Secured and Free by Z. Allora #LGBT #Review #BDSM #Giveaway #BlogTour

Dana and Wendy review Secured and Free (Entwined Desires, # 2) by Z. Allora (Published by Dreamspinner Press, May 26, 2017, 226 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Read ahead for a Guest Post from the author, an exclusive excerpt, and a giveaway. 

To read Dana’s review of Lock and Key (Entwined Desires, #1) click here.

My Love Affair with Cover Art

If you know anything about me it’s that I’m an art whore. I ADORE art. Cover art is amazing because if you work with the right artist they pull your characters right out of your head and into the world. It’s nothing short of a miracle!

Secured and Free’s characters (Orion, Hunter and Marcus) captured my heart even before I wrote about them. As they revealed themselves to me, I desperately wanted to see them!

About three years ago, I found K-Koji’s work via Deviant Art. I stalked his page and couldn’t help, but gush at his talent. I begged and he took my commission to do Lock and Key’s cover, and more recently Secured and Free’s cover art. Each piece took him about a year to complete. Whenever possible, I never rush an artist. Time crunches don’t assist in making loveliness.

Countless e-mails went back and forth between K-Koji and me not only about the characters, but the scene I was trying to capture on the cover. He’s super understanding, very patient, and asks great clarifying questions that helped me give him the details he needed to get the visual onto the page.

Secured and Free’s cover captures a scene that happens later in the book. Marcus, Hunter and Orion are at Entwined (their BDSM club). In this scene, Hunter is returning from visiting the lockers since phones with cameras aren’t allowed in Entwined’s main space, and he needed to text a friend. Orion has just made a declaration that has thrilled and terrified Marcus.

The scene takes place in the Albany, New York Entwined. Entwined is a network of clubs and each club décor is a bit different. This club has a Medieval Renaissance flair. The main space is stonework, chandeliers, gilded tables and chests, scattered among sofas and chairs cushioned in lush fabrics.

The first book in the Entwined Dreams series: Lock and Key the cover shows you a view of the stage where BDSM demonstrations as well as the Are You Dom Enough to be a sub auction takes place.

Secured and Free’s cover, allows us to view stonework of the landing. The landing is the place where the members are able to let to rest of the world drop away and can melt into their BDSM fantasies. The landing is a place where one is able to see the entire main space of the club and one can be seen by all. Coming down the stone staircase alone or as part of a couple, trio or moresome sends a clear message to all.

*****

Blurb: 

An abusive Dom robbed Orion Gordon of his love of BDSM, destroying his confidence and leaving him unsure he’ll ever find peace through submission to another. Still, deep inside, his longing continues. 

Marcus Sadir loves Hunter Dixon, yet can’t be the one thing Hunter truly desires: a sub to control. And Hunter can’t find satisfaction in the sadistic aspects of the BDSM lifestyle, while Marcus thrives on inflicting and sharing pain. When Marcus convinces Hunter they should find a third on a permanent basis, they discover Orion might be the key to bridging their differences and joining them on a deeper level. 

But they must help Orion move past his trauma enough for him to enjoy new facets of BDSM and kink again. Their journey toward becoming whole—together—won’t be without challenges. Can Orion trust enough to try again?

Buy links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | B&NAdd to Goodreads

*****

Marcus froze at the stone landing and scrutinized the shadowed main space of Entwined. The tables and chairs were filled with members and friends, both new and old. Light scenes played out in the room as other couples and groups made their way to the back rooms.

He inhaled the scent of sex and leather. Ah, the perfume of freedom. Entwined’s air threatened to make descending the stairs a difficult task.

“You good, Orion?” Maybe Marcus was a bit protective if he were to judge Hunt’s expression of “let the man be a sub,” which was hard to miss, even if one attempted to ignore it.

“Yes, Marcus.” A rod of steel seemed to straighten Orion’s core.

Hunter stepped over to Marcus’s right, stirring the scent of leather and man as he moved. He’d gotten Hunter that tailored vest for Christmas last year. It was worth every extra tattoo he’d had to give to afford the sexy creation. The way it stretched across Hunter’s muscles made Marcus want to rub his face on Hunter’s pecs.

People downstairs started to notice them. Entrance made. He grabbed Orion’s hand and Hunter’s. They glided down the stairs in a way that announced they were a trio.

*****

Dana – 

Since the guest post is about book covers, I definitely want to bring up the cover of Secured and Free in my review. This cover, all of Z. Allora’s book covers, are beautiful. The men on the covers are always beautiful and sexy and all male. The background details in this cover are really cool to see and it represents the scene discussed very well.

I read Lock and Key, book one of this series, because it tied to The Dark Angels series. I read Secured and Free because the author hooked me into the BDSM world she created in the club Entwined and the characters that were members there. I am not personally into BDSM but the author does such a wonderful job of explaining how it satisfy the needs of the people who do participate in it. Z. Allora emphasizes the importance of safe, sane, and consensual BDSM, and the dangers of not laying down the proper groundwork before entering into a BDSM relationship (unfortunately a lesson that Orion has learned).

The inclusivity as described by the author is important as well. To understand that everyone has different ways of meeting their needs through BDSM, such as bondage, impact play, or needle play. It isn’t a one size fits all lifestyle. There are Dominants like Hunter and submissives like Orion. There are also sadists and masochists (Marcus fits both of those) that may not be submissive or Dominant, but crave the pleasure that can come from pain. I may not go out and try BDSM after reading this book, but when an author writes it the way Z. Allora did, I can certainly see the appeal.

