Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
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K D Grace
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Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
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Trebor Healey
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Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
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Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
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Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
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Craig Odanovich
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Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
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Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
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R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
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Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
Above the DungeonAbove the Dungeon
By: SM Johnson
Torquere Press
April 2010

Reviewed By: Kathleen Bradean

Full disclosure: Torquere has published my short stories, novellas, and novels.

After I read this work, I was a bit surprised to see that it ran one hundred eighty four pages, which puts it at a full length novel. When I read it, it struck me as a novella and I was going to review it as such, but that's a bit of a moot point.

Above the Dungeon is a m/m BDSM story told from three points of view. Roman is the Master in a lifestyle couple and a professional Dom with a dungeon in the basement of a gay bar. Jeff is Roman's slave. Dare (Adair) is a straight guy who gets a job as a bartender at the gay bar.

When Dare runs away from his intended bride and country club life, he runs to Maddox, the gay cousin he's never had much of a relationship with. Maddox gets Dare a job tending bar at a BDSM themed gay bar. The opening scene flows quickly without much setting to anchor the reader into a time or place, then whisks the reader and Dare off on a clothing adventure designed to humiliate, and within pages has him working his first night at the club and meeting Roman. It was probably that pace that made me feel as if it were a novella that wanted to get to the action right away rather than a novel.

Roman is interested in Dare for some unexplained reason and offers him a tour of the dungeon in the basement. It's not just a tour. One of Roman's clients is down there, and Roman straps Dare into a chair and makes him watch the scene. The next day they meet for coffee to talk about it, but we don't get to listen to the conversation.

The narrator shifts at that point to Roman's slave, Jeff. Roman and Jeff have been together for years. They occasionally "cheat" on each other and get through it. For people who have negotiated a Master/slave contract, not negotiating an open relationship when they obviously want one seems a bit silly, but since when are people entirely logical? Jeff likes to fall in love, and he's tried to bring his lovers into the relationship with Roman, but it never works.

Roman has had a few side lovers too, but he's not as active as Jeff in his pursuits. That is, until he sets his sights on Dare. He pushes Dare into more extreme scenes every time they meet and even has his nipple pierced. Jeff gets a bit jealous at the idea of Roman being interested in someone else and doesn't want another slave in the house, but he and Roman agree that Jeff has no say in the matter. The story ends with a big public scene where Jeff finally accepts that Dare will probably come live with them and Dare accepting that he's... I don't know... either gay-for-you situation or that he's been in denial about his sexuality.

If you're okay with borderline non-consensual scenes and the idea of a Dom being able to read the soul of a guy he's just met, then this might be your kind of BDSM tale. Rating this is a bit problematic for me because of those issues, but other readers may be very into it. I would have liked more description of the setting, more character development through the story, a stronger sense that Dare really wanted and enjoyed what happened to him, and clearer indications when the narrator changed. So I'll give it a sideways rating and leave it up to you to decide if you'd like to give Above the Dungeon a read.