El’s BDSM Book Recs

A couple of days ago I was tagged into a conversation about BDSM romances on twitter. Guys, I love BDSM romances. A lot. So I ended up going on a ridiculously long ramble in a friend’s DMs with my favorite BDSM recs. And then other people chimed in asking me to share those recs!

So here’s my list in no particular order! Hopefully you can find a way to beat the heat this weekend with a nice, kinky romance novel. (I just spent five minutes trying to find a pun about beating and heat and BDSM and… okay, I’ll shut up. Here are some book recs.)

bdsm-romance-recs

With BDSM recs, it really depends on what you’re looking for. BDSM is not one-size-fits-all (and I actually wrote an entire post about this a while ago). There are different types of BDSM, and different tones and kinks and approaches to the way a BDSM relationship plays out. So the recs below are pretty varied.

Just last night I read a BDSM M/M/F menage romance by Roni Loren, called Loving You Easy. It’s not out yet (Sept. 6), but it reminded me of another BDSM menage that I enjoyed: Kneel Mr. President by Lauren Gallagher. It’s an interesting look at a menage/poly relationship and it focuses on the mental as well as physical aspects of BDSM. It’s M/F/M, and the kink itself is not especially hardcore.

There are also romances that are SUPER kinky but don’t really incorporate BDSM as a cultural element, like Special Delivery by Heidi Cullinan and Rough Road by Vanessa North. There’s no “scene” here, no BDSM clubs or SSC play… just couples exploring a kinky relationship on their own.  Both have a significant age difference, too, which I really enjoy. In Special Delivery a young college student runs away with an long-haul trucker to explore himself and his sexual urges. In Rough Road a businessman and a construction worker find a compatible sexual relationship that revolves around pain and domination.

JA Rock’s The Subs Club series is divine, and extremely realistic, going into BDSM culture and the aspects that most romance writers skip over. It’s four books, each following a different character and a different kinky focus. JA is actually very knowledgeable about BDSM, and those little details make this series something unique in the subgenre.

Two of my favorites are Takeover and Just Business by Anna Zabo. They’re both really lovely BDSM romances that balance the line between “realistic” and “romantic”. Set in a world of board rooms, where power is everything, Takeover follows a CEO who craves submission and pain. Just Business is  really lovely because one of the MCs has been battling with his desire to hurt (willing) subs, and wondering if that makes him a monster. It’s a pivotal aspect of who he i: he’s a Dom and a sadist.

There are also some books that explore aspects of BDSM relationships that aren’t usually focused on… two recent releases are Gays of Our Lives by Kris Ripper (out Monday) and Risk Aware by Amelia C. Gormley, which both have MCs with disabilities who want to be active in BDSM despite the dangers associated with their conditions. These books are so important to me, because I think disability is usually overlooked in Romance, especially in BDSM.

OH OH and I can’t forget For Real by Alexis Hall. It’s GORGEOUS. The kink itself is relatively minor to the power play exchange, which is one of the most unique and beautiful relationships I’ve ever read. The Dom is a 19 year old named Toby, and the sub an almost-40 year old named Laurie. It completely flips the entire trope upside down, and Alexis’ writing will leaving you gasping and clutching your chest.

The Power Exchange trilogy by AJ Rose is a combination of mystery/suspense and BDSM. Yes, it’s a bit overdone, but I thought the characters were complex and the relationship is challenged by a serial killer who is after D/s couples in the St. Louis BDSM scene. It’s very romanticized at times, and maybe a bit hokey, but the characters really made this one for me.

On the flip side of that is Xan West’s fantastic erotica anthology Show Yourself to Me. It’s a series of short stories with very heavy kink, but also a lot of things I don’t usually see in romance: a lot of daddy play, a LOT of trans characters, and almost entirely characters who aren’t romance-typical (ie, people who are fat, who are disabled, etc). And Xan really knows their stuff too, it’s very obvious.

And last but not least is Riptide Publishing’s anthology Rules to Live By. The stories in this antho are varied, so there’s something for everyone: rope bondage, daddy/boy play, power exchanges and more! This anthology actually introduced  me to two of my favorite authors, so it has a special place in my heart.

I generally like BDSM where characters are challenged mentally AND physically, where boundaries are pushed, where BDSM is an aspect of personality and not just an aspect of sex play. So I think you’ll find that a lot in the above recs.

So, what are your favorite BDSM romances?

12 thoughts on “El’s BDSM Book Recs

    • I’ve read other books by JR Gray and really enjoyed them, but I haven’t actually made it to his Bound series yet. I think I’ll have to bump those up on the list 😀

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    • Oh yes, I was just talking to someone about this on twitter the other day as well! I read this series years and years ago, and recently re-read it. Great rec!

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  1. For Real will forever be my favourite BDSM, and one of my all time favourite books of any genre. It’s so romantic, every time Laurie calls Toby ‘Darling’ I’m a giant puddle of melted goo and I don’t usually love pet names in book.

    The Subs Club is so clever, I adore David and D.

    Rough Canvas is another that I really enjoyed. It’s intense and emotional and I love the characters.

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    • Oh, I haven’t read Rough Canvas… but since I think we have similar taste in books (seeing as how we *both* melt into goo at that Darling endearment) I will absolutely check it out!

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  2. I liked Straight Shooter by Heidi Belleau and L.A. Witt’s Not Safe for Work. Also some of the Market Garden stories feature BDSM-couples. They are really worth checking out.

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  3. This list is wonderful. There’s some great ones on here I’ve read already and a bunch I’ve wanted to read for a while. I adore the stories with one of the characters having a disability. The way they overcome whatever obstacles it creates is such a pleasure to read.

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