Book Review: What Happens At Christmas by Jay Northcote

What Happens At Christmas


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Own
Publication Date:November 19, 2015
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Point of View: Third Person ( Justin and Sean)
Genres & Themes: MM Romance, Contemporary,  LGBTQ, Holiday, Christmas


When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?

Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?


“It was so sweet, so perfect, so precisely what Justin had always longed for and never quite found with any of the other guys he’d been with. But maybe that was because none of them had been Sean. He trusted Sean so deeply, with the kind of bone-deep knowledge that someone is on your side whatever happens.”

We bookworms celebrate the holidays, too. You know how after Halloween all the stores and basically everyone transitioned from Halloween to Christmas? Well, the written word did too, and they did so by giving us Holiday themes stories.

What better way to get ready for the Holidays than by reading sugary sweet, light on the angst, smutty reading? Nothing.

And then I got this treat. I’m talking about one of my favorite tropes, in published work and in fanfics. The best-friends-to-lovers-mixed-in-with-pretend-boyfriends. There’s something about pretend boyfriends that I just love: that will they figure out that they want to make it real, how will they figure it out?

Justin is newly single after his cheating boyfriend well…cheated on him. So you know that thing that happens when you have to see your ex anywhere, like at the office’s holiday party, or hell in the middle of Walmart. I’m talking about wanting to show him/her that you’re better off, you’ve moved on, you’re doing better than you ever have before, and hey if you have someone there with you, look this is my new beau! Well, Justin is the same and when his best friend, secret crush since childhood, comes back from traveling he thinks up the whole pretend boyfriends.

The catch is what happens when the whole pretend boyfriends shebang starts to feel too real.

This story was filled with fluffy moments and some serious sizzling sexy reads, but I understood where the miscommunications came from. That’s really the only ‘angsty’ part of the book. Justin and Sean read like two best friends who were totally lusting after each other, but didn’t know quite how to jump over the hurdle of them being best friends since childhood. On top of that there are things like how Sean hadn’t come out as gay when they meet, and it didn’t take years for him to do it. Adding that Justin always had a boyfriend, this was a recipe for missed times, and wrong places.

But I completely loved it. How they were basically lovers without the actual label. Having dual POV just added to that, because as the reader you could tell how much they liked each other and why they themselves couldn’t see it.

“The only way he could be with Justin was if he knew it was for keeps.”

It the old thing of, “What happens if we break up? Or he doesn’t like me, that means our friendship goes down the drain.” It’s a tough pill to swallow, let me tell you. And on top, Sean thinks that maybe Justin is still hung up on his ex, which yeah at times it read like that, so.

In all, this was soy chai latte good. I recommend this if you want to get in the mood for the holidays, and maybe get stranded in the middle of a white christmas with your old time crush.

What are you reading to get ready for the holidays?

Check What Happens at Christmas here!


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