Dom with a safeword – a polyamorous BDSM novel

Kinky triads, levels of brattiness and (catholic) guilt. I guess that pretty much sums up the premise of “The Dom With a Safeword.” This first novel in the Badass Brats series is a collaboration between three BDSM fiction authors: Sorcha Black, Leia Shaw and Cari Silverwood. Though I have read Silverwood before, I never wrote about her. Why? Because she mainly writes helpless heroines who can only come to terms with who they are when a strong alpha male steps in and helps them. (I may be exaggerating a bit, but still..) But it turns out that all she needed was two collaborators to produce one of the best works of BDSM romance I have ever read.

Dom with a safeword – the story

One of the things that makes this novel interesting is its blending of different elements that is quite unique in the genre of erotica. Not only does it talk about kink, it features a triad: a relationship between three people where everyone is in a relationship with the other two. So, what we have here is polyamory; Mf (Male dominant, female submissive); and Ff (Female dominant, female submissive) action. Now, they must have worried about this being not enough ground to cover in a 280+ page book. So just to be on the safe side, they sprinkled in some paranormal elements and added some graphic warnings about safe play in the BDSM communities. Sounds like a great recipe, doesn’t it?

And it really is. The consent is clear, obvious and valued. What’s more, this novel touches on “unsafe” doms in the BDSM communities and what the risks can be. Two different types of unsafe Doms are featured (the emotionally abusive one, and the Dom who ignores a new sub’s use of the safeword (sorry for the spoilers)). Furthermore, the responses from the local community are described, showing everyone who has experienced or feared situations like that how they should be handled. The romance is cute, and more importantly, shows that it is absolutely possible to be comfortable around eachother in a BDSM relationship and to be a strong, caring dom as well as a great snuggler.

And on a BDSM level, this book does it.. by the book. And it does it well. The new sub is slowly introduced to more and more different sensations. The protagonists play with restraints, there’s impact play, some needle play… And there is the bratty subs, which (as a group) are not featured nearly enough in fiction. Whereas it turns out they make for hilarious characters.

Critical spankings

But of course, I do have some critical spankings. As I wrote on Goodreads:

The Dom with a Safeword (Badass Brats, #1)The Dom with a Safeword by Sorcha Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ideas Q, Jude and Sabrina start this relationship with are problematic though (using a man to “turn” a straight girl? Using a woman she trusts so you can play with an inexperienced sub? Flirting with and teasing your best friend/roommate who has been in love with you for five years even though you have no intention of going against your Catholic family? Frowns all around). BUT, the frowns disappeared pretty quickly. Though the dangers of these motivations are never actually addressed, the motivations seem to vanish as soon as the kinky fun starts (also: more than just kinky fuckery and more than a focus on the penis and orgasms. Yay!). And trust me, consensual fun was had by all. Fun of both the naughty and nice kinds.

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So yes, the premise is pretty problematic. If you are new to all of this, please do not believe it is okay to manipulate people into BDSM scenes. But, as I discussed before, sadly this is still a big thing in most romance novels and movies. And definitely not limited to the BDSM-ones. However, these objections are all slightly rectified, when in the end every character involved in this relationship claims full responsibility over their own actions. They all have a past hindering their surrender to the HEA (happily ever after). But they do not make their significant others responsible for fixing their issues. They each need to come to terms with their own desires and figure out a way to make room for those in their lives and worldviews. This novel is not perfect. But then again, what is?

Final judgements

The Dom with a safeword (yep, he really does have one) is a cute BDSM romance novel with hidden depths. If you are in the mood for some easy reading and kinky sex scenes, this is the one for you. Do you like brats and triads? I would really recommend this. And if you are a kinkster who’s a sucker for romance? Guess what… But this novel also has the potential to make you think. It does not take anything for granted, and the characters basically make everything up as they go. Which also means that it can provide inspiration, warnings and food for thought if you let it. Yes, the authors obviously favor a caring Dom(me) over a detached sadist. And if that is your preferred style, you should probably skip this one. And any other novel of the romance variety.

But a kinky, easy read that allows you to delve in as deep as you like? I for one can not wait to get my hands on the rest of the novels (there’s five more) in this series.

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