4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: First by K.C. Wells

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Title: First

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 296 Pages

At a Glance: In spite of some flaws, this was a gorgeously written love story.

Blurb: It’s taken Tommy Newsome a while to get his head around being gay. Growing up in a small town in Georgia, hasn’t prepared him for the more liberal life of a student at the university in Athens. Add to that the teachings of his parents and his church, and you have one shy young man who feels out of his depth. Working on his daddy’s farm hasn’t given him any chance of a social life, certainly not one like the clubs of Atlanta have on offer. Not that Tommy feels comfortable when he gets to sample it—Momma’s lectures still ring loudly inside his head.

All that changes when he goes to his first gay bar and sets eyes on Mike Scott.

When Mike’s not behind the bar at Woofs, he’s busy with his life as adult entertainer Scott Masters. Twenty years in the industry and the times, they are a-changing. Mike’s not had much luck in the relationship department, but as his mom is fond of telling him, you keep fishing in the same pond, you’re gonna reel in the same kind of fish. Maybe it’s time for a change.

And then a beautiful young man asks Mike to be his first….

Dividers

Review: Tommy was raised in an ultra-conservative farming community where “god-fearing” men and women did not discuss sex, nor did they deviate from the bible subscribed man/woman pairing or even allow impure thoughts to occupy space in their minds. Now, in college, all the worries Tommy has had over the last few years have come home to roost, and for the first time, he is fairly sure he may be gay. Added to that, his roommate is definitely bisexual and a bit of a slut to boot, and is constantly encouraging Tommy to pop his “cherry” and find someone to date.

In short time, Tommy begins to undo all the untruths and close-minded bigotry he has grown up with over the years, beginning with a trip to his very first gay bar. Once there, Tommy finds himself drawn to the older bartender who seems to be the very embodiment of someone Tommy could not only trust but might actually be the one man Tommy could give himself to sexually for the first time. Mike Scott is a weekend bartender at the gay sports bar that Tommy visits every weekend. While he has definitely spotted the handsome young man who sits at the end of the bar nursing his cherry coke, Mike also knows the kid is way too young for him. Besides that, once Tommy got wind of Mike’s real occupation, he would no doubt run far away…just like so many others had done in Mike’s life. However, Mike hasn’t pegged Tommy correctly—he is a determined, if awkward and painfully shy, young man. Tommy knows one thing with great certainty—he wants Mike to be his first and he won’t take no for an answer.

First is an incredibly beautiful coming-out story, featuring a tender first love trope and two gorgeously written leading men. I’m not sure how anyone could read this novel and not fall head over heals in love with both Mike and Tommy. Tommy’s shy and innocent demeanor was so well crafted that he made even the hardest of hearts melt in his wake, and no doubt readers with any maternal instincts will want to scoop this boy up and keep him safe from harm. Tommy’s journey to self-discovery and sexual awakening was one major story line in this long novel.  The way in which the author kept tightly to Tommy’s journey, making it both realistic and compelling to read, was sheer genius. Such depth and clarity was given to creating both men in this story—making it a real delight to read such well-formed and realistic characters despite how incredibly innocent and unschooled Tommy appeared to be during the bulk of the novel.

Mike Scott’s journey was the second major plot point to this story. Mike was an incredibly conflicted man. Wounded by past failed relationships and growing ever more weary in an industry that seemed to be steadily embracing more and more risky decisions regarding unprotected sex, Mike is at a real crossroad when young Tommy Newsome steps into his life. Every person who Mike had grown to care for outside the porn industry has left him. Either they could not accept his participating in sex with multiple partners, or they balked at the idea of being in a relationship with him after finally discovering he had no intentions of walking away from the job. Either way, Mike had no one to share his life with in a time when he was so desperate to have that kind of intimacy in his life. Not only did Tommy’s age give him pause, the idea that Tommy would run straight for the hills should he find out Mike’s real job was a constant worry for the handsome bartender.

I fear this review is not really doing justice to the subtlety of this author’s expertise at striking the careful balance she achieved when writing such an innocent character as Tommy. It takes a very deft and skilled hand to create such an innocent young man, who is on the cusp of both sexual and mental awakening. On the other hand, it also takes immense patience to not go the easy route and make an older, world traveled porn star into a stereotypically callous and sexually preoccupied character, but that was not the case in this novel. Tommy and Mike were depicted as real men grappling with honest emotions and fears, and who bravely struggle to live their lives on their terms. In short, I was awed by the realism that infused every page of this story.

For a good portion of First, we watch these two cautious men dance around each other, each giving up bits of themselves in a slow building pas de deux that is as mesmerizing as it is beautiful. The tenderness, the romance, the gradual sharing of confidences and the sweet tendrils of growing love between Tommy and Mike create such a delicate bond that is constantly overshadowed by Mike’s secret. It was the fear of that ax falling, that secret being revealed, that also lent a hand at making this a gripping tale.

Unfortunately, there were also two minor plot points that left me a bit confused and ultimately pulled me from this sweet romance, which temporarily left make me a bit uncomfortable with the trajectory the plot took as a result. The first was the idea of “cuddling up” to a porn buddy that was casually tossed into the storyline. Mike seemed to fully embrace this practice despite being in serious relationships both in the past and presently with Tommy. Since the storyline doesn’t put parameters around Mike’s “cuddling,” which I assumed was a euphemism for casual sex or comforting holding and kissing when the need got to be too great, I was led to believe by Mike’s inner musings that he did not consider this cheating. Even though while involved with Tommy Mike does resists actual sex with a former lover, he still kisses and holds the man in bed. Perhaps it’s my narrow view of relationships, but I felt that was crossing a big line from a hug and kiss on the cheek to comforting a friend. Plus, considering Mike was already lying to Tommy about his porn job, it felt doubly wrong and smacked of cheating. I felt Mike was fully aware of how much Tommy trusted him, therefore in any reading of this discussion on cuddling, I felt fairly certain Mike had crossed a line.

The second had to do with the ending—which, given Tommy’s difficult time with accepting Mike’s job and the fact that he lied to him, seemed way too easy a fix. Please don’t get me wrong, this was a gorgeously written love story and despite the age difference, I was fully on board with this partnering and with their genuine love for each other. I simply thought that the same amount of time spent in building this loving dynamic should have also been spent on the rebuilding of trust that needed to take place once Mike’s lying had been revealed. No other place in this novel did I feel that the author was trying to veil some form of ignorance on Tommy’s part as just virginal and relational naïveté. But the ending and Tommy’s quick capitulation after being blindsided by the discovery of Mike’s occupation was just a bit too out of character. Wisely, K.C. Wells created Tommy to be a pragmatic and thinking young man—this too rapid acceptance and reestablishment of a trusting relationship thrust all that into suspect for me.

