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Truth by His Hand

Narrated by: Michael Fell
Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

I never thought I’d have a sexual awakening at 34, but, well…here I am: River Burke, novice deviant and master class neurotic mess. With my laundry list of control issues, submission doesn’t exactly come naturally, but I figure if I can find the right person—someone big, buff, and crazy intimidating—maybe I can learn to let go.

And then in walks Ellison Fitch.

He’s not at all what I thought I was looking for, but with his piercing eyes, his too-personal questions, and his brilliant mind, he’s under my skin from the moment we meet. He makes me squirm in all the best ways with nothing but a look and a word, and I can see he loves that as much as I do. I thought I wanted someone to push me around, but it turns out I want someone to take me apart.

While Ellison systematically dismantles every one of my barriers, I can’t help but wonder if he’ll ever drop his for me. Does he even want to let me in, or am I too lost, too broken to fill his needs the way he fills mine? I have to know, because now that I’ve had a taste of submission at his hand, I can’t stop thinking about how good it felt to be on my knees for him.

Let’s be honest here: I’m going to let this man break me into pieces. I only hope he’ll be there to put me back together again.

Truth by His Hand is a 120,000 word contemporary gay romance with strong BDSM themes and many explicit scenes. It’s a standalone novel with a guaranteed happy ending.

©2017 Casey Cameron (P)2017 Casey Cameron

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Loved it.

Loved the story, Loved the Narrator, his voices were brilliant. Am searching for more by this author.

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  • VHB
  • 19-01-2018

WOW!

This is so sexy and that voice is hot as sin.
The theme of this book is smart,
sexy, very very hot.
the Short Dom situation is very well done . The OCD character perfect.
It all works to perfection on this audible. Highly recommend it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-04-2019

Delightful

Lovely narrator, delightful story! This was like a breath of fresh air. The story was hot as hell, laugh out loud funny and heartwarming. Quite a rare combo.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-08-2019

so whiny!!!!

So whiny and wishy-washy! Just man up and ask him if he interested only in play or if real relationship on the table, then go from there. grr...10 chapters in and its been this the whole time

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  • Cranky Reader
  • 29-06-2019

go for it

This has a pretty sane approach to BDSM but the line about “you can kale him” made me laugh so hard I decided 5 stars was the only reasonable rating.

The audio is mostly fine but there are some odd mispronunciations that seem like correctable/editable fumbles.

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  • t
  • 05-06-2019

Great concept, lousy characters

I heard such fantastic ravings about this book that I purchased it. And regretted it. River is a neurotic mess which can be a good thing. In this case? It quickly became annoying. I liked Ellison and had high hopes for them. HOWEVER, it tanked when things went downhill at the scene starting with the sex-positive culture. River's reaction to Ellison scening with someone else felt over the top because one moment he's entranced and the next? Storming into the scene and damaging the current sub's experience. Can you say sub drop?

Not only did River take control in their relationship - talk about topping from the bottom - but he convinced Ellison to do something that horrified me. Ellison had every right to ask for medical tests and River going all 'wah wah wah, don't you trust me" on him? Angered me. Ellison giving in? I lost respect for him.

But also... Mariah. Seriously? I've met people like her in the scene, but very rarely. Most people accept that you don't talk about certain things where others can hear. She doesn't just talk about them, she talks about them loudly. And she pushes River. While he does want what Ellison gives him, she wasn't so much a friend as one of those scene puppies who smiles and thinks "I like it, so so will you." I can't stand dommes like that. They think they're above decent human behavior. And while she pushed River, she never really explained the rules to him, which is how he got into trouble in the first place.

Did not like the characters. Did not like the book. Go spend your credit on a BDSM book that's worth it - The Master Will Appear by L.A. Witt.

And for the narrator? He had no inflection. I couldn't tell the difference between River talking and Ellison talking. That's a big no.

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  • B
  • 02-05-2019

one of my favorites

I don't often read a book and then listen to it, but this one is one of the few that really worked for me in both media.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • peacock pal
  • 29-04-2019

a delightful sexy surprise

A gay BDSM love story with humor and heart. The 1st person narration gave it extra personality. The narrator was great.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-04-2019

Listen to this book!

I have never done any serious BDSM myself, but this book felt so much more real than most BDSM books I have listened to. Less Harlequin and more real life.

