Opposites might attract. But does that include age?
Christmas comes early for Aiden Malone in the form of a seductive blue-eyed stranger down on his knees. But a shock revelation about his new 'friend' has him running for the hills and cursing his stupidity before the night is out.
Tom's not prepared to give up that easily. He may be rich, where Aiden's poor. Innocent in a way that Aiden isn't. And on the wrong side of twenty. But he's old enough to know what he wants. And that's Aiden. He just needs to persuade the older man to look past his hang-ups about age and wealth.
Lust and prejudice pull Aiden in opposite directions, severely testing his willpower. As Tom's layers begin to peel away, Aiden discovers the younger man's life of privilege may not be all it seems. If Aiden gives in, they could have the sweetest Christmas that either of them has ever tasted.
But Tom's about to shatter their joy with a surprise announcement. Decisions need to be made on both sides. It’s down to Aiden, though, to stay strong and decide whose happiness is more important. His? Or Tom's? Because they can’t have it both ways.
It's possible their relationship won't even last as long as it takes for the snow to melt.
- 1 To Be Read list
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, First Time, May/December, One Night Stand, Opposites Attract
Word Count: 47 000
Languages Available: English
I tipped my head back against the partition wall, desperately trying to ignore the low hum of voices from outside the bathroom stall that reminded me where I was. That and the faint strains of Elton John singing “Step into Christmas.” I didn't really want to be thinking about Elton John at a time like this. Glancing down, I bit my lip in an effort to hold back the groan that threatened to escape. It was difficult to know what was hotter, the sight or the feel of what the stranger was doing. As if sensing my scrutiny, pretty blue eyes the color of sapphires rose to meet mine as he pulled his mouth off my dick. Fully erect, my cock waved in the air, glistening obscenely from the man’s saliva. My eyes pleaded with him not to stop. I would have used words but they seemed to have escaped me somewhere around the time his lips had opened wide to take me in.READ MORE
He appeared completely unfazed by the fact that he was crouching on a bathroom floor as his gaze trailed down my body, his voice a husky whisper. “Undo your shirt. I want to see your chest while I suck you.”
Fingers trembling with arousal, I hastened to do as he asked, the desire to come blanking everything else from my mind and making me momentarily forget that at thirty-one years old, this was not what Aiden Malone did. Especially when The Royal Oak wasn't even a pick-up joint. It was an ordinary run-of-the-mill pub in Battersea, just down the road from the building site where I worked. Families came here on the weekend. They even held a goddamn quiz night there every Thursday, along with the occasional karaoke on a Friday. It was about as far from a pick-up joint as you could get. Yet, when my eyes had lingered for that little bit too long on the man walking toward the exit, he’d hesitated, his path changing course to saunter in my direction.
I’d averted my gaze, embarrassed to be caught checking him out so openly, fastening it instead on a garish Christmas decoration dangling from the pub ceiling, its gold metallic covering reflecting the light as it twisted in the breeze. It hadn’t deterred him in the slightest, and within seconds, he’d been standing right in front of me. I don’t know what I’d expected him to do, offer his name maybe, or ask for my number. He’d done neither. The stranger had given me a thorough once-over, his gaze taking in my dark hair, prone to curling especially when the weather was damp, my grey eyes that a boyfriend had once said were the color of a stormy sky, and my stubble because I hadn't bothered to shave that day. The gleam in his eyes said he liked what he saw. He bent over so that his lips were close to my ear, his warm breath ghosting over my skin and raising goosebumps. “I want to suck your cock. Come with me.” Then he’d held his hand out, like it was that simple.
I’d stared at him, the invitation leaving me breathless, unable to tear my gaze away from his plump, pink lips. Lips he’d just offered to wrap around my cock. I’d imagined in vivid detail what it might feel like to push my cock between them and feel his tongue explore the length of my shaft. My hesitation had lasted just that one beat too long. With a small shrug, he’d started to retreat, the fingers inching back, the invitation in the process of being rescinded just as quickly as it had been offered in the first place.
He'd been seconds away from turning and leaving and I'd known I'd never see him again. He'd be just a faint, amusing memory of something that could have been. Triggered by a strange sense of panic, my hand had jerked out, grasping on to his fingers before he could withdraw them completely.
The seductive smile I'd received in return had been everything. He’d pulled me to my feet, our fingers still entwined, and I’d followed blindly without having a clue where we were going. I’d almost balked when I’d realized his destination. I wasn’t a “bathroom sex” type of guy. I’d been in relationships where boyfriends I'd trusted implicitly had suggested it with a wink and I’d always declined, pointing out that we weren’t teenagers and we had homes to go to. Why choose to get it on in a place like that when there were other options available? I'd never understood it. Not before, anyway.
