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Safe In His Arms (Wicked Hearts, #2) by…
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Safe In His Arms (Wicked Hearts, #2)

by Claire Thompson

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153992,333 (4)None
In Wicked Hearts, Hank Seeley, Reese's controlling ex-lover, did his best to come between Reese and Jeff. Still bitter over Reese's desertion, Hank continues to use anger and sex to cover the shards of his broken heart. Not even bothering to pick up guys at bars, Hank orders in, calling for young rent boys to service him until he grows tired of them. When Russell Evans, a big bear of a man, shows up one night instead of the ordered twink, Hank ends up getting more than he bargained for. Russell is a sex worker with issues of his own. He's also a Dom with lots of heart, who sees a glimmer of the real man trapped beneath the cold fa#65533;ade Hank presents to the world. Russell is used to comforting the lonely men who seek out his services, but he doesn't count on his own powerful reaction to the handsome, difficult Hank Seeley. On this tough road to redemption, Hank will fall hard before he can hope to rise. The erotic exploration of dominance and submission is enough to draw the two men into a passionate connection, but in the end, it may not be enough. Unless Hank can face his own demons, he will lose the one thing worth fighting for-love.… (more)

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In many ways this second book, which tells us Hank's story, is even more fascinating than the first.

Having made me believe that Hank is the absolute villain in the first book, the author does an amazing job here with showing some of the background of this character. Does Hank get what he deserves? Yes. Is that the best part of the book? Surprisingly, I didn't think so. For me the best part was that Hank finally lets go of his preconceived ideas of what the world is like and manages to open up to another human being. He learns to grow and change.

And that development, for me, was far more difficult to achieve in a believable manner than seeing the man "punished". That would have been too easy, and not half as emotionally satisfying as what actually happens. I think I will read ths book again. The psychology behind it was simply amazing. ( )
  SerenaYates | Oct 19, 2017 |
I do not usually read books out of order. Safe in His Arms is the sequel to "Wicked Hearts" (a gay twist on Dangerous Liaisons/Cruel Intentions). I'm very familiar with that storyline, and while I was interested in reading it, it didn't seem like a "must-read now." However, when this came out I was instantly captured. Redemption is a very compelling storyline for me. So, I finished this last night while waiting for book 1 to be shipped. Fortunately, this can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.

It's plain right off that Hank's a pompous, arrogant ass. Not exactly protagonist material, but then Claire Thompson works some magic. Hank feels betrayed, and he's angry. He takes it out on an escort, who decides to get a little revenge by sending Russell for Hank's next appointment instead of the twink he ordered. Russell is a bear of a man with a gentle heart, and won't let Hank abuse him. Hank is shocked by someone standing up to him, and intrigued. Russell sees past the bravado and anger to the pain inside Hank, and also the potential. They begin a relationship and Hank begins to change.

Overall, I loved this story. Hank's a piece of work, but it's satisfying to see him get taken down a peg by someone without malicious intentions. The sex is hot, with a mild BDSM element (readers who avoid BDSM should still enjoy this) but the character development is off the charts. I liked Russell immediately, but also came to appreciate Hank. The only thing that bothered me was that even after they began a relationship, Russell continued as a "sex worker" to make money toward achieving his dreams. I can understand the need, but it seemed off that he would commit to Hank and still continue selling sex. Their relationship is unconventional to begin with so the story wasn't ruined by this fact, but it still irked me a bit. Overall, I highly recommend this and look forward to reading Wicked Hearts now. ( )
  jshillingford | Dec 16, 2010 |
I really didn’t like Hank in the previous book, Wicked Heart, and for sure I was not liking him in the first part of this book: not only Hank is a spoiled brat who is living out of his father’s money without doing nothing to gain them, neither being a decent man, he is also dangerous. Hank has a rage inside him that when it comes out, it hurts people around him. Hank is used to hire rent boys for sex, and more than once he is drunk when he is having sex with them so much that he is barely able to control his actions. True, when he realizes that he is going too much far away in the game, he always backs up but what if one time he will be too altered to be able to understand when the acceptable limit was reached?

With one of this guy Hank goes just a bit too much far into the pain/pleasure game, and the boy decides to take his vengeance: next time Hank calls for a twinky boy, barely legal and just a little that touch of shy that allows Hank to be the one in control, he instead welcomes in his home Russell, almost 40 years old red-hair bear, tall and strong and not at all shy. What I liked most of Russell is that his powerful exterior is only an addendum at his Dom’s attitude, it’s not what makes him a Dom. Russell is not only a Dom, he is also caring and kind, and he is able to see behind Hank’s public figure, to the lonely boy and now adult who would only want for people to like, and love, him.

Russell doesn’t force Hank to do nothing, not during sex or in his day-to-day life, but in a way he sets his pace: if Hank wants to be worthy of Russell’s love, he has to change, he has to be responsible and independent. But the independency is only on a financial level, since when it’s time to be emotioanally dependent, Russell is always ready to reassure Hank that he is indead, finally loved by someone, not for his money or power, but for the man he is, or he could be.

It’s not an easy change for Hank, but what I appreciated most about him is that he is immediately aware of his problem, and that Russell is part of the solution; Hank knows that he is lonely, he knows that he has gone too far away in his games playing with other men’s life, and now he has no one. He is not shy in asking Russell’s help, in admitting he loves him and needs him, Hank needs the help of a rent boy, even if Russell is not exactly your typical whore. Russell thinks to himself more like a sex worker than a whore, and part of his job is to make his customer’s comfortable with their sexuality. Since he is not so young, Russell’s customers are usually slightly older, and with most of them he has a friendly relationship, and maybe for this reason, even after he is involved with Hank, Russell will continue with his sex worker job, probably, and above all, since he needs to pay his bills, and as he is teaching to Hank, and adult man has to look out for himself.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1453702636/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
  elisa.rolle | Nov 13, 2010 |
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In Wicked Hearts, Hank Seeley, Reese's controlling ex-lover, did his best to come between Reese and Jeff. Still bitter over Reese's desertion, Hank continues to use anger and sex to cover the shards of his broken heart. Not even bothering to pick up guys at bars, Hank orders in, calling for young rent boys to service him until he grows tired of them. When Russell Evans, a big bear of a man, shows up one night instead of the ordered twink, Hank ends up getting more than he bargained for.
Russell is a sex worker with issues of his own. He's also a Dom with lots of heart, who sees a glimmer of the real man trapped beneath the cold facade Hank presents to the world. Russell is used to comforting the lonely men who seek out his services, but he doesn't count on his own powerful reaction to the handsome, difficult Hank Seeley.

On this tough road to redemption, Hank will fall hard before he can hope to rise. The erotic exploration of dominance and submission is enough to draw the two men into a passionate connection, but in the end, it may not be enough. Unless Hank can face his own demons, he will lose the one thing worth fighting for - love.
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