Reviewed by Vicki
TITLE: Deviations: Submission
SERIES: Deviations #1
AUTHOR: Chris Owen and Jodi Payne
PUBLISHER: Pretty Muses Publishing
LENGTH: 272 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 29th, 2016
Tobias is a skilled Dom, able to bring even the most hesitant submissive around. Noah is a man in need of just that. He wants to sub badly, but has yet to find someone he believes can take him where he needs to go. Through a series of encounters in the world of bondage and discipline, Noah reveals why he has trouble trusting, why he needs such a firm, steady hand. Tobias may allow himself to dominate, but he has trouble letting himself love. Still, Tobias can’t resist Noah’s charms, and the two of them set about making a scene for themselves, one that works for them and their unique set of problems. They learn to love, but can they stay together while they explore each others’ secrets, in a world where all is laid bare and emotions run high? From authors Chris Owen, writer of the popular Bareback, and Jodi Payne, writer of String of Pearls comes a romance on the deviant side, where love is all tied up with the need to submit, the need to dominate, and the need to share a life of exploration and care. These two skilled authors create a world that’s hard to resist, and a book that’s even harder to put down.
Oh I have missed Tobias and Noah! I first read this book in 2010 or 2011, and it was early in my m/m reading, and may have been the first serious BDSM book I read. It scared me and thrilled me. I’ve thought a time or two about reading the series again, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Then they moved to the back of my mind…. until I began to see Jodi Payne talking about them on Facebook, and saying the series was going to be re-released. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to step back in time, visit and old favorite series, and maybe bring some attention to them!
This is the first in a series of books that centers around Tobias and Noah, as they work their way in to a long-term, committed BDSM relationship. When we first meet Tobias the Dom, he’s been unattached for a few years, and seems a bit lonely. He is a member of a club, but hasn’t been for while. He’s a large animal veterinarian, comfortably wealthy, with a condo in the city and a large country home. He splits his time between the two places, but I think his heart is really in the country. He heads out for a night at the club, on his birthday, and is not expecting to be set up with a submissive. Bradford, the club owner and a close friend of Tobias, has a surprise for him. He introduces him to Noah, a man deeply in need of a Dominant.
Noah is a cop, outwardly very much not submissive, but on the inside, he needs a strong hand. He’s had two long-term D/s relationships, neither of which ended well. Now he’s at loose ends, doing ok with the one-off’s he gets, but he really needs another committed Dom. Tobias and Noah have a brief scene together at the club, and part ways. But, Noah can’t resist the potential he sees, and contacts Tobias. Tobias also saw serious potential in Noah, and the two negotiate a contract and begin a six month relationship.
We see the two meet, have the first scene that makes a connection, negotiate, and have a good couple of weekends together. We see Tobias start to work through Noah’s issues, and learn what is driving his fears. We see Noah face his jealousy of Phantom, the former submissive of Tobias. We see some deep scenes between Tobias, and some kinda fluffy role-playing scenes. This all brings the two closer together, then BAM! The book ends. I was a little confused, and tried to go forward, and backward, until I realized the book really did end that abruptly. Luckily I had the next book ready to go.
So I am not in to the BDSM lifestyle, so I can’t speak to authenticity of the scenes and how the lifestyle or the relationship of the two men is represented. Part of me questions the hmmm…. softness? Sentimentality of their relationship? For all that Tobias is a bad-ass Dom, he calls Noah sweetheart, and coddles and cuddles him. Then chains him to the end of his bed! Now I liked that softness and sentimentality, but I don’t know that men in this type of relationship would behave that way. I’m not a man, so I can’t say. But I did enjoy it personally. I loved the closeness, the balance between harsh and gentle, and the sweetness that they both show at times. I can see that the two characters are falling in love, even though it’s not discussed. We see Phantom a couple of times, interacting with Tobias and then Noah, and at first he’s just annoying. I am curious to see how I feel about him later, I remember from my first read through that he eventually plays a bigger part, and I think that bothered me at the time. My experience as a reader has changed, I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel about that character in particular, but the whole series in general.
But for now, I loved this book! It has what I look for in a book: Great characters with lots of depth (I wish we had heard more of Noah’s inner monologue to understand him a bit more, but that’s a minor issue). I liked not only the main characters, but the side characters as well. Bradford certainly, and Mrs. Miller, the housekeeper on the farm. I want great sex scenes with emotion, and that is true with this book. Noah and Tobias are very hot together, but you can clearly see their relationship evolving in the sex and emotion. Normally I like a little more action, drama, conflict, but although that isn’t in this book, the relationship building makes up for it. Same with a plot, this one is light in that department too, they meet, they fuck, they grow. That’s about it. But the details in the story make up for the lack of a big plot. The background stories that come out, why these men behave the way they do, that is what drew me in. The writing is very good, with no issues that pulled me out of the story. The story flowed, the details worked and such. And it has pagers! I was fascinated with the pagers and had a conversation with my husband about why you would page someone when you had a phone and could just call them… it made us both nostalgic for the pre-smart phone days!
I do recommend this book, it’s not going to be for everyone, it does have some pretty intense BDSM, so if you like that, give it a try. If you are curious about it, this is probably a good place to start.
I’m very happy I read this one again, and I’m off to focus on the next book! Look for that review in a few days.