ARC Review by Annie: Tactical Submission by Ada Maria Soto


SWAT commander Jack Burnside is haunted by his craving to kneel before another man. Of all the things he hates about himself – his overtly masculine size and strength, his blue eyes, his insecurities – it is the need to submit that he fears will destroy him. 

Doctor Isaac Bard is close to achieving his perfect life. He has a great job with the Coroner’s Office and an open marriage to a loving wife who understands his needs better than he does. The only thing he is missing is a handsome young man to dominate, spoil rotten, and love. 

Jack and Isaac might be a perfect match in the back rooms of the exclusive Windsor Club, but will the outside pressures of perception and duty tear them apart?

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Release Date: November 10th


*A copy of this was provided by the author

Ada Maria Soto is still a relatively new-to-me author because I’ve only read His Quiet Agent by her – which I absolutely adored! To say that His Quiet Agent and Tactical Submission are completely different would probably be the understatement of the year. Still, the author managed to charm me again.

It took me a bit to get into the book because in the beginning it jumped from one meeting between Isaac and Jack to the next one – sometimes there would be more than a week in-between – and I couldn’t easily get a feel for both characters. I didn’t notice when exactly it happened but soon I was enthralled by these characters and their dynamic. They had the right amount of differences that really made the story work for me. Those little details that really bring a character to life were what especially stood out for me. How Isaac became attuned to Jack and would easily change course if something wasn’t working.
I should preface this by saying that I have no experience with kink or BDSM, so I can’t say how accurate the portrayal in this book is. However I really liked that – different to some other BDSM-themed books I’ve read – that penetrative sex wasn’t the most important thing for Isaac when he first meets Jack. Even if it makes Jack uncomfortable he talks about the scenes beforehand and Isaac doesn’t push Jack’s boundaries until he signals him that he is okay with certain things.

Out of the two main characters I liked Jack a bit more. (My fave though was Dan, who doesn’t even have that much page time but he was – to me – one of those side characters that just have such a charisma that you just know they need their own book!) Back to Jack though: I really loved his little quirks – like when he just has to rearrange Isaacs books by the Library of Congress Catalogue System because it really bothers him. Or how he has an obsession with good coffee ever since he worked in a café when he was an adolescent. It takes a bit until the reader finds out more about his past than that he was in the army, but I really liked that Jack was a bit of a mystery until the end of the book, and it kept me turning the pages even faster.

Jack struggles with his needs, how they compare to his job as a SWAT commander and what it means for his “manliness” when he feels most comfortable being on the knees for another man. He is also not out – neither at his job nor in is private life – and fears what it could mean to run into someone from the Windsor Club.

When I first got the copy of this I somehow thought that the story would be heavier. It’s unquestionably not a “light” story but it’s also not as dark as I thought it would be. Mostly because, while there are lots of scenes in this book, they didn’t feature a lot of whips and canes or other pain play. Isaac is more into overstimulation by making his sub come several times in a row. Something that really works with what Jack wants, because he doesn’t want to play in a way that can leave marks.

Something I mentioned in several status updates on goodreads – and what has to be mentioned here too – is how much I loved the bi- and poly rep in this story. The focus is definitely on Isaac and Jack, but we also meet Amalie, Isaac’s wife, and her girlfriend Lydia. (I would totally love to have their story too!) And – similar to Outside the Lines, which I recently reviewed – Jack is not only with Isaac but also has a (platonic) relationship with Amalie and meets up with her without Isaac being present.

For all the built-up and conflict I found the end to be a bit fast. I would have liked another chapter for a bit more closure. The characters are at a happy place when the book ends, but it seemed a bit abrupt. That’s about the only complaint I have for Tactical Submission though and I am really looking forward to the two spin-off sequels the author talked about on twitter!

(Please note the trigger warning for domestic terrorism that takes place in chapter 30)


Ada Maria Soto is a born and raised Californian, Mexican-American/WASP, currently living as an expat in the South Pacific. Writing is her day job for the two days a week her child is in preschool. The other five days a week her child is her day job.

A psychologist once told her she has a fantasy prone personality, but since she’s a writer that’s not a bad thing. She has dysgraphia and phonological dyslexia but doesn’t let exciting spelling slow her down.

She is a sports fan dedicated to the Oakland A’s, San Jose Sharks, Auckland Blues, USA Eagles, New Zealand All Blacks, and New Zealand Black Caps.

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Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Pairing: Poly Review Self Published Tag: BDSM Tag: Military / Uniform Tag: Part of a series Trigger Warning: Domestic Terrorism

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