Heart Of Stone

Heart Of Stone

by Dakota Willink

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Bound by need. Entwined in secrets.

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.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940157661700
Publisher: Dakota Willink, LLC
Publication date: 12/27/2015
Series: The Stone Series , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,003,123
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Dakota Willink is a contemporary romance writer and editor, and the author of The Stone Series. She is an associate member of Romance Writers of America and a Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards winner.

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. However, 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.

Her first novel, Heart of Stone, was published in December of 2015. Less than a year after its release, the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards recognized Heart of Stone as the 2016 Bronze Medalist in the romance category.

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 soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.

Official Website: www.dakotawillink.com

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Heart of Stone 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
ReadersFavorite5 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Ica Iova for Readers' Favorite 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.
ReadersFavorite4 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Milan Fila for Readers' Favorite 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.
ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Taylor Wade for Readers' Favorite 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.
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anna Smith for Readers' Favorite 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!
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
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.
AngelBear410 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely could not put it down. This is a story that just grabs you from the first few pages and does not let you think about anything else even days after you finished reading it. It is sophisticated, provocative, and a highly erotic read that is well done. It was written from both characters perspective, which is something that I enjoyed because you get both characters personal thoughts. The thing that struck me the most about this book were the dialogues between Krystina and Alex - it was so refreshing to have a heroine who was not afraid to speak her mind, regardless of her feelings for this blue eyed to-die-for man. I loved how she keeps him on his toes throughout the book. The sex scenes were beyond hot, but were not just carnal need - it is psychological too. Krystina and Alex are both damaged, but we have yet to know Alexander’s whole story. Krystina’s back-story is revealed, and we see how she struggles with her demons. She has grown into a strong-willed and confident young woman, who has a few low self-esteem issues, but I think she’s doing quite well considering her past. Alex, on the other hand, has buried his and uses control in all aspects of his life to deal with his issues. In my opinion, his inability to control Krystina is what draws him to her. For the first time in his life he has to let his guard down in order to get what he wants – Krystina’s affection, acceptance, and submission. He has to work to keep her and that is something he has never had to do with another woman. The chemistry between them is undeniable, but it is evident that there is an emotional connection that neither character can see. This is a book that took my heart on a roller coaster of emotions. I felt Krystina’s pain and confusion, I felt Alexander’s desire and conflict. The title was fitting for so many reasons since both Krystina and Alex seem to have hardened their hearts in some way or another. My only criticism of Heart of Stone is that I now have to wait for the next book to see how this story develops even further. Dakota Willink, you’ve got yourself another fan.
Brooke822 More than 1 year ago
This book was absolute perfection for me. After reading 50 Shades I was in a complete book hangover and wanted something similar to read. I saw a bunch of tweets about this book and thought – what the hell? Yes, this book has kink, yes this book has BDSM - but no, this book is NOTHING LIKE 50 SHADES. It will make you swoon, pant and drool over Alexander Stone. Christian Grey – you are a hot mess, while Stone on the other hand is just pure hotness. Kristina Cole is determined to make it on her own, struggling to find a good job in NYC. It was by pure chance that she meets Alexander Stone, and is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. But not only that – there is an instant connection that sizzles and sparks fly! Alexander Stone is the founder of Stone Enterprise – and he’s freaking loaded. But like all other alphas, he’s tortured, dominating and controlling, but he’s also tender and passionate, and man enough to admit when he’s wrong and doesn’t hesitate to grovel and plead. Kristina and Alex both have a past, but completely suck at communicating their issues. It creates obstacles for them that they strive to overcome. Alex and Kristina are also both strong and confident people. This poses a problem for Alex. Kristina is sassy - an issue that Alexander struggles with. ****************************************************************************************** “Look at me,” he repeated, his tone completely different this time. Gone was the soft cajoling, replaced by a deep gravely sound. This was a demand – one that I knew would be in my best interest to obey. I slowly turned my head to look at him and his mouth tilted up in a sardonic smile. “There may be hope for you yet.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, surprised by his expression. “It means that up until ten seconds ago, I didn’t think that there was a submissive bone in your body. Apparently, I was wrong. The way you looked at me just now…” he trailed off, as if searching for the right words. When he spoke again, his eyes were dark as midnight, his voice thick with desire. “It was more than just the turn of your head. Your body language changed. You have more strength than I originally gave you credit for. I underestimated you.” My anger fled, replaced by that all too familiar twisting in my belly. God help me, but I wanted to take him right then and there. *********************************************************************************** OMG! I'm still getting the feels from this book! This is a MUST read for fans of contemporary romance. It’s lighthearted - but dark and twisted. Its absolutely one for the favorite shelf!
AnnieCord More than 1 year ago
