Reviewed by Vicki (Tori)
SERIES: Deviations #5
AUTHOR: Chris Owen and Jodi Payne
PUBLISHER: Pretty Muses Publishing
LENGTH: 241 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 6th, 2016
In Safe Words, which picks up where the Deviations series left off, Tobias, Noah and Phan are all working on finding their place, both at Bradford’s club and in their personal lives. They’re all living together, and Tobias has taken on the roll of full-time Dom, which he loves, but finds incredibly challenging. While Noah finds comfort in the new state of things and is looking forward to deeper submission, but Phan is finding it harder to strike a balance. Too many changes happening too fast are making Phan act out, and neither Tobias nor Noah are sure how to deal with it. Life is not perfect for Bradford, either, as he discovers new feelings for his sub Nikki. Can Tobias help his friend, manage his job teaching the other Doms, and his relationships with Noah and Phan, or will the house that he’s built for himself fall down around their ears? The Deviations series includes: Deviations Submission, Deviations Domination, Deviations Discipline and Deviations Bondage.
Awww…. a nice follow up to the series! I’m going to hope that if you are reading this review, you are familiar with, or have read my reviews of the last four books, and I’m going to spare us all a rehashing of the basic story!
This final book was written as an epilogue, and it reads that way nicely. It picks up a little while after Deviations: Bondage ends, so there is a gap in the story, but I don’t think it’s been very long. The changes that happened at the end of the last book lead right in to what happens in this one, with regards to working situations for all of the men. All three are working at Bradford’s club, in different roles, as well as hosting workshops at the club and their farm. Tobias is happily Doming Noah and Phan, who at first appear to have settle down nicely. But… drama lurks. An issue at the club sends Tobias in to a tailspin, and he needs some private time with Noah. The two don’t handle it well with Phan, and Phan gets his feelings hurt. Now I’ve not always loved Phan and his over-dramatics, but this time I’m fully in his camp. Tobias and Noah done him wrong. This takes some work to fix. There is also some disgruntlement over the invasion of the farm and their home turf by too many people that also has Phan upset. So more changes are made around the home.
There is lots of going back and forth between the townhouse, the club, and the farm, more role-playing like the last couple of books, and some BDSM. Phan is a much bigger fan of pain than Noah, and one of the things he likes is knife-play. There is a great scene with Tobias doing a demo at the club, first on Phan the old hand at knife-play, then with the more nervous and slightly reluctant Noah. I loved the contrast between the two, and I loved how Tobias handled it. There’s also a scene in the barn involving the three of them and Bradford and Nikki that was pretty awesome. I guess there was more BDSM in this one than the last book, but not necessarily of the healing/working on issues variety, more of the dirty/smutty/sexy kind. We saw Bradford much more in this one, as he and Tobias work through the issue that causes so much stress, then shit goes down with Bradford and Nikki as fall out of the same issue that needs some work to sort out. So we get to see them more! I absolutely love Bradford and his relationship with Tobias. They are brothers at heart. I’m curious about Nikki and wish we saw in to their relationship, and not just see it from the perspective of the other three.
Basically this is a great follow-up to the series, and well worth reading if you have read the rest of the series. If you have not read all of the books, you really should.
So this has been something I wish I had done some time ago. I read these books six or seven years ago, and meant to read them again, but never got around to it. My perspective has changed over the years so I’m looking at these stories as a much more experienced reader of m/m in general, but also BDSM. I think I had built them up in my memory as being more heavy on the BDSM than I feel they are now. Probably due to the reading I have done of books that were heavier and darker. This is not a bad thing, just an interesting observation for me. I also found it interesting how much I had invested in Tobias and Noah, and how I feel like Phan was an interloper. I don’t remember that feeling from the first time I read them. I really got in to the romance of Tobias and Noah, and the deep love they have.
This is not a perfect series, I had issues now and then with the story being a little slow and long. And Phan did drive me nuts at times. But all of those things are just personal issues, I still love the series as a whole. I think the writing was very good, I kept wondering how the authors knew so much about the lifestyle. I loved all of the details, the tools and toys of the trade, the details of the farm and the barn especially. I loved the varied characters, and their individuality. I wasn’t sure about the incomplete feeling I had at the abrupt ending of each book, but I got past that. When I look at it as one long story, broken apart in to sections it works. Don’t expect each book to have an ending, they just all blend together in a wonderful story.
I am very happy I read these again, and these characters will continue to have a special place in my heart. If you are curious about BDSM, or especially about dominance and submission, I’d grab the first book and give it a try.