Deviations: Submission by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne #LGBT #Audiobook #Review #BDSM #MMRomance #Contemporary

Erryn, Melissa & Marc review ‘Deviations: Submission (Deviations Book 1)’ by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne. This book was released by Pretty Muses Publishing on September 20, 2006 and is about 318 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Maxx Power, released by Tygerseye Publishing LLC on May 17, 2017 and is 8 hrs and 56 mins long.

Why I read this book:

[Erryn] BDSM? Count me in!

[Melissa] I have read this series before and enjoyed it, and was super excited to see they were being produced in audio.  How could I resist?

[Marc] I don’t often read BDSM stories, but ‘Rough Draft’ by Chris Owen & Jodi Payne was such an awesome book (among my personal faves) that I needed to give this audiobook a try when I had the chance, even though BDSM is usually outside my comfort zone. While I would personally not be interested in hardcore BDSM or BDSM as a lifestyle, only maybe trying some light bondage or other light and playful things to spice up my sex life a bit, if it is a well-written story that does not matter. The trust, honesty and close bond between dom and sub, especially if they are equal partners regardless of their roles in their BDSM scenes can be really interesting and intense to me.


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.


Buy Links: Audible  | Amazon  | Add to Goodreads 


Erryn’s Review:

I had heard of the Deviations series some time ago and was thrilled the books are now being released on audio.  After about an hour of listening, I became curious and looked up the original publishing date – 2006.  Aside from having pagers instead of smart phones, the book is in no way out-of-date.  It is, however, somewhat different than many of the contemporary books.

Tobias returns to the BDSM club he belongs to and it creates quite a stir because it’s been a while since the Dominant has visited.  His friend Bradford, who owns the club, introduces Tobias to Noah.  Noah is a submissive who has been going to the club for months, and although he has scened with numerous Doms, there hasn’t been a good match.  Tobias decides to take a chance on Noah, and they go to a private room to scene.  When Noah tells Tobias that he doesn’t need a safeword, Tobias is instantly wary.  Despite this, he scenes with Noah.

Although it goes well, there is a disconnect between the two men. Tobias gives Noah his number, but he doesn’t expect to hear from the man.  Surprisingly, he does, and they do another scene.  This one goes better, and it becomes clear they both want more.

Just to add to the drama, Tobias’ former slave, Phan, shows up.  His true motives are eventually revealed, but at this moment, his presence is not welcome.

Tobias and Noah make plans for the following weekend, They will meet at Tobias’ farm with the intention of figuring out if this could turn into a relationship, and if it does, what the parameters might be.

This book involves strict protocols – even ‘high’ protocol at times.  In this instance, this is what Tobias is accustomed to and what Noah needs.  Through a traditional contract, Noah is able to get the boundaries and rules he needs.  He is able to adapt quickly, calling Tobias, “Sir” or “Master”.

When they do their first scene in Tobias’ unique BDSM space, the disconnect becomes clear.  Noah has issues.  Deep issues stemming from a bad relationship with another Dom.  He hasn’t shared this with Tobias and things go sideways.  Noah’s stoicism almost ends in disaster.

Many subs are stoic.  Instead of screaming and crying out, they internalize the pain.  They believe they’ll be a better bottom if they can just ‘take’ the pain and, above all else, they view using a safeword as a failure on their part.

Tobias, wisely, seeks the help of someone he is close to and is given another perspective.  There are a lot of discussions after this which may feel boring, but are critical for the men.   They both have something to give and something to get out of it.  Something worth fighting for.

They continue in their relationship with care while feeling each other out.  This is how D/s relationships work. Discussions, negotiations and doubts.  Tobias fears he’s afraid to push hard enough to help Noah.  Afraid if he pushes too hard, he’ll lose Noah.

The vast majority of this book is from Tobias’ point of view.  His struggles are real and easy to related to because even vanilla relationships have ups and downs, moments of doubt, great successes, and minor setbacks.  I love Tobias’ determination to prove his worth as a Dom and friend to Noah.

Noah’s point of view is given during a scene with another submissive.  This is a great scene because it allowed me to see Noah in his own skin.  He’s in a high-stress job which requires him to take charge, so giving up control with Tobias can be tough.  He also has doubts, the scene in his POV allows us to see more of his character.

I won’t say much more because the story continues, and (yay) the second book is out on audio.  That review will be posted tomorrow.  Needless to say, Tobias and Noah have a long road ahead of them, and I can’t wait to join them on the journey.


Erryn’s Rating:

10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars


Melissa’s Review: 

I first read this in 2016 and really enjoyed it.   When I learned the series was being released in audio I was very excited and I wasn’t disappointed in the least!  Maxx Power just made this story so much better, and it was good the first time, lol.  This will be my first time listening to this narrator and I highly recommend him.  His voice is so well suited to these characters, and it seemed he easily was able to bring different characteristics to each person.  He doesn’t appear to have a long resume but if narration is his focus, his list of books will grow quickly.

