Molly Reviews: Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote (Housemates Book 5)

Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

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This was such a sweet story. I truly liked Ben and Sid together. Their emotions were so clear as I read. I adored the way they connected and how Sid worked to calm Ben’s fears. Mr. Northcote’s stories always have wonderful characters that are engaging. I enjoy the Housemates series because each book can be read as a standalone; however you get to see characters again in each subsequent book and also see characters get a happy ending that you meet earlier in the series. I truly enjoyed getting to see the former couples still happy together and in love. I really want to see Johnny get a story now though. He deserves a happy ending too.

Sid was a total sweetheart. He may have come off a little sex crazy at first. But deep down he wanted companionship. His reaction when Ben told him he’s trans was lovely. He was realistic about his wants and also worked to reassure Ben he wasn’t going to be a jerk about genitalia or gender. It was about them connecting as people. The scene where Sid did his research was fabulous. You could tell he cared for Ben and wanted to know exactly what everything meant and his reaction beforehand. Sid was smitten with Ben and the way he fell for Ben was wonderful.

Ben broke my heart a little bit. His internalized homophobia was so raw to read. He struggled to overcome his view of himself and fears of not being good enough. His emotions were vivid; you could feel them with Ben as you read. I loved how he came out of his shell as the story progressed. Ben got more comfortable with his flatmates and I was so proud of him at the end of the story. You can tell Ben falls for Sid quickly but it takes a while for him to trust those feelings. By the end of the story you can tell Ben’s finally happy and content with his life. he may still be working on those internal negative thoughts. But he’s so happy otherwise.

Sid and Ben are so good together. They take things slowly and build up their trust in each other and watching those first tentative steps was wonderful. Their sex scenes are really hot and sensual. They just click together right from the start. By the end of the story they’re so happy together and you can tell they’re going to make their relationship work. I would love to see them show up in future Housemates books. I want to catch up with them in a few years to see how Ben’s doing with his self image and they’re doing as a couple overall.
Four and a half

About Jay:
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.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

Author Contact: || Twitter || Facebook Profile || Facebook Author Page || Newsletter || Jay’s Books

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