Pre Release Reviews! THREE 4 Star and ONE 5 Star Review for Against the Rules (Boundaries #2) by A.R. Barley #MM #Romance

CoverTitle: Against the Rules (Boundaries #2)
Author Name & Publisher: A.R. Barley (Carina Press)
Publication Date: June 6, 2016


Kelly O’Connell’s out of control

An RA at Halton University, he spends his off nights at a club, hoping to find what he’s looking for in rough sex with strangers.

Until one night the play gets a little too rough. An isolated room, a dangerous situation…and an unexpected rescue.

Ian Rankin knows what Kelly wants—a true Dom, someone who will protect him instead of using him, someone who can take him to the edge without pushing him into unsafe territory.

Ian knows just what Kelly needs, and he’s the only man who can give it to him.

There’s only one problem: Kelly is a student, and Ian is a teacher.

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This book in my opinion is about letting go of the pain that grips someone and standing up for themselves and making their own decisions. It is a well thought out book that goes through all the steps that one would most likely go through in this type of situation.

Kelly is a few months from graduating from the university and his whole life is up in shambles. He lost his father to drunk driving and then shortly after his mother to cancer. He still has nightmares about her passing and nothing seems to stop them except a night of rough, sometimes kinky, sex. So that is what Kelly looks for to try and help dull the pain from his loss. One night while at the club things go almost to far when a guy he had been with previously decides to up the stakes. Kelley is rescued by Ian. From that point forward things were about to change with Ian’s help.

Kelley reminds me of someone who is drowning in pain and heartache. He cannot face what has happened in his life so instead he lets everyone decide what he does…. His family, his friends, his professors. I guess he feels it is better for them to take over for him so he does not have to decide for himself and in doing so he will not make the wrong decision. I think that he is misguided in the thinking that pain will take his pain away. I agree that he is submissive to an extent but I think that what he is really looking for is someone to love him and someone he can love. He wants someone to help himself hold himself accountable for stupid decisions he makes but done so by someone who loves him and not intentionally hurt him.

Ian is looking for the same thing that Kelley is lookin for but he is dominate. He tries to give Kelley what he needs but he falls in love with him to. I think Kelley does just as much for Ian as Ian does for Kelley because I believe that Isn is carrying around guilt about his former sub/boyfriend that he had not let go of. He lets it get into his head and almost loses the man he loves because it.

I really enjoyed reading this book and taking the journey right along with Ian and Kelley. It is an amazing story.



So, I know that I gave book #1 4 stars and I gave this one 4 stars, but this one was not as good as the first one.

There were some elements of BDSM in theory, but it was not practiced well and was very unsafe.  The two MC didn’t know much about each other, their own limits, each others limits and so overall, this was not a good BDSM story.

While I was looking forward to Kelly’s story, I found that I didn’t really like the people he was surrounded with.  His family, while family, were meddlesome and super supportive for most of the story.  Kelly was floundering in his own way and the only way he knew how to feel was by putting himself in dangerous situations.  Even though he was looking for something, even he didn’t know what he was looking for until he met Ian.

Ian is kind of an enigma in himself – he was a professor, but seemed to lack a sense of direction himself.  After his chance encounter with Kelly, he reiterated several times that he didn’t date students.  However, he was contradictory, because that’s just what he did.

Overall, this was a well written story, it just had elements that I didn’t really like.  The two MC went on their own personal journey, found where they wanted to go and learned hard lessons along the way, but the story was just ho-hum compared to the first story.



I had a really odd reaction to this story. I loved both characters on their own. Kelly, the grieving, self-destructive student and Ian, the dominatrix turned professor are both beautifully drawn. I loved the clash of Kelly’s white collar, ivory tower Upstate New York upbringing with Ian’s more humble Chicago/LA roots.

My problem is with the two men together. Ian isn’t too much older than Kelly, but he is an adult, a professor at Kelly’s university who decides to initiate Kelly into a BDSM relationship with minimal communication and dubious consent. Unsafe BDSM, even in books, makes me squeamish. And with such a shaky foundation, I found it very difficult to believe in the romance between the two men.

But I also really enjoyed parts of this book. Kelly’s grief, his choices as he prepares to graduate university, his friendships and his family – these are all beautifully written. Ian’s struggles with his family, his work and his professional relationships are also pretty special.

So, if you don’t scrutinise the BDSM aspects of this story too hard, it is a really satisfying read.



I was very excited to read this book. I wanted to know what Kelly’s story was as soon as he was introduced in Boundaries book 1. I had high expectations going in and I don’t think the author disappointed.

Kelly is a lost soul when Ian comes into his life. Kelly has just lost both his parents. He’s finishing his college degree and his aunts are pressuring him to sell his childhood home and move away without any regard to what he wants. The dean of the college, who was a longtime friend of his mother’s, has also just offered him the job of being his Administrative Assistant. Kelly feels pressured by the people he should be able to count on the most in his life for support. Kelly finds the control he needs from his struggles the only way he knows how, drinking and sex.

Ian is drawn to Kelly as soon as he rescues him from his abusers in the restroom at the nightclub. Ian can tell he’s struggling with a lack of control in his life and offers him an outlet through safe, consensual BDSM. Even though Ian and Kelly both know it’s probably not a good idea to start dating, they do because Kelly is only a few months from graduation. No one knows they’re dating except Nick and Jesse.

I think troubles begin in the relationship because there is a lack of communication between the MC’s. Kelly says he has no limits when it comes to his sexual needs and Ian doesn’t do the relationship any justice when he doesn’t set boundaries when it comes to his dominant side.

The last few chapters may seem a little rushed to get to the ending, BUT, the story still had the HEA because the MC’s finally sat down and discussed what they wanted from the relationship and how to communicate that to each other and what their limits and boundaries are. Kelly was finally able to stand up to his Aunts and he accepted the job with the dean.



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