Before You Break

Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Series: Secrets (Wells & Williams), Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
Categories: Romance, Contemporary
4.6 out of 5 stars (151 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Six years ago, Ellis walked into his first briefing as the newest member of London's specialist firearms unit. He was partnered with Wayne, and they became fast friends. When Wayne begins to notice changes - Ellis’s erratic temper, the effects of sleep deprivation - he knows he has to act before Ellis reaches his breaking point.

He invites Ellis to the opening of the new BDSM club, Secrets, where Wayne has a membership. His purpose? He wants Ellis to glimpse the lifestyle before Wayne approaches him with a proposition. He wants to take Ellis in hand, to control his life because he wants his friend back, and he figures this is the only way to do it.

There are a few issues, however. Ellis is straight. Stubborn. And sexy. Wayne knows he has to put his own feelings aside to be what Ellis needs. What surprises the hell out of him is finding out what Ellis actually requires.

©2017 K.C. Wells, Parker Williams (P)2018 Dreamspinner Press

What listeners say about Before You Break

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Beautiful Story

K.C. Wells and Parker Williams team up again to bring us Before You Break, the first book in their new Secrets series. A spin-off of Collars and Cuffs, you don’t need to have read those stories to appreciate this one, though fans will be as excited as I was to have a few beloved characters popping in.

Aptly named, Before You Break is an intimate and moving story of one man whose world is falling apart and how, using BDSM, his friend intervenes to save him. Partnered for six years in London’s Specialist Firearms unit, Wayne takes note of Ellis’ increasingly erratic behavior, bouts of uncontrolled anger, and dangerous mistakes at work. It takes some time, but Wayne finally gets the story of what’s going on in Ellis’ life. In addition to the stresses of the job, his family obligations are doing him in both physically and mentally.

Wayne presents a D/s relationship as a way to give Ellis some control and provide the support he needs to get his life back on track. Their relationship starts to change as the men navigate the challenges this presents in their friendship and as colleagues. As the attraction between them grows and they incorporate other elements of BDSM into their relationship, the passion between them explodes.

I really enjoy the way this story unfolds and what happens to both men along the way. Clearly a proud and capable man, Ellis has become overwhelmed and reached his breaking point. As he starts to see how having the support Wayne gives as his Dom affects him, other aspects of Ellis’ life begin to change as well.

For Wayne the changes are more subtle, having finally found his ideal submissive his confidence grows and his character softens. He’s tender and patient but also deliciously commanding as he guides Ellis through some very intense events in his life.

K.C. Wells and Parker Williams do a marvelous job with the dynamic between these two men and the changes that happen in their relationship. Done in the third person, we get both Wayne and Ellis’ stories, plus their impressions of what the other is experiencing. It really moved me to see how Ellis embraces his need for submission, and I enjoyed how Wayne responds to the challenges along the way. Wayne has such a sexy way about him, when Ellis gets bratty and tests his limits... so hot.

This is an intimate and emotional story and Joel Leslie emphasizes it nicely with the intensity in his narration. The consistent, dependable strength of Wayne flows throughout, whereas Ellis runs the gamut of emotions. His desperation and fear, his panicky breakdown, and his heartbreaking defeat all come across loud and clear and stay true to Ellis’ character as he navigates this journey.

Joel Leslie does an amazing job shifting between the alternating points of view, he keeps Ellis and Wayne’s voices unique and distinct. Additionally, there are a wide variety of characters in this story: co-workers, club members, family members, and Leslie brings something special to each of them. His skill with accents is on full display in Before You Break and it is a pleasure to listen to from beginning to end.

This was a deeply moving story for me. Watching Ellis discover and embrace his needs, and seeing the joy it gives Wayne to provide it was really lovely. These two unfulfilled men come together and become whole in the process. In Ellis’ words as he kneels at Wayne’s feet, “For the first time in his life he’d found his place.”

4 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

What did you love best about Before You Break?

What didn't I love about it is the better question. The answer to that would be nothing. I loved the whole book from the plot to the characters.

What other book might you compare Before You Break to and why?

I would have to compare it to Collars and Cuffs. Because this is it's spin off. That being said CC was awesome and I know that this Secrets series will be as well!

