Title: Mastering the Ride
Author: JP Barnaby
Length: 15,800 words (54 pdf pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m BDSM contemporary
Josh, a young gay submissive with a strong desire to serve, is searching for the Master of his dreams. After being released by yet another Dom, he takes the advice of his trainer and leaves Chicago to accept the invitation of a Montana rancher—a real, live, modern-day cowboy. With his new Master, Wade Mallory, Josh may just find what he’s looking for… and more.
This steamy short story is told in four sections, switching perspectives between the two men, which fit well with the structure. In the first portion you meet Josh, a young submissive whose most recent Dom as decided not to continue his contract after six months. He’s devastated. He never seem to find someone who wants to keep him. However the Dom who originally trained him recommends Wade who he believes will be a good fit, but he lives in Montana, on a ranch. Josh is an author in Chicago.
The second portion is the background of Wade and how he came to be a Dom and a rancher. He came to both later in his life after a failed marriage and stumbling across the BDSM lifestyle. The later two portions of the book were Josh’s shocked wonderment of his new environment, and Wade’s attempts to figure out how to fit Josh into his life.
My heart broke for poor little Josh. He just wanted to be taken care of and take care of someone in return. He was a perfect fit for Wade and I found the background of how Wade came into the lifestyle interesting. It wasn’t the usual way, he was much older and really clueless that he found that kind of thing exciting, and had barely admitted to himself he was gay at 35.
The more engaging part for me though, was when the two men finally meet. Even though they’ve corresponded on-line, there was that uncertainty on both sides about what exactly the other wants and needs, and how to go about getting it. It was well done and Josh’s confusion, and a touch of consternation, that Wade would ask his opinion or seek his consent was rather cute. Wade was a softer Dom, outside of the bedroom, and he was smitten from the start.
So my biggest problem with this story, is something we often complain about with shorts, not enough. The story stops the next day after Josh arrives. He has some trouble adapting to life on the ranch which leads to a melt-down, but there was just so much more story to be told, I believe. How will a small slight author fit into life on a ranch where riding horses and slinging bales of hay is the norm? There was a hint dropped that one of the employees was less than pleased to have Josh there. Were there troubles ahead? Perhaps the author intends a follow-up to this story which I would be all in favour of.
The writing is very strong and this is the first story I’ve read by this author, and I enjoyed all of the characters and was left wanting more. For those who have a soft-spot for the little sub seeking his place in the world, it’s a terrific read, and I seriously hope we get to see more Josh’s adventures in Montana.