Everyone deserves a second chance.
Nate and his teenage daughter need a fresh start, so they move back to the village where he grew up. Nate’s transgender, and not used to disclosing his history, so it’s hard living where people knew him before. When Nate reconnects with Jack–his best friend from school and unrequited crush–his feelings return as strong as ever.
Jack’s returned home to get his life in order after an addiction to alcohol caused him to lose everything: his job, his driver’s licence, and nearly his life. He’s living with his parents, which is less than ideal, but rekindling his friendship with Nate–or Nat as Jack once knew him–is an unexpected benefit of being back home. Jack is amazed by Nate’s transformation, and can’t deny his attraction. Trying for more than friendship might ruin what they already have, but the chemistry between them is undeniable.
Doubting his feelings are reciprocated, Nate fears he’s risking heartbreak. Jack’s reluctance to tell his parents about their relationship only reinforces Nate’s misgivings. With both their hearts on the line and their happiness at stake, Jack needs to make things right, and Nate has to be prepared to give him a second chance.
Length: 67,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Black Jazz Design
A hint of cigarette smoke carried on the wind caught Nate’s attention, and he realised he wasn’t alone. A hunched figure sat on a bench by the church. Wearing a heavy coat with the hood up, their head hung low staring at the grass between their feet rather than at the landscape stretched out before them. A cigarette hung from bony fingers that protruded from black fingerless gloves. As Nate watched, the man—because Nate could see his face now—raised his head to take a long drag before stubbing the cigarette out on the bench.
A shock of recognition made Nate’s heart jump, thudding erratically.
Torn between conflicting urges to approach and flee, Nate stared at him, powerless to move.
How many years had it been since Nate had seen him? At forty-five Nate found each year passed faster than the one before. It must have been twenty years at least since he’d seen Jack, maybe more, and longer still since they’d spoken properly. Their last meeting had been nothing more than an awkward exchange of greetings when they ran into each other in the village pub one Christmas. The distance between them had cut Nate like a knife, so different to their teenage years when they’d been best friends, and almost inseparable.
Jack slumped forward again, letting the cigarette butt fall from his fingers. He put his hands over his face and Nate recognised despair and hopelessness, because they’d been his companions in the past. Acting on instinct, he approached.
“Sorry to intrude,” he said, pausing in front of Jack. “But are you okay? Is there anything I can do?”
Jack jerked his head up in surprise. His pale cheeks flushed as he shook his head. “Not really. Just having a bad day. You know how it is… or maybe you don’t.”
Nate studied him. The years had changed Jack, of course, but the essence of him was still the same. Sharp features, the strong nose Jack had always hated, even more defined with age, but more balanced now with dark stubble and the lines that the years were beginning to carve around his eyes and mouth.
As Jack stared back, Nate realised there was no recognition dawning on Jack’s face. To Jack, Nate was a stranger. Five years on testosterone had changed Nate to a point where Jack couldn’t see the person Nate had been before. Normally this was something Nate was glad about, but now he felt a pang of regret.
Hmmm, where to begin. First, this is my very first FTM read, and while I thought I knew the basics… I very much did not. Interesting, and kinda hot!
Now, on to the story….Nate and his teenage daughter are living back home with Nate’s mom, after Cass- the daughter was falling in with the wrong crowd and getting into trouble where they were previously. Being back home with your parents is never easy, especially after having a family of your own; but they both needed a fresh start. Having only been there for a few months, Nate runs into Jack, a former best friend whom she was in love with when they were younger. Except, back then, she was Nat.
Jack didn’t recognize Nate at first, having known her pre-transition….but I liked how open minded he was about everything. Jack, is also suffering from depression, also living with his parents after somewhat of a breakdown when things just kept piling up on him. I liked the way that was handled and not glossed over, depression is a very real and common thing… it made them more relatable, to me.
What kind of threw me off a bit, was… had they not said a couple times that both men were in their forties, I would’ve guessed teenagers. The dialogue between them was… blah at times, and just situations were just very teenager’y… I guess because they were back living at home, and having to sneak around and stuff… but I dunno, it was weird for me.
The guys, since running into each other, decide to keep in touch, which turns into a friends with benefits kind of thing, which never works out….especially when one or both people have deeper feelings. I knew it was likely to get messy, but it wasn’t angsty and back and forth, so, that was a plus.
What I also loved, was how accepting Nate’s mom and daughter was. I could see where Jack would be hesitant to share his relationship with his parents, because they didn’t seem as welcoming, not only because they knew Nate as Nat, but, they just didn’t seem that open minded with Jack’s orientation either. It did make for a little bump in the road, but they got there in the end.
As my first FTM read, I really enjoyed it!
4 stars from me!
May 4 – Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews
May 14 – Urban Smoothie Read
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.
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