What does Joel Leslie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Complete and total emotion for all the characters in the book. It was very easy to paint a vivid picture in my head with him narrating.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did actually laugh a lot while listening to this book. I will be honest in saying that it also turned me of a few times as well. (If only I could just find my own club...)

Any additional comments?

I would highly recommend this book/ series to anyone that wants to hear a very well done gay erotic novel. Especially if you were into Collars and Cuffs.

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible very dynamic read.

This was my first book from these authors as well as the narrator and I must say both get 5⭐️. I was a tiny bit nervous when the beginning of the story seemed a bit disjointed and so I decided there hard to be a reason for it. I won’t put in any spoilers but this book took me through all the emotions. The scenes were Soo hot. The Dom Sub relationship displayed believable growth from the introduction of it to the main characters through the end. The secondary story lines were also powerful issues that those in not only GBT but the BDSM lifestyle. Thank you again to the author as I believe that without him, the story would have lacked that authentic feel required for a novel set in London, England.

1 person found this helpful

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Even the strong need help at times.

Before You Break is the first book in the new Secrets series. It is a spin-off from Collars and Cuffs but you can easily pick up this series first.

Wayne and Ellis have been best friends and partners at work n the special forces unit since Ellis walked in. Wayne has a few secrets though, only one of which he wishes that Ellis was more than his work partner. When he notices Ellis is moody, rundown and his health is slipping He shows his friend the other side of him and offers to take him in hand to help him. Ellis s taken aback and revolts at first.

I loved seeing Jarod and Eli again. I have been waiting a long time for this book.K.C. wells and Parker Williams has done a great job building the new setting, blending the new characters and plots together.I loved that Ellis fought his attraction at first, and the need to submit was a slow build. I also loved that he was a power bottom and not meek. Not often do you see a big strapping man as the submissive and I liked that in this book.I didn't see the twist at the end coming and was pleasantly surprised. I can't wait to see who the next couple will be.

If you like BDSM, Ds relationships, friends to lovers, coworker relationships and some very hot man-sex you will love this one!

I loved this book but liked the audio even better. Joel Leslie does an exceptional job giving these men voice and bringing out the emotion of the story. I loved the English accents and strong voice. I could listen all day while doing chores.

1 person found this helpful

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All the Stars

I have been waiting a long time for this book. K C Wells is a favorite of mine and I rub my hands with glee waiting for the audio. I had almost given up hoping that the Secrets series would make it because the second e book has been out for some time. I am forever glad I did not give in, due to the fact that I also love this narrator. Please hurry up with the next one. I really don't want to wait.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good book

I loved the book but the narrator sounded like a 70 year old man reading it. still give it 5 stars for the content

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WOW ⭐

Another great book from fantastic K.C. Wells and Parker Williams! And a great start to the new series with some cameo from Collars and Cuffs what I really loved. A strong guy who is at the end of his rope and is drowning under the pressure. A great friend who wants to be more and take care of him. And a lot of heat and sexy scenes in between ;) The narration by Joel Leslie just gave another dimension to the book and made it even better!

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great spinoff

I am so glad Joel Leslie got to keep narrating the spin off to Collars and Cuffs. I really enjoyed this audio. The narration was of course great... The story, while a bit slow, was a great build up for the relationship between Wayne and Ellis. I especially loved Ellis' journey. Highly recommend this one!!

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Just not the same connection...

First, the book started out a bit disjointed. Was it about Jared and Eli? Or Ellis and Wayne? Too much back and forth. Also, I never really connected with Jsred and Eli, plus Jared sounds like he’s 70, not 50. Wayne and Ellis also sounded like they were well into their 40s. It was an interesting premise, but I just didn’t feel the emotional connection I had with the Collars and Cuffs series.

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awesome review of an awesome book!

Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted the AUDIO file of this book. Six years ago, Ellis joined the Specialist Firearms Unit. Wayne was his partner, but Wayne wanted more, much more. Ellis is straight though. When Ellis begins a spiral downwards, and Wayne can no longer keep covering for him, he knows what he needs to do. Question is, will Ellis let Wayne help the way he wants to, the way Ellis NEEDS him to? Book one of the Secrets series, which is a spin off from the Collars and Cuffs series. I’ve no read ANY of those, so this is brand new to me. I really REALLY loved this one! Ellis is, by his own admission, struggling to come to terms with his responsibilities forced on him at an early age, an age when he should have been learning how to be a boy, not a man. Wayne keeps covering for his silly mistakes but it’s getting more and more difficult. After a particularly difficult op, Wayne decides enough is enough and knows what Ellis needs. But Ellis has always portrayed himself as straight, and vanilla and Wayne is neither. Wayne knows Ellis needs to be “taken in hand” to get to the bottom of what’s bothering him, and Wayne is just the man to do it: the ONLY man to do it. Not all of Ellis’ problems are immediately clear, and it takes time for the full picture to develop and I loved that. You don’t get a massive info dump. Ellis is. . . .difficult . . .when Wayne introduces him to the lifestyle and it is, in some places, rather amusing the conversations Ellis has with himself about what Wayne is doing, WHY he is doing it. Wayne has loved Ellis since first meeting him 6 years ago, and to have carried that flame for so long was hard on him, but finally getting his hands (quite literally!) on Ellis is a balm to his soul. Ellis is his other half and he needs Ellis to see that. The story unfolds at a steady pace, with Wayne kinda plodding along with Ellis till ELLIS decides he wants more, and I really did like that. Sometimes, things need to speed along but not so much here and it made for a great listen. Joel Leslie narrates. Leslie is, in my humble opinion, a MASTER at accents. These two guys are Londoners, and the accents were spot on. Jarod and Eli pop up, they are the new owners of Secrets and their accents are very different but again, spot on. Leslie does get all the emotions that both Ellis and Wayne are going through, and I cried in some places. I ooohhh-ed and aaahhh-ed and YAY-ed and NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-ed in places, out loud. I don’t do that when I’m reading but when I’m listening I seem to be more vocal with my reactions and I can only assume that’s the skill of the narrator coming across. I had to giggle a bit though. Mr Leslie is, I think, American, and the man CANNOT say leisurely like we do in the UK. Every other word was spot on, but that one? Nope, not right. But I won’t hold it against him, cos I LOVED this narration! I already have book 2 lined up, and I hope that Wayne, Ellis, Eli and Jarod pop up along the way. Be great to catch up with them. 5 stars for the book 5 stars for the narration 5 stars overall **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

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  • MaryD
  • 08-17-18

Wonderful story with excellent narration

I absolutely love Eli and Jarod from Cuffs and Collars but now they have their own place Secrets and are building another family of friends to go with their Manchester family. These books are written in such a way that you can’t help but get pulled into the story, rising with the highs and sinking with the low points in their lives. Joel Leslie does them justice. The excellent characterisation shows how passionate he is about bring a story to life and letting the listener into this wonderful world.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer 2
  • 09-16-19

Enjoyable

I have listened to a lot of BDSM books but this differs mostly by showing the journey to accepting the lifestyle and one's position in it, as well as how it can impact one's life altogether. I did enjoy the couple, however I think what happened at the end didn't have to be that dramatic for a romance. But on the other hand, I suppose it was realistic, to each is his own. I loved the book but my only note would be that some parts felt a little disconnected and I didn't enjoy the beginning, almost stopped because I was confused. But I'm happy I didn't because I did not the book in the end

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  • OCorkyO
  • 06-30-19

fantastic!

Yay yay yay I loved Collers and cuffs and now with this off shoot I'm so happy ... the narator is perfect keep them coming please thank you

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  • Delano
  • 11-12-18

Love this book!!!

I love this book, the world building, the character building and of course the many, many voices of Mr Joel Leslie. This is my go to book and I will never tire of it. Just can’t wait for the next two in the series.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-18-20

Dreadful narration

Great story and characters but the narration was awful. So many accents - Mancunian, scouser, Irish, welsh, Scottish, West Country, cockney... plus a couple of geriatric sounding characters and a couple of characters that just sounded like halfwits. Plus all the accents were inconsistent. Just no.