Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Ali Ryecart

Genre: Gay Holiday Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap, Christmas, Insta-love, NOT Daddy Kink, Opposites Attract, Romance

Length: 196 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon

This review has spoilers.

Blurb –

Take One Elf, Add an Older Man with Daddy Tendencies and Mix for the Perfect Christmas Romance

Dressing up as a sexy little elf for a themed Christmas party isn’t Eli Turner’s idea of a glittering career. It’s the rowdiest event Eli’s worked this season and when a drunken proposition goes too far, his refusal to play sets off a chain of events leaving him high and dry with only the cheap elf suit on his back.

The Christmas party wealthy banker Grey Gillespie doesn’t want to be at is sliding out of control. When trouble erupts Grey rushes to intervene, but not before the cute young guy dressed as an elf flees and disappears into the freezing cold night.

The last thing Grey expects as he makes his way home is to stumble across the little elf. Eli’s dire predicament awakens every one of Grey’s deep-seated needs: to comfort, to protect, to cherish and keep safe. Grey knows exactly what Eli yearns for — his little elf just needs some gentle persuasion to understand that everything he never knew he craved is everything Grey desperately wants to give him.

Daddy’s Christmas Elf is a sweet with heat Daddy-lite Christmas love story, oozing all the festive feels and fuzzies. Hurt/comfort, forced proximity, age gap, and two men drawn together to give the other exactly what he needs.

Review –

The first thing I’m going to say is that this is not a Daddy/boy story. At all.

Grey has Daddy tendencies and Eli definitely wants and needs someone to take care of him, but no Daddy/boy relationship ever came out of it, not even lite, as the author says in the blurb. Eli calls Grey Daddy one time, but it was done with sarcasm, not as part of their relationship. Honestly, I don’t know how it could even be billed as a Daddy/boy book in any way.

Eli just wants to get through the Christmas party from hell. A temporary employee for an events planning company, he’s stuck fighting off handsy guests, both male and female. That’s humilating enough, but he’s dressed in a tight elf costume that leaves nothing to the imagination. His boss is a witch and only cares about the party, not her staff. When one of the guests goes too far, Eli’s had enough and ends up dumping cream all over the jerk’s head. This, of course, sets off Eli’s boss, who blames him for what was done, not the party guest. The man should’ve been arrested for assault, but all the witch boss cares about is the party.

Not only is Eli fired, but when he goes to the locker room to change out of the costume, he discovers he’s been robbed.

With no change of clothes, no phone, and no cash, he has no other choice than to start walking. It’s freezing, but what can he do? His coat was even stolen. He’s walking by a fancy, unlocked Jaguar when he sees a coat in the backseat. He’d never in a million years want to take anything that doesn’t belong to him, but if he keeps walking toward his home he could easily freeze to death. He’s just opened the back door when the driver starts walking toward the car. There’s no taking off without being seen so he jumps into the car, makes himself into a ball in the floorboard, and covers himself with the coat.

Of course he’s caught.

Grey has had enough of the Christmas party hosted by his company. He’s getting ready to leave when sees one of his employees harassing one of the staff members of the event company he hired to put on the party. He tries to catch the man, but he bolts before he can. No, not just bolts, his witch boss even had security make sure he was gone from the building. After firing the jerk who put his hands (and other parts) on the ‘little elf’ he’s furious when he learns that the event planner had fired the guy – who Grey knows is the victim. Convinced there’s no finding the man now, Grey leaves, not expecting to find the ‘elf’ in the backseat of his car.

Grey is all about taking care of people, something that ended up costing him his marriage of fifteen years. Peter, the ex, couldn’t deal with Grey’s protective ways so he filed for divorce, with it being final just six months before. After some back and forth, Eli agrees to go to Grey’s place for the night. He’s locked out of his home – the same home he’ll be kicked out of in the coming weeks – and has nowhere else to go.

Grey’s all about taking care of people. Eli’s all about being taken care of.

That’s literally the extent of the Daddy/boy thing.

One night at Grey’s turns into more, and before either man realizes what’s happening, they’re both falling hard. Grey is feeling happy for the first time since Peter divorced him. Eli’s feeling safe, comfortable, for the first time probably ever. They fall into a nice domestic relationship over just a couple of days. Eli decorates Grey’s home for the holiday, something that Grey hadn’t really been up to doing. When they have sex the first time, it’s very sweet, very romantic. The reader is easily able to see how much they already care for each other.

Until Peter decides to make an appearance, because of course he did.

And this is why my rating is 3.5 stars instead of more.

Peter showing up wasn’t a surprise. It was kind of predictable, actually. What bugged me was how Grey handled the visit. No, not just how he handled the visit. It was also how he acted after Peter left. The reader knows Grey acting distant isn’t because he wants Peter back, but Eli doesn’t. Any other time I’d be saying, “Geez, already, you’re just running instead of having a conversation?” Not this time. Eli had every right, every reason, to take off. In those few minutes with Peter, and a few hours after, Grey didn’t give Eli any assurances whatsoever that he wanted him and not his ex-husband.

Of course, everything comes together and gets worked out and Grey and Eli go on to live happily ever after.

This is a true Cinderfella story. There’s the wealthy businessman who falls for the down on his luck man who’s practically homeless.

There’s a major age gap between Grey and Eli, though I don’t think the author gave Eli’s age. I know Grey is forty-three but I’m not sure about Eli. I’m guessing mid-twenties?

I did enjoy this. I just felt that the way Grey reacted to seeing Peter – he was WAY too happy to see him, and he was WAY too huggy and touchy with him – was a slap in Eli’s face. Eli was standing right there, but he was basically forgotten the instant Grey saw his ex. The relationship with Eli began way too soon after the divorce, only six months, a divorce that Grey never wanted. Honestly, the entire relationship came across as a rebound thing, not something that would last long-term.

The ending was sweet, and there’s an epilogue thrown in showing them six months later, so everything did eventually come together.