albeit in more muted colour schemes.
smut that annoyed me:
claire thompson's masked submission
. dylan is searching for something more, something deeper than random play scenes, and he thinks he might have found it in tomas, a mysterious, masked dom he meets at an exclusive BDSM club. they have a definite connection, and dylan falls in love -- except even at their closest tomas will not unmask himself, he remains distant and that hurts dylan.
the rollercoaster ride of his new love and the submissive feelings it brings out in dylan make him confide in his thesis advisor jack, who's come out as gay and dominant to him during their blossoming friendship. jack seems to be developing deeper feelings for him, and things come to a head after a drunken tumble in bed. but dylan can't give up his fantasy love, and jack has ... secrets.
ok, so overall this isn't all bad (if a bit overly dramatic at times), which is probably why the big scene towards the ending really really annoys me. there's the usual amount of squick because of too much pain (which i don't grok) and too much humiliation (which makes me a bit nauseated), and this book didn't help me feel less squicked, but that's not what i am talking about. no, what's stuck in my craw is that after all the talk about trusting in your dom even when the dom really pushes your comfort envelope -- trusting even when you're very much afraid, because your dom has promised he will be there and watch over you, and have your back, _this_ dom isn't there and isn't watching, he leaves dylan in the hands of other people, and dylan almost gets badly hurt (and not in the good way).
now, it's not totally swept under the carpet because the dom rides in as a knight in shining armour at the last moment, and feels guilty afterwards and promises himself to never let this happen again, but if i had been dylan, i would have ripped the dom's face off, and it would have been a long time before i would have trusted him again. because this wasn't a small oversight or some unforeseeable accident; the scene was planned this way, and the dom's vetting of the other people was terrible -- everything was about pushing dylan (and consequently making himself look good), but he seemed to put no thought into keeping dylan safe while pushing him way beyond his comfort zone. and this after he'd already gone through one major trust issue with dylan (which he also fucked up).
grade-A prick. it spoiled the entire relationship for me. it also turned dylan into a doormat, and i rather liked him at the start.