Audiobook Review: Deviations: Submission by Chris Owen & Jodi Payne

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 other's 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 pause.

Narrated by: Maxx Power
Listening Length: 8 hours and 56 minutes

Reviewer - Annery 

From the age of eight and until very recently I always had dogs among my pets. A ragtag collection of mutts of different sizes very dear to me. Besides teaching them to stay, not bark like lunatics for no reason, and let me know when they “had to go” I never felt compelled to teach them any tricks of the roll-over-give-me-your-paw variety. Couldn’t see the point of it … I loved and enjoyed them without the extras but I do like to walk the talk so if formal BDSM gets your jollies going I want to understand on some level and so I read BDSM books. The ones with Doms and Masters and Subs wanting to be claimed. The ones with clubs, dungeons, St. Andrew’s Crosses, scenes, safe words, people being called Master/Sir and others being called ‘boy’ or ‘pet’ being trained to ‘walk to heel’, kneel, keep their eyes low, and do things like ‘present’ etc. I get the Subs and love them. The Doms are another story. I waver between hating them for being sadistic a#%holes (no matter that the Subs enjoy the pain/humiliation/service) and wondering why someone would want the responsibility of being someone else’s everything. Other D/s books, the informal “here’s a belt, let’s use this to tie you up” variety have my number on speed dial. This was research. That’s my story.

I did the audio for “Submission”, the first in the Deviations Series, narrated by Maxx Power and while he didn’t bowl me over I didn’t hate it. As a narrator he’s very good with precise and clear diction and well marked differentiation between character voices … perhaps a little clinical in tone? I don’t know. It works well for this type of BDSM story. My hiccup came with the voice he does for Noah when Noah is in his submissive role. To my ears he sounds almost a bit childish but a fake childish. Kind of like a faux innocent voice but then maybe I’m just being fastidious. I’d say give it a go. You’ll be entertained because the story itself is good. I’d recommend it.

“Submission” is the first in a five book series which chronicles a BDSM relationship from its inception. It falls within what I’ve coined the FSOG progeny and I in no way mean that as a slur and I can confidently say that this book surpases FSOG by leaps and bounds. The writing is good and neither MC is a shy innocent virgin or under 30 Master of The Universe. Still some of the conventions have been kept.

Noah is cop by day submissive nights and weekends. After some pretty bad experiences has been coming to a certain BDSM club where everyone knows your name, think Cheers but with dungeons and adult playrooms, in the hopes of finding a Dom or Master to take him on and satisfy some deep-seated needs. What these needs are remains a bit vague apart from the general “let another shoulder all responsibility while controlling me for my own good” variety. I suppose more will be explored/revealed in future books and I’m a pretty patient reader.

Dr. Tobias Vincent is a veterinarian, of the farm animal variety, by day and Dom extraordinaire during his off hours. It’s almost like a super-hero with his civilian persona and of course he has money which allows for all the toys. And I mean ALL THE TOYS. Lets just say there’s a former horse stable full of modified stalls.

Tobias and Noah are set up by Bradford, the manager of The Club, who also apparently functions as a matchmaker for BDSM couples, and they hit the ground running.

I liked it very much. I liked that though the authors don’t do a primer per se for BDSM newbies you could be a total babe in the woods and understand what the the dynamics are. Primarily this is because Noah himself though a submissive seems to be confused as to what that is or why he needs it. Thankfully Master Tobias is here to pick up the slack and clarify:

     “You know,” Tobias said easily, “I firmly believe that regular discipline lessens the need for punishment.” Another snap and the two lines were neatly connected. “But then, punishment is often a rewarding experience. What do you think?”

     Noah hunched his shoulders and then flexed them. He puffed out air with a rough sound and cleared his throat. “Punishment is about learning from mistakes, discipline is about learning not to make them,” he said quickly. It was obviously a phrase he’d studied carefully at some point. He took two quick breaths, held them a moment, and when he exhaled he relaxed somewhat.
     “I’ll accept the first, not the second.” Tobias laid a fourth stroke on Noah’s back and stepped close, pressing one finger into him and slowly thrusting back and forth. Noah groaned. “Oh, God.” His head dropped forward. 
     “Mistakes are allowed, made up for, and forgiven. Discipline lets you know yourself, lets you gain strength.”

I liked how the relationship between Tobias and Noah develops with each scene they have and also outside interactions. I was mightily relieved to see Tobias start to need/crave Noah. To have doubts and need reassurance. In the beginning it seemed like Tobias was the messiah complete with the walking on water bit and I was so not up for that. Big relief.

I liked that though both have issues due to previous fraught relationships they seem willing and ready to try something new and see where it goes. There was none of this “my heart is closed” BS. I liked their ages and that they behaved like people who are not sixteen. I liked the side characters, Mrs. Miller, Bradford, and Brett. Phan … I may need to warm up to but I’m sure he’ll figure prominently in the next books. I liked that no avowals of true love are blurted out due to magic dick. The seeds are sowed for a future HEA but it ends in a satisfying HFN. This is really a perfect set-up chapter for the series and I’ll definitely be reading the next installments.

A review copy was provided.

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