Collars and Cuffs: Book Six
Anyone who frequents Collars & Cuffs knows Dorian Forrester is built for pain, including Dorian himself. But everyone has it wrong. For six years, Dorian’s chased a feeling that remains tantalizingly out of his reach. Unteachable, Dorian can take anything and everything a Dom can throw at him. Still, it’s not enough. Dorian needs… something more. Something he won’t find at Collars & Cuffs.
Dorian’s search takes him out of the safe environment he’s known for years, out of his depth, and into a realm of deep, dark trouble.
Alan Marchant has been watching Dorian with interest for a while and knows there’s more to Dorian than his label of “pain slut” suggests. When Dorian disappears, Alan and his friend Leo set out to find him. But the disoriented young man discovered cowering in a hotel room is not the Dorian they know and love. That Dorian is shattered. It’s up to Alan to pick up the pieces and show Dorian there are better ways to fly.
They may be off on a new journey together, but their destination will rock them both to the core.
2015 Rainbow AwardsThe Bobby Michaels Award for Best Gay Erotic Romance Runner-Up
I WISH it were me.
That thought had been bouncing around in Dorian’s head since he got the call from Master Leo to attend Ben and Scott’s wedding. He didn’t really know them, beyond seeing them at the club, but a call from Leo was something Dorian just couldn’t refuse.
Except it wasn’t Ben and Scott’s wedding, was it?
Leo Hart had got down on one knee and asked Alex Daniels to marry him, right then, right there, and suddenly that made it so much more personal. Dorian had watched them be joined in marriage, a smile pasted across his face like all the men around him. He listened to the applause, whistles, and shouts from the club members, saw their expressions of joy, and all the while he felt hollow inside. Oh, he wished the couple nothing but success. They were obviously meant for one another, but….
There it was again. Surrounded by genuine happiness, all eyes on the happy couple, and yet that one thought was still hammering in his brain.
I wish it were me.
He watched Alex at Leo’s side, laughing and smiling, drinking champagne and accepting all the congratulatory wishes of their guests. Leo hadn’t stopped smiling since Alex had said yes. His face glowed with love for his new husband. Dorian had sat through the whole wedding, transfixed by the looks that passed between the two men—and wishing he could feel what every other man in the room seemed to be experiencing.
Damn it, I need another drink.
Dorian turned away from the joyful scene and looked around for one of the waiters who were circulating, holding trays of champagne flutes filled with golden bubbles on high. Dorian stopped the nearest waiter and took a glass, placing his empty one on the tray. He took a long drink, enjoying the dryness of the champagne. He couldn’t help himself; he turned around to take another look at the happy couple.
All the best, Sir, he silently toasted Leo in his head.
“How many of those have you had?” Pietro’s voice broke through, making him jump slightly. Dorian could hear his friend’s amusement in every syllable. The slim sous-chef looked relaxed, a half-empty glass of champagne in his hand.
Dorian raised his glass and gave him a grim smile. “Not enough.” He drained half the glass.
“Whoa there, go easy. Are you feeling okay?” Pietro placed his hand on Dorian’s arm.
Dorian’s throat tightened to see the genuine concern reflected in Pietro’s voice and expression. Pietro’s gaze flicked over to Alex and Leo and then back to Dorian. The look of understanding in Pietro’s eyes made his gut wrench. Of all the subs at Collars & Cuffs, he was the one who knew Dorian best. And right then that was not a good thing.
“It’s not what you think,” Dorian blurted out, his stomach churning.
Pietro regarded him silently for a moment, eyes narrowed, before glancing around the spacious room. “Let’s go over here.”
Without waiting for Dorian’s reply, he grasped him by the elbow and tugged him over to a quiet corner, away from the groups of men who were standing around, chatting and drinking champagne. Dorian was too weary to complain and allowed himself to be led. A table stood empty, and Pietro pushed Dorian to sit down before sitting next to him. From their vantage point, they could see Alex and Leo, a small crowd gathered around them.
Dorian watched them, his heart aching. He raised his glass to his lips, but Pietro stopped him, taking it from him and placing it on the table. Dorian scowled, but Pietro merely sat back, arms folded across his chest.
