Title: Beyond The Edge
Author: Elizabeth Lister
Cover Artist: Winterheart Designs
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Beyond The Edge
Genre: M/M contemporary BDSM romance
Length: 290 pages, 82,000 words
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
Summary review: An interesting love triangle book which was a little heavy on the sex at times.
Tate and Sebastian sign on for a kinky weekend with Ottawa Dom James Lucas and discover an intense mutual attraction.
Tate Mackenzie has signed on for a weekend of kinky fun at the hands of respected Dom, James Lucas. However, James has invited another man, twenty-four-year-old Sebastian Doucette, to join in. Thrown together under James’ expert tutelage, the two men experience an instant attraction and begin a tentative relationship on their own time. But James hasn’t been entirely honest with the boys and soon Tate finds himself the focus of two infatuated men. How will he choose the man he wants or the lifestyle he desires to pursue?
Don’t be fooled by the blurb of this book, this is not an m/m/m romance, although there are a number of menage sex scenes, but rather a love triangle. Tate is a sub without a Dom at the moment. He prefers it that way and isn’t looking for commitment. After an amazing afternoon with Dom, James, Tate put his name on James’ waiting list and now it’s his turn for a weekend of submission. When he visits James for a pre-weekend discussion, James surprises him by telling Tate that he has asked another sub, Sebastian, to join them for the weekend. Tate is initially a little disappointed by this, until he meets Sebastian who Tate finds very attractive.
The first part of this book is made up of the initial meeting of the characters followed by an intense and lengthy description of their weekend together. Everything is described in detail, and all from Tate’s point of view. This allowed for a very intensive introduction into a BDSM weekend, and I found it all rather absorbing. Tate is a sympathetic narrator, who takes the reader through his feelings about the weekend. His love of submission, his attraction to both James and Sebastian. We also see of his slight awkwardness in taking part in what is quite a personal experience with another sub. Tate is the experienced sub, and I liked his sense of pride and protectiveness as he helps Sebastian to find his own feet as a sub. They form a natural bond over the weekend, born of a shared experience and a discovery that both of them compliment each other well.
By the middle of the book I felt that I knew Tate and Sebastian well, and it seemed natural that they would continue their relationship after the weekend. Things change for them in terms of their dynamic as they are now no longer in a weekend ‘scene’ but are equal in the bedroom and out. This transition worked well between them and is demonstrated through a few sex scenes – perhaps a few too many because I began to grow a little bored by all the sex by this stage of the book. We also discover a particular kink, which Sebastian feels he can explore with Tate, but if I’m honest didn’t really thrill me that much. It wasn’t my thing, but I thought that the author had done a good job in showing why it worked for Sebastian, and it also showed how much Tate had become attached in that he was willing to explore this kink with Sebastian.
As I said earlier, by this stage of the book, I felt I knew both Tate and Sebastian. I didn’t, however, really feel like I knew James very much. As a Dom during their weekend, he had remained set apart slightly from the subs and still in my head he was a shadowy, if forceful, figure who had provided a weekend of intense pleasure. It was surprising then, when it all came out that he had strong feelings for Tate, because I didn’t really pick that up from their initial weekend together. The second half of the book concentrates on the love triangle aspect, but because it hadn’t been foreshadowed enough earlier in the book, I didn’t feel James’ strong attraction, and his confession of feelings to Tate felt a little forced and flat when compared to the development of feelings shown between Tate and Sebastian. This bothered me a little.
Another theme within the latter part of the book was that of switching roles. Tate and Sebastian are subs, and Tate especially makes a big deal at the beginning of the story about needing the submission. Later in the book these lines become a little blurred with both Tate and Sebastian taking on the role of Dom. At first I wasn’t so sure about this but later I realised the necessity of seeing the subs take turns at being a Dom. Both men need submission, and without the ability to switch, I could see there being problems in the future, especially if neither want to share their relationship with another Dom. In the end, I decided that the way they are trying to muddle through the beginnings of their own D/s relationship seemed realistic.
Overall, this was an interesting and engaging BDSM book which was quite heavy on the sex scenes, but nonetheless managed to remain very character focused. I may not have been so convinced by the love triangle, but there were other parts of the book which did work for me and so I would happily recommend it to those who like BDSM themed romance.