However, nothing can negate the fact that K.C. Wells has risen to an all new level of storytelling with this latest offering. This author continues to hone her craft and plum depths of excellence in creating outstanding stories time and again.

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Island Tales Press, K.C. Wells, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Submitting to the Darkness by K.C. Wells

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Title: Submitting to the Darkness (Island Tales: Book Three)

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Island Tales Press

Pages/Word Count: 278 Pages

At a Glance: This is an emotional journey of learning to live with blindness, and how love can help you see the way.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Three weeks after being diagnosed with acute glaucoma, Adam Kent lost his vision. Two months down the line, and he’s left behind his life in London as an author of political history books and retreated to the Isle of Wight, to live in the house he inherited in Steephill Cove. But that’s not all Adam’s left behind him: the trappings of his life as a Dom are packed away into three boxes and stored in his attic. After all, he’s never going to need them again, right? Who’d want a blind Dom anyway?

Paul Vaughan is employed to be a live-in companion to Adam, but his new employer makes it very clear he wants to be left alone. Paul can see Adam is hurting and struggles to help him, even though Adam resists him at every turn. Thankfully, Paul’s friends Taylor, Mark and Sam are there to lend an ear when he needs to vent – and also to try setting him up with a guy or two. It’s not that Paul doesn’t appreciate their efforts, but the guys they keep sending his way are way too… vanilla. A chance visit to a club had already shown Paul a side to him he’d never expected: maybe his tastes are a little kinkier.
Two events occur to rock Paul’s life: he discovers his boss isn’t as straight as Paul had thought, and he takes a peek into a box…

Dividers

Review: Submitting to the Darkness is book three in the Island Tales Series, and I have to say I liked this one the best.

Adam is a highly successful businessman, entrepreneur and author.  At the age of forty, he is at the top of his game…until he is diagnosed with acute glaucoma and within three weeks, is blind. In his opinion, everything he loved to do: write, sail, be a Dom, things he needs his eyes for, are gone. Retreating to his house on the Isle of Wight, he lives in darkness and cannot find his way out. Adam’s character is beautifully drawn; you feel the depth of his pain. He has relegated himself to one room of the house, being too far into depression to venture further.

Paul is young. He’s twenty-three and a physical therapist but cannot find work in his field, so he applies for the job of caretaker and companion to a gentleman. And gets almost more than he can handle with Adam. But even though he is young, he has a backbone of steel and good heart, and he quickly learns he will need both with his new charge.

It’s not easy, K.C. Wells gives us our HEA—she just puts her characters through hell to get there—but that’s what makes it so good.  This is not a light, fluffy romance; it is a book with substance and a heavy subject matter which the author tackles beautifully.  The situations with Adam’s blindness are neither contrived nor drawn out, which make the book not so much about the situation the men are in but about the men themselves and how the circumstances bring them together to make a whole. There is a BDSM element in this book but it is secondary to the storyline, and it adds a bit of spice without being the focus. When these two men finally get together the sparks fly, and yeah, it gets hot…

I loved this book and would highly recommend it and all the Island Tales series.

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Damian’s Discipline by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

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Title: Damian’s Discipline (Collars and Cuffs: Book Five)

Author: K.C. Wells

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 14 Minutes

At a Glance: I recommend Damian’s Discipline to fans of M/M Romance who appreciate the D/S lifestyle.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: The man who pimped Jeff may be in prison, but Jeff is still living the nightmare, selling himself to men and relying on pills to manage. Then he meets Scott, a young American man who could easily have been where Jeff is now. Scott’s friends extend a helping hand to Jeff, and he grabs it.

Leo and Thomas bring Jeff to stay with Dom Damian Barnett until they can find him someplace more long-term. Still grieving from losing his sub to cancer two years before, Damian agrees to help. But when he glimpses the extent of the damage, Damian wants to do more than offer his guestroom. Jeff is not a submissive, but Damian can see he desperately needs structure in his life. It’s up to Damian to find an answer.

He never expects that what he discovers will change both their lives. 

Dividers

Review: Jeff is another boy who was abused and pimped out by Curtis Rogers. After Curtis’s arrest, Jeff ended up on the streets as a rent boy. When Leo and Thomas learn about Jeff, they get him to stay with Damian, a Dom who loves to nurture. Though Jeff isn’t particularly submissive and has a deep seeded mistrust for Doms, Damian is able to get Jeff to accept his protection. Damian also gives him the opportunity to make something more of himself. Despite Damian’s influence, Jeff struggles with an addiction to pills which he uses in order to cope with what happened to him. Their time together is not easy, but they end up developing an attraction for one another.

I really loved this book. Jeff has some serious trust issues, but he lets Damian take care of him and even gives up some control. Though the book is mostly outside the realm of BDSM when it comes to sex, it still was an amazing read. I liked that Damian was willing to give up his D/s lifestyle in order to be with Jeff, and it was especially nice that he wasn’t forced to do so. The ending of Damian’s Discipline was a pleasant surprise, with some guest appearances from other books coming together in an emotional finality of sorts.

I recommend Damian’s Discipline to fans of M/M Romance who appreciate the D/S lifestyle.

Narration: The audio performance of this book was excellent. I almost forgot that this was an audiobook since I wasn’t pulled away from the story even once.

As a side note, this book can be read as a standalone, but due to the multiple tie-ins from previous book in the series, I recommend reading books 1-4 prior to reading this one. Additionally, book 6 starts at the exact point where this one leaves off.

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Burn, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: A Dance with Domination by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Audio Gem

Title: A Dance with Domination (Collars and Cuffs: Book Four)

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Run Time: 7 Hours and 12 Minutes

At a Glance: I really enjoyed the audio performance on this book. Nick J. Russo is very talented when it comes to making a separate voice for each character.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Recently returned to the UK after living in the States since he was eleven, Andrew Barrett is determined to keep busy and make a new life for himself. He works full time as a copywriter and strips at a club on Canal Street on weekends. But it still leaves him too much time to think. Then he finds the BDSM club, Collars & Cuffs, where at twenty-nine, he is their youngest Dom. Young doesn’t mean inexperienced, however. All this activity keeps him focused with no time to dwell on the past. But the past has a way of intruding on the present.

It’s been four long years since Gareth Michaels last set foot inside Collars & Cuffs. But when he finally summons his courage and steps back into his former world, he finds the man who drove him away is still a member, and what’s more, he wants Gareth back. Two men in pain need the freedom they find in each other, but it takes another man’s horrific plans to make them see it.