“So it’s not what I think, yeah? Then explain. ’Cause from where I’m sitting, it looks like you’ve still got a thing for Master Leo.” His gaze narrowed once more.
Fuck. Dorian gulped. “Yeah, I can see why you might think that.”
Pietro said nothing, but waited. Dorian took a deep steadying breath in an effort to inject a little calm into his system.
“I haven’t felt that way about Sir for a while, not since I’ve seen him and Alex together. I mean, they just fit, right?”
Pietro nodded, his eyes grave.
“And you don’t need to remind me what a little shit I was, trying to stir things up, but look at them. They just got married, for God’s sake. No harm done, yeah?”
Pietro tilted his head. “So if you’re not burning up with jealousy, what’s going on?”
Dorian couldn’t meet Pietro’s direct gaze. He twisted his hands in his lap, fingers laced. “This is really hard, Pietro,” he whispered.
Pietro shifted his chair closer, his demeanor changed. “It’s okay, y’know. You can talk to me.” His voice softened. “C’mon, Dorian, you and me go way back.”
That much was true. Dorian’s heart raced. For God’s sake, just tell him. Keeping it all bottled up inside him had only made matters worse.
“It’s not just Master Leo and Alex,” he confessed. “It’s seeing you and Miles, Master Thomas and Peter, Ben and Scott—” He swallowed. “—Master Andrew and Gareth.”
Pietro’s brow furrowed. “I don’t get it.”
Dorian heaved a heavy sigh. “What’s wrong with me, Pietro? Why can’t I find someone who fits me?” His stomach turned over.
Pietro’s frown cleared. “Oh, Dorian.” He took Dorian’s hand and squeezed it tight. “Is that what this is all about?” He studied Dorian for a moment. “You’ve never shown any signs of wanting to find a partner. You’ve always been so focused on….” His frown returned.
Dorian snorted. “Yeah, I know what you’re going to say.” He knew his reputation around the club. He might as well walk around Collars & Cuffs with Pain Slut tattooed on his rear. That was partly what had made it easier to come to his decision. “I’ve had contracts, plenty of them, but nothing beyond three months. So I have to ask myself: why hasn’t one Dom wanted to extend a contract beyond the trial period?” As if it wasn’t bad enough that he couldn’t achieve his one goal….
Dorian shivered. Can’t think about that now.
Pietro regarded him with dismay, his mouth turning down. “Dorian, I had no idea.”
He huffed. “Why would you? We may have known one another for years, but it’s not like we’re that close, right?” Pietro’s eyes widened, and Dorian swallowed. “I’m sorry. That’s not fair. You’ve always been nice to me, even when I didn’t deserve it.” He ran his fingers through his short layers of hair. It still felt strange not to feel curls there anymore. The change in hairstyle had been an impulsive decision. Dorian’s heart pounded. “There’s so much going on in here right now”—he pressed a finger to his temple—“that sometimes it feels like it’s going to explode.”
Pietro’s hand tightened around his. “Then talk to someone. Don’t go through this on your own.”
Dorian barked out a bitter laugh. “I wouldn’t know who to talk to. Besides, I think I’ve burned my bridges with the Doms at Collars & Cuffs. Time for a change.” Just the thought made his heart race even faster.
Pietro stared. “What do you mean?” He became very still, his attention focused on Dorian.
He sighed. “I think it’s time to move on, maybe find another club where I can get a fresh start. And maybe I need something new, something to really push my boundaries.” Voicing his decision for the first time somehow made it all the more real.
Pietro shook his head. “I don’t like the sound of this. You’re starting to worry me.” He glanced around the room. “Let me find Miles.” He made as if to rise from his seat.
“No!” Dorian said in a loud whisper. Pietro gave a start, and he took a deep breath. “I’m not going to leave this very minute, okay? Right now I’m just thinking about it. But the part about wanting to push my boundaries?” He shivered. “I need something to get me out of my head.”
“Like what?” Pietro whispered.
