K.C. Wells is an auto-buy for me. For the most part, I've come to expect the full range of emotions from her books while addressing some serious issues and a very healthy dose of hot sex. This book did not disappoint. I was so engaged in Peter and Thomas when I realized I was more than halfway through the book before there was any sort of sex between the two main characters and I didn't even miss it.
Peter is liberated from the home of Curtis, his so-called dom, after 4 years of abuse. Brought to Thomas, one of the owners of the BDSM club Collars and Cuffs and a well regarded trainer of both doms and subs, 26 year old Peter is scared and broken, not knowing that what he suffered through was in no way a healthy D/s relationship. At 56 years old, Thomas is set in living his life alone, working at the club where he also does his training. He has never had a long term sub and has never shared his home with anyone. When his friend Stephen enlists his help, Thomas intends to heal and train Peter and then find the perfect dom for him.
With help from Leo and Alex (the MC's from An Unlocked Heart), Thomas slowly works to gain Peter's trust and teach him the joy of service to a dom who appreciates it. Peter is placed in therapy with a therapist who is also a submissive. Since Peter is also agoraphobic and fears Curtis hunting him down, he rarely leaves Thomas's home, other than trips to the doctor. Peter also forms a bond with Alex, who he finds he can talk to openly. As the nature of the abuse Peter suffered comes to light, there is still something that he is holding back from the men that hints at some more sinister goings on with Curtis and his associates.
The relationship between Thomas and Peter plays out beautifully. Trust is slowly built, and Thomas does everything he can to encourage Peter's transformation from abused boy to cherished sub, providing him with structure, comfort and purpose for his eventual transfer to a new dom. Throughout the story there is also the undercurrent of suspense. Peter is always wary that Curtis will never let him go and things finally come to a head at the end of the book when Peter realizes that in order to keep the people he loves safe, he will have to come clean about everything that happened with Curtis (with another appearance from DI Saunders from the previous book and the Learning to Love series).
If you are expecting hot and heavy BDSM and sex along the lines of the first story, you are not going to get it here. If, however, you are looking for a hurt/comfort theme, with a slow build and a satisfying relationship between the two main characters, this is a book I would recommend.