Owen Lipke is looking for adventure. When he hears about a ranch in the Muskokas catering to kinky men who don’t want to settle for backroom amateurs, he signs up in a second.
At the Braided Crop Ranch, Owen finds what he’s looking for: A sex-positive space with safety protocols and Doms (trainers) who know their business. And a stable full of well-behaved ponyboys to prove it.
Owen thinks his trainer, Kamal, is hot as hell but finds being a ponyboy isn’t as intuitive as he expected. As he struggles to learn the basics of equine pet play under the firm hand of his trainer, he finds himself falling for the experienced older man.
And perhaps Kamal is developing a thing for the young, adventurous newcomer. But there are rules about fraternizing with staff at the ranch. And Owen wonders if it’s wise to fall in love with the pragmatic trainer who unravels him layer by layer to expose his deepest needs and most secret proclivities.
But perhaps wisdom is overrated. And maybe the rewards of adventure are only achieved when you abandon caution and take a huge leap of faith.
Series: The Braided Crop Ranch
Author: AE Lister
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 04/12/2021
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage
Genre: Contemporary BDSM, LGBTQIA+, BDSM, pony play, puppy play, cowboys, entertainment, sex toys, menage, rewards, punishments, insta-love, voyeurism
Shadows and dim lighting made the inside of the club appear deceptively edgy. The Stocks boasted a selection of the most overrated brews and clientele in the city, in my opinion. But this particular club was one of the few places I could go to try to find the kind of man I was looking for.
“Hey, Lipke, what are you doing here again?” Sandro smiled, clapping a hand on my shoulder and taking the stool next to me. “I thought you had the real deal? You know, a nice cozy apartment with your man.”
“We broke up,” I said, staring at the bar and trying not to let the fact I didn’t feel much disappointment about the end of my relationship bother me.
“Ah, shit, that’s too bad,” Sandro replied, but I saw a glimmer of satisfaction in his eyes as he motioned to the bartender. “Hey, a drink for my buddy here, Paulo.” He turned back. “What are you having, Owen?”
I shook my head and tossed the dark hair out of my eyes. It was getting way too long in front. I’d been meaning to get it cut, but I was so unmotivated to do anything these days. “Thanks, but I’m hoping for some action tonight.”
I never trolled for Doms with alcohol in my system. I’d learned that lesson a long time ago.
“How about a Coke, then?”
“Okay, sure. Thanks.”
He was trying to butter me up because he wanted to hook up. He’d tried with me before, but I had been in a relationship that didn’t allow for “extras” so I’d had an excuse to turn him down.
“A Coke for Owen, please. And a ginger ale for me,” he said, throwing a tenner on the bar.
“Thanks,” I said again, looking Sandro over and wondering if he could give me what I wanted.
He wasn’t a bad-looking guy; a little heavier in the gut, but it worked for him. He had a decent “Daddy” vibe going on and appeared to be pushing forty. Maybe he had the experience to give me something…more. Something solid and demanding and ruthless.
The Stocks was an underground fetish bar, where I’d come innumerable times to find the type of hook-up I was after. But anyone I’d ever gone home or played downstairs with, had disappointed. It wasn’t operating on the down-low. The club was literally underground, which made it even darker and dingier inside than most places—almost claustrophobic.
Everyone played games. That was often the point with fetish and BDSM, and a lot of guys were perfectly happy with that. But I was tired and bored with it all.
I’d had a connection with Simon, my ex, but even he couldn’t give me what I wanted in the end. I couldn’t define that particular desire but I knew I hadn’t fulfilled it—ever.
At night I’d dream about a Master who took total control, put me in my place easily and perfunctorily, without a thought to my comfort, yet took care of my needs like they were his own. This mystery man became a shadowy, elusive presence in my waking world. I’d never encountered an actual human being who could measure up to the Dom in my dreams. Maybe no one ever would.
Maybe I should make the most of what I could get, here and now.
This is the second book in the series, and I enjoyed this one much more than the first. The first book didn’t quite work on the romance level for me. Meanwhile, Ponyboy really hit a lot of high notes in the romance department, especially for a specific genre such as bdsm, with pony and puppy play. Not all bdsm books need to be romances, and certainly not all romances need (or should be) bdsm. That being said, if you are going to do a bdsm romance, it needs to feel like there is a romance happening, and not just sex for the sake of showing bdsm. The first book didn’t do that, but it didn’t hit romance touchpoints for me. Ponyboy definitely had a much more romantic feel to it.
I also really enjoyed seeing Owen find and discover something about himself that he had no idea he was looking for. He had never seen or experienced pony play, but as soon as he moved into the arena (pun intended) it felt natural to him. He wanted to be the best pony Kamal had ever had.
Meanwhile the romance between Owen and Kamal flowed naturally. They just found a connection, and small things along the way that worked for them. Whether it was discovering puppy play was a thing they enjoyed, to Owen being a bit of a smart ass, to even spending time out in nature. Their relationship evolved, which any and all relationships should.
Their communication was on point. They talked (when Owen was able to speak 🙂 ) and had discussions about what was right for them, in both bdsm, as well as their lives. And they disagreed, and still found a way to each other.
**small spoiler** There isn’t necessarily “cheating”. However, some readers do not want their MC’s having any sort of sex with others, and there was definitely some of that going on in the book.
Overall, a good portrayal of a part of bdsm not often seen in books.
4 pieces of eye candy
AE Lister/Elizabeth Lister is a Canadian non-binary author with a vivid imagination and a head full of unique and interesting characters. They have published many other books, one of which (Beyond the Edge) received an Honorable Mention from the National Leather Association–International for excellence in SM/Leather/Fetish writing.