Dividers

Review: A Dance with Domination is definitely one of my favorites in the Collars and Cuffs series. Andrew works as a stripper, but he’s also a Dom and he ends up joining the Collars & Cuffs BDSM club. Since he suffers from losing someone he loved, he distances himself, avoiding intimate contact with subs in order to guard against the possibility of becoming attached. Andrew befriends a fellow stripper, Gareth, and later discovers that Gareth is a former sub at Collars & Cuffs. When Andrew realizes Gareth wants him, they hit it off, but their union is short lived. Jealousy and misunderstandings tear them apart, but when others get involved, they are able to sit down and resolve their differences. In addition to coming together as a couple, they’re able to share scenes at the club.

Andrew’s character was the thing I loved the most about this book. Andrew was introduced to the BDSM world at a young age, so though he is young, he has a lot of experience. Unlike the older alpha type Doms at Collars and Cuffs, Andrew is coveted for his beauty, grace, and skill as a Dom. I loved seeing Andrew in his role as a stripper. It was so exciting to see a tough Dom doing a lap dance for alpha type customers. The role reversal was quite sexy. At one point Andrew has to be saved from a drunk man who holds him down and attempts to assault him.

Though I don’t think this book was as emotional as some of the previous books in this series, it was certainly hot, and I loved the happy ending. I recommend A Dance with Domination to anyone who loves erotic romance, BDSM, and kink.

Narration: I really enjoyed the audio performance on this book. Nick J. Russo is very talented when it comes to making a separate voice for each character. The only thing that threw me off was that I didn’t like the breathy voice the reader gives Leo. It wasn’t how I imagined Leo to sound. However, since Leo only played a small roll in this book, it didn’t make much difference.

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Make Me Soar by K.C. Wells

Title: Make Me Soar (Collars and Cuffs: Book Six)

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 290 Pages

At a Glance: Another solid addition to the Collars and Cuffs family.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Anyone who frequents Collars & Cuffs knows Dorian Forrester is built for pain, including Dorian himself. But everyone has it wrong. For six years, Dorian’s chased a feeling that remains tantalizingly out of his reach. Unteachable, Dorian can take anything and everything a Dom can throw at him. Still, it’s not enough. Dorian needs… something more. Something he won’t find at Collars & Cuffs.

Dorian’s search takes him out of the safe environment he’s known for years, out of his depth, and into a realm of deep, dark trouble.

Alan Marchant has been watching Dorian with interest for a while and knows there’s more to Dorian than his label of “pain slut” suggests. When Dorian disappears, Alan and his friend Leo set out to find him. But the disoriented young man discovered cowering in a hotel room is not the Dorian they know and love. That Dorian is shattered. It’s up to Alan to pick up the pieces and show Dorian there are better ways to fly.

They may be off on a new journey together, but their destination will rock them both to the core.

Dividers

Review: Make Me Soar is a loving story of two men who need each other – in different ways – but no less desperately for the difference.

Dorian is lost. He has been a member of the popular Manchester BDSM club Collars and Cuffs for almost six years. Eternally searching for the elusive subspace through pain, he has never flown and has garnered a reputation of being a brat and pain slut. Dorian is a severely self-contained person, courtesy of his upbringing, and is convinced that the problem is his own and that he has gone as far as he can go into his submission at the club. This need to push his boundaries takes him to a radical club in Germany where he is abused and discarded.

Alan is a successful writer and confident Dom. When Dorian is discovered missing, he flies to Germany, finds Dorian and takes ahold of the boy who has captivated him for months – literally… “Dorian lashed out with his fists, laying into Alan, but the Dom pulled him onto his lap and held him even tighter, until Dorian thought his ribs would crack. “I have you.” The words rang in Dorian’s ears, repeated and repeated until at last they began to sink in.” Alan is a sensual Dom, with a firm belief that he can make a sub fly higher with sensual play than pain, and he sets out on a path to prove to Dorian that he can make him fly. He takes a broken, self-contained man and teaches him to love, and along the way, Dorian helps Alan to heal and make peace with ghosts from his past. “Thank you for the precious gift you’ve given me – your love, which has set me free to fly for the first time in my life. I don’t have the words to express what’s in my heart, but it is your heart, Sir, my gift to you.” He breathed deeply. “You have it all, my submission, my body, my heart, my soul.”

Seriously, could you read that and not love it? All of the Collars and Cuffs books are excellent, and this one is no exception. You do not have to read them in order, though it helps, as the characters overlap, but each story can stand on its own. Buy it. Read it. You will love it.

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4 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Parker Williams, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Someone to Keep Me by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Title: Someone to Keep Me (Collars and Cuffs: Book Three)

Authors: K.C. Wells and Parker Williams

Narrator:: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 44 Minutes

At a Glance: This story drew me in because of the travel and adventure aspect of it, and I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Eighteen-year-old Scott Keating knows a whole world exists beyond his parents’ strict control, but until he gains access to the World Wide Web, he really has no idea what’s out there. In a chat room, Scott meets “JeffUK.” Jeff loves and understands him, and when he offers to bring Scott to the UK, Scott seizes his chance to escape his humdrum life and see the world. But when his plane touches down and Jeff isn’t there, panic sets in.

Collars & Cuffs favorite barman and Dom-in-training, Ben Winters, drops his sister off at the airport and finds a lost, anxious Scott. Hearing Scott’s story sets off alarm bells, along with his protective instincts. Taking pity on the naïve boy, Ben offers him a place to crash and invites him to Collars & Cuffs, hoping his bosses will know how to help. Scott dreams of belonging to someone, heart and soul. Ben longs for a sub of his own. And neither man sees what’s right under his nose.

Dividers

Review: Someone to Keep Me is a sweet, romantic, and sexy love story between a young guy and an older man in a BDSM relationship. The story starts out with a high school graduate, Scott, who meets a guy online who lives in England. When the guy buys him a plane ticket, Scott decides to get on the plane and see what happens. However, Scott arrives to find no one waiting for him. He is alone in a foreign country, with no money, phone, or credit cards. He thinks he’s in trouble but receives an offer of assistance from older man named Ben, who works at the Collars and Cuffs BDSM club. Scott does not want to return to his homophobic parents in the States, so the guys at the BDSM club want to help him out. Despite Ben’s financial restraints, he agrees to let Scott stay in his home. Scott decides he wants to be trained as a submissive, and when Ben becomes his trainer, their relationship develops into something more.

This story drew me in because of the travel and adventure aspect of it. There is something very exciting about getting on an airplane and seeing where it takes you. In Scott’s case, he put himself in a dangerous situation and was lucky that someone kind like Ben found him. Compared to book two in this series, this book went into the BDSM and sexual aspect a lot sooner. Scott is a virgin but is curious, eager to learn, and anxious to have his first sexual experience. Although this book is primarily a romance, the scene where Scott loses his virginity made the book well worth reading. I had trouble connecting with the romance due to Ben’s preoccupation with money and how this affects his relationship with Scott. Scott’s desire for Ben is very passionate and moving, but Ben’s practicality made me feel like the romance was one sided. Overall, the book was enjoyable and very sexy.

