Bad Behavior by K.A. Mitchell


Grade: B-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, BDSM
Series: Bad in Baltimore #5
Published: 12/16/14
Reviewed by Anne
294 pages

Beach (David Beauchamp) is on probation awaiting trial for a series of bad decisions he’s made.  Despite the “no alcohol” rule that goes with his probation, he goes to a bar and looks for a hook up.  Fortunately for him he finds one with a sexy and bossy man who leaves him with wishing he could see him again.  Unfortunately, he does see the man again – he’s Officer Tai Fonoti, Beach’s parole officer.

The connection between them is still electric, but Tai knows it would be unprofessional to see Beach again.  He even arranges to have Beach’s case transferred to another probation officer.  He doesn’t plan on the temptation that comes when Beach reaches out to him for another taste of the dominance he got in the bar.  Beach knows nothing about a D/s relationship, but he knows he wants more of what Tai has.

I enjoyed this story.  It made me majorly book cranky – I didn’t want to put it down.  It also puzzled me, and put me in a bit of a dark mood.  Beach has a pretty messed up life, and it’s amazing that he’s still around after all the self-destructive choices he’s made.  He seems to roll through life with a cute smile and lot of money and not many friendships.  He comes off as pretty naïve, bordering on stupid at some points.  He does change and mature throughout the story, but it came off as motivated by Tai and wanting to please Tai more than it was about him really maturing.  Whereas Beach seemed self-destructive and oblivious at the beginning of the book, by the end he was reliant on Tai and seemed nearly unable to function without him around.  There were times that it felt like Tai had a parental role over Beach, and I didn’t like that.

Tai was comfortable as a dominant.  Comfortable enough to seek advice from a mentor and to question himself and his choices.  I really appreciated that – I’ve read too many omniscient doms that just didn’t seem realistic.  At the same time, I felt like he and Beach didn’t do enough talking.  They seemed to be moving toward a 24/7 D/s relationship, but the two of them never talked about what they wanted.

However, their relationship was well written.  Even though I didn’t necessarily like where it was headed (without them discussing it) it was understandable and believable that these two characters would handles things in the way they did.  The sex scenes – and there were many! – were very hot and very well written.  There was some D/s that was not sexual, and that was a new thing for me.  I thought it was well written, because I understood what they each got out of the relationship and why they’d want such a relationship.

There are some snarky comments to lighten up the story – I especially enjoyed Tai’s struggle to find commands for Beach that wouldn’t confuse his dog.  Snarky characters from other books were also enjoyable.

This is the fifth book in the Bad in Baltimore series.  I read the first and second books several months ago (and enjoyed them!) but then skipped ahead to this one.  I could tell that I’d missed some character backstories, but it was easy to read this one on its own.

I’d recommend this book for readers who enjoy some intense BDSM.  It was a little past what I’m comfortable with, but still a good read.

How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps by Josephine Myles

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, BDSM
Published: 9/23/14
Reviewed by Anne
260 pages

This one was a surprising mix of BDSM and humor that really worked well! I’ll definitely be reading more by Josephine Myles!

Jeff is a Dom fairly new to the BDSM scene in his small town in England. He’s got a more experienced neighbor, Niall, who has helped him find others to socialize with, but Jeff’s not so good with the ladies. His manners and a really unfortunate bad first try have left none of the female subs in his club interested in spending time with him. He’s greatful with Niall steps in to find an experienced submissive willing to give Jeff some lessons on how to be a good Dominate. Niall finds Eddie.

Initially, Jeff is really put off by the fact that Eddie is a man. Jeff knows he’s straight, straight, straight, so he doesn’t want to even consider it. Eddie thinks Jeff is attractive, though, so when time passes and Jeff decided he’s willing to learn from Eddie after all, Eddie is still willing to help Jeff learn the ropes.

At the beginning of this book, Jeff was a real asshole. Mostly he was an ignorant bigot. He had a lot of irritating prejudiced assumptions about gay people, what makes a man a man, women, and even BDSM. He was also blunt and unintentionally offensive.

Eddie was the perfect foil for Jeff. A very thick skin and self esteem enough to not put up with that behavior He also had a way of pointing out Jeff’s prejudices and assumptions in a way that made Jeff think.

Jeff was open to changing behavior and recognizing his prejudices. That didn’t just save the story – it made it great. I really enjoyed watching Jeff’s journey. Jeff was still a bit of a doofus, but his willingness to change behaviors when they were pointed out was awesome.

Besides the issue of whether Jeff and Eddie can ever have a lasting relationship, there’s a lot of sex and BDSM in this book! And it was really good! I absolutely enjoyed the BDSM without the angst that normally comes with this genre. I’ll absolutely be reading more Josephine Myles and looking for more of this approach!

I also heartily approve of the happy but not too happy ending. It was realistic and satisfying.

I totally enjoyed this book! I’d recommend it to readers who like m/m and BDSM, but I’d also recommend it to readers who are curious about m/m and BDSM romance!

Sweetwater by Lisa Henry

Grade: B-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Genre: Historical, m/m, BDSM
Published: 8/19/14
Reviewed by Kate

This one is such a tightly woven story that I find it hard to write a summary of it without giving you the entire play-by-play.  But here goes : When Elijah was little, scarlet fever took his family, and his hearing.  Although he isn’t 100% deaf, most of the town thinks he’s an idiot.  Elijah knows that being deaf isn’t the only thing that makes him different from everybody else.  He’s also gay.  His first “relationship” is with Harlan Crane, the owner of the saloon.  But Elijah is also attracted to cowboy Grady Mullins and Grady’s interested as well.

Elijah is around 20, but is just starting to try and figure out who he is and what he wants.  Unfortunately most of what he wants conflicts with the way he was raised.  Lots of internal conflict for Elijah.  Lots.

His relationship with Crane is dirty and nasty.  It made me flinch whenever I had to read it.  Their relationship is about pain and humiliation and subjugation.  Even though Elijah discovers he needs the pain, there is nothing romantic about Crane and Elijah.

In Grady, Elijah finds something that he never knew existed.  Gentleness, caring, compassion.  And while part of him craves that from Grady, another part of him is terrified spitless at this new type of relationship.  Elijah’s relationship with Grady, which doesn’t start until half way through the book, is the only part of this book that would qualify as a romance.

This one felt more like a coming-of-age story, rather than a romance.  Outside of the relationships with Crane and Grady, Elijah goes on a heartbreaking journey of self discovery.  A journey which takes him through highs and low—although mainly lows.  The relationships with Crane and Grady are a definite, but minor, part of his journey

Lisa Henry has written a gritty, raw, page turning tale about a young, deaf, gay man on a self-discovery journey in 1870.  And while the relationships in this book were not my cup of tea, I would not hesitate to read another of her books.  In fact I hope to do so soon.

As a romance, this one disappointed me a bit.  As a novel, in general, I loved it.  What’s the last book that you read that didn’t hit the romance note right, but you enjoyed regardless?