By His Rules

J.A. Rock
By His Rules
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Loose Id
Release Date
January 2012
BDSM, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ

When submissive Aiden leaves an abusive relationship with a brutal Dom, he swears he's done with BDSM-until he falls for unorthodox Top Keaton, who proposes an arrangement Aiden has never before imagined: a committed domestic discipline relationship.

Book Review by Valentina Heart (author,reviewer)
Mar 23, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
240 people found the following review helpful
BY HIS RULES is certainly a different take on BDSM. While it did contain some of the usual scenes I've read about in other book, the main concept broadened my horizons and at the same time showed two very different sides of sexual kink. The combination of good writing and novelty kept me interested to the very end and made me ask that one question every author should aspire for – Where can I get more?

Aiden is an actor who cruises the BDSM scene. He can play any role and submit to any Dom while being amazing at it. That is his view of his life anyway. He does enjoy play, but for the most part he craves to please without really taking into account that everything pleasing to others might not be pleasing to him.

That is how he ends up under Scott's tender care. Scott is one Dom who lives to abuse. His punishments have no rules and his play knows no limits. By the end of Aiden's stay with Scott, he learns that not even his safe word is safe and the line between rape and consent is as much wide as it is thin.

Without another place to go, he ends up with another Dom. Keaton is as different from Scott as vanilla is from chocolate and for Aiden, who has seen the hard side of the world, Keaton couldn't be more mild and still be called a Dominant.

From that moment on, the heavy abuse turns into domestic discipline relationship, where spankings are used for corrections of bad behavior and getting your mouth washed out with soap knows no age limit.

Since I am twisted that way, I enjoyed the first part of the book. It was very violent and limitless that it kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to see how the situation would play out. At times it was rather hard to believe Scott could act the way he did and actually enjoy it. The humiliations and degradations were what threw me off the most, because Scott seemed like a man who wanted a submissive, so there was no gain by actually killing him with starvation or forcing him to take his own life due to constant self-esteem crush course.

The second part of the book made me stumble a bit. I've never read about domestic discipline before, and as the pages went by, I had a difficult time accepting Aiden, who was into pain, was suddenly alright without it. After the hard beginning, Keaton's way of things seemed almost bland and unsatisfying, even going so far as pushing me to the conclusion how domestic discipline is not something I will prefer to read about in the future.

However, relationships are made by two people and Aiden's insecurities and his tries to be as good a boy as possible evened things out and the initial intrigue I had about this story reappeared.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The wrong and the right way to do things was pushed to the extreme in both instances and made a lovely balance to round up the story. This time it was not about BDSM as a pleasure kink, but rather of the influence it can have in its different forms toward an experienced individual. Even those experienced are not always safe and even they can find something new with a different type of lifestyle.

To get back to that question from the first paragraph, in this story I saw the author's ability to go into extremes and still hold onto the characters and their personalities with a steel grip. Each person, be it good, bad or in between, kept the intensity and in the end made this story be about the people and not their sexual interest. What I would like to see next, is a conventional BDSM story, where all those scenes shown in a bad light involve a good Dom and a sub who is genuinely begging for it. Oh yeah, I'm kinky enough to admit I would like to read a bit, or even better – a lot – more BDSM scenes written by this author.

Disclaimer: The reviewer is also a published author with Loose Id.
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Book Review by BookAddict (reviewer)
Apr 27, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
235 people found the following review helpful
A downward spiraling submissive is never a pretty sight. I had misgivings about this book. Would it live up to the hype I've heard? I'm more critical of BDSM books since it seems more authors are jumping onto this latest hot trend with nary an understanding of this subject.

J.A Rock pulled me in within the first chapter. Aiden Cole is a hot twenty-three year-old being sought after by many a leather Daddy. Aiden's understanding of BDSM is more focused on the SM side. Make no mistake; his pain tolerance is high. His understanding of a submissive or a slave is very low. Unfortunately for him, he hooks up with Scott Runge who is a sadistic bastard. This is the kindest I can term Scott. Scott is a play Dom. He thinks he is a real Dom and he even has himself convinced. The sad part is, there are many Doms like Scott in real life. This situation is not uncommon.

BY HIS RULES demonstrates the real life mistakes that can happen with a BDSM relationship goes wrong. I am very impressed with how accurate it is portrayed. It breaks my heart. Under Scott's cruel tutelage, Aiden is transformed from a confident talented young man into a gaunt no self-esteem brat. The night and day difference makes me want to cry and drag Aiden away and protect him. I also want to take a cane to Scott's stupid arse. I'm incensed. My emotions ran from sadness to fury. Not all books which generate such emotion receive a four star from me. What made this book for me was the introduction of Keaton Hughes.

I fell for Keaton. His style of D/s is very different than Scott. His is focused on domestic discipline, which is near and dear to my heart. What is key, is his focus on the relationship and building trust. If I see J.A Rock, I will fall at the author's feet and kiss them for this difference. We are not battered over the head with this lesson; we are held captive, watching a patient Keaton doing his best to help Aiden heal.

Keaton is no pushover. He spanks with the best of them. He isn't into SM, which Aiden feels he needs yet doesn't understand why he wants to be literally beaten to a pulp. With Keaton's stabilizing influence, we see Aiden mend and come to some harsh epiphanies. Aiden realizes his equating heavy physical abuse to cathartic release is a gross fallacy. We witness his realization; it's painful to watch.

I appreciate that this story isn't an easy white knight saving the damsel in distress trope. Instead, the story is up and down. Just as it seems as though everything is going very well, Aiden falls again. This is all too real and makes this story more meaningful to me. We do conclude in a happy ending and it feels as if we've gone through a wringer.

I recommend this book to BDSM readers who want to see the good and bad aspects to a D/s and SM relationship. This is definitely one to read.

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