Title: Dom on the Side (Blowing It #3)
Author: Kate Aaron
Publisher: Croft House
Release Date: January 25, 2016
Page Count: 285
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
“I’d love to Dom you one day. You’d be a natural.”
When a one-night stand makes Ryan Jessop a casual offer to introduce him to BDSM, he’s torn between denial of his submissive fantasies and their irresistible pull. Taking a chance, he discovers in Jim a skilled Dominant, and under his guidance, Ryan’s submission blossoms. Unfortunately, guidance is all Jim can offer. The one thing Ryan wants most—a loving Dom to whom he exclusively belongs—is off the table.
Sameer Farouk is the right guy at the wrong time, and as far as Ryan can tell, not kinky. No matter how clearly Ryan can foresee a future with Sameer, he refuses to settle for less than total compatibility, both in and out of the bedroom. Despite their obvious connection, breaking up is the right thing to do, even if it breaks Ryan’s heart.
Torn between them, Ryan must decide if he’s prepared to gamble everything on one man, or if he’d be better off with a vanilla boyfriend and a Dom on the side.
*Dom on the Side is the third book in the Blowing It universe, but can be read as a standalone.
I haven’t read the first two books in the series, but as the blurb says, this book can be read as a standalone. What the blurb does not say –very misleading in my opinion- is that this isn’t a story about a man torn between two men: vanilla or kink?! Instead, it’s a story of a young man, Ryan, who discovers his submissive side at the hands of a skilful Dom and eventually moves on to form a relationship with another man, Sameer, who yes, at the time of their first meeting is very vanilla. Sameer does not come in the picture until about 55% in the book, and doesn’t get seriously involved with Ryan until about 75-80% in.
This is a story about self-discovery and coming to terms with one’s sexual preferences. So, misleading blurb aside, the author has done a magnificent job of taking us on Ryan’s journey to the world of kink. When I first started reading mm, I gobbled BDSM novels like candy. I read whatever I could get my hands on. From the silly, fru-fru, BDSM light ones, to some very hard-core shit (brilliant shit though). What I absolutely loved about this novel is that it went back to basics –which could have been incredibly boring to read- in a very refreshing and original way. When Ryan decides to accept Jim’s tutelage, he also agrees to not be romantically involved with him. Yes, they have sex during their scenes, but with clearly set boundaries and zero expectations of forming a romantic relationship.
I thought this arrangement was going to be awkward but it was pulled off truly masterfully. When the core principles of BDSM practices have been whishy-washed in shitty novels like 50 Shades of Grey, it’s pretty hard to read yet another novel that talks about safewords, contracts, and negotiating what the dom/sub will allow without rolling your eyes. At least I’m talking about myself, what can I say, maybe for other readers BDSM 101 is a bottomless pit of excitement and intrigue. But. If it’s not, fear not. I don’t even know how to explain it but the author wrote those practical, unsexy, awkward parts of the whole arrangement so freaking well that nothing felt old or overdone.
I especially loved the fact that in this book, Ryan explores his submissive nature in a very meaningful, emotional way. It’s not about trying twenty different types of instruments, or playing in a dungeon only a millionaire could realistically afford. Jim, the Dom, manages time and time again to bring Ryan to ecstasy in a small double room with only a dresser in it, and with whatever stuff he can fit in ONE of the drawers. Jim teaches Ryan the art of trusting someone completely and letting go of any fear, shame, or insecurity when it comes to sexual desire. It’s beautiful to read and even more amazing to see that Ryan learns and grows through all of this. The scenes are extremely sensual. I mean seriously off the charts hot. And yet, it’s very convincing throughout that Ryan and Jim do not fall for each other. They care for each other and respect each other but the teacher-student dynamic is never broken. I thought I’d be bothered by this and that I would start thinking “but whyyyyyyyyyy can’t they be together????!!!!!!” Trust me, it’s just right.
The relationship with Sameer was relatively inconsequential to me in the grand scheme of things in this book. I read in another review that this instalment takes part 5 years prior to one or both the other books in the series, where Sameer and Ryan are in an established relationship. I guess this would make this book a prequel in terms of their relationship. It was interesting to see how they navigated the whole vanilla/kink conflict and I am glad they got a very sweet HEA. Because their relationship didn’t form until very late in the book, we didn’t see too much of them as a couple and I wasn’t as invested in them as you’d expect.
Owen, Ryan’s best friend and flatmate, stole the story for me. I am most definitely reading his book and I will probably go back and read the first two books in the series –whoever they are about.
I highly recommend this to lovers of kink. It’s one of the high quality BDSM-themed novels out there and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it –keeping in mind that the main theme of the book is NOT a romance between Ryan and Sameer.