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Publisher's Summary

Krystina Cole was a girl on a mission. She had big dreams and aspirations, none of which included a man by her side. She knew better than that - at least until she met Alexander Stone, the New York billionaire real estate tycoon. She saw the way that he looked at her, and the dark promises in his eyes. She was curious about his world and all that it entailed. But the shadows of her past haunted her, making her afraid to explore possibilities that she could never before have imagined....

Alexander Stone was a man who knew how to get what he wanted. He understood the value of finesse, and the importance of patience and diligence to achieve the desired result. He was successful and wealthy, relying on his naturally sharp instincts to guide him through life. But a chance run-in with Krystina Cole quickly turned his world upside down. Her quick wit and firecracker attitude was the complete opposite of what he wanted in a woman, and his instincts failed him at every turn....

However, both Krystina and Alexander are clinging to the secrets of their past, and neither of them are willing to compromise. Krystina's hardened heart makes emotional surrender a hard limit. But for Alexander, revealing his past could have devastating results. Visit www.dakotawillink.com.

©2015 Dakota Willink (P)2017 Dakota Willink

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I think fans of 50 shades will love this book

I have struggled over this review, more than I ever have any others. I contemplated not reviewing it at all. Contrary to what some people believe reviewers/ bloggers don’t like to be negative, but we also don’t feel the need to give everything 5 stars. Which is why, in the end, I’ve decided to write this review, because I committed to it and I’ve always been honest and I hope fair, in my reviews.

Alexander Stone is a wealthy businessman who takes a shine to Krystina Cole, both have sworn off relationships but sex? They can do no strings sex, surely that’s ok? Only Alexander has certain expectations when it comes to sex that Krystina may not be able to deliver. The chemistry they feel for each other is enough to make them question everything. Will they be able to overcome the odds and make their unconventional relationship work or will their secrets ruin things before they can really start?

I have to start by saying this story was not my cup of tea, the subject yes, but not the execution. I felt the story had great promise and at the beginning, I enjoyed it and thought it was a book I was going to love, it pains me to say that it didn’t work out that way. I had so many issues with how certain elements were handled. That, of course, is personal opinion and I’m sure many will read or listen to it and enjoy it. It was well written and although I don’t like to compare books, I will say that I think if you’re a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey you’ll like this book.

Alexander and Krystina literally bump into one another and the chemistry is there, they meet again and flirting ensues. Krystina needs a job and that job comes in the form of an offer from Alexander… with perks, he’s a dominant not looking for love but a sub he can spend a few nights with. Krystina is not a sub, she’s not a sub when he suggests it, and she’s not a sub throughout the book, she’s a woman mesmerised by a man who doesn’t take the time to explain things to her properly; things he wants, things he expects, and then he gets upset when she doesn’t act like a sub and questions him.

When I started listening to this book I liked Alexander but as the story progressed I took a dislike to him. He kept talking about trust like it was something that he could demand and Krystina would give, without question and without it being a two-way street. I’m sorry but it doesn’t work that way. The more he demanded the more I started to dislike him. I didn’t understand his need to keep his secrets so close to his chest, especially with someone he was falling for.
I liked Krystina, for me, she was a light in this story. She was sweet, yet strong, and knew what she did and didn’t want. I did get frustrated a few times when I wanted her to be firmer and stand her ground. The reveal of her secret was a pivotal moment in the story and for her as a character and it touched my heart.

The relationship between them was baffling, it was like neither of them knew what they really wanted. So much happened, in such a short space of time, it was hard to keep track of all the ups and downs. The sex scenes were steamy, well written and played a pivotal role in the story.

Jeffrey Kafer was great in this book, his performance of Alexander was fantastic. He transitions smoothly from the male and female POV and really draws you into the story.
I enjoyed Lacy Laurel’s performance of Krystina, I thought she had a great voice for her. When it came to Alexander I did have to increase the speed, but once I did I found I could enjoy it that little bit more. The part of the performance that really stood out for me was when Krystina was revealing her secret, the emotion and determination conveyed in the performance was beautiful.
However, the contrast between Lacy and Jeffrey is so stark that I feel the narration would have been better as a duet or if the book had only one narrator. Because Jeffrey has a deep baritone, so the switch between the two was so shockingly different that it took away a little from the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So much better then I thought!

I really enjoyed this story. As it went on I started liking it more and more. Story had you holding your breath and I couldn't stop listening. But hated that it was a cliffhanger:( I didn't realize that till the end.

I received this title for free in exchange for an unbiased review.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Better than 50 Shades!

When you read the blurb you can see "shares" of a certain book, but this audio is way better!

I'm a sucker for a dominant broody billionaire tycoon when it's done right and Krystina wasn't a push over female lead.

It is a cliffhanger, but I really got into the story and can't wait to see what happens next

Jeffrey Kater was at his growly best with this narration. Lacy Laurel was good as Krystina, but I felt she sounded more mature than the character she narrated, but this is a personal opinion

I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Blast.

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VERY Reminiscent of FSOG...