My one complaint, which is not just this book but a big chunk of most M/M books, not all gay men have crazy quirky female best friends. I feel pretty sure there are thousands of gay men out there that don't even have a female best friend, but if you listen to enough M/M books, you start thinking every gay man must have a fun loving and slightly left of center female bestie.

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  • Robert Jackson
  • 09-03-2019

This book is a must read!

I know very little about the world of BDSM. I was extremely judgemental but this book was tremendously enlightening. I chose to read it by chance and was pulled in at the very first chapter and could not stop reading/listening. This book has really opened my eyes into the BDSM community and at the same time told a wonderful HEA story. I love the two main characters (Ellison and River) and wish their story would continue.

I purchased both kindle and audible versions. The narration of the story was by Michael Fell and I think he truly captured the essence of both characters with his voice. Kudos to him. The story is carefully thought out and very well done. I particularly loved the development of the protagonists. This book is a must read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Erryn Barratt
  • Erryn Barratt
  • 09-01-2019

Realistic BDSM Portrayal and Emotional Ride

This review is a long time coming and I’m still not convinced I’m up to the task.  My instinct is to write more of an academic paper, but that’s not why I’m here.  My job is to tell you all the things I loved (and didn’t) about the book so you can make an informed decision about whether this is a book you might want to listen to.  So, here goes.

I have listened to this book twice and could easily, in a heartbeat, listen to it again and then another time.  This from a woman who rarely listens to something twice.  I love books, but once is usually enough.  With Casey Cameron’s ‘Truth by his Hand’, twice doesn’t even feel sufficient.  I haven’t even scratched the surface of what is beneath the outer layer of this book.  As soon as it came out on Audible, the synopsis intrigued me.  I love BDSM and m/m is at the top of my reading preferences these days, so why did I hesitate?

Because of River, I think.

It is very powerful to have an awakening.  At any age.  But a sexual awakening at 34?  That is something extra special because you believe you’ve seen and done it all.  Then you meet someone or watch a video or read a book and suddenly…poof, your whole life has been turned on its head.  You realize there is something you have been missing.  Your people.  You didn’t realize there were people out there like you.  Sure, many people have heard about BDSM, but how many have truly investigated it?  Felt drawn to it?  Acted on that curiosity?

I have.  And I was in my late thirties, so I could relate to River on so many levels.  Especially his perception of what a Dom should be.  Strong, tall, and frankly, dominant.  Someone who can physically restrain him and bend River towards his will.  The first time River meets Ellison, he dismisses the man out of hand.  Too short, too…well, not what River had in his mind.  Quickly, though, he sees the error of his ways.  Being manhandled by a big burly guy is one thing – being fucked over by a master dominant with piercing eyes and uncanny perceptiveness is something quite different.  And the mind fucking?  Oh, that is a whole other level of fuckery.

After a particularly deep and harrowing scene, Ellison asks River how he is feeling.  River responds:

“Good.  Drained.  Wired.  Did you get what you wanted out of it?” I’d wanted a release.  A violent burst of passion to free me from the cacophony of my own thoughts.  I wanted the meditative stillness that comes after when your whole body is wrecked from the effect of pouring out all that overwhelming emotion.  And here I was, blank and clean.  And I’d wanted intimacy, even if it had been for all the wrong reasons.  I’d cried in front of him.  He’d seen me all red-faced, snotty, and inappropriately loud and he hadn’t run.  He’d simply held me and told me how good I was and how proud he was of me.  Even if it wasn’t true, it still meant something that he cared enough to say it.  So…yeah, maybe I’d gotten what I wanted.

“I guess I did,” I said, nestling deeper into the crook of his arm.  “Did you?”

He chuckled softly and kissed the top of my head.  Tender.  “Yes.  You were magnificent.”

River wanted to break down – to experience catharsis – but hadn’t believed himself capable.  And you might be questioning why someone would want that, but it is something so powerful that I find it very challenging to explain in words.  For vanilla people – people who don’t need or want pain to get them to that point – the equivalent might be a good ugly cry.  The sobbing, body-wracking tears that leave you almost unable to breathe because the psychological pain is so acute.  Some people achieve this when a loved one dies, when a dream dies, or even during a really good book.  Sometimes you just need to let everything out and those events allow you to vent and/or grieve while having a good reason.  If you can’t stand in the woods and howl in pain, a good ugly cry is a great alternative and probably less chaotic—less likely to make you feel unstable.

