An Unlocked Heart, the first instalment in the Collars & Cuffs series, is my favourite gay BDSM romance novel to date. There are some parts in the story that still rub me the wrong way, but as far as emotional involvement, hot love scenes and true romance are concerned, it is right on the top my list.
Trusting Thomas is the story about Leo's (the dom hero in the aforementioned story) best friend and business partner Thomas. Thomas is 56 years old and a very well recognised and established sub and dom trainer in the BDSM lifestyle. He gets involved in rescuing the thirty years younger abused sub, Peter, and subsequently helps him to heal and to learn about a consensual way of domination and submission.
First of all, I would like to say that I truly loved the story. I think that the kink aware and friendly way Thomas helps Peter to recuperate is the right choice, as Peter clearly is submissive but never had the chance to learn about the lifestyle in a safe surrounding.
My problem with the story, however, was that in the beginning, when Peter was just saved and came to live with Thomas, he is either offered a contract which asks total submission of him (i.e. to follow all of Thomas's rules) or to go. Peter is deadly afraid of his former captor and the "go part" is never further elaborated. Thomas never asks him whether there are parents, friends or relatives who need to be contacted. Frankly, that would be my first question. Is there someone you want to know that you are safe? Peter doesn't have anyone waiting for him but Thomas doesn't know that.
In a way Trusting Thomas is very realistic without any fairytale parts, but somehow the story also feels as if it was set in a parallel universe very similar to earth but where it's normal to proceed in such situations the way it is done in this story.
My second problem with the story is the age gap of thirty years. I love May December romances, but while reading Trusting Thomas I also realised that thirty years of age difference are simply too much, even for me.
Ultimately, I grade a book by my enjoyment factor which definitely was high. I just had to blend out certain aspects and that wasn't all that difficult. B+