An Unlocked Heart by KC Wells
Since the death of his submissive lover two years ago, Leo hasn't been living--merely existing. He focuses on making Collars & Cuffs, a BDSM club in Manchester's gay village, successful. That changes the night he and his business partner have their weekly meeting at Severinos. Leo can't keep his eyes off the new server. The shy man seems determined to avoid Leo's gaze, but that's like a red rag to a bull. Leo loves a challenge.
Alex Daniels words at Severinos to scrape together the money to move out on his own. He struggles with coming out, but he's drawn to Leo, the gorgeous guy with the icy-blue eyes who's been eating in his area nearly every night.
Leo won't let Alex's hesitance get in the way. He even keeps him away from the club so as not to scare him. And as for telling Alex that Leo is a Dom? Not a good idea. One date becomes two, but date two leads to Leo's bedroom...and Alex discovers things about himself he never realized--and never wanted anyone to see.
Alex is unhappy living with his parents after being away for four years at university. But the job market sucks and he is feeling lucky to have a job as a server at Severinos even if it is taking him a long time to save up enough to rent his own apartment so he can get away from his cold, unfeeling mother and selfish, untrustworthy younger brother. Spying a sexy, tall man with vibrant blue eyes sitting at a table and then having his boss ask him to be the server brings all of Alex's nervousness to the forefront. He makes it through dinner but is shocked when Mr. Sexy comes back...night after night.
Leo can't believe that any man has caught his interest--he was sure that all of those feelings died with his lover and submissive, but he can't get Alex off his mind. When he finally finagles a date he is ecstatic. When one date leads to two, and then two leads to hot lovin' Leo is thrilled. For the first time in a long time he is happy. Everything about Alex leads Leo to believe that he is submissive, but Leo worries about rushing Alex and so keeps his Dom life to himself. Unfortunately, someone else has their eyes on Leo and hopes to sabotage his relationship with Alex by giving him a pass to Collars & Cuffs. What Alex sees there shatters the trust he has placed in Leo and both men are left miserable and alone.
Watching both men realize that they aren't willing to give up their amazing relationship without a fight was refreshing...Alex decides that he won't let his fears dictate his life and Leo determines that he is going to sit down and talk with Alex about this part of his life. If he can show Alex his world from his point of view, Leo is sure that Alex will see himself fitting into Leo's life where Leo desperately wants him to be. This doesn't come easily to either of them, however...they might have needed a quick kick in the pants from their closest friends but once their heads were screwed on straight they went after each other.
This is an amazing beginning to a series that I am excited to read more of...I loved this author's writing style. There was a great balance of romance and steam. I am really looking forward to reading more books in the Collars & Cuffs series and can only hope I like them all as much as this one!