Title: Before You Break
Author: K.C. Wells and Parker Williams
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 340 Pages
Category: BDSM, Contemporary
At a Glance: With finesse and care, the writing team of Wells and Williams leads us into a world where men care for each other and dare to be vulnerable while still maintaining their need to be masters of their own destinies.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: 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.
Review: I’ve read my fair share of the BDSM genre, and often found the storyline to be overshadowed by the abundance of ‘scenes’ and sex performed by the Dom/sub duo. Now, many may say that is to be expected from this genre, and that may be true. Yet, having just finished this first novel in a new spin-off series by the writing team of K.C. Wells and Parker Williams, I can tell you that there are authors out there who choose to focus on the characters and allow the sex to be a byproduct of an interesting and intricate plot. Before You Break takes us on a journey where one man discovers that his need to give over control not only frees him mentally to be the strong man he has always been but also allows him to break the chains that have bound his sexuality for years.
Growing up in a repressive and abusive family, Ellis learned at a young age that his purpose in life, according to his parents, was to become a man and care for his sister. This care extended to the extreme point that when his sister disobeyed or made bad choices, it was Ellis who was held responsible and punished for it. For years, this young policeman was forced to feel that no matter what he did, it was never good enough and, by turn, his sister was never expected or taught to take responsibility for her actions. It was hammered into Ellis that he would be expected to marry and produce the heir that his parents wanted—no discussion about it. Unfortunately for Ellis, his attraction to women didn’t extend beyond friendship, but that could never mean he was gay—that simply was impossible and unheard of, according to his upbringing. While he longed to share all his worries to his best friend, Wayne, Ellis knew if he ever dared, Wayne would surely walk away and end their friendship right then and there. And that was something Ellis could not bear to have happen.
Wayne was a fellow officer in the Special Ops division that Ellis was recruited into, and the two became best mates almost immediately. Wayne began to notice how Ellis seemed to be falling apart, his judgment skills faltering and his concentration lacking—a deadly combination for someone in their field. Wayne also had a secret—two, in fact. One was he was head over heels in love with Ellis, and the other that he was a Dom and wanted nothing more than for Ellis to be his sub. So, when a mission nearly went south due to Ellis’ bad decision, Wayne knew he had to do something, and that led the two men to the newly re-opened BDSM club called Secrets.
What unfolds in this new novel by Wells and Williams can sometimes stretch the imagination a bit far and yet, the systematic unraveling of Ellis under Wayne’s sure hands is beautiful to read. He literally helps Ellis break down and rebuild into the man he was meant to be, freeing him from the chains of abuse and fear that had held him for so long. The authors take the time to introduce the characters slowly, building their backstories and fleshing out their thoughts and feelings along the way. You are pulled into their lives, their emotions, and their relationship, gradually, as they explore their new life together and discover what secrets lay beneath for both of them. To watch Wayne pour all his energy into helping Ellis find his self worth again, rebuild his confidence and stand up to a family that has spent its entire life tearing him down, makes for a compelling read. Plus, the tenderness and love these two men finally reveal to each other is just so lovely to experience.
If this series continues in the way this first installment, Before You Break, has gone, I daresay it will be a bold addition to the BDSM genre. With finesse and care, the writing team of Wells and Williams leads us into a world where men care for each other and dare to be vulnerable while still maintaining their need to be masters of their own destinies.
You can buy Before You Break here: