Someone to Keep Me by KC Wells and Parker Williams
Eighteen-year-old Scott Keating knows a whole world exists beyond his parents' strict control, but until he gains access to the World Wide Web, he really has no idea what's out there. In a chat room, Scott meets "JeffUK." Jeff loves and understands him, and when he offers to bring Scott to the UK, Scott seizes his chance to escape his humdrum life and see the world. But when his plane touches down and Jeff isn't there, panic sets in.
Collars & Cuffs favorite barman and Dom-in-training, Ben Winters, drops his sister off at the airport and finds a lost, anxious Scott. Hearing Scott's story sets off alarm bells, along with his protective instincts. Taking pity on the naive boy, Ben offers him a place to crash and invites him to Collars & Cuffs, hoping his bosses will know how to help. Scott dreams of belonging to someone, heart and soul. Ben longs for a sub of his own. And neither man sees whats right under his nose.
After reading, and loving, the first two Collars & Cuffs books, I read the blurb to this book and immediately downloaded it. This blurb sounded like it would be right up my alley--and as the book began, I settled in for another great read. And it was. At first. Reading about Scott's oppressive, overbearing parents. Watching him gather his courage to flee to the airport. Seeing him lost and scared with nothing except the clothes on his back in an airport in a foreign country. Ben showing up and being caring and sweet. Watching the two begin to connect...it was all lovely. And then it went straight downhill from there and when I finally finished the book, my first thought was, "What a disappointment!"
Ben, a thirty-year-old man who has had the responsibility of taking care of his mother who has Alzheimer's started out as a very swoony hero who dealt competently with the harsh realities that life can deal out. And then he decides to let Scott stay with him and he regresses from that point into an immature jerk who covers for his boss who is obviously not doing his job, ignores Scott completely unless it is to yell at him about something (usually connected to money), keeps insisting that he wants Scott to find a Dom until a Dom is found and then Ben is suddenly possessive, and worst of all, sends Scott away to live with a family that Scott literally gave everything up once before to escape.
Scott is an eighteen year old boy who has never had any type of independence. The first time he rebels, it is to run away to England using a ticket bought by an internet friend (can we say online predator?) whom he has never seen or met. When he realizes the trouble he is in, he relies on another stranger to take care of him. He makes it clear many times to different people that his biggest dream is to have someone take care of him; he decides he wants to be a sub because then he could provide service while someone else made all the decisions and he could be cared for. He hooks onto Ben as the one he wants but it feels as if someone else had seen him in the airport and cared for him, that he would have just as easily felt the same emotions for that person. I never saw why Scott fell for Ben specifically but then again, I never really saw why Ben fell for Scott either. It seemed more a matter of circumstance and convenience rather than compatibility or love.
When the two finally do settle into a D/s relationship, weeks are glossed over at time so we never see them really meshing...we are only given bits and bobs of the training and are more told they are falling in love than shown it. I cannot honestly say that I believe in the HEA in this book which is a shame because both Scott and Ben started out as characters I really liked and while I continued to care for Scott through to the end, I quickly grew disillusioned with Ben. I wish that Scott had been able to take the time to grow up a bit, to find his independence so that I could feel that he really knew what it was he wanted rather than just wanting to emulate what he saw between other loving couples. And the last line of the book is Scott saying that he is happy because he always wanted someone who would keep him...It makes it sound like he is just relieved that someone finally wants him and he could care less who it actually is. Which might be an okay thing, because while Ben apologized and admitted his faults he never groveled to my satisfaction so I feel that Scott got the short end of the stick in this questionable HEA.
Despite all of this, I am not ready to give up on this series...In fact we are given quite the tease about a possible future couple that I really want to read about. However, if there is another entry in the series like this one, I might have to call it quits.