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Where Love Grows

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Jay Northcote

Book Information:

When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.

Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.

Luke is more used to a concrete jungle. He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.

A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.

This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.

This book is a standalone read with a satisfying happy ending.

Books by Author:

Jay Northcote Books


Stephen was breathing hard and his legs were like lead by the time he reached the landing. Clutching the balustrade, he waited until he felt steadier.

I’m pathetic.

He felt no sense of achievement for having struggled upstairs, despite the persistent ache in his legs and lower back. All he felt was bitterness and shame when he compared himself to the man he’d been before his illness.

A little over two years had passed, but it felt like a lifetime—a life lost. Then he’d been fit and full of energy, climbing the beautiful hills of South Wales for the joy of it. Now he could barely make it up the stairs in his own damn house.

But, Stephen, you need to remember how far you’ve come.

The words his physiotherapist had spoken in his final session with her echoed in his head, countering his internal monologue. He pushed them away, rejecting them now as he had then. He struggled to find any comfort in looking at what had improved during the frustratingly slow progress of his recovery. Having reached a plateau with no new improvements for a while, Stephen could only focus on all the things he longed to be able to do again—and feared might always be out of his reach.

Once his heart had slowed and his legs felt stronger, Stephen made his way to his bedroom where he’d stupidly left his pain meds that morning.

Normally he tried to avoid going up and down the stairs too many times in the day. He’d started sleeping in his old bedroom again because he’d hated his forced move into the dining room when he’d been unable to walk at all. As soon as he was able—and before his physio had been completely happy about it—he’d moved back to his old room and had changed the dining room into an office space. This allowed him to do his new job, the tedious bookkeeping that stopped him from slipping into debt now working as a gardener was out of the question.

He swallowed two pills standing at the sink in his en-suite bathroom, washing them down with water. They’d take the edge off the muscle aches, but he knew from experience they wouldn’t do much for the nerve pain that still plagued him at random times. At least during the day that was easier to ignore.

As he walked back through his room, he wrinkled his nose at the stale smell. His sheets needed changing but he couldn’t find the energy to do it today. Instead he went to the large bay window and opened the curtains wide, letting the sunlight flood in as he unfastened the catch and slid up the sash window.

Fresh air drifted in with the sound of birdsong and the scent of late spring. Stephen caught his breath, feeling an ache in his chest that was mental rather than physical as he stared out at his garden. Once a source of intense joy, it was now a neglected, chaotic mess. Without him to tend it for the last two summers, nature had taken over and established her dominance. The lawn was wild and full of weeds, as were the flower beds. Farther from the house, the greenhouse stood like a shipwreck. Broken panes of glass, damaged in an autumn storm, were jagged reminders of yet another thing he’d need to fix when he was finally fit enough—if he was ever able to manage his garden again. The chicken run beside that stood empty, the gate hanging off its hinges and the space inside overtaken by weeds.

The large beds, where Stephen used to grow most of his own vegetables, were a riot of brambles. Nettles and goosegrass had joined them in recent weeks, bursting forth on the tide of spring. At the far end of the garden, a couple of rows of apple trees stood in front of the stone wall that separated Stephen’s property from the woods and fields beyond.

It was a beautiful afternoon. The sky was vivid blue, unmarred by even the tiniest wisp of cloud as though the morning rain had washed it clean. In the distance, the hills rose, stretching away in pale watercolour layers. Cool for mid-May, it was perfect hiking weather.

The yearning ache behind Stephen’s ribs intensified. He blinked hard and swallowed down on the lump of bitter resentment that was choking him as surely as the ivy was slowly strangling his beloved apple trees. He turned away from the window, cursing the randomness of fate for landing him with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The illness that had robbed him of the life he’d known before.

Back downstairs in the dining room, he carefully avoided looking outside again as he made his way to his desk. A large bay window overlooked the front, and another gave a view of the shrubbery at the side of the house. This had now become an overgrown jungle where the plants competed for space and sunlight. Stephen had deliberately set up his desk facing a wall. That way if he lost interest—as he frequently did—in the bookkeeping work he did to make ends meet, he had only the fake leaves and flowers on the wallpaper to mock him rather than the real thing.

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