Audio Review: I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book. Each character had a different voice, which made scenes with multiple characters easier to follow. The accents used were believable and did not distract from the reading in any way.

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4 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Trusting Thomas by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Title: Trusting Thomas

Author: K.C. Wells

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 9 Hours and 58 Minutes

At a Glance: I was initially irritated by the dialect switching, especially when British words were read in an American accent, but by the end, Trusting Thomas was very moving and made me cry.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Christmas is a time for goodwill to all, but Collars and Cuffs co-owner Thomas Williams receives an unexpected gift that chills him to the bone. A Dom from another Manchester club asks Thomas for his help rescuing an abused submissive, Peter Nicholson. Thomas takes in the young man as a favor to a friend, offering space and time to heal, but he makes it clear he’s never had a sub and doesn’t want one.

Peter finds Thomas’s home calm and peaceful, but his past has left him unwilling to trust another Dom. When Thomas doesn’t behave as Peter expects, Peter’s nightmares begin to fade, and he decides he’d like to learn more about D/s life. A well-known trainer of submissives, Thomas begins to teach Peter, but as the new submissive opens up to him, Thomas finds he cares more for Peter than he should. Just as he decides it’s time to find a permanent Dom for Peter, they discover Peter’s tormentor is still very much a threat. With their lives in danger, Thomas can’t deny his feelings for Peter any longer. The question now becomes, can Peter make it out of the lions’ den alive, so that Thomas can tell his boy that he loves him?

Dividers

Review: Trusting Thomas is a sweet romance between a younger guy and an older gentleman, set in England. Although the backdrop for the story is a BDSM club, there is not much in the way of BDSM in the book. The story focuses more on healing from abuse and finding love when love seems impossible.

Peter, a twenty-six year old submissive with an abusive Dom, is rescued from his abusive master and taken to Thomas, who is the owner of a BDSM club. Thomas agrees to look after the boy and later, agrees to train him as a submissive. Since Peter has been abused so badly, his training begins with menial tasks and progresses slowly in order to give him time to heal from the psychological trauma inflicted on him by his previous master. Though Thomas is just his trainer, both grow to have feelings for one another. Due to the thirty year gap in their ages, Thomas denies his feelings for the boy, and by the time he realizes he’s in love, Peter’s past comes back to haunt them.

Although this book was not what I expected, I strongly recommend it to those who love sweet romances with a happily ever after and a little bit of kink sprinkled in. There was not a lot of sex, but some pretty hot scenes with sex toys and romantic love making. I was at first uncomfortable with sex between such a young guy and an older man, but this was because Peter was so broken and submissive due to being the victim of violent rape and abuse, that it made him seemed much younger than he was. However, by the end of the story, I really thought Peter needed a loving, caring father-figure like Thomas who would never dare hurt him. The romance element builds slowly and starts to appear half way through the book, but by the end, it was very moving and made me cry.

Audio Review: The reader for this audiobook, Nick J. Russo, is very talented; however, he read the book using American English for the narration and British English for dialogue. I was initially irritated by the dialect switching, especially when British words were read in an American accent. I would have preferred to listen to the entire book in a British accent since the book was written in British English. After completing thirty percent of the book, though, I was able to listen without being drawn away from the story by the dialect switching.

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3.5 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: An Unlocked Heart by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Title: An Unlocked Heart

Author: K.C. Wells

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 10 Hours, 4 Minutes

At a Glance: Overall, I liked the story and where Wells took Leo and Alex, but the narration didn’t work for me.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Since the death of his submissive lover two years ago, Leo hasn’t been living—merely existing. He focuses on making Collars & Cuffs, a BDSM club in Manchester’s gay village, successful. That changes the night he and his business partner have their weekly meeting at Severinos. Leo can’t keep his eyes off the new server. The shy man seems determined to avoid Leo’s gaze, but that’s like a red rag to a bull. Leo loves a challenge.

Alex Daniels works at Severinos to scrape together the money to move out on his own. He struggles with coming out, but he’s drawn to Leo, the gorgeous guy with the icy-blue eyes who’s been eating in his area nearly every night.

Leo won’t let Alex’s hesitance get in the way. He even keeps him away from the club so as not to scare him. And as for telling Alex that Leo is a Dom? Not a good idea. One date becomes two, but date two leads to Leo’s bedroom… and Alex discovers things about himself he never realized—and never wanted anyone to see.

Dividers

Review: I adore BDSM and was so excited to listen to K.C. Wells’ story, as I like her writing. I really loved the supporting cast that she builds in this story; they add a fun and light dynamic to this story, which counterbalances its more serious aspects. Sev was a great character, and I adored that she included a supporting love story for Pietro. Alex finds his confidence and social skills improving through his growing relationship with Leo as he navigates his first ever relationship.

Add a little D/s to it and you get a well balanced plot. I did feel that some of the conflict in this story was overdone, but overall, I liked the story and where Wells took Leo and Alex.

Narration: Nick J. Russo is the narrator for this book. I have listened to him several other times and LOVE HIM. He narrated Bolt Hole and Racing the Sun by Amy Lane, and I adore his southern cadence. Unfortunately, however, I felt he was the absolute wrong choice for this narration. I am saddened by this as I really like K.C. Wells’ writing, and for the most part liked An Unlocked Heart. It was at times hard to focus on this story, as I couldn’t separate Nick’s southern accent from the dialect of the writing, which was notably British. I know it shouldn’t have mattered, but I kept expecting a British voice and got Nick Russo’s. It pulled me out of the story so many times…it really did ruin this book for me. I think I actually want to go back and read the e-book to see how I react to the written story.

TNA_Signature_Amy






You can buy An Unlocked Heart here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, K.C. Wells

Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Bond of Three by K.C. Wells

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The Novel Approach welcomes author K.C. Wells on her A Bond of Three blog tour. She’s also giving one lucky reader the chance to win a $15 Gift Card, so be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

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Two Questions for K.C.:

Q.: Do you have any tattoos? If so, what are they?

A.: I have two. There’s a rose on my lower back, and a design with roses and ivy across my upper back – I drew it

Q.: What has been the biggest surprise to your life after being published?

A.: I still get a thrill when I hold a book with my name on it. Oh, and meeting people who seem excited to meet ME!

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BondofThree[A]Blurb: In the kingdom of Teruna, the red-cloaked Seruani teach the Terunans the art of love. Taken from their homes at seventeen to be trained, they are shunned as outcasts by society and considered the lowest of the low. So when Prince Tanish falls in love with the SeruanFeyar, the man who took his virginity and the only one to share his bed, he is not about to declare that love. No one can ever know, because the consequences would be too painful to consider for both of them.

