Friday, September 10, 2010

Deviations: Safe Words (Deviations book 5) by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne

If you haven't read the first four books in the Deviations series then you probably shouldn't read this review. There are no spoilers for book five in the review, but there are some discussions that will be a give-away to what happened in earlier books. To read the review for the first book in the series, Deviations: Submission, click here.

Book five of the Deviations series, Safe Words, takes us on the further adventures of Tobias, Noah, and Phantom. The action picks up soon after the end of the fourth book, Deviations: Bondage, and we get to see a much more relaxed household than we've seen in previous books. No one has to be anywhere at seven or eight in the morning anymore, and there are no more phone calls about cows who are close to giving birth at three in the morning, either.

I think it's possible that I allowed myself to over-anticipate Safe Words. Even if you received what you wanted on Christmas morning, there is still a let down Christmas afternoon because all of the anticipation is gone. That's a little how I felt when I reached the end of Safe Words. Also, without knowing whether this is now the planned final book, or whether the authors have a few more Deviations books up their sleeves... well, I hope to see these characters some more. Or at least some of the characters from this world. How hot would a book from Bradford and Nikki's point of view be? But I should stop with that and review Safe Words, yes?

We get to see Tobias finding his way as a bit of a mentor at the club, and he even takes on a little of what Bradford has been doing -- playing matchmaker when he sees two people with complementary kinks. There is also some of the spontaneity I was hoping for, where Tobias is sitting at his desk and decides he's tired of sitting there and tromps off to find his boys for an intense scene.

Also, see that scalpel on the cover? That's a hard limit of mine. Always has been, and until I read this book, I assumed it always would be. When an author (okay, authors) can write a scene with scalpels and make it so intense that it makes me rethink my hard limits, that's some pretty good writing. Not that I'm going to ask my husband to cut me, just that now I'm obligated to read the scene to him and then have a conversation about it.  That only happens two or three times a year, and I read a lot of books.

Here's the blurb:

In Safe Words, which picks up where the Deviations series left off, Tobias, Noah and Phan are all working on finding their place, both at Bradford's club and in their personal lives. They're all living together, and Tobias has taken on the roll of full-time Dom, which he loves, but finds incredibly challenging.

While Noah finds comfort in the new state of things and is looking forward to deeper submission, Phan is finding it harder to strike a balance. Too many changes happening too fast are making Phan act out, and neither Tobias nor Noah are sure how to deal with it. Life is not perfect for Bradford, either, as he discovers new feelings for his sub Nikki. Can Tobias help his friend, manage his job teaching the other Doms, and his relationships with Noah and Phan, or will the house that he's built for himself fall down around their ears?

The drama/conflict isn't quite as big as the blurb makes it out to be, but that's okay. The guys communicate too well to have things about to fall down around their ears, and that's part of why I like the series as much as I do. Yes, there are issues that come up. Being a couple is hard, being a threesome would be exponentially harder... throw in the 24/6  power exchange dynamic and it just further complicates things. Though, in some ways I suppose it simplifies it, too. (And yes, I wrote 24/6 and not 24/7. Not a typo.)  

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: Yes and yes.  3 of 3. 
  • Dominance and Submission: Absolutely. 3 of 3.
  • Sadism and Masochism: Ohhhh yes. 3 of 3.
  • Extra Point: Yes
As for the writing elements: The plot is pretty much what you expect it is going to be if you've read the previous books. Pacing is fine, prose and dialogue are good, character development continues to be exceptionally well done.
  • Book Rating:  10 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level:  10 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5
I hope this is not the last we see of these characters. If the authors have no where else to go with Tobias, Noah, and Phan then I wouldn't mind seeing books about some of the people in the club.

1. Deviations: Submission
2. Deviations: Domination
3. Deviations: Discipline
4. Deviations: Bondage
5. Deviations: Safe Words

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