Sweet, innocent Sam is 18-years old and on his own in 1920s Hollywood. Sam has always had to hide his true feelings and he left home and his strict, controlling father after being faced with an ultimatum. Having lived a completely sheltered life, Sam has no idea how men can please each other and even his job as a towel boy in a bath house has not increased his knowledge.
It is at the bath house that Sam sees the much older, good looking Aaron. Aaron is aware that Sam watches him, but also is aware of how young Sam is. An incident at work leads to Aaron’s protective instincts taking over to protect little Sam.
They begin a relationship, with Aaron showing Sam the pleasures of intimacy and the rewards of submission. As their relationship grows, danger is lurking as the threat of Sam’s father finding Sam has both men looking over their shoulders. Aaron has promised to keep Sam safe. If only Aaron can get over their age difference, his own insecurities, and the unease that someone will harm Sam.
Historical books in this genre are not ones I often gravitate to and stories with a large age differences are also not ones I specifically seek out. But, and here’s the but, Morticia Knight’s name is on this one, so I’m in.
This is a sweet story. Even with the BDSM elements and a few unsavory characters, it remains sweet. Aaron even calls Sam “Little Sam” or “Sweet Sam” throughout the story to further add to the sweetness.
Sam is so sheltered and inexperienced. Inexperienced as in he doesn’t know how a man’s body works sexually. He has always been attracted to men, but has absolutely no idea how men can be together. Sam’s inexperience is drawn well and his sheltered thoughts are well written and match his character. Aaron lives of off his trust fund and has never been able to have an ongoing relationship with a man. His dominant side scares most men, he feels he will never find anyone who will truly love him, and he has taken to paying for companionship on occasion. We are not told Aaron’s exact age, but he is portrayed as being significantly older than Sam, somewhere in the father figure range.
The D/s portion of the story is on the lighter side. While we see Sam embracing being submissive, the scenes of Aaron dominating him have more of a romantic feel to them. It is a true coming of age story for Sam as Aaron takes care of him and loves him. The portions of the story involving Sam’s training have both a show and tell quality to them, as we see some of it and are told of others. This works well to advance the story and keeps it having a somewhat airy and again a romanticized feel to the whole experience. There are heated scenes as we see Sam experience many physical pleasures for the first time. The historical aspect is not overdone and there are touches of the clothing and vehicles of the time to remind us of the era.
The ending wraps up neatly, very neatly, almost too neatly. But, it maintains the continuity of the feel for the entire story. Hesitant Heart is a perfect choice for a sweet feel to a story with lighter D/s elements, a touch of a historical setting, and heated scenes between two men who find exactly what they need from the other.