The Hampton Road Club
Some rules should never be broken…
The year is 1926 and as one of the founding members of the Hampton Road Club, Master Saul has enjoyed the charms of many willing submissives over the years. But the club’s newest boy—the tall, muscular Kenneth—captures his attention more than any man has for a while. If only Kenneth didn’t belong to another Master.
After Kenneth’s Master died, he allowed himself to be lured into a relationship as Master Preston’s slave. As time went on, Preston became crueler to the point where Kenneth now fears for his life. When Preston joins a sadomasochism club, Kenneth begins to yearn for the handsome, older Master the other boys speak so highly of. But he despairs of ever escaping the clutches of Preston, so resigns himself to his miserable fate.
Amidst turmoil at the club over whether there should be rules to keep the boys safe and in light of Preston’s play for power, Saul searches for a way to save Kenneth from what he’s sure is a deadly situation. However, there are several club members who refuse to give up the old traditions and insist that no restrictions be placed on their playtime. Saul might be desperate to protect an abused submissive from a vicious Master, but Kenneth is Preston’s property and he swears he’ll never let him go.
Can Saul rescue Kenneth from a madman, or is it already too late?
Publisher Note: This book was previously published under the title The Rules of Love with a different publisher. It has been re-edited, revised and expanded. Rules of Love is Book 2 in The Hampton Road Club series, with a satisfying HEA and no cliffhanger. This installment can be read alone, but is best enjoyed after Hesitant Heart (The Hampton Road Club 1).
Trigger warning: On page physical and verbal abuse, attempted assault, a scene of violence and mention of suicide.
- 1 Read list
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 46-65
Tropes: Age Difference, Hurt / Comfort, Love Can Heal / Redemption, May/December, Rescue, True Love
Word Count: 53,500
Setting: South Pasadena, California
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
“He’s quite beautiful. Wouldn’t you agree, Saul?”
As one of the founding members of the Hampton Road Club, Saul Liebowitz had seen many stunning submissive men over the years. Sweet, pliant, handsome men who surrendered themselves to capable Dominant men—or if they were very lucky—an adoring Master.
I would adore someone that beautiful. If only he were mine to adore.
Saul turned to his good friend, Aaron Rubenstein. The younger man was attending Hampton Road with his magnificently trained submissive, Sam. It had been a joy to watch their pairing unfold into a glorious permanent union. Aaron had allowed himself to suffer through many dark years of loneliness until he’d rescued the naïve little Sam from a disreputable bathhouse. Saul held back a grin. He couldn’t help but take some credit for pushing Aaron in the innocent Sam’s direction.
“Quite. But it’s irrelevant as he’s Master Preston’s boy.”READ MORE
An expert at self-control, he’d managed to keep the disgust at the mention of Preston Cornwall out of his voice. At least, for the most part.
Aaron’s mouth quirked as he considered Saul. “Not a fan of Kenneth’s Master, are we?”
Saul let out a small grunt. “He’s of questionable character, old sport, and you already know how I feel about their…relationship.”
They had kept their voices low as they sat in the back of the grand ballroom located on the second floor of the Hampton Road Club mansion. Saul continued to observe with concerned interest as Master Preston used a long, single tail whip on Kenneth. The spectacular naked form of the mid-thirties submissive writhed and twisted each time the end of the implement snapped against his visibly abused flesh. Kenneth stood tall, his torso fit and defined, his arms and legs well-muscled. Saul surmised he must use them a lot based on the intricate positions and rough demonstrations he’d witnessed Preston put him through.
Tied with leather strips, Kenneth’s wrists were restrained above his head and attached to a chain. A muzzle gag was secured over Kenneth’s face, the black leather panel completely covering his mouth and chin then held in place by leather straps and metal rings. Muffled grunts and the occasional cry could be heard as Kenneth reacted to the harsher strikes.
Saul wasn’t sure if the gag was there to quiet Kenneth or to humiliate him. The entire piece had the feel of a horse’s bridle and Preston had bragged that he’d purchased it at an antiquities auction. He’d claimed that it was an authentic device that had once been employed in a medieval dungeon. Saul found Preston’s boast to be rather ridiculous but knew that some of the newer Dominant men fell for his antics rather easily. That in and of itself made Saul question the worthiness of those recent initiates.
As the presentation continued, more concerns nagged at Saul. He couldn’t help but wonder how Kenneth would be able to beg for mercy if he couldn’t speak. No indication had been given at the beginning of Preston’s display that Kenneth had another means of stopping the whipping.
Such irresponsible behavior had recently become a point of contention at the club, and that also greatly worried Saul. The nineteen twenties had seen America and the rest of the world become freer than ever, but gay men could still be arrested for sodomy and were generally shunned or mistreated. Practicing sadomasochism would get them into even more trouble were they ever to be discovered. So far, their best defense had been unity. Lately, it had felt as if that camaraderie was crumbling at the San Marino club. It put them all at risk.