Dorian smiled at him. “If I knew that, I wouldn’t have this mess in my head. I’d be doing something about it.” He sighed. “But if I think of something, you’ll be the first to know, yeah?”
Pietro tightened his grip on Dorian’s hand. “You’d better. I don’t want to come to the club one night and find you’ve disappeared on me.”
“I promise,” Dorian assured him. “Now how about another glass of champagne? This is a wedding, right?” He winked, affecting a demeanor that was pure fiction. Inside his head, the storm was still raging.
I need to do something. And soon.
Pietro giggled. “I daren’t drink too much. Miles says I get really silly when I’m drunk, and I wouldn’t like to embarrass him.” He stared longingly at his empty champagne flute. “It’s not something I get to drink that often.”
Dorian said nothing. His parents’ wine cellar had never been without at least a dozen bottles on any given moment when he’d been growing up. He could understand Pietro’s liking for it, but for Dorian, champagne had lost its appeal.
I suppose that’s true of lots of things, he mused. Have something too often and it begins to lose its luster. And what once had made him giggly and muzzy headed after one glass, now failed to have the same effect.
It was ironic that this also applied to his experiences within the walls of Collars & Cuffs.
Definitely time for a change.
ALAN MARCHANT couldn’t stop staring across the room at the two young men, apparently deep in conversation. Judging from their body language, the subject matter must have been very intense.
What I’d give to be a fly on the wall in that corner.
Of course it didn’t help matters that one of them was Dorian Forrester. It was bad enough that the boy intrigued Alan at the best of times. The fact that his hair was not only cropped of its youthful curls but that he’d also had it dyed blond, only served to bring Alan’s dick into the equation. The combination of short blond layers and rich brown eyes was very striking, and it was all Alan could do to keep himself from frequently adjusting his hard-on.
Fuck, boy, what you do to me….
Only now he looked less of a boy and more of a delectable, erection-inducing young man.
A deep, rich voice broke through his heated reflections. Alan twisted his head to regard Thomas Williams, co-owner of Collars & Cuffs. Thomas lifted his eyebrows, his lips twitching.
“That’s the third time I’ve called your name. What planet are you on?” For a moment Thomas’s gaze flickered toward Pietro and Dorian at the corner table but then returned to give Alan his full attention.
Alan shifted on his chair and chuckled. “Okay, you caught me. I was woolgathering.” He picked up his glass of champagne from its position on the bar and took a long sip. The chilled liquid cooled the burning in his cheeks. He made a concerted effort not to look over in Dorian’s direction but peered around Thomas. “Where’s Peter?”
“At the buffet table with Scott and Jeff when I saw him last.” Thomas smiled. “He kissed me on the cheek and told me he was a big boy now, and he’d be just fine.” His eyes shone. “And that if he needed me, he’d find me.”
Alan had to smile at that. It had been wonderful to see Thomas’s submissive lover at the wedding and even more wonderful to watch Thomas almost bursting with pride at how Peter handled himself.
Then a thought occurred to him. “I have to ask. Did you really know nothing of Leo’s plans for this wedding?”
Thomas snorted. “I’m still trying to get over the shock. All these years working with Leo, and he finally managed to keep a secret from me.”
They both laughed at that.
Alan glanced across at the two grooms, their arms around each other’s waists, and let out a sigh. “It does my heart good to see two people so much in love. That’s what the world needs right now—more love.”
Thomas smirked. “I feel a song coming on, but that would be far too queer.”
Alan snickered. “Yeah, and it wouldn’t be me singing it. I have a singing voice that can turn milk sour.”
Thomas winced. “Ouch. Remind me not to ask you to join the carol singers next Christmas.” He took a drink from his glass and gave Alan a speculative glance. “So you’re happy with us? Found your feet?”
Alan hesitated long enough to have Thomas gazing at him, frowning. Alan shook his head. “Don’t get me wrong. I love the club.” When Thomas arched his eyebrows, Alan expelled his breath. “The Doms are a great bunch, and I’ve shared some really good scenes with the subs. They’re well-trained, responsive, and most of the time it’s been a very satisfying experience.” He fell silent, studying his flute.
