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Publisher's Summary

Tobias and Noah explore their relationships more deeply than they ever have, not just with their own dominance and submission, but with their friends. 

As Noah helps Tobias through the loss of someone dear, he finds Tobias helping him, too, leading him through some intense sexual games, breaking down the last of Noah's fears, and helping him face his biggest one: the cage. 

Meanwhile, Tobias' ex-lover, Phantom, becomes close friends with Noah as they discover and try to resist the simmering sexual tension between them. Their teasing turns to real support when Phantom reaches the breaking point thanks to the lack of a master in his life, something he desperately needs. 

While Bradford works to become that master, Tobias and Noah go to Paris, where they see the sights, go to sex clubs, and renegotiate their contract. Returning from Paris to their own lives brings them all sorts of new difficulties, from deciding whether they should love together to trying to figure out just where Phantom belongs in their ever-changing relationship. 

Deviations: Discipline is the third title in the popular Deviations series, which begins with Deviations: Submission and Deviations: Dominance. Chris Owen and Jodi Payne have another winner on their hands: a gripping, emotional tale you won't want to miss!

©2007 Jodi Payne and Chris Owen (P)2018 Jodi Payne and Chris Owen

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Series keeps getting better and better

I adore this series. Jodi Payne and Chris Owen started writing their Deviations series back in 2007. Their books are seminal works in BDSM erotic m/m romances. What I love about this series is the High Protocol contained within. Anyone can look up High Protocol procedures on the Internet, but incorporating it seamlessly into romance novels requires talent. In real life, there are couples who follow High Protocol. From the negotiations to the contracts, and the actual relationships, they are unique, even in the world of BDSM. When most people think of these protocols, they think of Master/slave. The truth is, there is a wide array of dynamics. M/s, of course, but also Dom or Domme/submissive, protector, mentor, or even entire Houses. There are subsets within these – triads, polyamory, open relationships, and swingers. Add property to that list and it is a cornucopia. My kink may not be your kink, but there are lots of choices out there.

Many of these other dynamics are explored through the secondary characters of the series. The main couple is Tobias the Dominant, and Noah the submissive. Noah, a police officer, is not what many people would envision as a sub. But he has a stressful job during the day and is happy and willing to give up control during his weekends to his Dominant Tobias. Although Tobias had understood being responsible for another’s health and well-being is a huge responsibility, the layer of his feelings for Noah complicates things. In his previous relationship with Phantom, Tobias faced a situation he was, in the end, ill-equipped to deal with. Phantom’s increasing demand for Tobias to inflict pain – including pain that would leave marks so deep that they might leave scars – was just too much. Tobias is a sadist, but even he has a comfort level that Phantom couldn’t push him to challenge and so the men parted company. Tobias was good at doing scenes with whips, crops, floggers, paddles, and other implements. But, increasingly, Phan was demanding more intense scenes. More pain. More emotion.

In the end, Tobias had to give up his relationship with Phan. He cared deeply for Phan, but he could no longer meet the young man’s needs. He handed Phan’s care to Brantford, the owner of a BDSM club. It was at this club that Tobias met Noah. Their relationship was fraught with ups and downs and Phan’s perceived interference didn’t help. Interestingly, Phan came around, wanting his former master to be happy. He and Noah also connected, doing a fantastically sexy scene for Tobias and some other observers at the club. By then, Tobias had discovered Noah’s penchant for and enjoyment of public displays. That scene met everyone’s needs – in that moment.

Near the end of Book 2, Brantford put Phan in the white room at the club and tried to break him. To someone outside of the scene, this looks like abuse. For someone who understands catharsis, this is often a necessary process. The submissive (or the person being helped) needs to let down all their barriers and admit their destructive behaviors and to accept the help being offered.

Brantford had suspected he might need help, and near the end of the intense, days-long scene, he called in Tobias. The Dominant was able to get Phan through the last of his emotional breakthrough. And although Noah has vague concerns about Tobias’ relationship with Phan, he understands Phan’s need for help.

Book 2 ended with a collaring ceremony.

So why am I provided all that background information? Because the relationship between the three men, as well as the dynamics between each couple, is critical. Noah and Tobias are deepening their relationship, increasing the emotional intensity of their scenes. Tobias also encourages Noah to face his fears. I held my breath as Tobias gently calmed Noah and worked him through the terror. I think my elation matched Tobias’. And I felt great pride in Noah.

Near the beginning of this book, there was a very touching evening with Phan and Noah. The two submissives have found common ground in their love of ‘Sir’ and their innate and strong desire to serve. I could see how the relationship benefitted both men, Phan most especially. Noah is able to give the younger man physical affection that Phan can’t get anywhere else. Despite their previous sexual scene, the men refrain from a repeat, instead spending their time cooking, cuddling, and watching movies.

But Noah recognizes that Phan is still hurting. Now, these books are mostly from Tobias’ point of view. The only time we see Noah and his perceptions, is when he is also with Phan. Those glimpses into a sub/sub dynamic are fascinating. In some famous BDSM books, the Dominant separates and isolates their submissive from those around them, insisting on a Non-Disclosure Agreement. In real life, a healthy BDSM relationship encourages friendship outside of the M/s or D/s relationship. It is Tobias’ encouragement for Noah to befriend Phan that makes the entire relationship work.

So when Noah tells Tobias his concerns about Phan’s mental health, Tobias passes along the information to Brantford, hoping his mentor, Phan’s temporary Dominant, can resolve the issues.

Just as Tobias is preparing to move the relationship with Noah into a new realm, an unexpected death rocks all four of the men, Tobias most of all. Noah is there, of course, to help and support Tobias. He is able to compartmentalize his own pain and put his Dom’s needs first.

Despite the loss, Tobias moves forward with his plan to take Noah to Paris so they can renegotiate their contract. I did enjoy the scene, watching the two men open themselves up, being willing to be vulnerable to get what they actually want. Their past, however, follows them to Paris, and although there are lots of hot scenes – including at a French BDSM club – the book ends on the plane as they are flying home. Home to an unseen crisis.

Scene end. Cue the next book.

The High Protocol in these books is fantastic – as true as any BDSM book I’ve read. These books being narrated by Maxx Power are fabulous. His voices for Noah, Brantford, and Tobias – as well as the British and Frenchmen – is pitch perfect. I am less thrilled by his interpretation of Phan, but I do understand the choices he’s made.

I am hopeful the next book will be out soon and I cannot wait.