Monday, February 20, 2012

By His Rules by J. A. Rock


I'm a bit conflicted by By His Rules. The beginning of the story is supposed to show us the difference between abuse and BDSM. The ending of the story is supposed to show us what a trusting BDSM relationship is supposed to look like.

My conflict comes from the fact that neither relationship was actually a healthy relationship. Aiden is just too immature and too conflicted. He didn't give his submission, he wanted the Top to fight him for it.

The writing was good, and the sex scenes were hot -- even the semi-abusive scenes. And, to be honest - while the first relationship clearly crosses lines that shouldn't be crossed, Aiden does have to take some of the responsibility. Scott has to take more of it, sure... but Aiden set up a pattern of Scott having to fight him and hurt him to ensure his submission.

Here is the blurb:

Aiden Cole can be anything men want—naughty schoolboy, palace slave, virgin twink, or slutty secretary. He’s a gifted actor with a gorgeous body who gives legendary head. Aiden could have his pick of any Top in the local leather bar, but is drawn to Scott Runge—a cruel, sexy Dom who pushes Aiden to his limits, allowing Aiden to experience the excitement and danger of the BDSM lifestyle to a degree he never has before. But when Scott goes too far, injuring Aiden, Aiden withdraws from the BDSM scene completely. Until he meets Keaton Hughes.

Keaton’s looking for something he can’t find in any dungeon: A domestic discipline relationship, in which he can provide his partner with guidance, support, and loving discipline. When Keaton takes Aiden in after Aiden’s traumatic encounter with Scott, he vows not to pursue any sort of relationship with the troubled sub. But as Aiden struggles to overcome the damage Scott has done and get his life back on track, Keaton’s rules might be just what he needs.

I appreciated Scott's character, and I liked Keaton. I liked Aiden's friends. I just didn't like Aiden very much.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: I loved many of the bondage and edge play scenes in the first relationship. If they'd ended with afterplay they would have been fine. 2 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: It was warped, all the way around. Scott needed more compassion, Keaton did a great job with a very damaged sub but his style didn't do much for me, and Scott needs to just grow the #*%& up.  1 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism:Aiden is a masochist, Scott is a sadist -- if the two of them were more grown up and mature they would have been great for each other. Keaton has a touch of sadist in him, but he's all about the Dominance, trying to control a bratty masochist who wants to be made to submit. 2 of 3 
  • Extra Point: No

As for the writing elements, the plot had a lot of promise, pacing was fine, prose and dialogue were very well written, character development was well done (I just didn't like one of the characters I was supposed to like, and maybe didn't dislike another as much as I was supposed to).

  • Book Rating:By His Rules: 7 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level:5 of 10
  • Heat Level: 3 of 5

I will keep my eyes out for this author in the future. I had some issues with By His Rules, but I was impressed with the author's knowledge of BDSM, and her (?) ability to tell a story.


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