A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by Jay Northcote


Rating: 2 stars out of 5


I generally love Jay Northcote’s stories. His writing style is pure Brit and his characters are always believable, three-dimensional, and endearing. I’ve enjoyed the Rainbow Place series and always look forward to the glimpse of past characters and a chance to catch up with them. We get that here, and it was enjoyable, but I had a few problems with the romance in this story. From here to the end, I’ve included detail that some will consider spoilers so please don’t read if you don’t want details on the relationship dynamics in this book.

Dylan was a sweetheart. A young man in his late twenties, he’s six years past an emotionally abusive relationship that he stuck out until he finally realized what was happening. He’s vowed not to let it happen again. He’s an artist who is gaining some local popularity, and he works as a waiter and barista at Rainbow Place. There he meets a man in his early forties who comes in day after day with his laptop and works there for hours. Eventually, Dylan learns that Joe is a writer and he’s taken time off from teaching after a redundancy left him jobless. He thinks Joe is hot and he enjoys talking to him. It isn’t until a while later that he learns what we readers already know—Joe is in a long-term relationship. But we also know that it’s falling apart.

Joe’s partner, Harry, agreed to let him work on his book but he’s beginning to treat Joe more like a housekeeper, cook, and maid and making him wait on him hand and foot when they are home together. Harry drinks a lot—every night and from what we see on page, it appears he’s drinking wine and hard alcohol and a bottle a night is disappearing. One night, when Joe has had enough of Harry falling asleep in front of the TV, he heads to Rainbow Place and ultimately ends up dancing with and nearly kissing Dylan. As a result, he confronts Harry when he gets home and they decide to break up. Well, to be fair, it’s Joe who decides to break from Harry. Joe moves into a spare room and determines that once he finishes his book and finds a job, he’ll move out and they’ll take care of paperwork and legal matters regarding the house at that time.

He immediately embarks on a relationship with Dylan. And here is where I have a problem, which is actually twofold. First, the level of Harry’s alcohol abuse is more than simply “a drinking habit” as it was referred to a number of times in the story. Alcoholism isn’t a habit. It’s a disease. And if a character is going to drink and behave the way it’s described in this story, that should be addressed and help offered, even if Harry doesn’t take it. My second issue is that Joe begins to spend the night, on a number of occasions, with Dylan almost immediately, and they not only kiss and get each other off, they soon have penetrative sex. I’m sorry, but to me, since he still lives in Harry’s home, that’s not exercising his freedom, that’s cheating—or at least being dishonorable. And it was way too soon to start a relationship. I could not get into this couple, mostly for that reason, and I really wanted to smack Joe, who is about 15 years older than Dylan, for making such poor life choices. Dylan, at least, wanted to slow down, recognizing that he may be a rebound. And Dylan had real concerns for Joe in that relationship so he was the more mature partner in this story. 

They do ultimately end up together and Harry sort of fades into the woodwork. Fans of the series will likely enjoy it. I’m sure my personal bias when it comes to both alcoholism and cheating may put me in the minority, but this book just wasn’t my cuppa. 

The cover by Garrett Leigh is a picture of a handsome shirtless man. I don’t see the connection to the story, but the guy will certainly grab some readers’ attention.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 246 pages
Published February 22nd 2019 by Jaybird Press
Series Rainbow Place :

Rainbow Place

Safe Place

Better Place

Check out the Release Blitz for Perilous Hearts (Deviant Hearts #3) by A E Ryecart (excerpt and giveaway)



Book Title: Perilous Hearts (Deviant Hearts #3)

Author: A E Ryecart

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Tammy Clarke

Genre/s: MM Romance (friends to lovers with psychological suspense)

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: approx. 95 000 words

It’s the third in the Deviant Hearts series, but can be read as a standalone. There is no need to have read the other books in the series first.

Release Date: March 8, 2019

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You can lock your door, but can you lock your heart?

Finding the courage to end his relationship with his manipulative and vicious boyfriend, Jamie Wheeler turns to his close friend Ed Corrigan to help him get his life back on track.

Jamie and Ed have been inseparable for years, and all it would take is a small step to cross the divide from friends to lovers.

It would be the biggest mistake they could make.

Jamie seeks the security of a settled long-term relationship, but Ed vows never to put his heart on the line again after a devastating betrayal. Anything beyond friendship is a risk, and could break them forever.

