Bree T's Reviews > Another Way

Another Way by Anna  Martin
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's review
Nov 27, 2011

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bookshelves: arc, kindle-version, romance, gbt
Read from October 28 to 29, 2011

Jesse is just a normal 24 year old guy who has graduated from University and works as a manager in a local independent book store in Seattle, Washington. He has a girlfriend named Adele who works front of house at a local restaurant and they’ve been together for five years. Jesse believes that he’s happy, secure in his relationship even though he has needs that Adele cannot take care of – that he’d never ask her to take care of.

Jesse is a submissive and for a while was having his needs met by Mistress Laura, a Domme who introduced him to the world of BDSM. Laura also maintains a separate world away from the ‘lifestyle’ and after she marries and gives birth to twins, she hands Jesse off to Will, a Dom who is homosexual and takes Jesse to levels that Laura did not. Jesse is quite happy with his two lives that never intersect and this calm and organized world is rocked when one day his Master Will confesses that he’d like Jesse to come and live with him as a partner as well as his slave and take their relationship to being just more than Master and submissive.

Jesse is torn – he never considered himself as gay (or even bisexual) with Will meeting the needs he had as a submissive. Although he cares for Will and admits that he cares more than he thought, he’s not sure if he can leave Adele and the comfortable life they have. It would mean ‘coming out of the closet’ – a closet he didn’t even know he was in! Confused, he asks Will for time, which Will grants him and Jesse takes several weeks to agonize over his decision. Finally he and Adele realise that they have both being seeing other people and make the decision to break up. Jesse goes to Will and confesses that he and Adele are over and that he’s willing to try being in a relationship with Will as well as them continuing as Master/slave.

The story doesn’t end there – Jesse is first conflicted by Will’s commitments as a Dom in the local scene and they also face issues that deal with Jesse’s acceptance of this facet of his sexuality and how various people, such as both of their families and Will’s friends, will react. He’s also worried about prejudice from the wider community. Will and Jesse face many obstacles in their new relationship as well as trying to integrate their Master/slave relationship and at the same time, keeping a separation between the two.

To be honest the subject matter of this book was new for me! I don’t read a lot of m/m romance, nor do I read much (well, any actually) BDSM. But the synopsis caught my eye and when I was offered it for review I thought it would be good to try something different! And although this book does contain a lot of explicit sexual scenes and a couple of pain scenes (so warning for those, if you’re sensitive to either of those things) at it’s core, it’s mostly a love story.

When we meet Jesse he’s very complacent with his lot in life. He has his relationship with Adele for fitting into society and he isn’t bothering to stretch himself in a managerial job in the bookstore he worked part time at through college. He is open about his need to serve as a slave but it seems that if Will had not suggested they look at also entering a romantic relationship, Jesse wouldn’t have made the move himself and could’ve remained in his comfortable little life.

When he and Adele realise that their relationship is over, he goes to Will and they begin the journey of trying to have a romantic relationship as well as a Master/slave one. Will has done a 24/7 relationship before and isn’t interested in that again – it can be awkward having to explain to one’s friends when they drop in unexpectedly why there is a naked man in a dog collar wandering around the house! So Jesse and Will confine their playing to Will’s specially constructed playroom and the rest of the time they are equals in a relationship, although things do not always run smoothly. Jesse has a difficult time adjusting, which is actually very believable as he basically goes from his 5year, comfortable heterosexual relationship with Adele to dealing with the fact that he’s having feelings for a man that are not restricted to their Master/slave dynamic.

While I admit I had to skim a scene or two (ones that dealt with really pushing pain boundaries, which aren’t particularly of interest to me) I enjoyed the rest of the novel! It was a well-written and interesting story and a sensitive take on BDSM relationships and how the lines can become blurred and things can develop. I found it interesting that Jesse never considered himself to be gay, or even bisexual prior to actually moving in with Will, even though in their M/s ‘scenes’ together, he performed clear sexual acts to and with Will. I don’t know enough about the M/s lifestyle to really judge, but surely a strictly heterosexual wouldn’t participate in sexual acts with a member of the same sex. And sexual acts aren’t necessary to the lifestyle or M/s relationship – in the novel, Will Doms a submissive named Shannon who is asexual and it’s purely a pain scene with absolutely no sexual connotations. And Will states more than once in the novel that Domming women doesn’t turn him on, because he is gay. So I found it interesting that Jesse never questioned his sexuality, given that.

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