Monday, 4 December 2017

An Unlocked Mind (Secrets #2) by Parker Williams and K.C. Wells

Title: An Unlocked Mind
Series: Secrets Book #2
Author: K.C. Wells & Parker Williams
Genre: M/M Romance Light BDSM
Release Date: December 11, 2017 

Rob Daniels is determined to prove to himself that his brother Alex got it wrong. Alex believes he found love through BDSM; Rob is certain that’s not possible. He even makes several visits to a London club to prove his point. But when he attends the grand opening of Secrets, Rob gets a shock, one that has him fleeing, vowing never to return—until he does… and runs into the brick wall that is Dom Vic Prentiss. As first meetings go, theirs is a disaster.

The more time he spends around Rob, the more convinced Vic becomes of two things—one, something is eating away at Rob, and two, he’s looking for something. Every instinct tells Vic to help him, but trying to unlock the secrets hidden in Rob’s mind requires a key. All Vic has to do is find it. Because maybe then he’ll get to see the real Rob, the man who’s scared to let go….

Now, I’m sure you remember Rob. Yes, him! The little shit of a brother to Alex from ‘An Unlocked Heart’. What? You don’t? You haven’t read ‘An Unlocked Heart’? Maybe you haven’t read any of the ‘Collars and Cuffs’ books? I’m sorry, but you really shouldn’t be here reading this review.

I’m serious. Do. Not. Read. This. Book. …Or my review of it unless you’ve read at the very least An Unlocked Heart first. Trust me. You’ll thank me for this advice. Not only is it an amazing book, reading it first will also mean that you’ll enjoy this book so very much more than you could possibly do without having that background story.

And while I’m talking about the background story, I have to admit that when I discovered that the authors were about to attempt to redeem the bastard named Rob I had serious doubts. I love and admire every single word I’ve read by Wells and Williams, but I still couldn’t see how they could possibly make me like, never mind love, Rob; not after everything he’d put Alex through.

So I wasn’t surprised when it took me a while before I could see any possibly redeeming qualities in him. I spent quite a few chapters wondering what on earth Vic could see in the obnoxious little shit. And then the magic started. I suddenly found myself feeling something closely resembling pity for poor, confused, and downtrodden Rob. It happened almost imperceptibly but I reached a point where I suddenly realised his anger was directed at himself more than anyone else and a result of fear and frustration rather than any deep rooted evil. Watching him fight the habits of long and lonely years to better himself, to become the man he could be, the man Vic had somehow recognised in him early on, was a thing of ever increasing magnificence and beauty.

Vic… If ever a man was destined for sainthood, it has to be him. How he didn’t just leave Rob struggling in the rain after what he’d said moments earlier I’ll never know. How he kept on putting up with Rob despite his horrendous behaviour is beyond me. But he did somehow guess at all the things Rob kept hidden, even from himself, and managed to tease them out with infinite patience. In the process he took both Rob and the reader on an almost magical journey, and I don’t mean that as in ‘unbelievable’. In a way Vic opened both Rob and the reader’s heart, eyes, and mind (pun intended) to things that had been buried so deeply they were all but invisible. It was a voyage filled with twists, and turnarounds, often a case of two steps forward followed by one step back, and all the more mesmerising for it.

Of course there are one or two issues to resolve between Rob and his brother Alex (from An Unlocked Heart). No matter how much Rob grows as a result of Vic’s patience, dominance and love, he can’t fully heal until he deals with this, the biggest of his demons. It happens. The two young men find themselves face to face. And… Yeah, right? As if there was ever a chance of me spoiling that for you. All I’ll say about that part of the story is that the authors hit what for me was the perfect note, making the reunion realistic and convincing. But really, if you’ve read and enjoyed the previous book (and maybe grown to deeply dislike, if not hate, Rob) you’ll want to read An Unlocked Mind just for that scene.

If you’re familiar with the previous books by these authors you don’t need me to tell you that they’re in a class of their own when it comes to emotions and sexiness. And just when you’re sure that there couldn’t possibly be a BDSM scene they hadn’t already covered, they come up with something new, and what’s more, something that is perfectly suited to the characters in the story you’re reading.

And of course it was a delight to catch moments with Eli and Jarod. I love that with every new book we get to know these two characters a little bit better than we did before. And the fact that other characters from the Collars and Cuffs series either make a cameo appearance or get mentioned, is a very much appreciated added bonus. And of course we get to spend a little bit more time with Ellis and Wayne (Before You Break) too.

All in all I have to admit that this story was much, much better than I dared hope or expect before I started reading it. I probably should have known better than to doubt these two authors; they have proven once again that they are in a league of their own when it comes to telling a riveting, convincing, and deeply touching story.

K.C. Wells started writing in 2012, although the idea of writing a novel had been in her head since she was a child. But after reading that first gay romance in 2009, she was hooked.
She now writes full time, and the line of men in her head, clamouring to tell their story, is getting longer and longer. If the frequent visits by plot bunnies are anything to go by, that’s not about to change anytime soon.

Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.


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