As Jamie’s vindictive ex causes trouble from the side-lines, a face from the past makes an unwelcome return. Jamie’s life isn’t getting back on track, it’s coming off the rails, as a series of seemingly random events lead to only one of two conclusions: either somebody’s playing a dark and sinister game, or Jamie’s losing his mind.

Tensions rise and danger approaches, drawing Jamie and Ed closer than ever.  But time is running out as they race to discover not only what is happening, and why, but also what they truly mean to each other.

The third book in the Deviants Heart series, Perilous Hearts is a slow burn friends to lovers romance intertwined with dark psychological suspense. It can be read as a stand-alone and there is no need to have read the previous two books in the series. No cliff hanger and HEA guaranteed.


“I like what you’ve done here. Redecorating and wiping away all traces.”

“It was long overdue.”

“It was.”

So much truth, in those two little words. There was nothing I could say and silence settled in around us.

“I just wish you’d told me earlier what was going on.”

Ed’s voice was tight and hard as though he’d had to force the words out. His deep blue eyes bored into mine, and I couldn’t drag my gaze away.

“Why, Jamie? Why didn’t you say anything to me? I could have dealt with it – with him – and stopped everything from escalating. Don’t ever hold back on me like that again.”

“I—” Shame filled me and I looked away, no longer able to hold Ed’s steady gaze.

Had I really thought I could deal with Callum and everything he was doing to me? The drugs, the intimidation, the men he was fucking and not bothering to hide from me. Little by little, drip by drip, Callum had made me feel worthless, and that what he was doing was somehow my fault. But hadn’t I allowed him to treat me like that? Hadn’t I, in some way, been complicit?

I jumped, the sear of electricity shooting through my nerves as Ed trailed his fingers along my forearm. I swallowed down the hard, dry lump lodged in my throat.

“I—I didn’t want you to think I was weak and stupid, even though that’s what I was.”

“What?” Ed sat up straight, his face fighting shock, anger and indignation. “You think I would blame you in some way? I’d never, ever do that. You’re not responsible for him and how he was, and don’t even begin to think you are. Hey, look at me.”

I could feel the heat and pull of Ed’s gaze, and there was nothing I could do to resist. Ed tilted his head, just a little, and the ghost of a smile sat on his lips. He spoke, and his voice lost its edge as it became quieter, deeper.

“Did you think I’d shake my head and walk away? That I’d leave you to struggle?”

“No, but. . .” But what? I was floundering, sinking into the depths of Ed’s unwavering gaze. “You and Callum,” I croaked, “things were always tense between you. I wanted to keep some kind of, I don’t know, peace I suppose.”

“Peace? Between me and Callum?” Ed shook his head. “There was no peace. I hated him from the very beginning, and it wasn’t long before I had him worked out for the user and parasite he was. He had just enough going on in his vicious little brain to know I’d figured him out. But that wasn’t all, it wasn’t even the main part of it.”

“I don’t understand.” The words were a lie. I understood perfectly.

“Don’t you? We were jealous of each other. Right from the start we were at war.”

Ed’s eyes held my own, never, never before so serious and focused. Focused on me. If the world around us stopped spinning I wouldn’t have cared, because in that moment we were the only world that mattered.

I tilted my head as Ed leaned into me, his breath warm, damp and just a moment from my lips. In some tiny, dark corner of my mind a little voice whispered we were crossing a line which could never be uncrossed. I didn’t care. I closed my eyes as my mind shut down and my body took over, ready for the kiss that would alter the course of my life and seal my fate.

A heavy crash, and the angry, loud creak of floorboards. My eyes flew open, both of us jerking backwards, away from the kiss that would have changed everything forever.

We stared at the ceiling, open mouthed and wide-eyed, as the lightshade swung from side to side.

About the Author

A E Ryecart – or Ali as she’s known to many of her readers – writes contemporary mm romance and gay fiction. From the warm, sweet and fuzzy to the gritty, hard-hitting and challenging, Ali doesn’t hold back from making life just that little bit (or a lot) difficult for her men. But then who said the road to love and happiness was an easy one?

Ali’s stories are often set in London, where she was born and raised, providing the perfect metropolitan background to the main action. Now she’s older, if not wiser, and lives just outside of the big bad city with her husband, an overactive imagination, and a huge pot of coffee as she pounds the keyboard of her trusty laptop.

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