Title: Deviations #1: Submission
Authors: Chris Owen and Jodi Payne
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, BDSM
Length: Novel (240 pages, print)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Summary Review: This book changed my perspective and perception of what a BDSM relationship should be. Deviations: submission is the story of two men who were searching for that one person to complete them, and then they found each other.
Tobias is a skilled Dom and Noah is a man in need of just that. He wants to sub badly, but has yet to find someone he believes in. Through a series of encounters in the world of bondage and discipline, we learn why Noah has trouble trusting, and why Tobias is reluctant to let 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. But can they stay together in a world where learning to love means accepting all of their dark secrets?!
I have to say upfront that of all the D/s books that I’ve read, this series is one of the most engrossing, intense and enjoyable for me. I’m not a fan of heavy BDSM but the Deviations series really hit all of my hot buttons and I learned a lot about the lifestyle, the consensual aspects of being a submissive, as well as how much trust figures into a D/s relationship. Submission is the first story of Tobias’s and Noah’s journey which took 5 books to complete and come full circle.
Tobias is a veterinarian and Noah is a police officer and when they met they had both come out of relationships that hadn’t worked.Tobias had been with Phantom, his sub/slave for about 6 years when their contractual relationship came to a mutual end, but they remained close. Noah had been searching for a Dom after an unfortunate experience with a previous Master. Since they broke up he had not been able to find anyone who met his needs on an ongoing basis.
For his 41st birthday Tobias decided to have an evening out at his club where he had been a member for 19 years. He had not been there for sometime and on arrival he was met by his old friend Bradford, the new owner, who introduced him to Noah and suggested that they might suit each other. After one session both men thought that they had found what they were looking for but it took another session before they decided to meet outside of the club to seal the deal. Their first weekend together was initially a trial run even though they had both signed a D/s contract for 6 months, but it was obvious that the emotions and need for a long term relationship was already being formed.
Tobias’s excitement the first weekend he spent with his ‘boy’ was beautiful to witness and Noah’s joy was no less powerful. They had a number of trust issues to resolve as a result of Noah’s past experiences and resulting hangups. The scenes throughout the book were sensuous and hot, although a few of the discipline scenes were painful to read even though it was clear that Noah wanted and needed the rigor of what Tobias provided in order to center him and give him focus in his life.
I never understood what the ongoing ‘lifestyle’ was all about until I started this series even though I have read many BDSM books, including Switch and Submission Times Two by Claire Thompson and Volume 1 of Sean Michael’s Velvet Glove series. More recently I also read Mr. Benson by John Preston, the classic BDSM novel, referred to as one of the top ten S/M novels ever written, which is as far from the Deviations series as possible. I won’t kid you, Deviations is not for everyone, especially those of you who are squeamish about pain. BDSM is more than pain, bondage and domination obviously – there should be respect and caring on the part of the Dom for his submissive and the scenes should never involve humiliation. The lifestyle is definitely outside the norm for most people, but when Tobias and Noah were in a scene it was easy for me to imagine it as the right thing for them.
The emotional needs of both protagonists were clearly met in Submission but I didn’t get as much information about Noah as I would have liked, even though he was quite outspoken about what his unmet needs were. I would have liked access to some of his internal dialogue to ‘get’ him and find out how he felt about this new journey on which he was embarking. There is no doubt that Tobias took his responsibilities towards his sub seriously and entered into his role with the mindset that Noah’s needs came first.
What I liked
The relationship between Tobias and Noah and the caring between them.
The fact that I was able to be a participant in Tobias’s life outside of his relationship with Noah, especially with his delightful 83 year old housekeeper and the partner in his veterinary practice.
The role play in the scenes of “let’s pretend” which were like another world.
Phantom, Tobias’s ex slave/submissive who, in addition to being a bit of a devil, was also a good friend to Tobias
All of the other supporting cast.
What I didn’t like
I was taken aback at Tobias referring to Noah as “sweetheart” from their very first scene which I didn’t feel was appropriate between a Dom and a sub, especially on their first meeting.
Another misstep – Brett, Noah’s former Master who called him “baby.”
There was a lot of emphasis in the book on Noah’s physical appearance.
The tenderness and kiss in the first session seemed a bit off for a serious BDSM scene
I thought that some of the language initially might have been too much like lovers would speak to each other, rather than a Dom and his sub.
Some of the pain and whipping was a bit much for me even though I understood that this is very much part of the lifestyle.
Some of the role reversal between Tobias and Noah which didn’t ring true for a Dom and a sub.
I’m definitely no expert in D/s relationships but over the years I have read many BDSM books. Some of them are okay, but others distort what these relationships are supposed to be because the authors don’t do the research and they present half baked ideas of the BDSM lifestyle as fact. Typically, readers end up with a book that misrepresents the lifestyle and portrays it as one protagonist being totally subservient to another who beats and mistreats him because he’s on a power trip. There are a few books that give a balanced view of the D/s relationship and Deviations: submission may be one such book. In this series you will come away, hopefully, with what is in fact, a love story between two people who need each other in the worst way. This is an intense and emotional journey between the characters, as their emotions are stripped away and they learn to love all over again in a different type of relationship. If you read this book you won’t be able to resist picking up the other stories, it’s that good. Despite the reservations mentioned above I thoroughly enjoyed Submission. Highly recommended!