Safe Words: A Deviations Novel by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne #LGBT #Audiobook #Review #BDSM #MMRomance #Contemporary

Erryn reviews ‘Safe Words (Deviations Book 5)’ by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne. This book was released by Pretty Muses Publishing on November 6, 2016 and is about 241 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Maxx Power, released by Tygerseye Publishing LLC on June 25, 2019 and is 7 hrs and 39 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Why I read this book: I LOVE this series.


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 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 Deviations series includes: Deviations SubmissionDeviations DominationDeviations Discipline, and Deviations Bondage.


Buy Links: Audible  | Amazon  | Add to Goodreads 


My Review:

What happens when there is a violation of a safe word?

Safe words are used in various contexts in life, but with BDSM they are the way to stop a scene.  Full stop.  Sometimes it means the person can’t take anymore.  Sometimes it means the intensity is unbearable.  Sometimes it means this just isn’t working.  Regardless of the reason, the scene is supposed to stop and there should be no repercussions.  No hard feelings.  Perhaps later there will need to be an examination of what happened.  To be clear, safe words are rarely thrown around for the heck of it.  There are always ramifications when they are used.

Also, to be clear, safe word violations can have long-reaching effects well beyond the participants of the scene.  The repercussions can be felt within the scene as people re-evaluate their safety.  Bottoms might feel uncertain if all the precautions are in place and Tops might feel that their protocols are being brought into question.  They didn’t violate someone’s consent, but they might be cast in that same light.

But I digress.  This book is the fifth in the Deviations Series and I enjoyed it as much as the others.  Tobias and Noah are back, as strong as ever as a Dominant and submissive pairing.  Phan, the third member of their threesome is also back, still dealing with some of his issues.  The strength of the triad is admirable.  Now that Tobias is training other Dominants, there is a new dynamic.  Noah and Phan are sharing their own experience as submissives, Phan’s role being the most challenging.  He also has the most stuff to work through but with Noah and Tobias to guide him, he is managing.

Again, I liked the dynamic between Tobias and Noah.  I liked that they can release some of their hard-won control and embrace other roles in times of stress.  A reminder that prescriptive roles can be changed up for short periods of time in a healthy way and an acknowledgement that we all need someone who understands us.

Bradford and Nikki are great secondary characters and as Tobias, Noah, and Phan integrate more into the club, these secondary characters come to the fore.  I liked the men and almost wanted to know more about them.

This book has a good balance of sex, emotion, protocol, and BDSM.  These are all elements that need to be balanced for a good relationship to work and to make a strong story.  This was a good story and one I enjoyed. I’m sorry to see the series end but it is the perfect note to go off on.

Maxx Power is a great narrator.  He has distinct voices for all the men and I’m never left in doubt of who is speaking.  He has been consistent through the entire series and I’m grateful for that.  This book is a stand-alone but much better enjoyed with the all the books which are now, fortunately, all available on audio.  Another great listen.


My Rating:

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