As far as the characters go, I really loved Hunter, Marcus, and Orion. Orion is kind of jaded after abuse has made BDSM less fun for him. Marcus and Hunter love each other completely, but there are needs each has that they can’t satisfy for each other. As it is, they have an open relationship but Marcus wants more. Someone, one person, who can fill the holes in their relationship without taking away from it in anyway. He makes a bet with Orion that love is more than a chemical reaction that leads to pleasant results for them all. Orion grows throughout this book and finds what he needs within boundaries he can handle. Marcus is brave for courageously seeking something that has burned him in the past. Hunter is understanding and brave as well, to accept another in his relationship and to trust that they can all make it work. Their love story was sweet and their chemistry is hot!

The secondary characters are awesome in this book. I wanted to hug Orion’s parents for the love and acceptance they give to him. Orion’s friend and roommate Xander is also a member of Entwined. I love that he is pansexual and loves people for who they are, not their gender or sexual preference. His attraction to Quillon a transman Dom begins to take shape into a story in Secured and Free but I’m dying to see their relationship in the spotlight. Andrew and Zack from Lock and Key are there for part of the book and it was nice to see them again.

I’d recommend this book and this series to anyone because I think it is enlightening and just written well. For those who like books that focus on relationships withing the BDSM community, it’s a must read.

10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars


Wendy –

My co-reviewer Dana and I have talked many times about Z Allora’s books and how much we love them. And since Dana knew that I had just recently finished reading Lock and Key (Entwined Desires #1), she asked me if I’d like to co-review Secured and Free with her, I was all *grabby hands* yes please!!! I’ve just this minute finished reading Secured and Free, so I hope that I can get all my thoughts down for you all without missing something important or going off on a good ramble. I’m going to give it my best shot.

I had hoped that I would be able to hear more from the characters from Lock and Key, they were amazing secondary characters and some of them just screamed for their own stories. I’m glad that Z chose Orion’s tale, because honestly… I was worried about him. One of the things I liked most about this book is that it touches on so many of the gazillion different aspects of BDSM. There is no one right way and every good Dom/sub relationship should be customized to work for the individuals involved. I think that this story defined that very clearly. It also touched on what not to do and the harm that can come from abuse. That Z. Allora was able to convey all of that while still writing a love story with hotter than Hades sex scenes is a testament to her writing skills.

Orion… like I said earlier, I was worried about him in Lock and Key. He just touched a part of me that wanted to protect him. Turns out he needed to be protected, not only from abusive Doms, but from himself. I love that his character is so incredibly smart and he does amazing things to make the world a better place, yet he was blind to so many things when it came to himself. I loved watching him grow and learn in the process. I laughed more than once when he spouted off scientific facts and ideas about love. I also cried a bit for what he had lost and cheered him on as he tried to find his way back. I loved reading his journey as he tries to find his way to being healed and a third member of a triad.

Hunter and Marcus are wonderful characters. That they love each other enough to be able to have an open relationship so that all of their needs are met is something that I don’t think should be taken for granted here. It’s not easy being in a BDSM relationship, it’s not easy living that lifestyle because for it to work, all parties have to be completely honest and share things that people in conventional relationships just don’t even think about. But these guys make it work, even if they crave a third “forever” partner. Watching them work together with Orion and helping him to heal while dealing with their own issues, well… it’s just one of the best BDSM/MMM stories I think I’ve ever read.

The secondary characters in this book were just as interesting as the MCs and I hope that we will get to read more about them soon. I really want to hear Xavier’s story and it was nice to see characters from Lock and Key making appearances.

*****

To enter the giveaway: Simply leave a comment about the type of BDSM you enjoy reading or participating in. (Winners will be picked June 5th) Many hugs, Z. Allora

Z. Allora believes in happily ever afters for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:

E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com

FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora

http://zallora.blogspot.com

www.zallorabooks.com

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27 thoughts on “Secured and Free by Z. Allora #LGBT #Review #BDSM #Giveaway #BlogTour

    • Aftercare is truly important. In the first book in the Entwined series I showed what could happen during sub drop… it’s a thing and people aren’t aware of the effects a scene can have. (Also top drop can be an issue as well) Communication, connection and returning to earth and checking in even a couple days later can be vital.
      Hugs, Z.

      Like

    • Good point! Watching a scene is being a participate in it. Your eyes on the sub and the Dom can sculpt a slightly different reality (in some cases… not all). Can be a turn on or might put you in a different frame of mind and if the connection between the sub and Dom is good I find it almost like mediation.
      Hugs, Z.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. While there is little, if anything, I don’t enjoy reading about when it comes to BDSM stories I have to say that the mental aspects of the dynamic always thrill me more than the sex scenes.

    Also, I love the cover; it’s gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The mental aspects are where it’s at… the activity (many times not always) are simply a route to get to the power exchange, the trust, the pushing past barriers and blocks…
      Hugs, Z.

      Like

  2. I like reading healthy relationship between dom/sub. BDSM is already heavy theme for me, so I usually stay clear when it stated abusive contents (I can still deal if it’s mostly told instead of shown though).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m more interested in BDSM’s effect on a relationship dynamic than the specific play itself, so edging always intrigues me in a story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read all kinds of BDSM, from mild to cringeworthy. The cringeworthy makes me uneasy, although I do understand that there are plenty of people who enjoy it. Much success to you, Z!
    taina1959 @ yahoo.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Z. Allora: #LGBTQ+ #GuestPost #Spotlight #RGRTransAwareEvent #RGRGiveaway | Rainbow Gold Reviews

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