Tag Archives: A.R. Barley

Against the Rules (Boundaries #2) by A.R. Barley

Against the RulesAgainst the Rules (Boundaries #2) by A.R. Barley

Released June 6, 2016

Publisher: Carina Press

Page count: 169 pages

Categories: MM Romance, Contemporary, BDSM

Sales link: Amazon


Kelly O’Connell’s out of control

An RA at Halston 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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Our thoughts:

I’m thoroughly enjoying the world at Halston University that AR Barley has created for the Boundaries series. Nick and Jesse were a treat in the first book, now we have their friend and Nick’s ex boyfriend, Kelly.

Kelly O’Connor is a Resident Aid at the university. He’s the guy that sat with Jesse at the hospital after he was attacked by his roommate. Kelly stuck Jesse with Nick because he knew Jesse would be safe there. Kelly is damn good at his job. He upholds the rules (sometimes creatively), is a handyman, shoulder to cry on, and more. He’s always in control and is a take charge kind of guy. He’s a few months from graduation but he feels less in control of his personal life every day. He’s drifting about, still grieving over losing both parents within a few months of each other and not that long ago.

Kelly’s become a bit self-destructive and one such encounter brings him to the attention of Ian. At the time, Ian appears to be a leather daddy at the club with impeccable timing. He saves Kelly and gets him home safely. Neither one expected to feel any connections or desire to seek out more from each other, but that’s exactly what happens.

Ian’s an economics professor at Halston. He’s apprehensive to start a relationship with Kelly because Kelly is still a student, also because Ian has baggage from a past relationship gone bad. However, Kelly needs someone to deliver an escape from reality and Ian is sure he can make him fly. Kelly goes all in and decides to dabble in some light BDSM with Ian.

I liked these two together. Kelly was his snarky self from book one, but Ian was strong enough to take the zingers and throw back. He also was able to set Kelly straight without demeaning him or breaking him. Ian was there for him. A body to snuggle up to, someone to share and connect with. A protector. All the things Kelly needs and wants. Problem is, Kelly isn’t sure who he is or want he wants in his life. He’s approaching everything with a short-term attitude and his emotional state is still unbalanced. He needs parents to be his sounding board but all he has are overbearing aunts and a few friends that don’t understand how he’s fallen. It takes quite awhile for Kelly to see that it’s been all wrong and he really has to step up. In the interim, Ian and Kelly’s relationship is almost destroyed.

Don’t give up on this story. If Kelly’s choice to dabble in kink seems odd, it’s really not! He needs a break from being the one in control all the time. He needs to decompress and soar. He just does the typical ‘jump in full speed ahead’ like always and has to pick up the pieces after everything shatters. Against the Rules was a superb addition to the series and I look forward to the third book set to release in the near future.


Out of Bounds (Boundaries #1) by A.R. Barley

Out of BoundsOut of Bounds by A.R. Barley

Released: March 14th 2016

Published: Carina Press

Series: Boundaries book 1

Page count: 154 pages


When the weather outside starts cooling down, inside the dorm things are heating up. Can these college roommates fall in love without going out of bounds?

Beaten and heartbroken, Jesse Cole is placed in a new dorm room after his last roommate attacked him. Just wanting to be left alone to heal in peace, he’s shocked when tall, dark and dangerous-looking Nick Moretti walks in.

Nick doesn’t have time to tiptoe around his new roommate—he’s too busy working in order to pay for school. But something about Jesse brings out his protective instincts. As their cautious friendship grows and becomes loaded with sexual tension, he wants to make Jesse comfortable.

Enter the perfect plan: a line of tape down the center of the room. Boundaries established.

But as innocent movie nights become hours-long temptation marathons, and whispered chats from across the room delve into straight-up dirty territory, crossing the line has never been so satisfying.

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Our Thoughts:

From the opening chapter, I knew Out of Bounds was going to be a great read. Barley worked all the right angles and the voices were bright and fun. The right elements to keep the pages turning.

In Out of Bounds, Jesse Cole finds himself in a predicament when he’s beaten by his roommate after a flirtatious mix-up. Alone and bleeding, his savior, resident assistant Kelly, takes him to the hospital to be patched up then leaves him in the only open room he can find in the senior dorm. Somewhere Kelly can keep an eye on him even though Jesse is a sophomore.

Dumping Jesse in Nick’s room is probably a mistake, but Kelly doesn’t have another choice. Nick’s trouble but he’s their only choice.

Jesse is skittish and overwhelmed after the incident. All he wants is to get settled, gain back control of his life, and finish the semester. The guy who’s now his roommate is freaking huge and intimidating but seems nice enough. Maybe he’ll make it through this after all.

Nick can’t believe Kelly dumped Nick in his room. Typical payback from his ex. The last thing Nick needs is this scared little bunny twitching and jumping every time Nick moves an inch. Something needs to be done and Nick knows just what to do.

Setting boundaries and establishing trust go a long way toward helping Jesse become comfortable and feeling safe again. Nick’s a great guy and Jesse can’t help becoming enamored with the handsome, hulking man.

What really made this story work for me was the slow crawl for Jesse and Nick. They move from timid new roommates to friend/protector status as a perfect pace. Nick establishes trust and Jesse beings to settle in. Things change when Jesse discovers Nick is gay, then all bets are off. The attraction growing between them can no longer be denied. They enter boyfriend status and hang there for a while. The black moment is short and worked through swiftly, thank goodness because these two needed each other!

I liked both Nick and Jesse a lot. Nick had some hang ups but his patience was saintly. He was compassionate, smart, loving and a stellar protector. Jesse really comes into his own. By the end of the book we see the confident man he is able to become once the trauma is worked through and overcome. Nick has a lot to do with Jesse’s transformation. They’re just meant to be together and I always enjoy when a story allows that to happen from start to finish.

A bonus chapter from the second book in the Boundaries series, Suspending the Rules is included at the end of the book. I was delighted to see it will be Kelly’s story. He was an important secondary character in Out of Bounds. He’s stoic but miserable. I’m anxious to continue on with the series when book two releases in summer 2016. Definitely something to look forward to!