When the king of Vancor visits Teruna, he promises that his son, Prince Sorran, will marry Prince Tanish to solidify the alliance between the two kingdoms, with the proviso that the virginal Sorran is instructed in the art of pleasing his husband-to-be. When Tanish’s father chooses Feyar to be this instructor, the lovers decide Prince Sorran must be taught that this is to be a marriage in name only….

A resentful prince, unwilling to share his lover.

A resentful Seruan, unwilling to share his prince.

And the shy prince whose very nature sparks changes in the lives of all those around them.

Teruna is about to change forever.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks

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Author BioAbout the Author: Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C.Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way.

K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings – writing about men in love was even hotter…

K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career.

The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email

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THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Brought to you by Pride Promotions

Brought to you by Pride Promotions

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Molly Lolly,BFD Book Blog, Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, Amanda C. Stone, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Carly’s Book Reviews, Love Bytes, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Kristy’s Brain Food, Sinfully Sexy, My Fiction Nook, Elin Gregory, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, The Novel Approach, MM Good Book Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon, Velvet Panic, 3 Chicks After Dark, Christy Loves 2 Read, Nephylim, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Kimi-Chan, Foxylutely Book Reviews

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone! I hope you all are well and have been buying, reading, and loving all the books. We have a great week coming up, so without further ado, here’s what we have in store for you to enjoy.

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Monday – Kicking off the week, we have Jeff Adams here for a visit and a giveaway of his new book Hat Trick: Overtime

We’ll also have K.C. Wells with us on her A Bond of Three blog tour, with a giveaway

Tuesday – Author J.A. Rock is here today on her Take the Long Way Home blog tour

Brita Addams is also joining us to talk about promotion and to tell us what’s on the horizon for her in 2015

WednesdayDraven St. James is our guest today on the Wolf’s Sacrifice blog tour, with a giveaway

Thursday – Joining us today is author Mercy Celeste, with an exclusive interview and cover reveal

Friday – Authors Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae join us today on their Doves blog tour

And we also have J.A. Jaken joining us today on The Last Door blog tour

Saturday – Wrapping up our week we have Meredith Russell joining us on the Just Jack blog tour

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And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

 

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Reviewed by Taz, Self-Published

Review: Confetti, Cake & Confessions by K.C. Wells

Title: Confetti, Cake & Confessions

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 183 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Tony Porter and Marc Powell had lived in the same house for the past eight years, since their single parents moved in together. When Tony’s mother Marie and Marc’s father Dennis decide to tie the knot at last, it should be an occasion of great joy for everyone. Except all Marc can think about is having to spend the next two weeks with the young man he’s been in love with since he was sixteen. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells, Reviewed by Tina

The Steps To Love Begin With “A Dance with Domination” – by K.C. Wells


“Men play harder than women, they play more intensely, they can take more, and they don’t require long periods of coddling afterwards.”—K.C. Wells


Title: A Dance with Domination (Collars and Cuffs: Book Four)

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Recently returned to the UK after living in the States since he was eleven, Andrew Barrett is determined to keep busy and make a new life for himself. He works full time as a copywriter and strips at a club on Canal Street on weekends. But it still leaves him too much time to think. Then he finds the BDSM club, Collars & Cuffs, where at twenty-nine, he is their youngest Dom. Young doesn’t mean inexperienced, however. All this activity keeps him focused with no time to dwell on the past. But the past has a way of intruding on the present.
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Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells

KC Wells Joins Us Today For “A Dance With Domination”


TNA: Thanks very much for joining us today, KC. Let’s chat a little bit about the new book. Did you do a good bit of research on D/s relationships before you began writing about them? If so, where did that research lead you? What are some things you’ve discovered that surprised you?

KC: Before I began writing the very first book in the series, An Unlocked Heart, I had a series of in depth conversations with a submissive, who became Alex. His input was invaluable, and I am grateful to Daniel Kaine for all the late night conversations where he talked and I took copious notes!
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A.J. Corza, Abigail Roux, Angel Martinez, Brad Vance, Cover Reveal, Daisy Harris, David Pratt, GayRomLit, GotYouCovrd, J.G. Morgan, J.P. Barnaby, John Goode, K.C. Wells, Liam Livings, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week. In case you missed it, we’ve added another member to the TNA review team, and couldn’t be happier to have Jordan joining our group.

We’ve got another fun-filled week in store for you, more GRL countdown celebrating, more blog tours to host, and more goodies to giveaway, so have a look at what’s coming up in the week ahead.

MondayK.C. Wells kicks off the week on her Dance With Domination Blog Tour and giveaway

TuesdayDaisy Harris is our guest today, and she’s going to do a little Countdown to GRL celebrating with a cheerful look at pantsing, and she’ll also be offering some giveaway goodies

Wednesday – We’ll kick the day off with JP Barnaby and the cover reveal for her upcoming book A Heart for Robbie

Liam Livings also stops in today on his Best Friends Perfect Blog Tour

Abigail Roux offers a deleted scene for her latest Sidewinder novel Cross & Crown

And finally, AJ Corza has today covered with another cover review

ThursdayAngel Martinez is our guest today on the Finn: Endangered Fae Blog Tour

FridayBrad Vance is our guest on the Apollo’s Curse Blog Tour

SaturdayDavid Pratt is our guest on the Looking After Joey Blog Tour

SundayJohn Goode and J.G. Morgan are here to round out the week with an interview about the upcoming third novel in the Arcadia series, The Unseen Tempest

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells, Reviewed by Tina

K.C. Wells Has Something To Teach In “Love Lessons Learned” – Reviewed by Tina


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi


Title: Love Lessons Learned

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 286 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: John Wainwright is having a momentous day. To start off, he lands his first teaching job. Then his brother, Evan, and Evan’s husband, Daniel, take him out to celebrate in Manchester’s gay village. An encounter with a sexy man forces John to admit what he’s been denying for too long—he’s gay. His coming out proves he’s supported and loved by his family and roommates. What more could a man want? There’s just one small problem: John’s dishy Head Teacher, Brett Sanderson, and John’s gigantic crush on him. Too bad Brett is straight.
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Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells

K.C. Wells’ “Love Lessons Learned” Tour Stops Here With A Rafflecopter Giveaway



TNA: Hi, KC, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself, hobbies, interests, things we might not know about you but should?

K.C.: Hahaha – hobbies? Well, I used to paint portraits until the EDJ kicked that into touch. Then the writing came along. Yep, you’ve guessed it – no more painting.

