Dom on the Side - Kate Aaron
Review originally posted at Sinfully.
Dom on the Side is book 3 in the Blowing It series, but set in 2007 it is a prequel to the first two books. I went into this story knowing nothing about the first two books or the characters and this worked just fine as a standalone. This is the story of Ryan and his discovery of his interest in BDSM and his submissive nature.
A visit to an Amsterdam BDSM club really gets Ryan thinking about what turns him on. Owen is horrified by what they witness, but Ryan finds it speaks to him, yet he feels shame at the same time wondering if the thought of being bound and hit means something is wrong with him. Knowing Owen wouldn’t understand and not really knowing what else to do about it after a disastrous attempt at going to a BDSM club, Ryan tries to push it all aside.
A one night stand with Jim turns into an opportunity Ryan never expected. Jim is a Dominant and although their night together is vanilla sex after a night of drinking, Jim sees something in Ryan and offers up an opportunity for him to submit. Jim is in a committed relationship with his boyfriend Gaz, but the two each have a kink that the other is unable to satisfy. They both have play partners to do that for them and Jim is very clear from the start that he will be whatever Ryan needs as far as a Dom and mentor, but it will be nothing but sex. He will not fall in love, he will not leave Gaz and if Ryan can’t handle that then he needs to stop before it starts.
Jim introduces Ryan to a BDSM club, to people in the lifestyle and Ryan’s eyes are really opened, especially when he meets Jim’s boyfriend Gaz (one of my favorite scenes in the story and a real turning point for Ryan). Ryan learns to see the people under the kink and not to make judgments of things that make him uncomfortable. Ryan is turned on by it all, but still dealing with shame over what he wants; not sure how “being hit” and liking it doesn’t mean something is wrong with him. Jim is not a sadist, and teaches Ryan that the key to his Domination lies within Ryan’s offering of his submission.
Sameer enters Ryan’s life at exactly the wrong time. He is entrenched in exploring things with Jim and trying to reconcile his vanilla life with his kink. Sameer is everything he could want in another man except for the kink. Sameer is an aggressive lover, but Ryan has no doubt that Sameer just wouldn’t be able to give him everything he needs and ultimately when things look to be going beyond casual, Ryan decides Sameer is a complication he can’t afford and that it would only be fair to Sameer to end things before it’s too late. When Owen decides to get involved in their relationship and takes things into his own hands, things go from bad to worse.
This was my first book by the author and I loved Kate Aaron’s take on and respect for the world Ryan is exploring and the many kinks offered. Jim is such a caring, honest and thoughtful guide and friend. There are times where Ryan questions all of his relationships; whether Owen can understand him and if he can continue being a friends when Owen’s well-intended meddling goes too far, whether he is setting himself up for an emotional fall with both Jim and Sameer and whether any of them can actually satisfy what he thinks he needs going forward. He knows what Jim and Gaz have won’t work for him and doesn’t think Sameer can be everything he needs. The biggest stumbling blocks for Ryan in all of this are quick assumptions and misunderstandings.
All of the scenes with Ryan and Jim were extremely well done. Sexy, thoughtful and hot, it’s more than just sex, with Ryan learning something new about himself each time. Jim is a wonderful mentor, friend and lover and an overall fantastic character. Ryan and Sameer also have great chemistry and I could really feel the difference in Ryan’s feelings for both men.
I did find it the story bit slow in the beginning where the author focuses on Ryan’s friendship with Owen (Jim isn’t really introduced until 25% in and Sameer more than halfway through the book), but I imagine those who already know the characters five or so years down the timeline might have a different take on things and appreciate it more.
This story is focused more on Ryan coming to terms with his kink and learning about the BDSM lifestyle, while the romance comes second. Although there is a complete story, there is much more left to tell as far as Ryan and Sameer’s relationship goes and the sequel Sub on Top is expected later this Spring. I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing where the story takes these two characters and hoping to see more of Jim and Gaz as well.