Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone

The Stone Series Book 1

Romance - Contemporary
400 Pages
Reviewed on 04/17/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Dakota Willink is a self employed writer and editor, and the author of Heart of Stone, a contemporary romance novel. She is an associate member of Romance Writers of America.

Dakota has always had a passion for reading and writing. From the time she was an adolescent, she enjoyed curling up with a good paperback, reading genres that ranged from thriller and fantasy, to mystery and romance. She always dreamed of one day writing her own book, but had put her aspirations on hold to focus on her family and a career that would pay the bills.

Although she earned a degree in business and had built a solid reputation in retail sales, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.

In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy children and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. Eventually, she began to describe her life as a book. Everything she saw or heard throughout the day, intertwined with her imagination for the creation of future writings. By 2014, with the support of her husband and two children, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full time.

Dakota Willink is a lover of music, and appreciates the power and stimulating effect it can have on the brain. She often uses lyrics and melodies to help her through bouts of writers block. At the end of her novel, you can find an authors note that recognizes and thanks the artists that gave her inspiration.

Dakota resides in the Western New York area, where she enjoys spending time with family, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found on a boat, soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by James Phillips for Readers' Favorite

Krystina Cole isn’t necessarily looking for a man when she meets real estate tycoon and billionaire Alexander Stone. But Stone is attracted to how smart she is and her sassy attitude. And if Stone wants something, he usually gets it. This is the opening scene of Heart of Stone by Dakota Willink, a saucy romance that brings two characters into the world of BDSM. Stone is open about his tastes in dominance and submissive partners. Because Krystina is quite different than the women that Stone usually takes to the clubs, he is worried that she might be turned off by his unique tastes. But Krystina has secrets of her own, and she isn’t about to share them with Stone until she feels that it is safe. And what is safe about going to a BDSM club to be dominated? In order to be completely submissive, Krystina might have to share her secrets. But only if Stone agrees to reveal his, too.

I enjoyed Heart of Stone. Dakota Willink is definitely a talented author. She easily created a world of dominance that I was drawn into. Even if readers are not familiar with BDSM or are uncomfortable with that lifestyle, they won’t be able to stop reading this book. Willink is that good. She created characters that I liked and was invested in, and I really wanted to know out what their secrets were and how the other characters would react when they found out. If that’s not a sign of a tremendous author, then I don’t know what is.

Milan Fila

Heart of Stone (The Stone Series Book 1) by Dakota Willink is a sizzling romance with heat and dominance. Krystina Cole is a slightly naïve young woman with big dreams and aspirations. She can’t help but be attracted to New York billionaire and real estate tycoon Alexander Stone. Alexander is used to getting his way. When he meets Krystina, he is immediately attracted to her. He ultimately introduces her into a world of dominance and submissiveness. But she isn’t like other women that he has met, and he worries that Krystina will be turned off by his choice of lifestyle. Even more, he worries about the secrets that he holds from his past, because revealing the truth could be devastating. Krystina knows a thing or two about secrets. But if they are keeping information from one another, how will they ever learn to trust each other?

Heart of Stone is a very spicy romance that delves into the lives of both dominant and submissive partners. Dakota Willink does a nice job of creating complex characters that are interesting and mysterious. They are sexy but also layered and have more on their minds than just romance. I liked that about this story. I liked how Willink built the attraction and how she revealed information about each character gradually, giving the reader time to get to know the characters and wonder about their motivations. Willink is a very talented writer, and her ability to weave a story together flawlessly is very apparent in this steamy romance.

Anna Smith

Alexander Stone is a billionaire and tycoon in the real estate world. He doesn’t take kindly to the word “no” and he is used to getting what he wants. When it comes to women, what he wants is to be the dominant partner. He wants a submissive woman that he can take care of, but who is also willing to listen to commands and do as she is told. When he meets Krystina Cole in Heart of Stone (The Stone Series Book 1) by Dakota Willink, he is attracted to her and wants to dominate her and have her as his submissive partner. But Krystina is not the typical type of girl he is interested in. What if she doesn’t enjoy being dominated? What if his ideas of pleasure frighten her or scare her away from him? What if the secrets from his past are shared and ruin his chances of happiness forever?

Romance readers who love BDSM will absolutely love Dakota Willink and Heart of Stone. It is a well-written book with flawless characters and very exciting romantic scenes. But even readers who are not familiar with this style of romance can enjoy this book. It is very tastefully written. Willink does a nice job of explaining what is happening through both characters’ eyes and never tries to demand too much from her characters. I liked the secrets that both characters had and felt that added a nice depth to the story. The ending is a cliffhanger, which I certainly hope is explained in the next book!

Taylor Wade

Krystina Cole has a secret. In Heart of Stone (The Stone Series Book 1) by Dakota Willink, we learn that her past contains a secret she can’t imagine sharing with anyone, but especially the billionaire businessman she shares a bed with. Over the years she has hardened her heart to make it easier to deal with the emotional weight of her past. But Alexander Stone threatens to undo that every time he takes her into his bed. Alexander understands secrets. He has a few skeletons of his own in his closet. But while Krystina is afraid to open up emotionally, Alexander feels that revealing his past would lead to much more devastating results than a few emotional wounds. As they become closer and more romantically involved, they hold on to their secrets even harder. Each refuses to budge. But in a world of BDSM where trust is the most important ingredient, how can they ever expect to learn to trust one another when they are both keeping secrets?

I liked the premise of Heart of Stone. Dakota Willink did a nice job of setting the stage for two characters who have trust issues to be in a dominant relationship that requires an extreme amount of trust. The tension jumps off the page between these two characters! And the romantic scenes between them sizzled with intensity! Willink created two memorable characters and put them in a situation that threatened them both (by having to reveal their secrets), which made for such a good story. I couldn’t put this book down and think other readers will definitely feel the same.

Ica Iova

Heart of Stone by Dakota Willink is a contemporary romance. Krystina Cole (Krys) is a college graduate working at a local grocery store, but her dream is to work in marketing. She’s not interested in having a man in her life —she likes her relationships with no strings attached. Then she meets Alexander Stone, a New York real estate tycoon with kinky tastes. They meet by chance, but quickly develop an unexplained interest in each other — Krys is curious about his world, and he is attracted by her clever attitude that is the complete opposite of what he likes in women. The sparks start flying, and though they both carry a significant amount of baggage that may shadow any attempts at a relationship, it doesn’t mean they stop trying. Early on, we find out what Krys’ baggage is, but the author is teasing us throughout the book about Alex’s. His sister gives us some possible insights…well, you’ll have to read the book.

Heart of Stone by Dakota Willink is a well-crafted story, a sizzling romance surrounding Krys and Alex’s developing BDSM relationship. Oh, dear, I’m still blushing. It was truly exciting to watch the two of them try to look past their differences while building their relationship. What I liked about this book was the fact that although, same as in many other romance novels, the attraction is instant, Willink made her characters very real by making them work at their likes and dislikes in the bedroom and beyond. Out of the two main characters, I loved Alex. In spite his hunger for kinky sex, he is caring and gentle.