“I’m waiting for the but,” Thomas said at last. Around them was the low hum of chatter and laughter.
Alan rested his chin on his clasped hands, elbows on the bar. “I’ve been fortunate to live and work in a variety of places around the world, Thomas. I’ve seen a lot of things that some here would find a bit… excessive.” Thomas merely arched his eyebrows, and Alan smiled. “Not you, probably, but then you’ve seen more than most.” Thomas let out a wry chuckle. Alan considered how best to put his thoughts into words. “I guess what I’m trying to say—and making a pig’s ear of it—is that I haven’t had the opportunity at the club to do what I do best.”
Thomas put down his glass and turned to face him on his chair, his face rapt. “Now you have my undivided attention.”
Alan leaned against the back of his chair. “The club has a lot of Doms who are very adept with a whip, cane, or flogger. Their skills are impressive, to say the least. But what impresses me more is someone like Andrew Barrett. He is a very sensual Dom. I watch his scenes whenever I can, because he’s a joy to observe. The heights to which he takes the subs is astounding.” His gaze drifted once again across the room. “In fact, I found one such scene almost mesmerizing.”
Thomas followed his gaze. A slow smile crept across his face. “Ah.”
Damn. Thomas always saw far too much.
Alan cleared his throat, which had tightened. “What I love most of all is working with a sub, taking time with him, training him, until I’m all that’s in his head, until we’re so in tune that all he can think about is submitting to me.”
Thomas regarded him steadily. “I once asked you if you liked a challenge. Remember?”
Alan nodded. “I’ve never forgotten it.” He gave up any pretense of glancing surreptitiously at Dorian—there seemed little point now—and studied him openly from across the room. “But to be honest, until recently, I didn’t think he was worth my efforts.”
“What changed your mind?” Thomas spoke in a low voice.
Alan didn’t hesitate. “The Shibari scene with Andrew. What I saw that night was not the same lad. Something happened to shake him up, and he’s not been the same since. And I found the change intriguing.”
“Ah, I wondered if you’d noticed.”
Alan gazed quizzically at Thomas, whose brow furrowed.
“Leo and I had noticed the same thing. We were going to wait and see how he was after Christmas, and if nothing had changed, we’d intended to talk with him. And we’re not the only ones. I’ve had several Doms approach me, voicing their concerns. They felt uneasy about speaking directly to Dorian because none of them really know him that well. Dorian isn’t one to encourage intimacy.”
“Which is strange,” Alan interjected, “because I get the feeling that intimacy is something he craves.” He stared at Dorian, noting his pallor. “What do you suppose they’ve been talking about? Because Dorian appears to be in the grip of some very strong emotions.”
Thomas widened his gaze, and then his smile returned. “Do you like Dorian’s new look?” he asked with a nonchalant air, his eyes glittering.
Damn the man.
Alan stared at Thomas. “How do you do that? I mean, seriously? What is it, some sneaky, underhanded mind-meld?”
Thomas let out another snort. “Alan, I’d have to have been blind to miss the hard-on you were sporting when I first sat down.”
Alan stifled his groan. Trust Thomas to see that.
Thomas pushed on. “But this is all good. You’re attracted to him. That much is obvious. And you may be right about him desiring intimacy, so start with that. Work with him, but according to your rules, not his.” He leaned forward. “Do what you do best—get into Dorian’s head. If you manage that, you’ll be the first man at the club to do so.” He turned his head to look at Dorian. “And who knows what you’ll find once you get in there.”
Alan couldn’t deny the appeal of the challenge. To break down Dorian’s defenses one by one, to lead him into uncharted territory, and ultimately, to help him find what he was looking for.
What we’re both looking for, he corrected. Isn’t that what’s missing right now from my life? Alan had never clicked enough with a sub to want a relationship with him. He’d tried relationships outside of BDSM, but they never worked. He’d never found a sub that he loved, or a lover who would be a sub. Alan knew what he was after—a partner who could fill all the needs in his life. He wanted someone to come home to, who could be submissive.
Alan stared at the two grooms, his heart aching with a longing so acute it made him catch his breath.
