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….
This scene was changed in the final copy of the book, but it speaks to Rob’s needs and how he is feeling about Vic.
Rob glanced at the clock and smiled. Vic should be home in fifteen minutes. Rob's heart thundered. He wasn't sure how what he'd done would be received. It wasn't as if he and Vic were...
The key in the lock startled Rob. Vic was early. He rushed to the door and pulled it open. “Hi,” he said breathlessly. “Can you... um... stay in here for a few minutes?”
Vic grinned. “Care to tell me why?”
“Please. Just... Please?”
Vic reached out and stroked Rob's cheek. He pressed into the warm touch, then realized what he was doing and pulled away.
“Yes, I'll stay in here. Go ahead and do what you have to.”
It was silly, Rob knew. It wasn't like Vic wasn't aware he was up to something. He hurried back to the dining room and put down some plates he'd found in a hutch that contained what appeared to be for special occasions. He sighed to himself, once again realizing how stupid this was. He lit two tapered candles, the glow casting a warm light around the room. He dished up the dinner and went back to find Vic lazing on the sofa.
“Okay, I'm ready.”
Vic stood, and Rob's breath caught. He wished what they'd shared could be something more than just convenient sex, but Vic treated him so well, Rob would take what he could get. When Rob took his hand and led him to the table, Vic stopped in the doorway.
“What's this?” he asked.
“I... I got paid today,” Rob whispered. “I wanted to do something nice for you, you know, to thank you for everything you've done for me. I know it's not much, but...” Rob's voice trailed off. Now he felt supremely stupid. Vic had money, so what was burgers and chips to him? “I'm sorry, I didn't think... Never mind. It was stupid. I'm sorry.”
The sting in his eyes told him the tears were close to the surface. When had he gotten so sappy? It had only been since he’d met Vic. Rob tried to pull away, but Vic held on tight to his hand.
“Hey, look at me.”
Rob shook his head.
“I said look at me, boy.”
Rob turned his gaze up and found Vic smiling at him.
“Why are you upset? Can you tell me?”
“I just realized how stupid this was. I mean a nice dinner to you is probably some fancy restaurant with food I can't pronounce, and a bottle of wine that costs more than what my check was. I didn't even think about how this must seem to you.”
“Do you want to know? Why not ask me? You might be surprised.”
Rob tried once more to draw his hand away.
“No, you're not going anywhere. Ask me, Rob. Please.”
Taking a deep breath to steady his nerves, Rob asked, “Does this seem stupid to you?”
Vic chuckled. “I'm glad you asked.” Vic swept a hand toward the table. “This? It's...I can't even begin to tell you. No one has ever done anything like this for me before. I'm the one who takes care of people. I'm the one who goes out and buys them dinner. You surprised and thrilled me with this. The table looks beautiful, and the fact you did this for me? It makes me happier than I can say.”
“You... you don't mind?”
Vic bent down and kissed Rob on the forehead. “No. In fact, I'd like us to sit down and eat, because I'm famished. Then, after, we can go into the lounge and watch a movie. Your choice.”
Rob's stomach quivered at Vic's sultry tone. But it wasn't a movie he wanted. “Could we...would it be okay if...”
“Tell me what you want, Rob. Say the words.”
“Could you take me to bed? I mean we don't have to do anything, but I'd like to be close to you. And if you wanted to hold me, that would be good, too.”
“I think that would be the perfect dessert,” Vic whispered to him.
4.5 out of 5 stars
An Unlocked Mind is the 2nd book in the Secrets series. While this could be read on it's own, I personally don't recommend it. This is part of a storyline that was started back in Alex and Leo's story, An Unlocked Heard, part of the Collars and Cuffs series. I recommend reading that series and then continuing into this series.
I'll admit I was worried about who this book was about prior to reading it. Rob caused no end of grief to his brother Alex in An Unlocked Heart. Between his 'blackmail' efforts and going to his mom, Rob's actions caused a huge rift between him and Alex. So, yes I was worried because Rob seemed to be one of those irredeemable assholes. Well I should have known better between the two authors of this book, they were able to pull a once self-centered, highly closeted young mad out of his own head and make him someone you were hoping would happy by the end of the book.
There were moments at the beginning of the story where I wanted to gleefully smack Rob if not outright throttle him. As the story progressed and Rob meets Vic, and Vic sees something in Rob that makes him want to help Rob become a better person, I started to see glimmers of the man that Rob would grow into. Of course his journey is not easy because Rob has to realize that he IS a worthy person, and he needs more in his life than what he started out the book with.
Then there's Vic, who is a full time Dom, but is currently without a sub when he meets Rob. Now at first he doesn't see the potential in Rob. He just sees the sassy, smart-mouthed brat who has no control over himself and lashes out constantly. The first meeting is a fluke, the second draws Rob back to Vic time and again but he doesn't know why, nor does Vic understand why he's drawn to Rob. As they get closer, things change, Vic wants Rob for his sub but isn't sure that is what Rob wants. As the book progresses they work things out, Rob accepts his place with Vic, and they both realize that they are meant to be together.
I loved seeing Rob change from the spoiled brat he was into the young man with unlimited potential by the end of the book. His acceptance of Vic as his Dom, their life together, and that Rob can happy is a large part of the direction of this story. It's not as filled with the BDSM lifestyle or scenes as some of the other books in both series are, but what is in there works for this story. Did I miss the scenes that could have occurred between him and Vic, maybe a little but they wouldn't really have enhanced the story unless it allowed Rob to free another piece of himself. Where the few scenes that they did have in the book did give Rob that bit more acceptance and freedom he needed at that point in time.
Overall An Unlocked Mind was a surprising favorite in the series, maybe not as much as Jared's story or Peter's but I did love seeing the turn around in Rob. I have to say that Vic was a growly bear of a Dom and I loved that about him. He was the perfect foil for Rob. I do highly recommend this book as one to pick up immediately for fans of the series. If you haven't read the previous books, I'd definitely recommend reading them in order to work your way to this book. Trust me...if you haven't read them you need to!
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.