The writing is dead on - it had me hooked from page one and I immediately knew I had a gem in my hands. Heart of Stone is not only SEXY, but it has a great story. It's sarcastically funny at times, but it has an intelligent and relatable heroine (I find believable heroines are hard to come by in romance books nowadays). I never compare books, but move over 50 Shades - you are soooo 2012! I love when I read an author that does it right! This book is spot on with real life. So anyways, I digress... Krystina Cole isn't perfect, but that's okay. She's NORMAL, just trying to get by like everyone else. And then enters Alex Stone…cocky, domineering and an oh so sexy alpha male. The attraction between Krystina and Alex is instant and the build up is one of the best I have read in a long time. You won't get full out smut right from the get-go, so if you're the impatient type you might want to reconsider reading. The author makes you wait for it, but when you get there it's absolutely DYNAMITE! Their relationship is full of obstacles - Krystina sidesteps everyone one of Alex's smooth moves. But their chemistry gave me the tingles even outside of the sex scenes! My heart also broke for both characters, as they are both twisted up in a their own way. While they are both very different, I enjoyed reading their path of self discovery. There’s quite a few twists and revelations, a couple are predictable yet most are not. I won't say more or risk a spoiler. But I will say this - be prepared for the dreaded cliffhanger! I can't wait for the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this steamy romance! I was expecting to read another 50 Shades knockoff, but was pleasantly surprised to find characters that were more complex. I easily attached to them emotionally and can't wait for the next book. There were a few very minor editing issues, but overall it was an easy and fun read. If you like Maya Banks or Sylvia Day, I highly recommend this book.
Katlovestoread More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it was dark and twisted, yet I found myself laughing quite often at Krystina Cole's quirks! I loved her battle with "the devil on her shoulder", struggling with her conscience over what is right and what is deliciously wrong! As for Alex Stone, all I can say is - HOT!
Siyka-NM69 More than 1 year ago
I don't know how to explain my impressions of the book. I liked the story and it was a good read after the curiosity started by FSOG. At the same time, it reminded me too much of that same FSOG. So it is a good experience if you have that in mind. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Chef_Rose More than 1 year ago
I was not prepared for Krys and Alex. I thought this would be another “eyes locked from across the room” type of story. I was so pleasantly surprised. The humor in their first meeting was equal to the sexual chemistry and intense connection. It was also pleasant to see that Krys was such a witty, independent, intelligent woman, who even though she came through a bad breakup with a lot of baggage, has kept her innocence. While Alex is an alpha male that I like, he was a bit pushy and forceful in his need for Krys to the point of feeling stalkerish. Noone as innocent as Krys wants to give up control that fast to a stranger. With so little real knowledge of what was happening or what Alex was really asking for, I thought Krys was on the brink of a breakdown. The complexity of their characters makes it much more fun to read about how they challenge each other and struggle against their desires with each other. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book of a trilogy by Dakota Willink detailing the relationship between Alexander Stone and Krystina Cole. She just graduated from university in advertising who is working in a grocery store. They meet as she runs into a display and is knocked down. When she opens her eyes she is mesmerized by sapphires blue eyes of the most deliciously handsome man she had ever seen. Stone helps her up and is immediately drawn to her feeling a strong desire to possess her. He is the CEO of a real estate empire and was there to help save the failing grocery store. His desire leads him to offer her a job opportunity and evenings as his submissive. He is an experienced Dom and although she know nothing of his world but she agrees to try. They both have traumas from their past and issues they need to deal with. She doesn’t want to give up her hard earned independence and he’s a man who knows what he wants. And what he wants is her. This is a powerful drama filled with complex characters and set in the world of domination and submission. It does contain explicit sexual scenes so you need to be prepared for that. But this book is not just about hot, steamy scenes, it is really about two people who are trying to find their way. Two people who love each other yet don’t know it yet. The storyline is wonderfully written and worth the read for those over 18 who enjoy complex and flawed characters wrapped in a steamy hot romantic package. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
moonfox1234 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this steamy and emotional read. I thought that Kristina and Alexander were complex characters and I liked them. They shared a strong pull of attraction and sizzling chemistry. The book itself offers plenty of emotional tension, drama, suspense, secrets and sparks. As the story line begins to unfold and this couple's relationship evolves they challenge each other in ways that they never expected. I look forward to reading book two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never read anything by this author before, but i was pleasantly surprised when I read this book. Alexander is a wealthy real estate tycoon, and Krystina is a grocery store worker. Alexander visits the grocery store as a potential investor, and meets Krystina. They are immediately drawn to one another, but they are both from different worlds, and with their own baggage. Will they fight their feelings, or follow their hearts? Great Book! 3.5 Stars I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
nana_Treasa More than 1 year ago
SPEECHLESS Page Turner! OMG! A hard hitting impacting read that you don't just read it, it consumes you demanding every bit of your attention. An explosion of emotions that will wreck havoc and chaos with your heart and mind making it hard to move on as your so overcome and plagued by the emotions that refuse to release the hold they have over you. Thrilling chemistry and inescapable twists with nail-biting suspense. A stone cold well written must read!
kitty_ranma More than 1 year ago
It strikes me that there doesn't seem to be a explanation for the stars that are given. So I thought I'd start giving my take on it. 1 horrible no redeeming qualities. So far I've never given a 1. 2 blah but there are redeeming qualities. 3 ok worth reading. 4 great but there's something off. 5 loved it. So now about this story. A good beginning for a series. I look forward to more of this series, I want to say more about this story but I absolutely hate spoilers, so I won't do it to you by going into details. I wish we could give half stars I'd have given this a 3 1/2 stars. The narrator brings the story to life. Reasons I enjoyed this audio book: Wonderful characters, Easy-to-read/listen, Steamy. Bookshelves/tags: adult, angst, bdsm, bondage, cliffhanger, club, contemporary, dom-sub, series, spanking. This Audio book was given to me at my request from the publisher, author or narrator and I provided this unbiased voluntary review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was one of the best books I've read in a long time it's an emotional roller-coaster ride!!!! With memorable characters
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only thing I liked about this book was Alex. I hate when the female lead is annoying and difficult. There was a point that I was just confused to why he even wanted her and to why i kept reading the book. The two stars are for Alex. I do not recommend this book.