The blue-eyed stranger had led me into a stall, ignoring the interested stare of the middle-aged guy at the sink washing his hands. Slamming the door shut and pushing me back against the side of the stall, he’d wasted no time in dropping to his knees on the floor that appeared relatively clean. But who knew? His long-fingered hands made short work of the button and zipper of my jeans before pulling my semi-hard cock out. He’d regarded it with a look of intense fascination, his tongue coming out to taste before he'd slid the length between his lips.
And there we were.
I undid the last button on my shirt and placed my hands against the wall behind him, not knowing what else to do with them. He smoothed his fingers along my thighs before parting the two sides of my shirt as if he was unwrapping a very special Christmas present, his gaze hungry as he devoured the sight he'd uncovered. I didn’t go to the gym. I didn’t need to. I spent eight hours a day, five days a week, carrying heavy loads of bricks around, digging and clearing, and anything else manual you could name that needed doing on a building site. The honed muscles therefore came naturally. He slid his hands over my six-pack, kneeling up to continue his exploration all the way to my pectorals, his fingers tweaking my nipples before he sank back down, his lips engulfing my cock again and bringing a strangled gasp to my lips. He certainly knew what he was doing.
Voices grew louder outside the door before fading away again. I had no idea how long we’d been in the stall. It felt like hours and mere minutes all at the same time. He tilted his head, the angle allowing him to take me deeper. My thighs trembled, the first tingles of orgasm starting to make themselves known. I was ready to come, but at the same time it felt so damn good, I wanted it to last a bit longer. I lifted my hands from the wall, digging my fingernails into my palms to create enough pain to prevent me from coming for a few more delicious seconds. A few more seconds where I could enjoy the hot velvet warmth of his mouth and the feel of his talented tongue on my cock. It probably wasn't fair. Not when his jaw had to be aching by now, but at the moment, selfish felt way better than fair.
I gave in to the temptation I'd had ever since he'd started blowing me, my fingers sliding into his thick, dark hair, the strands soft and free of any hair products. I was hesitant at first. When he didn’t pull back or complain, I slid them deeper, my palm cupping his delicate skull, encouraging him to tilt his head farther back, my cock nudging the back of his throat. And he took it perfectly with not an ounce of protest. When the blue-eyed stranger's hand moved to palm my balls, there was suddenly no pain in the world sufficient enough to keep me from coming.
Sparks raced down the length of my spine, my whole body tingling as the rush of orgasm coursed through me, my muscles spasming and twitching as if someone had applied an electric shock. They gradually died away, replaced by a warm lassitude that started at my crotch and radiated outward. Eyes closed, I rested back against the wall, panting, dimly aware that I should be concerned about how much noise we'd made. Or I'd made. But I couldn't bring myself to care when the warm, talented mouth of a complete stranger had just taken me straight to heaven, and I wanted to stay there a while longer. Besides, it wasn't like there was anybody banging on the door and threatening violence. I took that as a good sign.
Sensing movement, I opened my eyes to find myself facing the amused scrutiny of my stall companion head-on. At some point while I'd been lost in post-orgasmic lassitude, he'd stood, putting us back on the same level. He moved closer. Was he expecting me to return the favor? He might be comfortable kneeling on a bathroom floor but I wasn't.
The blue-eyed stranger leaned in, his hand bracing against the wall by my head. I waited, still struggling with the dilemma of what I was supposed to do. “If you come home with me, you can fuck me.”
I stared at him, the words slowly unraveling themselves in my brain to form a sentence. That hadn't been what I'd expected him to say.
Not at all.
Apparently reading my stunned expression as reluctance, he spun around, unzipping his jeans and lowering them a few inches, along with his underwear, to reveal a decidedly pert ass. As adverts went, it did the trick. A smirk playing on his lips, he glanced back over his shoulder. “What do you think? Interested?”
I nodded; my gaze—and brain—was still fixated on his ass. I may have only just come but my dick didn't seem to be getting the memo. My dick, I realized, that was still hanging out. I reached across the stall, grabbing some toilet roll from the dispenser and giving myself a quick wipe before tucking myself back in and sorting out my clothes. The buttons on my shirt seemed to take much longer to fasten than they had to undo, the stranger's eyes on me just as much as they had been when I'd undressed.
When I was decent, we left the stall together—the bathroom blessedly empty. No one batted an eyelid as we made our way through the pub lounge, Elton John having given way to Mariah Carey. Either the patrons hadn't realized what we'd been up to, or they just didn't give a damn. As we passed the table where I'd been seated earlier, I eyed the pint of beer I'd barely touched. It was destined to stay that way now. I had something far more interesting to do.