Some of us need physical pain to take us to that place.  Sometimes it’s planned and sometimes a scene goes sideways, and you fall to pieces quite unexpectedly.  In some ways, those are the best times because you can just let go – put yourself in someone else’s hands, and if they are a good partner, they will be there to catch you.  It is tempting to feel like a failure when you cry or even fall to pieces in a scene, especially if that wasn’t the plan, but it’s the opposite of failure – it’s success in the best way.  And it goes a long way to fixing what might be wrong.

Interestingly, Ellison’s “greatest fear has always been that I might hurt someone in a way that can’t be fixed.  So I’m careful.”  Ellison recognizes, even before River is able to, that physical damage is far easier to heal than emotional pain, and when River pushes Ellison into hurting him or pushing him psychologically, Ellison is reticent.  But it leads to a beautiful scene where Ellison tells River, “You were perfect.  You were brave for me and so, so beautiful.”

And then a sudden realization: “I could do anything to you couldn’t I?”

Is there a right answer to that question?  As a submissive and bottom, River wants to please his ‘Sir’.  Submissives often wonder what their Tops get out of the experience.  As a recipient of such affection – often shown in violent (but consensual) ways – the bottom gets the euphoria, the endorphins, the rush of pleasure and pain.  So what does the Top get?  Aside from the feeling of power, I’ve been told they like the responsibility of holding someone in their hands, so to speak, and being responsible for them.  I think that is why aftercare is so important for both parties in a scene – because many Tops need reassurance that they are not bad people and their bottoms still ‘love’ them.

Except Sadists.  Many sadists could care less, although there is a wide range with them as well.  Ellison is not a Sadist.  He inflicts pain not just to get off, but to bring something to his partner.  Pain, of course, but something less tangible as well.  Call it connection, call it affection, call it caring – there is a two-way exchange that is one of the most intimate activities one can engage in.  Sex is right up there, of course, but so is putting yourself in someone’s hands and trusting them.  Or having them place themselves in your hands and trust you won’t hurt them beyond what they can endure.  Beyond what they have negotiated.

The relationship development between River and Ellison is critical to the progression of the book.  That being said, there are some amazing secondary characters.  I loved Deidre and Ravi, especially Ravi’s retelling of his first ‘scene’.  There was a complete realism to the event and his acknowledgement that it went bad, and the reason why was a cautionary tale.  There are reasons why there are classes in BDSM.  Why mentoring – for both the Top and the bottom – are so important.  Ravi and Deidre provided good explanations as to why they chose to do the extreme scenes they do and what they get out of it.  And, as Mariah assures River, kinksters are not born in the womb, and each one goes on a journey.

And Mariah?  OMG, I LOVE this woman!  Not only because she doesn’t let a physical disability hold her back, but because she is so brutally honest – about everything.  Her experience allows her to validate River’s perceptions, to challenge his misconceptions, and to guide him into the world of BDSM.  She is also able to vet perspective Tops.  This is so important.  Someone new to the scene (or even people who have been around for a while) should not just jump into a scene with someone they don’t know or who hasn’t been vetted.  And people within the community are, for the most part, willing to share their experiences.  Mariah is a mentor for River and this is an important role. So are the munches where River can meet other kinksters in a vanilla setting.  No pressure to dress up in gear (or down to nothing), and just a place to hang.  In fact, the novel begins at a speed-dating event for kinksters.  “Speed Kink Night.” A brilliant idea if I have ever heard one.

Speaking of secondary characters, I love ‘T’.  They are a character who doesn’t identify as either male or female.  If the listener hasn’t experienced a character like this before, the pronoun choices can be confusing.  I have friends who choose to identify as ‘them’ or ‘they’.  Whether as an acknowledgement of the hegemony of binary sexuality or simply to show support to people who don’t want to be identified, the choice is more prominent in the kinkster community.  I would like to believe it is because many kinksters aren’t hung up on gender roles.  They are open to more than labels.  Anyway, T’s quiet but consistent presence works well.  They know about River’s true heart’s work and can hold a mirror up to River, helping him see where things might be not working.

