In a delightful volume by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne, we're brought inside the intimate dynamics of a master/sub relationship, exquisitely played out between Tobias, a skilled if hesitant Dom, and Noah, who longs to be a sub but has yet to find a man worthy of his trust.
Owen and Payne use the tropes of the genre--the secluded, discrete sex club, the luxurious, multi-faceted home dungeon--so effectively that one is instantly 'in' Tobias and Noah's world. One cannot help but be touched by Tobias's warring emotions as he is reluctant to enter a new relationship yet cannot resist Noah's charms. His explorations of Noah's history shed a bright light on the sometimes awkward and difficult corners of the lifestyle, adding a refreshing level of realism to the tale. We see far more of Noah than his submissive side, with sneak peeks into his professional and personal life that transform him into a whole person, rather than a cardboard cut-out of a character.
There is a satisfying amount of tension in this story. The sudden appearance of Phan, Tobias's former lover, puts a new strain on a fledgling relationship, while Noah's difficulties with trust provide a constant challenge.
At over 200 pages, Deviations: Submission takes quite a while to read. It is, however, time well spent. The prose is well-handled, with engaging descriptions and nicely rounded secondary characters. The erotic action is on the softer side of the paddle, so to speak, but this actually serves the needs of the story very well. Not to be missed.