I love reading, watching movies, and I also play the clarinet.
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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, A.J. Corza, Bey Deckard, Chase Potter, Devon McCormack, HAHAT Blog Tour, Hunter Frost, JP Kenwood, K.C. Wells, Max Vos

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, and welcome back! We’ve got more great guests and interviews coming up, and we’re also playing host, for our third consecutive year, to the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. If you’ve never followed along on this tour before, make sure to check out the list of all the participating authors/bloggers/publishers. It’s an informative and uplifting experience. Add to that some more giveaways and reviews, and it’s shaping up to be a great time.

Here’s the complete rundown on what we’ve got on tap for the week ahead.

MondayJP Kenwood kicks off the week with her historical novel Dominus, as well as an interview and giveaway

TuesdayKC Wells is our guest today on the Love Lessons Learned Blog Tour. She sat down to answer a few questions for us, so make sure to stay tuned for that, as well as a tour-wide giveaway

WednesdayMax Vos stops in on his V Unit Blog Tour, and there’ll also be a tour-wide giveaway for you

A.J. Corza’s back today with another installment of Got You Covered

ThursdayDevon McCormack is dropping by to do give us the lowdown on his book Clipped, and he’s offering a giveaway

FridayChase Potter is our guest on the blog tour for his new book The Race for Second, and there’s a giveaway

SaturdayThe Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia kicks off with a special guest post from my friend B. Addler, who talks about something that’s not in the tour title but is no less prevalent, Biphobia

Hunter Frost is also with us today to talk about her story in Torquere Press’ upcoming Men in Uniform anthology, and she’ll also be offering a giveaway

SundayBey Deckard is our guest today with an interview that makes me want to hoist the Jolly Roger and parlay on the poop deck! I dunno… it sounded good. Bey’s also offering a giveaway of his book Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas, so stay tuned

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Island Tales Press, K.C. Wells, Reviewed by Jackie

K.C. Wells Lets You In On Some “Personal Secrets” To Love – Reviewed by Jackie


“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself-and especially to feel, or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at any moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.” ― Jim Morrison


Title: Personal Secrets (Personal #3)

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Island Tales Press

Pages/Word Count: 285 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Blake Davis and husband Will are delighted when Ed Fellows turns up at the hospital the night their daughter is born—even if he is covered in mud from playing rugby and drunk out of his skull. Team-mate Colin is the Good Samaritan who drives him there, and when Colin takes Ed home, Colin finds himself on the receiving end of a blow-job. He has no problem with that whatsoever. He’s been in lust with Ed since Ed joined the rugby team some fourteen months ago. Only thing is, Colin’s assumed up ’til now that Ed is straight. Except the man sucking him off certainly didn’t seem straight….
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Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells, Parker Williams

Sometimes All A Boy Can Ask Is For “Someone to Keep Me”


“It’s a bizarre but wonderful feeling, to arrive dead center of a target you didn’t even know you were aiming for.” ― Lois McMaster Bujold


Title: Someone to Keep Me

Author: K.C. Wells & Parker Williams

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 246 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Eighteen-year-old Scott Keating knows a whole world exists beyond his parents’ strict control, but until he gains access to the World Wide Web, he really has no idea what’s out there. In a chat room, Scott meets “JeffUK.” Jeff loves and understands him, and when he offers to bring Scott to the UK, Scott seizes his chance to escape his humdrum life and see the world. But when his plane touches down and Jeff isn’t there, panic sets in.
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Island Tales Press, K.C. Wells

Finding Love And Making Choices Mean “Personal Changes”


“Hindsight is always easier than the dreadful moment of decision.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich


Title: Personal Changes

Author: KC Wells

Publisher: Island Tales Press

Pages/Word Count: 227 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Rick Wentworth has had enough of one night stands and quickies in clubs. It takes a night of uncharacteristic hedonism to make Rick admit what he really wants – someone to love him. But for that to happen, he needs to make some changes. Rick can do that. After all, what’s the alternative? And when he meets a guy who ticks all his boxes, he can’t believe his luck. His boss Blake Davis, and Blake’s fiancé Will Parkinson, however, aren’t convinced. They want to know more about Mr. Perfect, and their instincts are keener than Rick’s. Both men want to protect him. As it turns out, they needn’t have worried. Rick has a guardian angel…
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Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells

“Trusting Thomas” Is A Journey To Healing



“It’s not the wound that teaches, but the healing.” ― Marty Rubin


What happens when a young, curious, inexperienced man goes to a BDSM club to find out what the scene is all about? Well, there are a few things that could happen. This young man could find a well versed Dom that could train him correctly in the BDSM world, he could realize the whole scene just isn’t for him or he could come into contact with his worst nightmare. It seems the last option is what happened to Peter Nicholson and this chance encounter changes his life for the next few years, and not for the better.
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Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells

Unlocking The Secrets To Author K.C. Wells… And There’s A Giveaway!

Hi, K.C., thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out with you telling us a little bit about yourself?

Was there someone who inspired and encouraged you to begin writing creatively?

I’d always written from an early age. My dad always encouraged me, because he was of a literary bent too. Of course, life gets in the way and I pushed aside any thoughts of writing. But once I got going with the writing last year, my dad and stepmum were absolutely wonderful. They were so supportive, particularly during the past four months when life got a little more interesting. Dad says he is suffering from Very Proud Father syndrome…lol

Why did you start writing M/M romance?

I came across a M/M scene in a M/M/F ménage storyline, and really liked it. So much so, that I started looking for more such stories. Eventually I took the plunge and bought Bareback by Chris Owen… wow. That was it – I was hooked. But then of course, the idea for a story began niggling at me. Four months after starting to read M/M romances, I finally sat down at my laptop and began to write Learning to Love: Michael & Sean. I had no idea what I’d just started…

What drew you to the BDSM aspect of M/M?

The first books I ever read about BDSM were the Hammer series by Sean Michael. I loved Found. And then I discovered SE Jakes, then Heidi Cullinan. I loved the dynamics of the D/s relationship. It’s true to say I’m not into heavy BDSM – I prefer looking at how two people can fit together and meet each other’s needs. When the idea for An Unlocked Heart first came to me, I approached a friend who describes himself as a total submissive. He helped me a great deal, particularly when it came to getting inside Alex’s head. I’d originally planned the Collars & Cuffs series to be three books in length – er…that might have changed.

You recently worked with a co-author who lives in the States. How did it work? I hear he is particularly difficult to work with (tee hee).

HAHAHAHAHA…. I suggested (casually) that if Will Parkinson ever considered co-authoring a book, to count me in. A couple of weeks later, he messaged that actually, he had an idea… When I told a friend that I was going to do this, well, let’s just say his reaction was extremely negative. Luckily, I didn’t listen to him.

