When Kenneth’s friend asks him to stitch up an injured motorcycle club member, he is a little overwhelmed, but happy to help. While there, Kenneth meets Houston, the club’s vice president, and it seems like the man is definitely flirting. Kenneth can’t help but hope it will lead to more, especially when he sees how happy his friend, CJ, is with his own biker husband. But Houston never calls, and Kenneth assumes he isn’t interested. Little does Kenneth know that he made quite an impression on Houston, but when Kenneth doesn’t follow up, Houston figures the young man doesn’t want him. Things are further complicated by the fact that Houston is a long-time Dom, and he has no idea if Kenneth is interested in kink … while Kenneth is craving submission and has no idea if that is something Houston wants in a partner.
When Houston and Kenneth encounter each other once again, however, the men finally take that step toward one another. Even more, they begin to share their interest in kink and realize they are more compatible than they could have dreamed. Houston begins to teach Kenneth more about kink, and Kenneth is thrilled at the sense of being owned by Houston, as well as having a chance to explore submission. It seems like the men are moving fast, but they are both falling hard for one another. As their connection deepens, Houston and Kenneth realize that they may just have found their perfect, forever partners in one another.
Yearning is the third full-length book in Kiki Clark’s Leather and Chrome series, featuring the men of the Devil’s Hands motorcycle club and their partners. The books feature different couples and while there is character crossover, the plots generally stand alone. This story, in particular, works well on its own as Houston and Kenneth don’t spend a ton of time with the club, so I think you can just jump in here. These stories are sweet with a dose of kink and generally a pretty rapid fall into love between the men. In this case, we have a missed connection for Kenneth and Houston, as well as some assumptions from both men about the other’s interest. Fortunately, that time of misunderstanding/miscommunication happens mostly prior to the start of the book, so by the time we join them here, the guys are just starting to reconnect. So if that is not a favorite trope of yours, I think you will be pleased here that it doesn’t really play into the story much, despite the premise. We don’t get much in the way of conflict here, as the men fall hard and fast and are pretty much all in almost immediately. There is some time where Houston eases Kenneth into kink, taking things slowly to let him learn about what is involved in being a sub and figuring out what he likes (though much of that is told to us rather than shown on page). But like I said, these guys fall hard, fast, and without much conflict. The story has a few kink scenes and lots of claiming and owning from Houston (that Kenneth totally loves).
As I said, considering Houston is the club VP, there isn’t a ton of time spent outside just the two of them, though we do see a few scenes. Kenneth also comes to be good friends with Ollie and CJ, characters from the first two books in the series (the third story, the novella Joyful, actually takes place after this one so we don’t meet Emmett yet). Ollie and CJ are kind of wild (particularly Ollie) and best friends. So it is fun to see shy, sweet Kenneth not only make some good friends, but also come out of his shell a bit with the more outgoing Ollie and CJ. Plus, they are some fun comic relief and kind of adorable.
My issue here is that I feel like there isn’t a ton of a character development for either man, and some plot ideas that start off but don’t really go anywhere. I think this feels exacerbated by the fact that there is essentially no conflict to the story. For example, we learn that Houston has a huge fight with his brother about his interest in kink and they haven’t spoken in years. I kept waiting for something to happen here, to see them talk it out, or even fight about it on page, but while we do see them having dinner together at their mom’s house, we don’t even see them speak a word to each other and the conflict is just left hanging. We also know that Houston has been a Dom for years and years, yet he hasn’t told anyone at his motorcycle club for reasons that aren’t totally clear. And maybe there is a good reason this normally confident man who seems to have no shame about being a Dom was afraid to tell his MC brothers, but it’s never really addressed. The story also starts off focusing on this BDSM party that Houston wants to throw at the club. And then basically nothing else happens with it for the whole book. For his part, we are told that Kenneth feels like he has always been taking care of others and no one cares for him, one of the reasons he is drawn to submission. But while we get sort of a bare bones sense of his home life, which is suggested as the reason for his feelings, we never learn about it in any depth. Kenneth also has a former date who gets all in his face, not wanting to take no for an answer, and I kept expecting that to amount to more, yet it really is just a chance for Houston to assert his dominance. So I guess I felt we had all these avenues open up for some story conflict, or to learn more about the men, but they never really develop and it left the story with a lot of feel good between Houston and Kenneth, but not as much energy beyond that.
Overall, however, I enjoyed this one. Like I said, Kenneth and Houston are sweet and charming together and it’s nice seeing them find their happiness. I like this group of characters and it was fun to see a new partner who is a little bit different than Ollie and CJ. Clark gives some information on the next book and the MCs for that one at the end of this story, and I am very excited to continue on with the series.