Rating: 3.75 stars
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Length: Novel

When Sam agrees to participate in a charity “slave” auction for Christmas, he doesn’t expect the winning bid to come from the man he has been crushing on for months. Sam isn’t always as bold with men as he wants to be, but his friend convinces Sam to go it for when he goes to Theodore’s (the winning bidder) house to clean. Sam takes a chance and wears his sexy elf costume, complete with dress, stockings, and lacy underwear, instead of the boxers he wore to the auction, determined to let Theodore know he is interested.

Theodore has definitely noticed the sexy barista when he goes to get his morning coffee. But Theodore is also not out and he doesn’t have plans to be. Growing up with a very conservative family, Theodore was taught being gay is wrong and, while he recognizes that isn’t true, part of Theodore just can’t get up the nerve to come out and live without fear and self doubt. He can’t believe that Sam is actually interested in him, but Sam is very clear that he wants Theodore, and the two of them have an incredible, kinky encounter that thrills both men.

With Sam’s roommates away for the holiday break, the men have a few weeks before Sam goes home for Christmas where they can be together in private. Sam is willing to accommodate Theodore’s need for absolute secrecy and the men spend the time living out all their sexy fantasies. Sam and Theodore even realize that they are both interested in exploring some daddy kink and having Theodore be Sam’s Daddy Dom. But Theodore is still unwilling to come out, or even to commit that it may be something he can do in the future. And Sam knows that he can’t live forever with all the hiding. Now Theodore must figure out if he is able to take a chance that could bring him happiness with the man he has grown to love.

I was drawn to this story by both the age gap theme, as well as the cross dressing element, and this story didn’t disappoint with its kinky fun. Sam and Theodore are both eager to explore role playing and all kinds of different ways they can enjoy being together, and this part of the story is light and fun and sexy. The men explore spanking, cross dressing, kitten play, and other role playing, as well as moving toward a Daddy/boy dynamic. I enjoyed both the fun and sexy scenes, as well as the way the men shared their desires and grew in their experiences together. While Sam is more open and more experienced, he hasn’t always been good at reaching out for what he wants with men, so both of these guys get a chance to explore their interests and are very compatible in bed.

The conflict here comes in that Theodore isn’t out, and really doesn’t have any idea if it is something that will ever happen. At first, the men are in such a bubble that everything seems fine. Sam understands Theodore’s reasoning and thinks he can live with it for a while. But, at a certain point, reality hits for both men. Sam comes to understand that Theodore may never be ready to come out, and that isn’t something he can live with forever. And Theodore realizes that he is going to lose the man he loves if he can’t move forward. I appreciated that things aren’t solved immediately (time and therapy are both critical), but that we are able to see the men find a way to move forward. I think this story is perhaps more angsty than is my typical style. There is a lot of tension here as Theodore struggles with his past and his concerns about being out. I could understand his feelings, but this major angst also made quite a strong contrast with the lighter, sexy side, and slowed down the story for me as these issues are churned around over and over. I also found the set up hard to believe given Theodore is terrified of anyone knowing he is gay, right down to refusing to let Sam even come over to his house after the first night in case his neighbors might see him and get suspicious. Yet he is willing to publicly bid on Sam in front of his co-workers, going as far as to get into a bidding war with another co-worker, seemingly without concern that anyone might think he is interested in the sexy elf and not just looking for a house cleaner. So that seemed inconsistent, but not a major problem.

For me, this story straddled two lines, with half the focus on the kinky, sexy fun the men are exploring together and the other half on Theodore’s issues with coming out. I think the lighter side flowed a little better for me, but it was nice to see a story where the men really talk and work through their issues to find their happiness.

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