Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Lock and Key
AUTHOR: Z. Allora
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 300 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 15, 2016
Rejected. Heartbroken. Devastated.
Zack Davis wanted to serve only one man, Andrew Nikeman. He was denied because Andrew thought he was too young and because their brothers were together. So Zack crushed his submissive tendencies and focused on being the perfect Dom, giving every sub he played with something he couldn’t have.
After years of denying his submissive side, Entwined’s charity auction “Are you Dom Enough to be a sub?” gives Zack an excuse to get a little of what he’s always craved.
Andrew doesn’t know when his infatuation turned into more, but it kills him to see Zack with a constant parade of submissives. He’d refused to jeopardize his brother’s relationship or become Zack’s regret; however, Zack isn’t a kid anymore, and his brother’s relationship is unbreakable. Now Zack’s popularity and success as a Dom might ruin Andrew’s dreams of collaring him, but he can’t wait any longer to confess his feelings or he risks losing the man he loves forever.
When I first picked up Lock and Key, I had certain expectations about what I’d be reading and I find myself in the position of both having those expectations met and also not met at the same time. Based on the blurb I’d assumed that the start of the book would take place after Zack had been rejected and made himself into the perfect Dom but that wasn’t actually the case. The story starts with Zack and Drew’s first meeting and the author lets us see how the initial awkward meeting (on Zack’s side, anyway) turned to friendship and then into more. While the beginning was a little slower because of this, it really allowed me to get to know the characters and it was easier to understand Zack and just how badly being turned down hurt him.
I really felt bad for Zack as its obvious throughout the entire book just how deep his feelings for Drew went and how, even years later, he tailors his actions around the hurt he still carries. While Zack’s actions may have him labeled a switch, it was painfully obvious that he was a submissive through and through. It even states in the book that he pushed those tendencies aside and modeled himself into a Dom through a lot of training. Aside from his enjoyment helping subs fulfill their desires, he doesn’t really show any Dominant traits though it was interesting seeing him strive to be the perfect Dom because he doesn’t feel he can allow himself to be a sub anymore. This also made it really satisfying when he finally gives himself leave to explore his submissive side and the changes that decision leads him to make. The BDSM aspects of the story were fairly mild in my opinion, however, and were really in the background for probably a little more than half of the book as the story itself, and the characters, were the focus.
Everything in this one moved along at a good, easy pace while the drama and minor angst added another dimension to what could otherwise have been an easy yet bland read. I liked the time the author took to really introduce and set up the dynamic between the main characters and I enjoyed the story throughout. Also, while not listed as part of the Dark Angels series, this book is kind of a companion piece as it takes place in the same universe and features a lot of the same characters. I haven’t read the Dark Angels series, however, but I still had no problems getting into the story or with understanding the setting and secondary characters. I liked this one and will most likely read it again but people who enjoy heavy duty BDSM may not get the same enjoyment out of it that I did. If you like your stories with a little kink, however, this could be for you.