The first scene Noah and Tobias do with Noah holding the ball in his foot (you will know the scene when you get to it 😉 ) – that was intense; I was listening so intently I almost felt like I was there with them.  Since I have read this series before, I know Submission is just step one in Noah and Tobias’s relationship.  It was so much fun to revisit these men after a long absence.  I was anticipating the next scene and could hardly wait for it to come.

I have read a lot of BDSM books (some light, some dark/intense) and since I am not in the scene myself I can only guess as to how authentic Tobias’s precautions and actions are.  I would certainly hope this level of responsibility is common among those who have taken this path.  Everything came across as very respectful and deeply researched.

What I loved most about this book (and the narration added to this) is the connection Noah and Tobias have.  It’s clear right from the start they have a yin and yang thing going; that they fill a void for the other.  It’s not an instant love situation, and neither were looking for love.  They were simply looking for someone who could meet their needs.  It was very refreshing to see them go about their relationship openly and with clear rules and punishments.  It takes all the guesswork out, and for them to find a deeper connection within that contract, I was just smitten. 🙂

I do recommend this story (series) and if you have the chance, I do highly recommend the audio.  The new to me narrator better get busy producing more work.  This ended with a Happy For Now, which is a really good way to end a book. I hate books that end with real cliffhangers. This one didn’t; it ended on a high note, literally. 😉


Melissa’s Rating:

8.5/10 Points of Gold ( 80% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars


Marc’s Review:

While I haven’t read a lot of BDSM books (just about 20 compared to 100s of other books I’ve read in this genre), I have the strong feeling that this book is different to most others out there. It is not quite as polished or romanticized to make it a more smooth and sexy read. It felt intensly honest, giving readers a rare and earnest look at a BDSM relationship between a Dom and sub that includes all the discussions and negotiations that are so very important for two men to find the right balance.

Through BDSM workshops I have attended at the UK Meet and Euro Pride Con and some other well-written BDSM books, I know how important that process is, but it is rarely portrayed in this much detail. That is not to say that the book is not hot and sexy, especially if you like BDSM scenes, but the focus seems to be more on an authentic portrayal of the relationship. It does give the book a very different structure and might not be for everyone, but I found it very fascinating. It is a study of complex and likable characters who have to work together to overcome their pasts and find out what they really want. For me, it seemed so much more romantic to see them work hard to create a strong foundation of honesty and mutual care, and then build a relationship from their growing feelings that blossoms into love than to see two perfect characters fall instantly in love. These characters feel real and their relationship is solid and they have earned the happiness that waits for them at the end.

I’m not into the scene myself, but I find honesty very important for a strong partnership and I loved how openly these men were able to talk about their wants and needs and find a way to satisy them both, while also overcoming their challenges together. Credit has to go to the authors to make someone like me, with no personal interest in the BDSM scene, interested in it, because it is important to the characters. I love books, because they can show me the world through the eyes of different characters and I can see things like sports I never personally cared for, countries I never visited, or in this case BDSM from their perspective. I can experience their thoughts and feelings and through them I can explore a different world.

I really liked these characters and cared for them and their wishes and even though I knew there would be a HEA at the end, I was very invested in how they would find their balance and overcome the challenges between them. Maxx Power’s great narration really helped. I loved hearing the character voices and enjoyed how Maxx brought the characters to life. It made me be even more invested in them.

I can recommend this story to readers, who are interested in an authentic and realistic portrayal of a BDSM relationship that includes discussions and negotiations and navigates some of the difficulties Doms and subs may have to overcome to find their right balance.


Marc’s Rating:

8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars


Website | Facebook | Twitter: @Chris_owen | Goodreads

Chris Owen

I live and write in eastern Canada. I went to a bunch of schools, learned a lot of things, and now make stuff up because not to do so is unthinkable. I’m fond of fountain pens, Levenger’s Circa system, and Steampunk fashions. I’m inspired by the day to day minutia of life, and find beauty in the way words go together. I like texture and richness of experience. I’m not shy. I’m happy, I’m learning, I’m living.

Website | Facebook | Twitter: @JodiPayne | Goodreads

Jodi Payne

JODI spent too many years in New York and San Francisco stage managing classical plays, edgy fringe work, and the occasional musical. She, therefore, is overdramatic, takes herself way too seriously, and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after.

For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec, and tequila any way you pour it. She’s also obsessed with Shakespeare and Broadway musicals. She can be found wearing sock monkey gloves while typing when it’s cold, and on the beach enjoying the sun and the ocean when it’s hot. When she’s not writing and/or vacuuming sand out of her laptop, Jodi mentors queer youth and will drop everything for live music. Jodi lives near New York City with her beautiful wife, and together they are mothers of dragons (cleverly disguised as children) and slaves to an enormous polydactyl cat.

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