(SN: the books ends in a cliffhanger)

I have mixed feelings about this book - part of which stems from not caring for the female narrators voice and some from the fact that it was so similar to FSOG. From the millionaire dominant with the troubled childhood, to the brown haired ingenue that he finds himself obsessed with, to said ingenue who is naive, uneducated, and unprepared for the lifestyle - it almost comes off as fan-fictiony. That being said, I kinda liked the story. I'm pretty sure I liked Alex as a person more than Christian and while I didn't like Krystina as much as Alex, I liked her better than Ana. He exhibited more warmth and emotional depth, while she had more backbone. I detested the way they both failed to properly communicate with each other about their pasts considering how relevant they were to the present, as well as their failure to communicate honestly about their feelings towards each other. But I just couldn't stop listening. Full disclosure, I flipped to my Kindle copy of the book for the female narrators portion and I listened to the whole thing at 1.25x speed. There's was just a quality to her voice and something about the cadence and her spacing between words that sort of drove me nuts. I give the book 3 out of 5 wine glasses.

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A refreshingly Different Take

Krystina Cole has sworn off men after suffering through an abusive relationship. The last thing Krys needs is a domineering, controlling man. Domineering and controlling is exactly what Alexander Stone has always been and he’s had no trouble bending women to his will… until he meets Krystina who stymies him at every turn and it both frustrates and excites. Krystina is someone Alexander he can’t make demands of. There’s a strong attraction between the two, but both will have to bend or these two broken people will shatter completely.

Heart of Stone is a refreshing story in the BDSM genre. It’s a strong story that revolves around the characters instead of around kink. Sure, there’s heat and plenty of it, but it doesn’t drive the story and I like that a lot. Author Dakota Willink pens a story filled with sass and heartbreak.

This 14-hour audiobook is a dual narration by Lacy Laurel and Jeffrey Kafer, both narrators did a fantastic job. Jeffrey Kafer stands out in this production, how can you not love his voicing of the alpha male? He pulls it off like few can! The entire audio production is high quality and it shows in the finished product.

Heart of Stone is the first in a series so expect the dreaded cliffhanger. It’s ended well though, and I eagerly await the next book in the series.

This audiobook was gifted to me in exchange for an unbiased review!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Unable to get into it

How could the performance have been better?

This sounds like a book I would love, but I just couldn't get into it bc of the female narrator. The intonation just felt very off. Every statement ended sounding like a question. I also honestly didn't even realize there was a male narrator, andvlov books that are narrated with both sects, as opposed to one narrator throwing their voice. I think the female voice must have been much louder? Either way, I gave up pretty early on...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Couldn't Get into It.

Would you try another book from Dakota Willink and/or Lacy Laurel and Jeffrey Kafer ?

Only if she gets a different narrator. The guy voice wasn't too bad but the female voice I just didn't like.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Crow.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The female voice was loud and if you turned the volume down, you couldn't hear the male voice. Very frustrating.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Heart of Stone: The Stone Series, Volume 1?

Some of the grocery scenes.

Any additional comments?

I received this book in exchange for a true unbiased review. Honestly, I just couldn't get into it. I think the female voice was the biggest obstacle.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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For fans of 50 Shades

Where does Heart of Stone: The Stone Series, Volume 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high, loved this book and the performances by the narrators were excellent.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the story and subject matter. BDSM, particularly Dom/sub relationship, was at the core of the story and portrayed in a positive light.

What does Lacy Laurel and Jeffrey Kafer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

They both brought emotion to the characters they were reading for, you don't get as much of it when you read as opposed to listen.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Krystina and Alex are talking at the end of the book, very emotional.

Any additional comments?

Great listen and I highly recommend it, but it may not be for everyone. It also ends on a cliffhanger, not fond of that but it doesn't take away from the book. I received a free copy of this audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Love

I loved this book both in print and eBook and now on audible as well. The story is emotional and gripping and keeps you hooked.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The female narrator made it bad

What disappointed you about Heart of Stone: The Stone Series, Volume 1?

It could have been a good listen. But the female narrator have such strange and unnatural tonation. It is just so off, and when she speaks a male part. I really hardly could listen to the story cause it was so awkward to me.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Don't know really.

Would you be willing to try another one of Lacy Laurel and Jeffrey Kafer ’s performances?

Not Lacy Laurel.

Any additional comments?

Read it instead. The female narrator is really off. Listen to something else/a sample of her reading before buying this.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Bethany McCann
  • 10-21-17

50 Shades of Better!

This was amazing. I loved this, I only found a few issues, but that was merely something on my part, not the authors or the narrators, if you were left feeling disappointed by 50 Shades of Grey then give this a go.

At first all I could do was compare with FSOG but once I got past that, I couldnt stop listening and loved it.

I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher, and/or narrator

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-19-17

Review

This is such a good story, but very emotional and difficult because of all the hangups Alexander and Krystina are living with. It is clear that they had an immediate and strong attraction to each other that could turn into enduring love. However this can never happen unless they come to terms with their pasts. I liked the way the story was narrated very much, it had a powerful effect on me and I really want to listen to the conclusion.