Natural Law, part of Joey Hill's Nature of Desire series, is probably one of the most realistic, well-written depictions of the more extreme
side of BDSM that I have encountered. It's also the first "alpha male as sexual sub" or just "male-as-sub" erotic romance that I've read. I definitely prefer to read about males that stay alpha, in and out of the bedroom, but Joey Hill's writing captivated me anyway.
There's a Dom serial killer in town and respected homicide detective Mackenzie "Mac" Nighthorse suspects it's a female, a Mistress, behind the killings. It's always the same MO: each victim is late 20s, naked, bound, in a state of arousal, and with a bullet in the back of his head. Also, the killer likes to call the victim's family after each kill, so the victim's can be "outed" in death. The 1st two victims have one thing in common: they both frequented The Zone, a members only, exclusive, discreet and expensive fetish club in Tampa, FL. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, Mac, who has a quiet powerful presence when it comes to his job, has actually
been on the fetish club scene for years as a sub. As people in the scene can spot true Doms & Subs, Mac knows he's the only man who can track the killer. He's especially offended by the killer's extreme violation of victims' trust, since people in the scene generally don't take their play outside of the fetish clubs unless they've established trust.
On Mac's first night at The Zone, he meets Mistress Violet who happens to be on her first unsupervised night (she's just completed shadowing and learning from The Zone's best Master, Tyler). Although a sub, Mac is a wild one to be tamed, and he's been manipulating his Mistresses for years! He says he doesn't need a safe word, but that's because Mac has charmed his way out of truly submitting. "Mistresses aren't made. They're Born." Violet may be petite compared to Mac, but she's the real deal and completely up for the challenge. Their journey is an emotional one, and the focus of the book. I didn't feel Mac conducted much investigating. Sure, he was occasionally at some crime scenes and staying up late trying to track the killer. And the story makes reference to Mac digging patrons of The Zone for information when Violet isn't around. But this is all about Mac and Violet's journey, and her breaking down his emotional layers. Violet wants it all - a man she can take home, live with and love - marriage, children...and she wants her man to completely trust her, reveal his inner thoughts, and completely let go to her control.
The BDSM aspects: Violet did put Mac through some extreme situations, but she was also very nurturing and would definitely let Mac take control when they needed it. Violet wanted to quickly cut through Mac's bullshit, so these were his instructions if he wanted a 2nd night in her equine-themed playroom (with an optional voyeur panel for The Zone's members' enjoyment):
"I'll come back here tomorrow between nine and eleven. If you want me, you'll be in this room, stripped. Nothing on. You put on one of the c**k harnesses, tether yourself to that ring in the floor, the minimum of amount of slack necessary between it and your c**k, your knees spread as wide as you can get them, your hands laced on the back of your head." Mac has to stay in this position until Violet decided to come down to him. Initially, she needs to break down his barriers, but I do feel things lightened up with him.
The more violent, uncomfortable aspects of the BDSM scene did happen, but not at Violet's hand. I don't want to say anything more, for fear of spoiling it. Was Natural Law able to knock down my top 5 erotic romances reads from their podium? No, but this was nevertheless sophisticated, impressive erotic suspense. I own the next 2 books in this series, which are actually the story of one hero & heroine, but told through 2 books that must be read together: Ice Queen and Nature of Desire: Mirror of My Soul. I hear they are amazing and I'm looking forward to reading them shortly :)