We tumbled out onto the street, the cold, frosty December air causing an involuntary shiver to wrack my body. My companion hailed a black cab and I followed him into the back of it. It dawned on me that I hadn't uttered a single word since this weird interlude began. It was time to change that. I glanced over at my companion. The man who'd already blown me, swallowed my cum, and who I was going to fuck. The man whose name I didn't even know. Nor had he asked for mine. Was this how things were done these days? Was I that far out of the casual-sex loop that all the rules had changed and I hadn't even realized it? The blue-eyed stranger's head was turned away from me, his gaze focused on the passing scenery outside the car window.
I cleared my throat. “I don’t even know your name.”
His gaze flitted in my direction before returning back to where it had started. “You can speak. I was beginning to wonder.”
I waited, doubt slowly starting to creep in, its insidious fingers wrapping themselves around my brain. What the hell was I doing? I hadn't bothered to listen when he'd given instructions to the driver so I didn't have a clue where he'd told him to take us. I could ask him. But if he wasn't even willing to volunteer his name, then it was doubtful he was going to repeat information he'd already given, just because I wasn't listening. At the moment, we were still in Battersea, the streets comfortingly familiar. The sensible thing to do would be to get the driver to stop while I could still walk home. I opened my mouth, ready to tell him to do exactly that when the man next to me spoke first.
“Tom. My name’s Tom. What’s yours?”
I relaxed slightly, thoughts of telling the cab to stop drifting away under the strange, comforting blanket of a name. “Aiden.”
“Pleased to meet you, Aiden. I’d shake your hand but I think we’ve already gone past that point.”
Heat crept up my cheeks and I was grateful for the gloom in the back of the cab. I wanted to ask him if he did this a lot and what had made him come over and speak to me. Well, apart from the fact that I'd been broadcasting my interest to the entire pub. But with the name exchange done, Tom had returned to his vigil at the window, so I stayed silent, using the cover of darkness and the fact that his attention was focused elsewhere to study him.
He was younger than I was. If I had to guess, I’d have put him somewhere in his mid-twenties, which was a good five to six years younger than I was. I'd dated guys who were a couple of years younger but nothing beyond that. But then, this wasn't a date, was it? It was… I wasn't sure of the current vernacular. A hook-up?
I continued my inventory. Black jeans, a red T-shirt depicting some sort of band I’d never heard of. At least I assumed they were a band. I couldn't think what else they could be. He had a slim build like a gymnast—a marked contrast to my own bulky muscles. Tom hadn't seemed to mind though. In fact, the way his fingers had traced the muscles of my abs almost reverently had screamed that muscles were his thing. An expensive-looking leather jacket topped off his outfit.
My gaze drifted upward—clean shaven, sharp cheekbones and of course those gorgeous lips. My dick twitched at the memory of them wrapped around it. Would he do that again when we got to wherever we were going? Maybe if I asked nicely. I wondered what his cock was like, the anticipation of getting to find out making me shift restlessly in my seat. Dragging my mind away from sex, I took in the last few details on display that I hadn't already catalogued. Very little jewelry, a watch and one studded earring in his left ear that looked like a diamond, but was more likely to be some cheap imitation.
Resigned to there being no further conversation between the two of us, I pulled my phone out, finding a text from one of my closest friends and workmates.
JT: Thought you might be down at the pub, mate? Was going to join you for one.
Tapping out a quick response, I relaxed back into the seat and closed my eyes. It wasn't until the cab lurched to a halt that I opened them again. I sat up straight, squinting at the house we'd pulled up in front of and wondering if there'd been some sort of mistake. “Where are we?”
Tom glanced up from where he was paying the driver. “Richmond.”
Richmond. Home of the wealthy. “And you live here?”
He nodded, already reaching for the handle to open the cab door.
I turned my attention back to the house. To say it was huge would be an understatement. There had to be at least ten bedrooms in a house that size. It was set away from the street at the end of a long driveway, the entrance blocked by a sturdy wrought iron gate, the security system flashing its warning from a distance. The place reeked of money. A house this size in an area this affluent couldn't have cost anything less than five million pounds. How the hell did someone in their twenties get to live in a place like this? Had he inherited it? Or was he some sort of business genius who’d made it big at a young age? The man in question was already out of the cab. He leaned back in. “Are you coming?”
