A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A touching and riveting look at how two wounded men can find happiness in each other’s arms.
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.
Review: I read and reviewed the first novel written by this author. I said at the end of it that I wanted to read something by her again-that I felt there was such great potential. In An Unlocked Heart, author K.C. Wells has…arrived. Here is an author that bears watching, particularly in this genre whose stories are so very often bent on not displaying overt affection or getting into the minds and hearts of both the submissive AND the dominant. Not so in this novel. There is hurt and healing, tentative first steps toward love and painful reminders of how often our own family can make us feel like a failure. In short, An Unlocked Heart runs the gamut of emotions and does so with a gentleness that belies the heat and passion shown by its two main characters in the bedroom.
Where to begin…
When a novel pulls a reaction from the reader–a hint of anger, a sigh of happiness, then it has done exactly what it set out to do–entertain, make one think, encourage a person to feel. This novel hit those marks on many levels. Rather than focus the story on just one of the characters, the novel gave dueling points of view. Now, before you say you don’t like that type of writing style, know that the change from Alex to Leo was seamless; you were never left wondering who was speaking nor did the change in POV pull me out of the story. It was very well done.
As a result, the two men rapidly entrenched themselves into my heart. I ached for Alex Daniels. The lack of love and attention he endured from his family had made him so painfully shy and uncertain of his own worth. At times, his interactions with his mother and brother were heart-wrenching to read. The glimpse at the depth of Leo’s mourning over the loss of his lover made his reluctance to force Alex to submit that much more realistic. With each layer the author unfolded about each character, the more they became living, breathing people.
The story line was never rushed, the two men evolved into the dominant/submissive roles, which lent even more credence to Alex being a reserved and painfully shy young man. The author allowed months to pass for their relationship to build. She introduced secondary characters to help her men along their journey. Thomas, Leo’s business partner and friend skillfully guided Leo toward the idea that he could not only find love again, but trust enough to embrace it.
Pietro, a fellow submissive, who guided and cared for Alex, became his best friend. These men gave depth to the story, allowing it to feel fully fleshed out and setting the scene for more stories to be written. But, and I want to stress this, never did I feel the supporting cast was there just to create a flow for a future series. They were integral to the plot and just as entertaining and believable as the two main characters. That is some excellent writing!
So, were there any flaws to speak of in this impressive novel? Perhaps the only thing that gave me pause was the references to other writers. The one time another fictional couple was referenced at the end of an intimate moment between Leo and Alex seemed out of place. However, it was minor and the author moved her character back into the flow of the scene quickly. No, overall, this story was a really good read from start to finish.
The BDSM elements in the novel were genuine but not excessive and often, very considerate of Alex’s need for reassurance and encouragement. They fit well into the over arcing plot line and never became the sole focus but added to the developing relationship between the two men.
An Unlocked Heart by K.C. Wells is a solid, well written love story. I think, dear reader, if you enjoy a good story with a little bit of heat mixed with a smidgen of angst you will find this is the perfect book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it!