I want what Leo Hart has—a best friend, lover, and submissive.
Whether Dorian could be all that, he didn’t have a clue.
He could only hope.
Dorian Forrester has been a member of Collars and Cuffs since he was eighteen years old. Dorian is a submissive through and through yet, he hasn’t found the Dom that can help him achieve the ultimate bliss, subspace. Adam Marchant has had his eye on Dorian for a while now, at first he thought he was just another ‘pain slut’ but after watching Dorian doing a Shibari scene all of sudden he begins to realise there is a lot more to Dorian than he shows anyone.
Dorian is in pain, the only thing is he doesn’t know what to do to stop hurting. His failsafe, doing a scene at Collars and Cuffs no longer works and besides that he has a hard time even walking in the doors anymore, everyone there seems to be pairing up, permanently. It doesn’t seem to matter how many contracts he has signed once the three month mark comes around the Dom refuses to extend it. Dorian has decided that what he needs is to go to Berlin to the underground BDSM club The Lab that’s there. Nothing goes as Dorian hopes it will, he is taken to a private party by a man he meets at The Lab and everything goes downhill from there.
When Adam finds out where Dorian has gone he’s in a panic to get him back, he knows what goes on at The Lab and none of its good. When Adam finds Dorian, he finds a shell of the man he was, he has been used and abused horrifically, as well as branded! It takes Adam a long time to get Dorian to open up about what sent him to Berlin and what finds out horrifies him. How can men trained to be highly observant, as all the Doms at Collars and Cuffs are miss the fact that Dorian has spent years looking for someone to hold him, kiss him and the biggest fail of all, the fact that he has never achieved subspace! Adam realises that because his parents are so incredibly cold and non-demonstrative that the all Dorian really needs is to be touched and held as much as possible.
As Dorian is getting himself back together after his disastrous trip he gets a shocking phone call from is ex Justin. Justin has just found out that his most recent partner is supposedly HIV positive and he was so incredibly stupid that he had had unprotected with him sex numerous times. He thinks that because Dorian is not an overly emotional person he would be the perfect support person to go to the clinic to get tested. Dorian is devastated when he learns what Justin has done and it doesn’t get any better when they find out that Justin is indeed HIV positive. Dorian finds that he is really good at talking with people about their problems so after the worst has passed with Justin he decides that he wants to become a councillor for people with HIV and AIDS.
Throughout all the turmoil going on with Justin, Adam is slowly getting Dorian used to his touch. He is constantly touching, rubbing and kissing Dorian especially the one place Dorian is so incredibly ashamed of, the brand. It’s at the base of his spine and it is degrading! Adam knows Dorian can’t get past the brand shame and degradation of what the brand says and means, Loch- German for Hole. Adam has a plan to make Dorian love his brand!
I think it’s such a shame that while Dorian was struggling to find the love he never had, no-one bothered to look past the façade he put forward. Nobody took the time to talk to him and try to find out exactly what it was that he was trying to achieve at the club. Dorian muddled his way through unfortunately getting it wrong more often than not because no-one took the time to talk to him and get to know him. He’s very lucky Adam saw through his façade and realised that Dorian was going to be his ‘one’. K.C. has outdone herself with Make Me Soar, it’s an emotional rollercoaster from the first page to the last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will definitely be recommending it to everyone!
* Received an ARC through Love Bytes/Same Sex Romance Reviews for a fair and honest review.
Oh my, I want expecting that. This book took me new heights, I thought I knew Dorian, I was wrong, I thought I understood all aspects of BDSM I was so wrong.
Dorian is not a pain slut, he's striving to find himself and can't. Instead he make a bad choice that could of gotten him killed. The Dorian we meet after the fact is so different, humbled, quiet and no cheeky spark to be found. I cried buckets, I wanted the Dorian we know and love back.
Alan is a Dom with a difference, he likes to play with the senses instead of whips. The two together are a formidable pair.
This book took me through my emotions much more than the other five books. I didn't think the author could top A Dance With Domination Book 4, I was so wrong. Although I have enjoyed the whole series to date Make Me Soar is by far my favourite. It was more than BDSM, it was more than sex.
