Title: Saints United
Series: For Love of Authority 3
Author: Rhiannon Ayers
Genre: D/s, contemporary
Stand Alone: YES
Re-issued /Re-edited: NO
Date published: December 31, 2014
Published by: Siren Publishing
Publisher bookstore: LINK
Word count: 106,811
Who is Rhiannon Ayers?
I grew up in cities all over the United States. My parents enjoyed moving for the sake of seeing new places, so whenever wanderlust seized them, off we went. Eventually, our travels landed me on the Texas coast, where I attended high school and college. And though I have moved away for the sake of work in the past, something always draws me back. I believe Texas will always be a major part of my life, no matter what city I live in. Plus, I’m a HUGE Texans fan, so I have to be able to watch my football games on TV.
That said, even though my feet may be planted in Texas soil, my head is always in the clouds. I am a dreamer, a thinker, a planner, and most of the time a doer. When not creating artwork for my professional clients, I am constantly doing art projects. If it can be made by hand, I’ve made it at least once. I make jewelry, clay figurines, sewing projects, paper crafts, scrapbooks—you name it. And I always have an art project in some stage of completion.
My husband and I have been together for over a decade, and we are the proud parents of a wonderful son who will probably rule the world one day—he’s that smart. Our inquisitive dog, Intrepid Explorer Max Puppy, helps round out the family and adds much joy and laughter to our home. My son is a math and science genius, which makes no sense since both of his parents are wordsmiths and artists, but hey, we roll with it. When not stumping me with his knowledge of higher math (the kid isn’t even in middle school, for crying out loud!) my son and my dog happily hunt frogs, kittens, and other nefarious creatures that inhabit our apartment complex.
My husband is an editor, a writer, and a consummate pro at keeping me and the family on track. If not for his balancing capabilities, I’m sure I’d have us eating boiled fish sticks every night. But as goofy as we all are, we do have fun together. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
As to my writing credentials, I managed to win two Silver Awards on the National Scholastic Short Story Competition when I was in high school, as well as the prestigious Vanderbilt Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. Before that, I wrote my very first adventure series when I was eight years old, a rousing tale of talking animals and evil villians that may or may not have been based on the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques. But, as silly as those first efforts of mine were, those stories were what convinced me I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Fate intervened for a time, so I grew into a different career that still let me nurture my creative side—graphic design. My very first novel was finally published in May of 2014, and it is still my single greatest achievement to date.
Andre “AJ” Johannes fell in love with his college roommate—he just didn’t realize it until it was too late. After spending one unforgettable night in Ryder St. Claire’s arms, fate forced them apart. But Ryder still haunts his dreams, and AJ’s always wondered what might have been.
Eight years later, AJ is starting over. New job, new city, new life—and all of it without his wife and son. Marian divorced him and took sole custody, leaving AJ to wonder if the rest of his life will end up as useless as his shattered marriage.
Little does AJ know he’s got a couple of Saints looking out for him. Ryder St. Claire married Lyss three years ago, and the two of them have been searching for their third— the man who will offer his submission and give them everything they cannot give each other. But can they overcome years of emotional abuse to convince AJ he deserves to be happy?
It’s been a long long time since I reviewed a menage now. Of course, I was interrupted with the Happy Menages Holidays tour and I hope everyone reading this blog today, visited all those fantastic menage authors’ blogs I posted here, including Rhiannon Ayers! If you did not, it is not too late to jump and check them… after reading this review of course!
I must say that Saints United is pretty special to me, for many different reasons. I will not list them all but the main one is pretty high on my list: credibility!
I am always complaining that authors who write “BDSM” are rarely giving the lifestyle justice. I am fine with a couple of romanticized parts because after all we all want to read a romance and not the dirty reality of what we have in life. So, re-arranging some truths can be acceptable, to a certain point. I always say that the most outstanding stories I have ever read were authors that wrote what they obviously know. And it has nothing to do with fantasy, paranormal or sci-fi. Authors can write those genre and know what they are talking about because they all did one thing. This thing is crucial. This thing is totally mandatory… they did their research! One reason I like to read the dedications and bios. It gives me an idea who is the author or in which set of mind the author was when she finished her story.
So the question is: how to research the lifestyle in order to write about it without looking like a newbie? Many possibilities: They can participate to BDSM convention. If the price is too expensive, then they can contact any BDSM organization in their main city. Vanilla people can meet during munches. It is a great, rare opportunity to meet not only experienced Dom(me)s, but also submissives and switches.. If you follow some protocol and respect, then they will welcome people who truly want to learn. They can also, if they are lucky, assist in real sessions/demonstrations such spanking, wax, shibari and more. And finally if none of that is possible, they can do what is the easiest, totally affordable… surf on the net, join groups, read and learn!!!