Working with Will was fantastic. We planned the whole story out first, ironing out any plot holes, making sure it all made sense. Will had already written the Prologue and we just took it from there. We each wrote chapters, bits of chapters… Our friends assume that Will wrote the part of Scott (American) and I wrote Ben (British) but to be honest, it didn’t work out that way. We both wrote for both characters, and then we checked each other’s stuff. (Will says he had to correct my English – yeah, let’s not go there, Will )

It was sooooo much fun. Our writing styles just…meshed. Lots of fun Skype conversations, usually when Will got home from work, so gone midnight for him and about 5-7am for me – yeah, early bird here. And it left us wanting to do more.

I understand that An Unlocked Heart is the first in the “Collars and Cuffs” series. Any idea how many we can expect?

As I wrote earlier, it had been intended originally to be a series of three. The second in the series, Trusting Thomas, is due for release in October / November. I then had the idea for a story involving Dorian. But then the whole Will thing happened and Someone to Keep Me became part of the Collars & Cuffs world. And during the writing of Thomas, I suddenly found myself wanting to write about a very interesting character, Darren. And now? Will and I have plans for two more…

What is the perfect writing atmosphere for you?

Somewhere with no Internet! (Yeah, okay, I get distracted, I admit it)

I live on the Isle of Wight – and just like it says on the tin, it’s an island – and to the south is a wonderful little bay, Steephill Cove. I go down there when I want to concentrate. No phone signal, no Internet, just the sound of the waves…heaven. Plus tea whenever I want it, and great food, too. They’re used to seeing me down there now. Most of book #3 in the L2L series was written there.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Plotter, mostly. I like to know where I’m going. But sometimes things take a different direction. I love that. Especially when a character starts telling me that no, he doesn’t want to do that, he wants to do this…. And then I go with the flow.

How much input do you have in the design of your book covers?

The first three books, I told Paul Richmond at Dreamspinner that the house had to be there. But for this one, I fell in love with the wonderful photos of real life couple Nate and Zach, from photographer Terry Cyr’s Naked Man Project. And I want to use them again for further books in the series. Paul loves the idea.

Dreamspinner are good in that they ask you for a lot of info to help them put together the perfect cover. And isn’t this one beautiful? Sigh….

Have you ever seen a particularly sexy photograph and knew you had to write a book based on that picture? If so, which book(s)?

That hasn’t happened to me yet. But I don’t rule it out. I get my inspiration in so many different places.

Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite? If so, who and why?

Oh, now you’re asking…. I always had a soft spot for Evan, right from the start. That boy is just adorable. Sexy, flirtatious and wicked at times.

I loved all six boys from to L2L series. I wanted to create a world where they could be close to each other, supportive, loving… To then be told by some readers that this was unlikely in the real world… Sigh. This is fiction, and it’s my little world. And I wouldn’t change them.

Lately, though, I created Blake Davis and Will Parkinson in the story Making it Personal, and I absolutely loved them from the start. These weren’t boys, these were definitely Men, and I loved how they were together.

As an author, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

To let someone look at what you’re writing. My dad would disagree, but it’s been so important to me to get feedback as I’m going along. There are a few really close friends who get to read my stuff as I’m going along, and their advice is really important to me. Will is my barometer. I trust his reactions implicitly, and he hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

What 3 pearls of wisdom would you offer to an author just starting out?

Carry a notebook – you never know when inspiration will strike, and that wonderful idea that came to you on the bus going to work this morning? You will forget it…

Get a second (third / fourth) pair of eyes to check your writing. Both for errors and plot holes.
Learn from your mistakes. I know my writing has changed a lot since February 2012, and for the better. I would also invest in some software like SmartEdit – it’s great for spotting early on if you’re overusing some words.

How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?

I laugh real easily. I love Mel Brooks’s films, particularly Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. I think I need more humor in my stories, though.

Do you have a favorite literary character? If so, who and why?

Actually, I don’t think I do!

If you could sit down to dinner with one person, past or present, who would it be and what’s the one question you’d love to ask?

Wow… you’ve stumped me. Might have to think about that one.

Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs?

I started on a series of novellas entitled Island Tales, all set on the Isle of Wight. The first, Waiting for a Prince, should be out next month. The current WIP is September’s Tide, and I’m about 16K into it. That one is based around Steephill Cove. There are at least three or four more in the pipeline.

Then there’s the next Will / KC collaboration…. We’re still at the planning stage, although Will has already written a few scenes. I’m on catch-up. LOL.

Where can readers find you on the internet?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KCWellsWorld
Website: kcwellsworld.com
Twitter: @IslandTalesPres

Would you like share an excerpt from An Unlocked Heart with us?

Alex knocked on the door to Sev’s office on the first floor and then walked in—and stopped dead in his tracks. Sev wasn’t there, but Leo was, seated in Sev’s big leather-padded chair. Alex’s face must have betrayed his shock.

Leo stood up and came around to his side of the desk. “Good evening, Alex.” He leaned back against Sev’s desk, his eyes on Alex’s face.

Alex’s brain couldn’t compute what Leo was doing in Sev’s office. What the…?

Leo smiled. “Your boss let me use his office for a moment. I didn’t want to do this downstairs in the restaurant or with any of your colleagues around.”

Do what? Alex’s brain was making frantic leaps, trying to connect the dots. He waited for Leo to speak, to give him more information. Leo’s brain was clearly having issues of its own. The tall, confident man appeared nervous.

“Alex, I… I’d like to take you out to dinner tomorrow night.”

Oh. Fuck. Leo was asking him on a date. Alex’s body switched to its default setting: he froze.

He wanted to say yes. He was dying to say yes. But as a cold wave of fear rolled through him, Alex realized it wasn’t that easy. He’d never been on a date in his life. And as for dating a man…. Alex didn’t have a fucking clue what to expect. What seemed like a million thoughts raced through his brain. Leo was older than him, had more experience than him…. What if Alex disappointed him? Leo might have an inkling Alex was inexperienced, but he’d probably assume that Alex wasn’t still a virgin.

He couldn’t do it. Couldn’t.

“I… I’m sorry, Leo, but… I’m working tomorrow night.” The lie rolled easily off his tongue. Suddenly, he was aware of those eyes on him, coolly appraising him.

“No you’re not. I checked.” There was the merest hint of amusement in that rich, deep voice. Alex’s heart stuttered. Damn Sev. Leo’s next words confirmed his worst suspicions. “Sev was very helpful. In fact, he gave me your work schedule for the next month.”

So many emotions vied for pole position in Alex’s head right now. Outrage that Sev had done this without mentioning it. Astonishment Leo had even thought of doing it. And one more: shock. Leo wanted to know his days off for the next month? This was obviously not going to be a one-off.

“Are you going to make me wait for your answer? Do you need time to think about it?”

Alex heard the faintest nuance of anxiety in Leo’s voice. His would-be date wasn’t as confident as he appeared, it seemed.

