Review: By His Rules

By His Rules
By His Rules by J.A. Rock

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My review is the second one. Doh! I'm always second. :(

The Romance Review

A downward spiraling submissive is never a pretty sight. I had misgivings about this book. Would it live up to the hype I've heard? I'm more critical of BDSM books since it seems more authors are jumping onto this latest hot trend with nary an understanding of this subject.

J.A Rock pulled me in within the first chapter. Aiden Cole is a hot twenty-three year-old being sought after by many a leather Daddy. Aiden's understanding of BDSM is more focused on the SM side. Make no mistake; his pain tolerance is high. His understanding of a submissive or a slave is very low. Unfortunately for him, he hooks up with Scott Runge who is a sadistic bastard. This is the kindest I can term Scott. Scott is a play Dom. He thinks he is a real Dom and he even has himself convinced. The sad part is, there are many Doms like Scott in real life. This situation is not uncommon.

BY HIS RULES demonstrates the real life mistakes that can happen with a BDSM relationship goes wrong. I am very impressed with how accurate it is portrayed. It breaks my heart. Under Scott's cruel tutelage, Aiden is transformed from a confident talented young man into a gaunt no self-esteem brat. The night and day difference makes me want to cry and drag Aiden away and protect him. I also want to take a cane to Scott's stupid arse. I'm incensed. My emotions ran from sadness to fury. Not all books which generate such emotion receive a four star from me. What made this book for me was the introduction of Keaton Hughes.

I fell for Keaton. His style of D/s is very different than Scott. His is focused on domestic discipline, which is near and dear to my heart. What is key, is his focus on the relationship and building trust. If I see J.A Rock, I will fall at the author's feet and kiss them for this difference. We are not battered over the head with this lesson; we are held captive, watching a patient Keaton doing his best to help Aiden heal.

Keaton is no pushover. He spanks with the best of them. He isn't into SM, which Aiden feels he needs yet doesn't understand why he wants to be literally beaten to a pulp. With Keaton's stabilizing influence, we see Aiden mend and come to some harsh epiphanies. Aiden realizes his equating heavy physical abuse to cathartic release is a gross fallacy. We witness his realization; it's painful to watch.

I appreciate that this story isn't an easy white knight saving the damsel in distress trope. Instead, the story is up and down. Just as it seems as though everything is going very well, Aiden falls again. This is all too real and makes this story more meaningful to me. We do conclude in a happy ending and it feels as if we've gone through a wringer.

I recommend this book to BDSM readers who want to see the good and bad aspects to a D/s and SM relationship. This is definitely one to read.

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