The Hampton Road Club
- Hesitant Heart
Sam might be innocent, but the Roaring Twenties aren’t…
Sam is used to living with lots of secrets. He’s always had to hide who he is or else incur the wrath of his strict and abusive father. After he’s faced with a horrible ultimatum, he flees to Hollywood where he hopes he can escape the specter of his miserable upbringing.
Aaron is a wealthy, sophisticated man who loses himself in painting portraits of bound men to stave off his loneliness and despair. Unable to find a lasting connection with anyone, he has resorted to paying lovers so he can indulge in his darker passions. Aaron’s only respite is the Hampton Road sadomasochism club where he’s a respected Dominant.
Naïve in the ways men can please one another, Sam takes a job at a bathhouse where he first glimpses a handsome older man. Aaron has his interest sparked when he spies a shy towel boy watching him whenever he patronizes the Temple of Eros. When a traumatic event triggers Aaron’s protective nature, he rescues the gentle Sam from the clutches of the disreputable establishment’s manager.
As their bond deepens and Sam is trained for his first night at the Hampton Road Club, an unknown danger lurks. Will Aaron’s heart be crushed once again?
Publisher Note: This book was previously published under the same title with a different publisher. It has been reedited, revised and expanded.
- 2 To Be Read lists
Publisher: Knight Ever After Publishing
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Big Character / Little Character, First Time, Hurt / Comfort, Rescue, True Love, Wide-Eyed Innocence
Word Count: 57200
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Aaron lowered his naked body into the soothing waters of the small pool in his and Saul’s private lounge at the Temple of Eros, sighing in contentment as the hot liquid embraced him.
Saul dropped his towel then joined him on the other side of the round, tiled pool that was roomy enough for as many as six men at a time. While he and Saul were close, they’d never been lovers. Instead, his dear friend had introduced him to the Hampton Road Club, a place that sometimes seemed more of a home to him than his own residence. The sadomasochism club had become his only true sanctuary.
Aaron darted his eyes to the door as it slowly opened. A smile tugged at his lips as the sweet boy who was their usual attendant entered the room with his head bowed and a pile of folded towels in his arms.
Such a submissive creature. Wouldn’t he be a delight to work with?READ MORE
Aaron silently admonished himself. Not only were the boys employed at the bathhouse skilled at pretense in order to lure men to fall for their charms, but the lovely towel boy was much too young for Aaron. He shoved aside the fact that the delightful Sam sometimes entered his thoughts when he would take himself in hand. But it didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy the young man’s company when he and Saul relaxed at the bathhouse.
“Dear, little Sam. How are you this fine evening?” Aaron adored how the flush rose to Sam’s cheeks. He told himself it was due to his words and hadn’t a thing to do with the heat of the room.
Sam kept his gaze averted as he laid out fresh towels, his actions slow and precise, as if drawing out his time in the room for as long as he could. “I’m doing very well. Thank you, sir.”
Aaron caught Saul’s knowing gaze. His friend had been after him for weeks to pursue something with the boy. But hiring Sam to be his lover, then discovering he wasn’t as pure as he’d always pretended to be, would ruin his fantasy of Sam being the one uncorrupted thing in his life. Aaron ached to believe such a thing as innocence still existed and that he himself was a normal man who was worthy of being loved by someone as pure as Sam. Hiring strangers to give him what he needed was much safer for his heart.
Aaron’s musings encouraged the veil of sorrow that continuously plagued him to hover near, so he pushed his dreary thoughts aside. “I’m quite glad to hear it, Sam.” Sam cast a furtive glance in his direction and Aaron waved him over. “Would you please fetch Mr. Liebowitz and I one of your world-class Gin Rickey’s?”
Sam’s eyes widened at the praise. “Gee, world-class? Thank you, Mr. Rubenstein. I’ll make it better than ever, I promise.”
Aaron winked at him and was delighted as Sam’s blush deepened. He tracked the young man as he rushed form the room to make their drinks. To do my bidding. Aaron sighed. I can’t seem to stop torturing myself, can I?
Saul cleared his throat. “Really, old sport. I can’t stand to see you like this. If paying him for his favors is out of the question, why not simply invite him for a night out at a speakeasy?”
Aaron pressed his lips together as he regarded his friend. “I must confess, I don’t see the difference. He’d only go with me to have the chance to get whatever he could, and I’d rather leave my fantasy of him being genuinely interested in me intact, thank you very much.”
The aggravated expression radiating back at him from Saul left no doubt how he felt about Aaron’s explanation, but he couldn’t give a hang. Saul didn’t understand, and he didn’t care to elaborate. So far, his relaxing afternoon had caused more stress rather than relieved it.
Saul shook his head. “Not sure I grasp your resistance to this sweet young thing, but, perhaps if you got to know him better when we’re here? Ask him about his life, allow him to know more about you.” Saul splashed the heated water over his shoulders. “The way I see it, if you form a pleasant bond with each other, things can progress without talk of payment or such.”
Aaron wouldn’t meet Saul’s eyes. He used the edge of one of the white towels Sam had left nearby to dab at the sweat beginning to rise on his cheeks. “I appreciate your concern, Saul. However, I’m doing just fine. I prefer to keep things the way they are, no need for any undue complications.” Aaron tossed the towel down again, not entirely successful at keeping his frustration out of the gesture. He gave Saul a tight smile. “That’s what the club is for, right? To give me the type of companionship I crave?”
Saul opened his mouth to speak, but paused when Sam padded in, holding two drinks aloft, biting his lower lip, his brow furrowed as he stared at the glasses in his hand. His concentration appeared to be directed at not spilling a drop of the gin.
Because he wants to please me.
Aaron scrubbed his face with his palm. Perhaps I shouldn’t come here anymore. I’m going to drive myself mad otherwise. As he gazed at the lithesome Sam, his small frame and wide, expressive eyes as they focused on doing a good job, Aaron knew better. As long as the possibility of seeing Sam remained, he’d be a steady patron of the Temple of Eros bathhouse. His heart clutched at the thought of Sam ever leaving. Perhaps with another man.
Aaron swallowed hard as Sam approached. He held out his hand for the drink. “Thank you, dear Sam.”
“You’re very welcome, sir.” Sam grinned. “I hope it’s world-class again.”
After taking a sip, Aaron smiled up at the one person whom he wished could be real for once. “More wonderful than ever, Sam. You’ve done an outstanding job.”
Sam’s grin brightened his features, gave him the appearance of an angel. Aaron didn’t doubt that the next time he abused himself, Sam’s expression would be what he would picture.
And I’ll believe he saves himself only for me.COLLAPSE