship at first
I’m always super excited when a book by Jay Northcote drops into my inbox (and I usually start reading it right away, too!). This one was no exception.
It’s the third instalment in the Rainbow Place series and all the characters from previous two books make cameos in this one, but it can function on its own. It centers around Dylan, one of the servers and Joe, an aspiring writer. We saw some of Dylan’s attempted flirting around the end of the second book, Safe Place (my review can be found here).
I think that the author has taken a darker theme in this book, especially with Joe’s relationship in the beginning. I think I have been yelling to people how much I hate Harry in the first few minutes but…he deserved it.
I liked how Joe and Dylan did hang out as friends. They didn’t cross the line, and their friendship and Dylan’s past experience even had a good effect on Joe! Of course most of their hanging-out is happening in Seb’s cafe. I loved every moment of Seb’s appearance because isn’t the guy just awesome?
He’s always there for his employees, either by lending an ear, or providing them with a safe place or even work! Not to mention he has amazing ideas on how to include more people alongside promoting his cafe! One of my favourite parts were the older ladies – Silver allies. If memory serves, one of them was the person who chastised Seb for not having correct forks on his opening day 😉
There was also a moment or two when Dylan could make an impulsive and objectively bad decision he actually went with the right choice even though it wasn’t the one expected.
Despite the hard themes, I enjoyed the book immensely and I kind of felt for Joe writing in a cafe! Although the coffee price is muuuch lower here 😀
If you can stomach more difficult themes, I’d totally recommend reading this one too. And the other two if you haven’t yet because it is just so much better when you know the back story of other characters better. ❤
And by the way, a while ago Jay was a guest on Big Gay Fiction Podcast and you can check the video out here).
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.
One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.
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