Friday, May 26, 2017

Release Day Review: Before You Break (Secrets #1) by K.C. Wells & Parker Williams

before you breakTitle ~ Before You Break (Secrets #1)

Author ~ K.C. Wells & Parker Williams

Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press

Published ~ 26th May 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, BDSM





Six years ago Ellis walked into his first briefing as the newest member of London’s Specialist Firearms unit. He was partnered with Wayne and they became fast friends. When Wayne begins to notice changes—Ellis’s erratic temper, the effects of sleep deprivation—he knows he has to act before Ellis reaches his breaking point. He invites Ellis to the opening of the new BDSM club, Secrets, where Wayne has a membership. His purpose? He wants Ellis to glimpse the lifestyle before Wayne approaches him with a proposition. He wants to take Ellis in hand, to control his life because he wants his friend back, and he figures this is the only way to do it.
There are a few issues, however. Ellis is straight. Stubborn. And sexy. Wayne knows he has to put his own feelings aside to be what Ellis needs. What surprises the hell out of him is finding out what Ellis actually requires.


Debra’s Review

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the collaboration between K.C. Wells and Parker Williams, and they are off to another good start in this first book in the spin-off from their popular Collars and Cuffs series.

Wayne and Ellis have been co-workers on the police force and friends for six years. Wayne is openly gay and is secretly in love with his friend, although he is aware Ellis is straight and doesn’t expect anything other than friendship. Unfortunately, Ellis has been on a months-long spiral and Wayne isn’t sure why. Ellis is keeping some secrets from his best friend Wayne, secrets he believes would drive him away if he knew. When Ellis finally snaps, threatening his job, Wayne lays out his options for him: see the department psychologist, let me help you or continue on your downward path. When Ellis finds out just how Wayne wants to help him, by “taking him in hand” and controlling all aspects of his life until he gets his head straight, Ellis isn’t sure what to think, but Wayne is the only person who has ever been there for Ellis and even though it’s a bumpy start, Ellis decides to give in. He’s willing to give it a try, as long as he doesn’t have to spill his shameful secret.

When things start between the men, there was something different here for me, and that was the initial dynamic between Wayne and Ellis. Wayne’s attitude of taking complete charge and knowing what’s right for Ellis might have bothered me (and has in other stories under other circumstances) but the fact that they had an established friendship of six years prior to their agreement made me think twice. Wayne’s not a magic Dom just seeing submissiveness in Ellis’ eyes. The fact that Ellis had always sought out Wayne’s guidance as a friend and co-worker, had capitulated to Wayne’s decisions on things for so long, made this “taken in hand” relationship seem like just another step forward and while Wayne loves and is attracted to Ellis, his isn’t expecting anything sexual in the situation at the start since Wayne assumes Ellis is straight and he respects and values their friendship. As much as Ellis likes the feeling of being taken care of for a change, it’s not an easy position for him to accept and he fights Wayne on it even as he knows Wayne offers just what he has always wanted.

Things eventually change between them, of course (this is romance after all) as Ellis opens up to Wayne in a way he hasn’t been able to with anyone, but it doesn’t happen right away. Ellis has issues courtesy of his awful family and his needing to deal with them is a big focus of the story. Ellis’ parents did major damage leaving Ellis with feelings of never being good enough even while trying hard to please everyone. At first I scoffed a bit, but then realized it was almost as if they’d brainwashed him. As Ellis grows more comfortable with how much Wayne cares about him, he finally starts to take some control of his own well-being. He is also free to explore things he’s repressed and the newfound world of BDSM. I’ll also mention, since it’s not something I find too often, that Ellis is bigger and stronger than his Dom and he has a tendency to be a bit mouthy.

There is still plenty of drama even after it seems like all is going well and the two men are tested with a life changing event. The incident shakes Ellis’ trust in Wayne’s love and devotion, but luckily Wayne isn’t one to give up easily, especially on the man who has become his life.

If you didn’t know, my love of Jarod from the Collars & Cuffs series (Dom of Ages) knows no bounds so I am thrilled that he and Eli are here in supporting roles as the owners of Secrets and I hope that will continue through the series. Jarod is in his element when he is helping and caring for others and with his experience he the perfect character to support some subs new to the lifestyle. Bonus points also for cameos by some of my other C&C favorites, but you don’t need to have read any of those stories to start here.

I enjoyed this friends to lovers story with a side of kink. I appreciated the way the relationship built, as we really got to know the men as friends even as the power dynamics came into play and then saw it continue into their D/s lifestyle. I’m definitely looking forward to more in the series.

Purchase Links



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Meet the Authors


K.C. Wells

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, when 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.

And as for those men in love that she writes about? The list of stories just waiting to be written is getting longer… and longer….




Parker Williams

Happily Ever After Comes With A Pricetag. Parker Williams began to write as a teen, but never showed his work to anyone. As he grew older, he drifted away from writing, but his love of the written word moved him to reading. A chance encounter with an author changed the course of his life as she encouraged him to never give up on a dream. With the help of some amazing friends, he rediscovered the joy of writing, thanks to a community of writers who have become his family. Parker firmly believes in love, but is also of the opinion that anything worth having requires work and sacrifice (plus a little hurt and angst, too). The course of love is never a smooth one, and Happily Ever After always has a price tag.