Something that’s always struck me about Dom/sub relationships in romances that I like is that the submissive is usually a firecracker of a person. They have definite opinions and can stand on their feet. They’re competent and, for the most part, can manage on their own.
The Dominants tend to be caring, selfless people. Yes, they have a controlling bent, but it’s tempered by a huge heart and a great understanding of personal dynamics. They’re good people—who just occasionally might want to order, flog, or tie someone up for pleasure.
I like that dynamic, the sub who can take care of themselves but really doesn’t mind being taken care of—and the Dom who recognizes the independence and spark of the sub—and doesn’t want to tamp of break it, just enhance and hone it.
I suppose, for me, I find the exchange of power sexy—that it can be an exchange—that it goes both ways. I don’t like Doms in romances who are bullies or pig-headed or who know everything. I don’t like subs who are pushovers or doormats. The people I know who are Doms and subs are not those things at all.
I also think there’s a care and tenderness in the Dom/sub relationship that’s more than just “yes, this person will stop if I safeword.” It’s “Yes, I trust this person to have my interests in this moment at heart.”
Maybe I expect a lot from my Rom Doms, but I don’t think so. Doms are people, just like subs, and all people are vulnerable and have soft spots. In romance, it’s those soft spots on hard people that make novel for me.
In Syncopation, Zavier likes control. Quite a lot. But he also values independence—probably because he’s always been on his own. He’s had lovers and some friends, but generally, he keeps to himself.
If anything, being on tour with three other people is far more togetherness than he’s ever dealt with before. So while he and Ray end up in a Dominant/submissive relationship, it’s not all the time. Because both Ray and Zavier realize Ray needs to be the band’s leader. He needs the headspace Zavier can provide, but also needs to be his own person and ultimately in control of his own life.
But then again, that’s kind of the heart of the Dom/sub relationship. It’s often noted that the sub holds the power… or should. It’s a power exchange, submitting for a time. For some, that time is longer than others. For Ray and Zav, it’s a way to connect and for them both to let go of energy. Ray can stop being the band leader for a time and Zavier can take that weight from Ray.
Plus they get off on the exchange, and have great sexual chemistry, so that’s not such a bad thing!
There’s no resisting the thrum of temptation in this male/male rock-star romance from genre-favorite author Anna Zabo!
Twisted Wishes front man Ray Van Zeller is in one hell of a tight spot. After a heated confrontation with his bandmate goes viral, Ray is hit with a PR nightmare the fledgling band so doesn’t need. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.
Zavier’s kept a casual eye on Twisted Wishes for years, and lately, he likes what he sees. What he doesn’t like is how out of control Ray seems—something Zavier’s aching to correct after their first pulse-pounding encounter. If Ray’s up for the challenge.
Despite the prospect of a glorious sexual encore, Ray is reluctant to trust Zavier with his band—or his heart. And Zavier has always had big dreams; this gig was supposed to be temporary. But touring together has opened their eyes to new passions and new possibilities, making them rethink their commitments, both to the band and to each other.
The clock in Ray’s room read 3:57. He closed his eyes against the red glow. Fucking hell. He should be dead asleep. He’d burned so much energy, his body ached from dancing, jumping, and singing. He’d been higher than a kite after the show.
Zavier had touched him—not just a friendly pat on the back, but an intimate clasp that nearly put him on his knees in front of who knew how many fans. Bet that photo was already making the rounds.
He kinda wanted to see it. Did Zavier look like Ray remembered—like he might kiss Ray, like he wanted Ray?
Instead, Zavier had spoken, his breath a caress against Ray’s ear. You did exactly what I told you to do. I’m very pleased. Very pleased. He’d never heard those words spoken with the same tone as suck my cock before.
Ray rolled over and ignored the hardness of his dick. He wouldn’t jack off to Zavier. Except he already had once tonight. And had on previous nights. Fucking asshole was stunning and sexy and…not actually an asshole.
Well, maybe a little, but they all had their edges.
Part of him wished he could take the risk and get buzzed on liquor; the other part knew drinking wouldn’t help at all. He was too wired from the concert and should have crashed hours ago—everyone else had. Dom was sawing wood in the next room, loud enough Ray was tempted to go in and roll him onto his side to shut him up.
God, the concert. They’d never sounded so good. He’d never felt that alive with the music behind him. Once they’d started playing, Ray hadn’t needed to worry. Hadn’t had to figure out how to cover for mistakes, bad playing, or anything. The band would nail it, so he’d been free to let go and sing.
Trust. He trusted the band again. He’d always known Dom and Mish would play their hearts out, but he’d never known if Kevin would survive the night.
Zavier not only survived, he’d ruled every beat, from the first to the last.
Ray trusted Zavier.
Zavier believed in Ray.
Ray grunted, and that sharp, painful sound faded in the room. He had no idea why Zavier believed in him. He wasn’t anything like Zav. Not as talented, not as skilled. Yes, he worked hard—but he fucked up so often it wasn’t funny. Sure, Mish and Dom were on his side, but that was because they’d been together for years and they’d accepted him, warts, foolishness, and all.
But Zavier? He had no reason at all to believe in Ray and every reason not to.
Yet he did. Deferred to Ray. Treated him like an equal. And Ray fucking wanted him, wanted his kiss, his words in his ear and breath on his neck.
About Anna Zabo:
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.
Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.
Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.
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