I will never understand nor excuse authors that do not do their homework and write a blurred, deformed version of the lifestyle. Again, I do keep in mind it is a romance, not a biography and most readers are not into the lifestyle or wish to learn all the gory details. But many authors are abusing the BDSM readers’ infatuation with the label, and they label their story BDSM when there is none in the story. And that irks me no-ends. (if you want to know how much it irks me, clic HERE)
Saints United by Rhiannon Ayers is just… right. This story is not the only D/s menage story that felt right, but I will add it to my pile of not only “must read” but also “outstanding” story.
Some authors have it, some don’t. What? Talent! Plain and simple. But talent would be nothing if knowledge was not there too.
This story stirred all the emotion from the characters you can think of. Three characters but I felt it was truly the story of one. The story started with him and ended with him. Oh! Do not get me wrong, you will have your happy menage ending, and yes, you will know everything about the other characters. But, I truly felt the story was about the main character: the slave.
Now. You probably have preconceived notions about slaves. No surprise here. I had too. I truly thought that a slave was more submissive than a sub which is the short for submissive anyway. Well, it is not. A slave lives and breathes to please his/her Dom(me)s. His pleasure is only to please. His pleasure comes always after and that is the way he/she finds satisfaction and peace and has his/her needs fulfilled. A slave does not need orders because his/her life is dedicated to anticipate and give without expectation. A slave is trained to perform, and those lessons are meant to be followed from the time they are given until the order is changed. A slave embraces the Dom(me)’s training and fulfills his/her duties without question. Training is required, but the slave is expected to absorb the lessons and repeat them without prompting.
A submissive, on the other hand, needs more direction. His/her needs can be very different from one to another. One will need discipline, one will need pain, one will need control. But, at the end of the day, a submissive will wait for orders, not anticipate them. And this is a major difference. A sub actually craves being given orders. Dom(me)s will train the sub as well, but the sub actually prefers specific orders so that they know, without doubt, that they are performing well.
A slave performs, period. If they get rewards it is because the Dom/me feels like giving them. Subs perform FOR rewards.
So yes, it is complicated. And my very short explanation does not give the full spectrum of who is who.
Saints United will give you the opportunity to know about slaves living the lifestyle. Just remember to always separate titles and individuals. Everyone is different, and there is no such thing as identical slaves. Never believe that what you read is totally the truth… and the only truth! But, the slave you will meet in Saints United is very close to any slave you could meet in real life and for me, it made all the difference. But be prepared, because you will need tissues. Yep, this story is THAT emotional.
It is a full journey. And what I loved was that the timeframe in between events was not rushed. Because that’s the way it is in real life. To live a successful D/s relationship takes time. Nothing new on the planet here because any kind of relationship, vanilla or not, takes time, understanding and communication. To rush a relationship in a romance makes no sense and no logic and few weeks and months can make all the difference to understand the reasons and consequences.
What I found interesting was also the dominants. A Dom male and a Switch female. The Dom is dominant in the bedroom only and the switch is submitting in the bedroom but is dominant with the slave in the bedroom and the slave is slave in and out the bedroom… still following me? lol
The D/s relationship is one of the most realistic I have ever read. Not only because of the dynamic but also because of the feelings. Rhiannon Ayers did not try to portray a vanilla character turning into a slave overnight, which I always find ridiculous. Each character knew exactly who they were and what they needed. And this story is all about physical and love connection, going thru jealousy, insecurities, fears, rejection, despair but also love, hope, understanding and passion. A character cannot be one dimension. And what made this story incredible is the way Rhiannon Ayers found the right words to express all those emotions with three different characters.
Saints United is a long novel. I personally love long novel because I connect more with each character. I follow their journey and each step make me think and anticipate what potentially will happen.
Well, many times I was frustrated. Frustrated because I did not understand them. Frustrated because I wanted to know the epilogue. I was so into those characters that I was ruminating why they did this or that. But, throughout the story, I got my answers. I understood. I wish you the same journey I went thru. I was truly incredible.
I fell in love with AJ. Fact. Oh I loved Ryder and Lyss, do not get me wrong! But I fell in love with AJ. And this is one character and story that will be printed in my brain and I will remember well many months and years from now.
I read and reviewed For Love of Authority 2: Angel Without. Loved it. But For Love of Authority 3: Saints United? Lets say that it reached the level of “outstanding”!
After reading this story, I contacted this author because I wanted to know more. And she kindly accepted to give me an exclusive interview that I will share with you, Thursday January 8: Interview with a Domme. So stay tune because I am not going to sugar coat anything and she won’t either!
I wish you the same unique experience. Now, go! Buy and read Saints United immediately dammit! 😀.