The first Collars & Cuffs book I ever read was Dance with Submission, the fourth title in the series. I adored the book and determined to read the prequels as soon as possible. And then other new releases distracted me. I read Damian’s Discipline, Make Me Sour and recently Dom of Ages, and still I hadn’t gone back to read the first three books.
As I write this, the authors of these books are working on the last title in the Collars & Cuffs series and I’ve decided that I HAVE to have read all the earlier titles before I reach the end of this amazing story.
It is funny business going back to the first book in a series when you’ve already read later storylines. I know these men, probably better than I should, maybe even better than the authors did when they wrote An Unlocked Heart. Before I started reading I was afraid that might spoil this reading experience for me, but the opposite turned out to be true. The feelings I had while reading this book were those you get when a couple you’ve known for a while decides they know and trust you well enough to tell you all about how they ended up together. By the time they stop talking you feel even closer to them than you did before. And that’s exactly how I felt when I finished reading this book; two characters I’d already grown to love had crawled their way even deeper into my heart.
The blurb tells you all you need to know about the story so I’m going to limit myself to those details that really grabbed me.
Leo has been on his own, with no desire to connect with another man for two years when he sets eyes on Alex. In the hands of a lesser author this might have led to chapter after chapter of soul searching and Leo feeling guilty because he was ‘betraying’ his deceased lover. K.C. Wells gave Leo a different journey. After two years the edge has worn off his grief and while he may not know it yet, he is ready to reconnect and love again. His journey to the moment when he realises he’s found exactly who and what he needs in his life, is a thing of beauty.
Alex’s journey is equally breath-taking. This shy young man blossoms under the influence of Leo’s attention. Submitting to Leo doesn’t diminish Alex; it makes him stronger—grow into himself. It is a gradual, slow, almost imperceptible and yet undeniable process. Alex doesn’t do a 180. He is true to himself all the way throughout the story (and the series), he just becomes comfortable with who he is and watching him get there filled me with joy.
There is a reason I love K.C. Well’s books so much. She strikes exactly the right balance between angst and relief for me. The emotions her characters experience ring true and are recognisable even though these are gay men and I—clearly—am neither gay nor male.
Oh dear, I’m so caught up in all the feels this book gave me, I’m completely forgetting to mention how incredibly hot it is. Whether Leo and Alex engage in a BDSM scene or tender love making, they smoulder; especially because it’s always obvious it is about more than ‘just’ sex for both of them.
Without fail, K.C. Wells pulls me into her stories within a page or two and keeps me emerged until I’ve read the very last word. I want to live in the world she created. I want to meet these men and give them hugs. It is time to admit that I have, some time ago, fallen head over heels in love with the men who populate the Collars & Cuffs universe.