Terms of Service (The Heretic Doms Club Book 2) by Marie Sexton #Audiobook #BDSM #Review #MMRomance #Contemporary #LGBT #DomesticServitude

Erryn reviews ‘Terms of Service (The Heretics Doms Club Book 2)’ by Marie Sexton. This book was released by the author on June 15, 2018, and is 398 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by John Solo.  It was released on August 13, 2018, and is 14 hrs and 20 mins long. A copy was provided for an honest review.

Why I read this book:  Because ‘One Man’s Trash’ had such an emotional impact on me.


Dr. River McKay moved to Denver with his husband, Terrence, hoping to give their failing marriage a new start. A year later, Terrence is gone, and River’s left brokenhearted. Now, he’s decided it’s time to get back in the game. A chance encounter at the hospital introduces him to Phil, a strong-willed pharmacist who isn’t impressed by River’s degree.  

Phil can’t deny his attraction to River, but dating is out of the question. Phil only does one kind of relationship – domestic servitude, where he gives the orders and his partner obeys. To his surprise, River agrees – not because he likes the idea, but because anything’s better than being alone.  

They know the arrangement won’t last. Phil’s set in his ways and incapable of showing affection outside the bedroom. River’s unused to obedience and still in love with his ex. But their time together will change them, making them question everything they thought they knew about love, control, and relationships. 

When the unexpected threatens to tear them apart, they’ll have to choose between the comforts of the past and a future they can only find together.


Buy Links: Audible  | Amazon  | Add to Goodreads 

See my review of the audiobook One Man’s Trash – Book 1


My Review:

A close friend, whose recommendations have rarely steered me wrong, suggested I try reading a Marie Sexton book, specifically ‘Trailer Trash’.  I’m embarrassed to admit I own all of Marie’s audiobooks – including that one – and haven’t listened to any of them.

When Marie announced her ‘Heretic Doms’ series was coming to audio, I knew I had to listen to these books and I haven’t been disappointed.  Book 1 was the story of Warren the Dom and Taylor, the self-proclaimed whore.  Of course, there was so much more to both men and it was one of the best stories I’ve read with a BDSM relationship.  In that first book, Marie introduced us to the other members of the informal Heretic Dom Club.

Gray is the police officer who follows the rules – until he doesn’t.  He’s very attractive and although he often offers/threatens/promises to take Taylor off Warren’s hands, it is truly a jest.  Everyone can see Tay and Warren were meant to be together.  In this second book, Taylor’s transformation is beautiful to witness.   Warren has clearly changed Tay’s life – even to the point where Tay is actively tackling his issues and there are far fewer ‘episodes’ than before.  Great news.

Charlie is the burly, hairy, giant man who is an RN with a heart of gold and a penchant for helping those in need.  In the first book, he helped someone Warren knew, providing behind-doors medical treatment.  These days, with all the ICE arrests, I imagine his services are even more in demand – people who have been living under the radar screen of the authorities and are terrified to seek medical help lest they lose their anonymity.  This book may be fiction and Charlie might not be real, but good people like him are out there trying to make a difference, all the while acknowledging there is only so much they can do.

That brings me to the fourth member – Phil.  I have to admit, he was barely a blip for me in the first book – he was the one who called Warren and asked him to track down Tay.  He was obviously a caring man, but his inability to deal with Tay and his problems quickly became understandable.  He was also in a pivotal scene, helping Warren see the truth about his fatigue for being a vigilante of sort.  Warren opened up to Phil and there was a direct line from the conversation to the changes Warren made in his life.

And since I loved Book 1, surely I would remember Phil’s name, right?

Wrong.

I listened to Book 1 again in preparation for listening to ‘Terms of Service’ (a great excuse, as if I needed one) and during the first scene, I wrote Phil’s name as Barry.  Oops.  In the first book, I had learned Phil was a pharmacist who wore suits, liked domestic servitude, and was a very loyal friend to his fellow heretic Doms.

In this book, I learned a whole lot more.  Like the fact Phil is a perfectionist.  And he went into pharmacology because he likes order and there is nothing so satisfying as lining up the bottles with the labels facing out and counting out a precise number of pills.  He is very good at his job and is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with doctors who believe they are God.   He may work in the bowels of the hospital, but his role is critical and he engenders the support and admiration of the assistants he works with.

So when Dr. River McKay comes storming down to the pharmacy to give Phil a piece of this mind for refusing to fill a script, the pharmacist is perfectly calm and once River has run out of steam, he calmly explains what the consequences would have been had he filled River’s orders.

I’ll give River this – he is able to own his behaviour.  So, later, when he encounters Phil in a less-frenzied environment, he opens up about his impending divorce and heartbreak.  Uncannily, Phil nails every single emotion, thought, and doubt River is experiencing.  This might seem like a convenient plot point, but I don’t think so.  Sometimes there are people who come into our lives at the right time and who are eerily perceptive.  I have a friend in my life who can accurately predict how I will react to certain situations and can often nail the reason why something went wrong.  Her experience and kindness have helped me many times.  I swear, she’s omniscient.

Just like Phil.

I often had to remind myself that River was the older one in the relationship (only by a few years, but he still often came across as immature and insecure).  Now, River has good reasons as to why he is the way he is and, they are heartbreaking, but it’s pretty obvious his ten-year relationship with colleague Doctor Terrence has not been healthy for River.