“I… I have to help out at home,” Alex said, although he was cursing himself even as the words slipped out. Christ, Leo must think he was a real loser.

Leo moved closer to him, and all of a sudden, Alex was aware of the heat from his body. It made his head swim. He was unable to keep in the small intake of breath as Leo took Alex’s hand in his. Alex’s immediate reaction was to jerk away, but that would’ve been incomparably rude. He decided to bear it, just a little while longer. But he couldn’t make the decision to say yes. No fucking way. That was a step just beyond his reach.

Leo’s head tilted down toward him, and Alex could feel his warm breath on his face. “Say yes, Alex. It’s just dinner.” The words were whispered, intimate.

Alex was in agony. Oh, he so wanted to tell him, “Fuck yes!” But he couldn’t bring himself to get the words out. Why was he so crap at making decisions? It… was… just… dinner.

Leo’s next words sent a torrent of calm surging through him. “I’ll pick you up outside the restaurant, tomorrow night, 7:00 p.m.”

It was clear it wasn’t a request. Leo had decided. End of story. But oh, the fucking relief that he’d taken that decision away from him. Alex took a calming breath, and Leo’s reaction showed Alex he’d noticed. Who was he kidding? Alex was beginning to think the man noticed everything.

“What… what do I need to wear?” Alex stammered. Important to know these things.

“Casual will be fine, Alex.”

Leo also seemed to be breathing more easily, and for a brief second, Alex pondered on what he’d learned from Vittorio. Had Leo even dated since Gabe’s death? Could that be the reason for his nerves?

Finally, Leo released Alex’s hand, albeit seemingly reluctantly, and Alex relaxed a little. “Until tomorrow night, then.”

Alex’s eyes fluttered upward to take in Leo’s expression. The man was smiling. Alex lowered his gaze, keeping his features straight, but inside he was a writhing mass of nerves. He was going on a date… with Leo Hart.

Alex was suddenly conscious of Leo’s amused grin, as if the man was able to see his thoughts. Christ, he hoped not.

Leo stepped toward the door of the office. “Good night, Alex.”

“Good night… Leo.” And then Leo was gone, and Alex was trying to get his head around what had just happened. He still didn’t have a clue what the following night would bring, and to be honest, he just wanted to get home to the sanctuary of his room where he could think about it clearly. What was he going to wear? Where would Leo take him? And more importantly, what did he tell his parents?

He gave a snort. That one was easy. Fuck all.

Thanks so much for being here with us today, K.C. Come back and visit with us again soon.

Now, let’s get on to this contest business. How about a little “Winner’s Choice” to make things fun? K.C. Wells is offering one lucky winner the choice of an ebook from her bookshelf, including An Unlocked Heart! Also included are the titles Making it Personal; Learning to Love: Michael and Sean; Learning to Love: Evan and Daniel; or Learning to Love: Josh and Chris

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment right here before 11:59pm Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. One winner will be drawn at random and notified via email on Wednesday, July 20.

Good Luck!

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Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells

“An Unlocked Heart” Kept Me Cuffed To My Seat To The Very End

“Time is a river, I’ve learned. Always moving forward. But for people like me, people who have loved and lost, the river is something we fight. We swim against the current, trying to get back to the way we once were, trying to hold onto anything to keep us from getting swept away. It’s exhausting and eventually we tire. Still we push on.” ― T.J. Klune, “Into This River I Drown”


Pre-review disclaimer: I am a huge fan girl when it comes to K.C. Wells. I am also a huge fan girl when it comes to T.J. Klune, which is what made it so cool that the quote above fit this review so well.

An Unlocked Heart is a story about love lost and new love found. The story of a man who had suffered a tragic loss and thrown himself into his work until meeting someone who made fighting the current of life no longer worth the fight. A young man who was able to unlock his heart.

Leo’s lover and submissive was killed tragically two years ago by a drunk driver. Since then, Leo has worked day and night to run his BDSM club “Collars & Cuffs”. He doesn’t date. He sometimes does demonstrations at the club. He sometimes does scenes at the club. But he is careful to keep his heart locked away where no one can touch it. If no one can touch it, then no one can break it again. He is trying so hard to not get caught up in the current of the river of life and be forced to move on. He has been successful so far, despite the fact that one of the subs at the club repeatedly asks to scene with him.

Leo’s business partner, Thomas, takes him out to dinner for a business meeting at an Italian restaurant that Leo and his former lover used to frequent. Leo hasn’t been there in two years. He is drawn to a young waiter who refuses to meet his eyes. In this waiter, Alex, Leo sees a natural submissive. He sees something he hasn’t in a long time; a challenge.

Alex works part-time at Severino’s to save enough money to move out on his own. His family is horrible to him. His parents treat him as a second-class citizen and his younger, golden boy brother can do no wrong. They don’t know he’s gay and he intends to keep it that way. They especially don’t know that he fantasizes about other men tying him up during sex. They would make his life even worse if they knew the things he desires.

Alex is drawn to Leo, and shivers when Leo uses that low, serious voice on him. He agrees to go out with Leo. They date a few times and wind up in bed. Alex likes it when Leo takes charge, but Leo thinks telling Alex that he is a Dom this early in their relationship will scare Alex away. Alex is discovering things about himself that scare him and he hesitates to tell Leo.

Leo’s obsessive sub from the club anonymously drops off a guest pass to “Collars & Cuffs” for Alex. Alex isn’t sure what it is all about, but he goes anyway. What he sees is Leo doing a demonstration of bondage on another sub. He immediately thinks Leo doesn’t want him and runs from it. Alex is also frightened by the desire that seeing the scene caused in him.

K.C. Wells takes the opportunity of Leo explaining D/s to Alex to illustrate how caring the relationship between a true Dominate and his submissive is. So many people see a D/s relationship and think, doormat and the asshole who hits him. In An Unlocked Heart, we are schooled in the wonders of D/s by K.C. Wells. She shows us, through Leo and Alex, that there is nothing wrong with two consenting adults partaking of a safe, sane sexual activity that they both find fulfilling.

By learning about D/s and exploring it with Leo, Alex is empowered. He is able to come out to his family. This causes some serious problems for Leo, eventually, but it strengthens the bond between them. The exploration of their relationship both as D/s and lovers slowly unlocks Leo’s heart. If you listen closely enough, you can almost hear the moment the lock springs open. It is a beautiful thing.

There is so much more I could write about this book, but you need to read it. You need to experience K.C. Wells’ style and knowledge for yourself. And you need to get ready for the ride of your life, because when An Unlocked Heart is opened, it’s the hottest sex ever. Forcibly, strenuously, lustily recommended.

Note: An Unlocked Heart is the first in a series of “Collars & Cuffs” novels. At this point, there are three planned, but I believe I see a fourth one developing…

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy An Unlocked Heart here:

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