I want to give a quick shout-out to Michael Fell, the narrator.  I hadn’t listened to a book narrated by him, but now, even a month later, I can still hear his voice.  His performance was pitch-perfect and I adored him.  He brought authenticity to River’s vulnerability and internal monologues.  His Mariah was fabulous and his Ellison just worked for me in so many ways.  I will be looking for more books narrated by him.  And if they were written by Casey Cameron?  Oh, that’s an auto-buy for me.  But I digress…

Another aspect of the book that I liked a lot is the discussion of triggers.  Many vanilla people posit that only mentally ill people engage in BDSM.  Not true.  In fact, there is a lower rate of mental illness (I have read a couple of studies).  Many people in BDSM are more self-aware.  You almost have to be if you are going to trust someone so completely.  Ellison says to River, “You’re very self-aware,” and River replied, “Well, I’ve had a lot of therapy.”  I am going to leave it at that because I want readers to discover River in their own way.  In that self-awareness, though, is his ability to recognize triggers.  In his desire to push through them, though, he makes a few missteps.  River also has an uncanny ability to get inside his head and stay there, losing touch with what is going on around him.  Ellison recognizes this and adjusts their interactions so he can not only keep River present, but help him fight his demons as well.

But with that kind of power, comes great responsibility.  Which Ellison recognizes:

“I’ve had more of an effect on you than I had intended.”  He sighed, his hands slack on my shoulder.

 “You’re so eager to please me.  It didn’t occur to me that it meant I could essentially mold you, turn you into my perfect idealized submissive just by guiding you to fulfill my desires.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”  Maybe I was well-fucked and sleep-addled but I was pretty sure he wasn’t making a sense.  “I…thought that was kind of the point.”

“Not to this extent. No.”  He sighed again, finally moving his hands to gently stroke my arm.  I tried to keep it from soothing my objections away but, God, his touch just felt so good.

“I didn’t want to change you.  I didn’t want to remake you just to please me.”

“Well, you did.  And I don’t really care,” I said with a shrug.  “I’m having a good time.”

“Maybe you should explore a little more.  With other people who could show you other ways to do this.”

The sting of the words startled me.  Like a branch suddenly whipping me in the face.

“Are you really suggesting that I see other people?  Because we had a discussion about this and you might remember I had some very clear feelings on the matter.  That’s something you definitely haven’t changed about me.”

“I don’t mean as an ongoing thing, just for a while, just to have a few more experiences.  I’m not thrilled about the idea of sharing you, but I want to do this thing in a way that is healthy for you.”

“Okay, well here’s a pro-tip – it’s not healthy for me if you try to foist me off on someone else.  It makes me feel really shitty, actually.  Maybe don’t do that.”

My brain is not malleable.

I know that was a long passage and I don’t think there were any spoilers, but I think it clearly demonstrates why this is such a great book.  The self-awareness isn’t just on River’s side.  There is a lot of contemplation and reflection in this book – clearly for both, even if the entire book is in River’s point of view.  Often, when there is one point of view, I want to see inside the other character’s mind.  Ms. Cameron’s writing is so accurate and full that I didn’t feel that way.  Plus, being inside the mind of a Top can be wonky.  Whether they are a woman or a man, whether they are sadistic or not, Tops are a whole other can of worms.

Finally, I love that there was consent.  There was a safeword, of course, but both men understand that things go both ways – it is a dialogue.  And sometimes, the Top needs to use the safeword.  As it is noted, ‘consent goes both ways and if he was uncomfortable, he has a right to stop’.

I cannot say enough good things about this book.  There are plenty of good BDSM books out there, have no doubt.  There are plenty of crappy BDSM books out there.  Those are mostly (and clearly) written by people who are not in the community. Nothing wrong with writing about something you don’t know about, and I get that some writers do it out of curiosity and others do it for money, but I feel there is a need for BDSM books that accurately reflect the truth of BDSM.  I have no idea if Ms. Cameron participates in BDSM or not, but it doesn’t matter because her book is so authentic.  So whether written from personal experience or by fantastic and thorough research, this is one of the best BDSM books I’ve ever read.

Do I think everyone should read this?  Yep.  The caveat being that if there are triggers or BDSM is not your thing, then probably not.  But any reader who is curious and wants authenticity, this is your book.  I adore these men and their journey spoke to me in ways that many books just don’t.  The emotional intensity and psychological punch made me come back to the book and I will likely listen to it again.  I will sign off with two final quotes.  Both are from River and perfectly sum up his new (and fantastic) life:

My cruel tyrant.  My Sir.  My love.  The man who could open me up with a single look and spill all my secrets like glittering beads of the floor.

“I’ve put myself in the hands of a Sadist”.

Yep, a man after my own heart.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful