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My favorite BDSM romance novels, and why

As someone who is passionate about the BDSM lifestyle, it's hard to read "bad" BDSM. And by "bad" I mean a poor representation.


I want to clarify that I love non-con and dub-con. I enjoy some Mafia, and a heavy dose of bossy aliens. But the issue I have is when a character claims to be a "dom" but is really just "an abusive asshole."


So here is my list of "good" BDSM books, and why I included them on the list.


Books that specifically refer to themselves as BDSM, and include actual dynamics


The Suncoast Society by Tymber Dalton

This series should keep you busy for a while. I have honestly only read the first nine, but I loved them all. The Reluctant Dom made me cry and Domme by Default was so damn relatable I had to read it twice. They are all interconnected standalones, but so far, I've loved every single one.


This is a BDSM club series where a woman is given a fake name, and assigned a dominant. They jump straight into a scene with little to no negotiation, but her Dom is very careful about guiding her intentionally and teaching her in the moment. It is straight erotica that slowly develops a story over the course of the short stories, and concludes with a novella. If you're willing to look past the first initial demand for submission, it's a lovely, fantastic series that I wholeheartedly enjoyed.


Preferential Treatment by Heather Guerre

This is a femdom, with aspects of findom (something I don't normally see in fiction!) and is done very well. Basically, it's the 50-shades we should have gotten.


This book was originally titled "Beautiful Submission," but we all know how Amazon is about banning certain key words. It was retitled and republished, but the book remains the same. It is supposedly a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling, but I didn't pick up on that until I saw the goodreads page after I finished it. What I loved about this story was the male protagonist was flawed. He wasn't a perfect Dom by any means. And, their dynamic was confined to one room of the house. The Female Protagonist was a brat 99% of the time but that 1% she was in that room? She was the goodest of girls. It was a great break from the normal, and so well done.


Show Me by M. X. Alex

Sweet Goddess, I keep recommending this book knowing the second one isn't out yet, but I don't care. This book broke my heart but absolutely satisfied every urge. It's a femdom with a little bit of MM action, and some MMF action as well. I've read M. X. Alex's other series as well. They're an excellent writer and if you like MM, you'll love their stuff. (also. that cover? Holy balls, batman.)


Cruel Idols by Sorcha Black

This is one of my favorite books. This story is an MMF where the two men are already in a power exchange, but they bring the woman in for a short period of time. (Yes it's a HEA and she sticks around). One reason why I love this is they're very clear about limits and boundaries during their scene negotiation. Also, each scene has a purpose. it's not just a scene for the sake of kink. The characters are actively trying to get something specific out of it.


There is also a scene where the FMC does go into a very dark headspace and is unable to safeword. The scene continues for some time but eventually her Doms figure out she's not ok and they end the scene. Not only have I never seen this represented in fiction before, I thought it was very well done, even though it could be slightly triggering for some readers.


Sorcha Black also has several other books that feature MM power exchanges where the F is brought in. This one is the closest one to a "good power exchange" I can recommend to you. But all of her books are fantastic.


Chase Me by Natalia Lourose

This is a short novella. It's about as consensual as CNC can get... unfortunately, because of the consent factor, it falls a little flat on the CNC vibes. It's not as dark as it could be. I still gave it 5 stars because it's hot af and very well done, and I still think the tension is delicious enough that it's worth reading.


Isle of Sin by S. Firecox

This is the least satisfying rec on this list. It's a BDSM/sex club island with a very detailed world. I enjoyed it, but I had some complaints. Mainly, the male protagonist kept defending his actions to the reader, and it was unnecessary.


That being said, he was very focused on consent. He had a victim of trafficking on his island, which was a huge no-no, and he was trying to reach her. the only way he could protect or was to dominate her, and I thought he did a pretty good job. It scratches that "noncon" itch while still having a redeemable male protagonist who clearly cares about her consent and her wellbeing.


Mercy by Sara Cate

This was a fun read, and I was satisfied with the power exchange. The femdom was hot AF, and Sara Cate is a fantastic writer. I didn't find Beau to be very much of a brat, and my biggest complaint was that I wished he hadn't been labeled as one.


Motorcycle Daddy by Laylah Roberts

This is the only Laylah Roberts book I've read, and I did enjoy it. It's really hard to find DD/LG books that aren't cringe AF. This one is pretty great, and was recommended to me by another Little in the lifestyle.


It wasn't heavy on the Little headspace, but it was there. It was pretty fluffy all things considered (though the ending got pretty intense plotwise) and I found it a little slow, but I still enjoyed it. If you want good DDLG, start here.


Dirty X6 by Tara Crescent

this one is just barely inbetween this category, and the next category. The FMC has a great Dom... and five other partners for the other days of the week (and one day to herself, because a girl has to wash her underwear at some point). It's absolutely solid smut. I'm talking six back to back scenes of porn, then a quick plot twist, and then more porn. It's totally worth the three dollars, and heavy on consent.


I also enjoyed Tara Crescent's MFM books, but I wouldn't call them "good bdsm." I'd dump them in the category below.


Books that have kink and consent, but are not necessarily negotiated power exchange


So far my experience with Jade West has been fantastic, and I plan to read more of her books. Dirty Bad Wrong was a D/s dynamic, though I wouldn't call it a healthy one since there was so much miscommunication. That being said, all her books are very kinky, and heavy on consent. Bait was probably one of the best CNC books I've ever read, and Sugar Daddies was so frickin' delicious and emotionally satisfying that I have zero complaints.


Eleven series by Octavia Jensen

I really enjoy these books, although again, I wouldn't say they are "good" dynamics. But the kink is safe (as safe as kink can get) and the consent is present. I've read the first four books and enjoyed them all, though 11 hours and 11 scenes were my favorite so far.


Touch of Taboo series by Katee Robert

These books are not only incredibly filthy and very fast paced, but consent is present very quickly. Sometimes there is a safeword involved, but not always.


My books

I'm a little biased... but here are my books, and why I think they should mostly fall into the first category!


Megan doesn't have any level of negotiation with her new Dom before beginning their scenes. However, she was in a D/s dynamic, and then an M/s dynamic, with Reuben for three years. Reuben negotiates on her behalf, and has a short scene where he asks her if anything has changed for her. Megan chooses to let Reuben take the lead on guiding her into her new dynamic. It starts as play scenes only, but evolves into a relationship.


Ashes of Sin and Stardust (How to Tame a Brat)

There are some big issues with the consent in this book, mainly the informed consent that Alice does not have before she asks for hypnosis to be added into their dynamic. Alice is also very uneducated in consent before the beginning of their relationship, and regularly brats Reuben without consent. He does his best to help her, educate her, and get her under control in the only way he knows how - by making her. Which, ironically, is exactly what she wants. So the entire book is sketch on consent, despite Reuben being a kink educator.


This will be out in about two months! Consent is present, but... communication is not very good early in the book! It does have a HEA and they do get their heads out of their asses.


This is a nonerotic power exchange about Reuben's submissive/babygirl, Robin. She is a former trafficking victim and is in a headspace that demands for someone to control her. Reuben steps into that role as well as he can, and nurses her back to health physically and mentally.

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I shall have a good look through your suggestions over the next few weeks and months.


The good BDSM romances form a list that is so much shorter than the indifferent or the downright unreadable, in my experience.


Tentatively and off the top of my head, I might offer Enslaving Eli by Billierosie as one that I enjoyed very much, largely because it is at pains to examine the psychological aspects of a male submissive, as well as presenting an entirely believable account of the mind of a certain type of dominant female - possibly even the 'right' type!


There are others that have probably slipped my mind so will have to give the question further due care and attention....

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