He angled his body toward Aaron. “Would you mind coming with me to the smoking room? I’d like to have a word with you.”
Aaron regarded Saul, a slight furrow on his brow. “Of course. Let me get Sam situated first.”
Sam was resting his head against Aaron’s thigh, having been encouraged to relax by his loving Master. Aaron got Sam’s attention by caressing his head, his fingers then carding through Sam’s hair as he lifted his chin with his other hand. Saul didn’t want to eavesdrop, but he was transfixed by the tender scene before him. He’d personally never experienced such a relationship before. The two men were the envy of more than one member of the club—Dominant and submissive alike.
Aaron placed a soft kiss on Sam’s lips. “Sweet boy, Saul and I are going to go have a smoke. I’m unclipping your leash.” Aaron jerked his head toward the back where the club’s manager, Javier, stood in a corner. “You may go to the submissives’ den with Javier, and I’ll send for you later.”
Even in the dim lighting, Saul could detect a flicker of disappointment cross Sam’s features. Aaron reached down to grasp the naked Sam’s cock, then gently stroked him until his shaft was hard. Sam’s mouth opened on a sigh and Aaron took it in a deep kiss. When he finally pulled back, Sam’s expression was one of bliss, his eyes hooded, his lips parted with a hint of a smile.
“That’s my good boy. Now, run along, little Sam.”
Aaron removed the leash from the collar he’d gifted to Sam when they’d first made their commitment to each other. As soon as the lead was off, Sam gracefully rose to his feet. He truly was a pretty little thing, not even nineteen yet. He wasn’t the type of man Saul typically went for, but he appreciated his allure in general. Overall, what Saul found to be the most alluring attribute to Sam was how eager and heartfelt his submission was to Aaron.
Oh well. It wasn’t as if he didn’t have a full life. Since he was one of the original members and a long-time respected Dominant, he had an abundant choice of compliant men willing to do his every bidding. Not necessarily any he would ever consider for long term, but sometimes those dreams were not meant to be. His gaze wandered to Kenneth who glistened from head to toe with a fine sheen of sweat. He locked his eyes on the man’s taut ass as it flexed in time with the snap of his Master’s strikes. Saul plucked a handkerchief from his smoking jacket pocket and swiped his forehead.
Damnably stuffy in this room tonight.
He turned in time to see Aaron reach his hand behind Sam’s backside. Sam’s eyes rounded, but as a credit to his training and Sam’s self-control, he didn’t cry out, despite whatever it was Aaron had done to him. Judging by how much Sam’s rigid cock leaked, it must have been something quite wonderful.
“No touching, sweet Sam. Remember, the rewards will be much greater when I get you home.”
Aaron winked at him and Sam whimpered.
Aaron pulled Sam to him by the nape of his neck for one more peck on his lips before shooing him away with a final swat on his rear.
Aaron pocketed Sam’s leash then regarded Saul with a bit of a gleam in his eye. “Shall we?”
Saul stole another quick glance in Kenneth’s direction then stood. When he regarded Aaron, he couldn’t miss the twinkle still evident in his stare. Saul arched his eyebrows, then spoke, still keeping his voice low.
“As one of the main benefactors of this establishment, I’ve earned the right to look.”
Aaron chuckled lightly. “I’ve said nothing.”
“Perhaps not, old sport, but you were thinking it rather loudly.”COLLAPSE
Breann on Boy Meets Boy Reviews wrote:
The difference between true D/s relationships is identified and described well in contrast to abusive relationships like the one Preston initiates and attempts to continue with Kenneth. The realistic yet flowing story make for an excellent addition to this series an these are so far my favorite couple! The conflict is real and gritty, and the sex is hot!! If you read M/M, BDSM, or want to try either my suggestion is to start with this series. Ms. Knight does not disappoint!
Elaine on Divine Magazine wrote:
Saul and Kenneth had great chemistry. They were wonderful together and Saul was perfect for Kenneth. I loved how Saul was sensitive to Kenneth's wants and comforts when taking him in. Instead of forcing him to come out of the shell he encased over himself, Saul let Kenneth take his time getting used to a more equal relationship.
I love me some historical and I have a particular soft spot for any era that's not regency. There's a feel and a tone to this book that is very distinctive to the twenties. The setting and world building is probably my favorite part of this series, as well as her Gin & Jazz series.
Another one knocked right out the park! I can tell, only one the second book, that this is going to be one of my favourite series ever.
Once again, Knight has so very brutally, but brilliantly, told the truth of what it was like to be a gay man in the 1920's era. Not just with the need for secrecy, even in urgent medical instances, but also in cases of domestic violence, which lie at the very heart of the story. Revealing the violence is as good as shackling themselves in jail or worse. And knowing this, both abuser and abused know that the situation can never be fully resolved without more suffering... It is so rare to find a second book in a series that can rival book 1 for being the best. I'm happy to settle for saying that both books are equally brilliant.