I have waited a long time for Dorians story and I am happy to say KC Wells nailed it for me.
I Highly Recommend this series....
Review by Barb
Number six in the Collars and Cuffs series, in this one, Dorian finally got his own story. The resident pain slut of the Collars and Cuffs BDSM club wasn’t a very likeable character in the first few books, especially when he tried to break up Alex and Leo in An Unlocked Heart.
Any time a scene at the club called for a masochistic sub, Dorian was there, but Dorian was never affected enough by the scenes to be able to enter subspace, and that’s something he dearly wants. He finally decides he’s had enough of the club and heads to Berlin to a club that he’s heard about on the Internet— a club where he can likely get the kind of pain that will make him soar. But what he gets is far from what he wanted.
Thankfully, Alan Marchant, a Dom who has been watching Dorian for months and assessing Dorian’s readiness to try a short-term contract with him, is willing to drop everything and find Dorian when he fails to report in to his friend Pietro. Leo goes with him, and they search the club where they knew he’d been headed until they finally find someone who knows where he is. But, the broken, beaten, and bleeding young man they find is far from the proud submissive they knew.
Dorian is shattered, not only physically, but emotionally as well, and seeing him that way makes Alan either want to pound a wall, or hold Dorian close, or both. With Leo’s help, Alan tends to Dorian’s wounds, and from that moment on, Doran is Alan’s. Alan takes him to his home to recuperate, and as Dorian begins to come out of the early stages of grief over what happened, Alan discusses a short-term contract and promises Dorian that he will be able to make Dorian soar if Dorian is able to put his complete trust in his Dom.
It seems that Dorian, labeled a pain slut, and now branded by the men who brutalized him, has only ever really needed to be loved and nurtured and Alan can see that clearly. At first shying from the sensation of touch, Dorian becomes used to Alan’s touches, hugs, and kisses. The story moves in a totally unexpected direction, at least it was unexpected to me, but a direction which makes perfect sense and is actually beautifully on target for Dorian.
I came to really love him, and I enjoyed the relationship that developed between Dorian and Alan just as much as I loved the partnering of Alex and Leo, and Thomas and Peter. This is one of my top favorite stories of the series as the author uncovers the layers of Dorian’s personality and of Alan’s past and the relationship that most influenced his life.
I highly recommend this series to all lovers of M/M romance, BDSM, and a story with a very special and well-deserved HEA.
Dorian’s story is not always an easy read as his attempts to find what he has been missing out on lead him to a poor decision that will leave a permanent mark. Alan is a calm and patient man and just what Dorian doesn’t even know he needs. After watching him at the club for months, Alan swoops into Dorian’s life to save him, but is surprised to find that he needs some saving of his own as well. The two men are a seemingly perfect match not just physically, but intellectually and emotionally as well. I loved just seeing them interact day to day, learning about each other and working through their issues. There were times when I laughed and times where I cried, and I loved seeing Dorian come to realize what had been missing for him most of his life.
Throughout the series K.C. Wells has explored different aspects of BDSM beyond the bondage and pain play and again here, she has crafted a situation unique to the couple whose story is being told. It was great catching up with the other men of Collars and Cuffs, and while the majority of the story takes place away from the club, Dorian and Alan’s first scene there was so beautiful, I had to read it twice. This story can work as a standalone, you would definitely have a much greater appreciation for Dorian’s redemption having read the prior books.
Since the beginning of the Collars &Cuffs series by KC Wells, we have been on a journey of getting to know Dorian and through the stories his superficial self.
Now Dorian becomes the focus of the latest book of the series and what a story this is.
Dorian will transform before your eyes not before entering and enduring, I will say some of the most important and painful moments a human being can encounter. But to my surprise, he is a beautiful man deep inside.
All of this transformation could be possible in part to Alan, who we had also previously met. Alan is Dorian's salvation and what an extraordinary Dom and man, Alan is a soul full of beauty and not without his own suffering.
They are made for each other and it is beautiful to witness the process of creating a relationship based on learning and trusting.
I have to say without a doubt this book will make you feel that you can soar too.
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