Great Insight into D/s Relationships: Playing the Game by M.Q. Barber


PLAYING THE GAMENeighborly Affections #1
by M. Q. Barber
Print Length: 255 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (July 1, 2013) A Kensington Imprint
Purchased by Blogger. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.


Mechanical engineer Alice still drools over her sexy neighbors a year after she’s moved in. She can’t decide whether they’re roommates or partners, but either way, they spark a wanton desire in her that has her imagination–and vibrator–working overtime.

Henry, director of everything around him, studies human nature and applies philosophies to his paintings as well as his relationships. Quirky, polite to a fault, and formal, he follows his own code of honor even when it means denying himself.

Flirtatious and playful, Jay needs stability, guidance, and to please others. His antics counterbalance Henry’s stuffy ways while he brings a level of vulnerability and fun to everything the trio does.

BDSM play with the enigmatic artist and flirtatious joker across the hall allows Alice to put aside the linear thought processes which have kept her unsatisfied and distant with other lovers. She must dismiss her preconception of love, sacrificing her independence, if she’s to find a permanent place in their beds and hearts.  MQBARBER.COM


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square "my take"This was a really great read that offered me a possible glimpse into the mindset of a gentle, part-time D/s  m/m/f relationship.  While the parameters of the original m/m relationship aren’t spelled out, I found that intriguing, and another reminder that relationships come in as many flavors as ice cream.

A lot of thought about who the characters are and how the relationship and submissive “training” would be revealed to the reader.  I also liked the character development; especially Alice whose view is being third-party narrated.  She’s gotten hard as a busy engineer who hasn’t found any relationship satisfying.  They say a Doms role is to determine the subs needs and Henry does that perfectly.  He makes her slow down and appreciate, and care about Henry and Jay.

Henry is an elusive character.  If Alice is the girl who fell down the rabbit hole then it’s possible Henry is the Cheshire Cat, only human, infinitely hotter and not as cryptic. The only secretive part to him is what is happening to their hearts.

I read a lot of erotica and erotic romance and this is really  well done.  I have really been getting bored lately as book after book has to throw at least a little power exchange.  This one did not bore me at all, in fact I read the whole thing in one evening. The description of the sexual activity is so natural that it really is erotica and not just a description of people fucking. Instead it is the story of a relationship  with sex as a large component , but as a means of self discovery and not just instant gratification  The only weird thing is that there was no male on male penetration; it’s all about Alice and her pleasure and that she gets in abundance.

This is a fab piece of erotica; possibly destined to become regarded as a classic.  While it may simplify the D/s relationship it also made it accessible and comprehensible through internal processing and dialogue. As soon as I get a spare minute I plan to read her next book in the series. Mt friend Jessi Gage recommended this and I thank her. Now  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND  PLAYING THE GAME, especiallyto readers who want to read about D/s relationships and menage but need an easy intro.

Relevant LinksM.Q. Barber

At Lyrical Press At Amazon