Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote: Review, Interview

Nothing Ventured
by Jay Northcote

Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
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.
Carly: The Mad Mucker is a pretty intense sounding race. How did you come up with the idea for this story?

Jay: It was actually my husband’s idea. He ran a couple of similar races last year and suggested to me that it might be a good setting for a gay romance book—all that male bonding. I loved the concept and ran with it (no pun intended).

Carly: The boys in Nothing Ventured love to work out together. What are some of your hobbies?

Jay: I enjoy fitness and working out working out. I go through phases. Sometimes I run, sometimes I go to the gym, sometimes I work out at home; but I like to be active. Exercise is a good stress buster too. I also enjoy climbing (usually indoors on a wall, but occasionally outside on real rock). For a more relaxing hobby I also read a lot, of course. What writer doesn’t?

Carly: One of the themes of this story is facing your fears. Do you have a secret fear that might surprise readers?

Jay: Well, funnily enough one of the things I’m pretty squeamish about is mud. I’d rather pick up a giant spider than get my hands dirty. But I faced that fear myself recently when I took part in a mud run—inspired by the research I did for Nothing Ventured. I did it to raise money for the Albert Kennedy Trust (an LGBT youth charity) and if anyone would like to know more about my experiences, you can read my account on my blog and you can sponsor me here

I actually had to crawl on my hands and knees through the stinkiest, muddiest bog I’ve ever seen. It was foul *shudders* but I did it!

Carly: Finally, what can you tell us about your current work in progress?

Jay: I’m in between writing projects at the moment. I’m currently busy with editing and formatting Cold Feet—a Christmas novella that will be out on 8th of December. And I have another book—Passing Through—that I need to edit ready for publication sometime early in 2015. I’m not quite sure what I’ll be writing next. I’m considering a sequel to The Dating Game. But I have a few other ideas clamouring for attention in my head, so I’ll see which one is shouting the loudest once I’m back in writing mode!

Thanks for having me on the blog today, Carly. It’s always a pleasure :)
They moved on to discuss training more specifically. Liv, of course, had already planned out her schedule and suggested the rest of them do the same.

“It helps me focus if I make a plan and stick to it,” she was saying. “I’ll be running four days a week and going to the gym for weight training twice. That gives me one day of complete rest a week.”

“One whole day!” Aiden shook his head as he picked up his now nearly empty pint. “Careful, your muscles might atrophy or something.”

He drained the last dregs and wiped the foam from his lip with the back of his hand. He caught Matt watching him as he did it, and he licked his lips deliberately. He couldn’t resist flirting with the man even though his interest was completely unreciprocated. The bloke looked as though he had a stick up his arse, and Aiden couldn’t imagine he’d like anything more interesting up there. Shame. Aiden wouldn’t have minded trying.

Liv’s voice snapped him out of daydreams about Matt’s arse and back to the here and now. “So how many times a week will you be aiming to run, Aiden?”

“Oh... um, yeah. Three or four, I guess,” he said vaguely. “That sounds about right. And I’ve got some weights at home, so I can use those if I don’t make it to the gym.” They were at the back of a cupboard, gathering dust.

“Matt lives near you. Maybe you could train together?” Liv had a wicked glint in her eye. “It’s always motivating training with someone else. It’s so easy to wimp out on a rainy day if you’re not answering to anyone, isn’t it?”

“I suppose,” Aiden replied warily. “But I don’t think it’s necessary. I wouldn’t want to slow Matt down.”

He expected Matt to agree. Why the hell would Matt want to train with him? Aiden hadn’t exactly made a great first impression. There was no way he’d want Aiden tagging along behind him and cramping his style.

But surprisingly, Matt grinned at him. The evil, slightly too knowing look in his eye was familiar, and for the first time Aiden could see the family resemblance between him and Liv. “I think that’s a great idea.”

Aiden opened his mouth, but for once he was at a loss for words. He closed it again and swallowed.

“Brilliant,” said Liv. “Make sure you swap numbers, then, so you can arrange something.”

Matt got out his phone. “We can start tomorrow after work. What’s your number?”

Aiden knew when he was beaten. It seemed he’d acquired a training partner. An annoying, bossy, sexy but tragically straight training partner. But at least the view of Matt’s arse would be nice while Aiden was trying to keep up with him.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this story. The characters are dynamic and well written. Their struggles, both physical and emotional, struck a chord in my heart. A believable story that also contains that magic spark of hope and happiness that kept me engaged as a reader and rooting for a happy ending. NOTHING VENTURED is a dramatic and action packed story that is well paced and delightfully written. It gifts readers with laughter, romance and mud.
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.
Leave a comment and your email to win your choice of books from Jay' s back-list!
(Giveaway Ends November 22nd 2014)


  1. When I used to run, I never met anyone interesting. Sounds good.

  2. Great interview and loved the excerpt! Thank you for the chance at the giveaway!

  3. Another amazing read. I cannot wait

  4. It just goes to show you, you never know where you're going to meet your match. Being open minded is a good thing too.

    cmucha319 AT yahoo DOT com

  5. Sounds interesting thank you!!! mevalem258 AT gmail DOT com

  6. sounds great! please count me in


  7. I just read another book by Jay and it was spectacular!!!

    Thanks for the interview and except and giveaway!!

  8. I've enjoyed all the books I've read of hers and am looking forward to this one.
    debdeege (at) optonline (dot) net

  9. Thanks for the look at Jay's new book, The interview was great too. Thank you for the giveaway chance.

  10. Have loved every book I've read of Jay's. Thanks for the chance in the giveaway.
    flutterfli01 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  11. I'm super interested.

  12. Thanks for the giveaway.

  13. I have loved your other two books in this series. Well done!

  14. I love Jay Northcote's books!

  15. Cool post and giveaway. Count me in:))

  16. Thank you very much for this lovely chance to win a copy of Jay's book. Count me in please.

  17. I'm a new reader of Jay's books so I'm very interested in this one:) Thank you:)

  18. thank you for the giveaway! Loving Jay's books!

  19. Thanks for the chance! Love Jay's books!