That was an excellent question. Was I? The house had thrown me for a loop and I wasn’t sure I wanted to set foot inside it. I barely had enough money at the end of the week to afford food. Whereas if Tom lived here, my monthly rent was spare change to him. We were worlds apart. What was I… his bit of rough? His walk on the wild side?COLLAPSE
Donna on Love Bytes wrote:
Christmas Riches isn’t one of those sweet-as-pie holiday romances reminiscent of a Hallmark movie, but I absolutely loved it. This May-December romance captured the magic of the season and unexpected love along with a fair amount of angst, which frankly caught me off guard at times. Happily, the ending made the moments that left me heart sore worthwhile. Not only were the characters, story, and romance lovely, but there was also a fair bit of playful dialogue and moments that had grinning ear-to ear. In short, Christmas Riches hit on all the right notes for me.
I really liked the characters in Christmas Riches and that the age difference between Aiden and Tom was addressed a few times over without it seeming to be just a quick blip in the side notes. The romance between Aiden and Tom does spark and move along rather quickly at first, but it didn’t feel underdeveloped and the ending proved this couple had staying power. The characters, their histories, and the path to their happy ending were different than what I’d anticipated, and it made the love and sweet moments pack more of a punch and the story all the more memorable. If you like a bit more angst and substance with your holiday romance but still want all of the season’s magic, I’d definitely recommend adding Christmas Riches to your to-read list.
*Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*
Xochitl on Amazon US wrote:
A month or so ago I remember seeing a Facebook poll by H.L. Day asking readers’ opinions on second chance romances. I didn’t even need to think twice. I hate them. It’s one trope that I always avoid reading because a lot of the time I feel if the characters stuffed up their relationship once, odds are they’ll do it again, even if a HEA seems definite. I made a mental note that I needed to avoid that book that H.L. Day was writing, even though I’ve always loved her stories. But then I got all excited seeing that this author was releasing a Christmas story, and the whole ‘second chance romance’ thing totally slipped my mind. Until I realized what was happening in this book and was thoroughly unimpressed with my memory. So, this is my review for a Christmas romance that left me a broken sobbing mess, and which I’ll never read again. However, I can also unreservedly admit that this was a brilliantly different sort of holiday love story, which was both painfully heartbreaking and adorably sweet.
What the author succeeded in doing here was providing believable reasons for these characters to struggle to make their relationship work. Sometimes I think age gaps are a silly reason to deny a connection, but the fact that Tom was only eighteen made it more credible. Like, a difference in ages might not seem such a big thing, but if the word ‘teen’ is involved it can make a person seem less than an adult. But with the way Tom and Aiden originally met, Aiden is fully aware that Tom is adult enough in all the physical ways. I really believed his struggle to accept that he was over thirty years old and lusting after a teenager.
And since I mentioned their first meeting. Wow, it was a doozy! I loved the way this story began, it was pretty unique. Well, at least I’ve never read another book that starts that way. There are probably some out there.
Although I don’t want to give away what happens in the story, I feel the need to reassure anyone reading this review that there is a happy ever after between our main characters. Despite the fact that I cried my eyes out over this story, or maybe because of that reason, I absolutely recommend Christmas Riches to everyone who loves a beautiful holiday romance. Even though it utilized one of my most avoided tropes there’s no denying that H.L. Day has delivered a gorgeous story.
Briffly on Amazon US wrote:
This season always brings out my emotional side, so Christmas stories are my favorites, especially when they are sweet and romantic. This book is about attraction between opposites, not only in age gap but also in wealth, but while reading you discovered that bot characters are really similar. Both lonely, but not alone, both trying to find their forever. Tom has a really sad background, even in his wealth he is completely alone, and HL Day writing made you feel his emotions and loneliness. Aiden has a lovely family who accompany him, but he needs someone to complete him in other ways. When Tom and Aiden met, their world collided and after falling in love they tried to be together but wasn't their moment. They discovered that waiting for what you want, sometimes is worth it. After you cried and waited with the characters, you can only feel at peace when they got their HEA. Amazing story, ideal for this season.
I received this book as an ARC and this is my honest opinion.
So, I’m not a huge lover of Christmas romances. This one, I thought was well written. It fits perfectly with the saying “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they were meant to be yours.” It all starts with an anonymous hookup in a bar. Aiden, the older man, can’t seem to get over his hang ups about the differences between him and Tom, who just turned eighteen. There’s age, experience, and most of all money. Tom doesn’t give up and is determined to show Aiden just how much they have in common. Unfortunately, Aiden makes a hard decision to help Tom grow more as an individual. It’s the hardest decision he ever has to make. This is a sweet love story with two characters who are very easy to identify with as are the obstacles they face. Some of it broke my heart and I was worried that it wouldn’t be put back together!! Everything does work out in the end, though.