When rudderless River meets the compass that is Phil, it looks like there are real possibilities.  River has never been in a BDSM relationship and aside from a few men Phil can fuck (nameless and not memorable), he hasn’t had a serious relationship for a long time.

Domestic servitude might be new to River, but he sees the opportunity to connect with someone, so he leaps at the offer.  Phil’s motto is that any man “must be willing to obey my orders”.  His rules might be rigid, but that’s just what River needs.  Or so he thinks.

One irritant, for me, was the amount of minutiae described about the emergency department procedures, terms, and other things.  I wondered if the author had worked in the E.R. or was just showing us her depth of research.  Some of the facts did turn out to be important later, but much of it felt superfluous, and instead of feeling educated, I felt tired trying to keep all the details straight.  But, this is just one small section of a long book, so it is a minor annoyance.

After a chaotic and devastating shift for River, the fact he knew where to go and who would help him deal with the pain assured me that there was more to his relationship with Phil than just servitude and hot sex.  Phil’s ex, Roy, kept calling him “emotionally impotent”.  As his relationship with River develops, it is clear what the true problem between Phil and Rory really was.

River settles into servitude, enjoying the simple chores as it takes his mind off his troubles and because Phil is very creative in his rewards, River doesn’t mind the mind-numbing effect of the chores.  This book has some steamy scenes, but they weren’t the ones that were memorable for me.  River, near the end of his marriage, was having significant sexual problems – completely understandable – and when Phil tells River that, “I don’t mind waiting, even if I have to wait forever”, I believed him.  Phil’s infinite patience was amazing, but unsurprisingly, River begins to chafe at his perceived indifference and it leads to an intense and distressing incident.  Phil feels the need to punish River – who, eventually, sort of, comes to understand what he did to deserve the penance.

There are often moments like this in relationships – especially in D/s dynamics – and the true test is how the partners resolve the conflict.  Phil tells River, “I don’t want to be someone’s pillar, I want to be their escape”.  Although he is trying to reiterate the structure of the relationship, he is also trying to get River to see that he is stronger than he thinks.

Slowly, inch by inch, the relationship’s dynamics begin to shift.  River slowly, almost imperceptibly, begins to lower Phil’s defensiveness.  He points out the huge fireplace and Phil says, “Build me a fire and I’ll consider a cuddle.”

Small steps.

Unlike Terrence, Phil encourages River to get back to the things he loves.  Things that slowly slipped away under Terrence’s control and manipulation.

I could have chosen to question River moving from one controlling relationship to another, but the differences between Terrence and Phil were vast and clearly delineated, in their actions as much as their words.

The growth goes both ways as River discovers Phil’s old passion and buys Phil an amazing gift (my note said ‘aw’).

Also, as Phil helps River work through his hang-ups, there is one jaw-dropping amazing BDSM group scene.  You’ll just have to read the book to get all the HOT details.

There is a lot going on in this book – Phil’s one-eyed elderly cat, Joan Clawford, his grandfather Pops who is in a nursing home, and a crime at work that rocks Phil’s world.  River faces some serious choices of his own and as much as Phil wants to tell River what to do, he knows he can’t.

When he visits his fellow Doms, though, something out of character, Warren gently points out that “you have a habit of keeping people at arm’s length…I am the exception”.  And it is true.  Warren also admits that although he like it rough, he’s not interested in the theatrics of BDSM.

Although Tay does point out to Warren, “like the time you let me tie you up?”  My eyes bugged as I imagined the crimson shade Warren’s cheeks must have turned.  But Tay’s point was important.  “You haven’t changed,” he tells Phil.  “River is special.”

The question is whether River is special enough for Phil to change.  Will he break his own rules and fight for what he really wants?

The answer might have been clear to me as a reader, but I still had a few dark moments of doubt.

I got my “pure joy” ending, dragonfly and all.

I can’t wait for the next book because I know I will get more updates on my two favourite couples.

Of course, I can’t write a glowing review without mentioning John Solo’s great performance.  His rendition of River’s husband Terrence was particularly brilliant.  ‘Slimy’ was my note.  I also have to mention he was perfect for the diffident Joan Clawford who might not use words, but has attitude in those cat-sounds she makes.

Finally, I want to say that I enjoyed that these were two (almost) middle-aged men with significant and full histories.  It was clear their past relationships had made them the way they were and it made the transformations even more powerful.  I mean, if people have cheated on you, hurt you, disappointed you – will you ever trust again?  This book gave me hope.

My Rating:

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


Website | Twitter: @MarieSexton | Goodreads 

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

3 thoughts on “Terms of Service (The Heretic Doms Club Book 2) by Marie Sexton #Audiobook #BDSM #Review #MMRomance #Contemporary #LGBT #DomesticServitude

  1. Pingback: Spare the Rod (The Heretic Doms Club Book 3) by Marie Sexton #Audiobook #BDSM #Review #MMRomance #Contemporary #LGBT | Rainbow Gold Reviews

  2. Pingback: No Good Deed (The Heretic Doms Club Book 4) by Marie Sexton #Audiobook #BDSM #Review #MMRomance #Contemporary #LGBT | Rainbow Gold Reviews

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