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Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote
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.
Aiden is an out and proud, but sorta lazy, gay man. He ends up getting suckered into competing in an obstacle course race (via too much tequila) by one of his friends who pairs him with her cousin Matt for training.
Matt is “straight” and OCD about fitness ever since his father died suddenly from a heart attack. He and Aiden spark off one another right away, but since Matt is straight and all, Aiden keeps his flirting to a minimum. Until one day… they end up covered in mud and Matt needs a shower… Aiden realizes Matt isn’t all that straight.
They begin a “friends-with-benefits” affair. Matt is bi-sexual but deep in the closet. Aiden is out but not interested in a relationship since the last one he was in left him scarred.
At first this seems to work out great for both men. They are good together in bed and as training partners and they might even be good as friends. But as time goes on they begin to have feelings for each other that makes things awkward.
Finally, after an amazingly touching night of lovemaking and talking, they decide they are too close to one another so they have to split.
Yes, they like each other too much to continue seeing each other.
So now they are both frustrated,sad, and lonely.
Fortunately, not for long… after the race, when Aiden nearly drowns, they come around and realize they can’t let the past dictate their future.
Jay Northcote is one of my auto-buy authors. She never disappoints. Her characters are fun, funny, three-dimensional and really enjoyable. In most of her stories we get to see some growth and we always see some hot sex and sweet love.
This book did not disappoint in most of those areas. I really loved the slow burn, the tension as we “hated” Matt for how poorly he treated Aiden and the relief when they finally gave in and admitted their feelings.
But… I thought the last bit there at the end, where Matt and Aiden both admitted (essentially) that they loved one another then broke up felt a little contrived. (I think that if Matt had denied his feelings and broke up with Aiden because Aiden was too clingy or something, it would have felt more authentic and given us the same result. IMHO)
However, that is really a small, nit-picky thing. The only other thing I would have appreciated was seeing the boys together longer as a couple.
So, overall I really enjoyed this book and recommend it with a 4 of 5 hearts.