Book Reviews

Rough in Wranglers (A Collection of Cowboy Love) by BA Tortuga at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Military/Former Military / Blue-Collar Workers / Cowboys / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 14-April-2018

Book Blurb

Cowboys, blue-collar men, and hot redneck boys. One thing they all have in common is Wranglers, and they’re all falling in love in this eight-story collection. From Navy SEALs to rodeo riders to a food truck chef, all these men want is to find someone to share their lives with.

 

There are new lovers meeting for the first time, best friends who find out they have someone who loves them already when they think they’ll never find happiness, and old lovers who’ve been apart for years but come back together at the best possible time. From the ski mountains of Colorado to deep in the heart of Texas, love finds a way through old hurts and through years of being apart.

 

There’s nothing like a man in Wranglers and cowboy boots, and these stories prove it in every line!

 

Stories include:

Hey, Jealousy

Czech Me Out: An Austin Story

Worth the Work

Purgatory

Menagerie

Where There’s a Will

Cut Bait

Unwrapped  

 

 

First Edition of Hey, Jealousy published by Torquere Press, May 2011.

First Edition of Czech Me Out: An Austin Story published by Torquere Press, July 2014.

First Edition of Worth the Work published as Birthstones: Worth the Work by Torquere Press, September 2008.

First Edition of Purgatory published by Torquere Press, July 2005.

First Edition of Menagerie published by Torquere Press, May 2007.

First Edition of Where There's a Will published by Torquere Press, October 2010.

First Edition of Cut Bait published by Torquere Press, December 2007.

First Edition of Unwrapped published by Torquere Press, December 2010.


Book Review

What a collection! I had read and liked most of these eight stories before, many years ago, so getting to enjoy them again was a treat. Tough guys wearing Wranglers is the common element, but so is a need for understanding and love that most of these men would never voice out loud. Tough machos, right? But for various reasons all the characters in this collection get a break and make wonderful use of the unexpected opportunities offered to them. The result ranges from amusing and entertaining to so intense I needed a cold drink. If that is your thing, and if you’re a fan of love coming in unexpected packages, then I recommend you go and buy this book. It might just make you want a cold drink too!

Hey, Jealousy
JW, a trucker, and Rory, a tile setter, have been best friends forever, have decided they are never going to be more based on JW’s stupid, split-second reaction many years ago, and have suffered ever since. Rory because he is looking for kink but can only find bast*rds who don’t treat him right, and JW because he regrets what he said, has no idea how to fix it, and is so jealous he’d be dark green if it were possible.

When the situation comes to a head because Rory is in real trouble, both men get an opportunity to reconsider their relationship. Since they are men they act first and talk about it later, but as it turns out, that was exactly what they needed. The language Rory and JW use, both in their own minds and when talking to each other is rough and direct and adds a lot of ambience to the proceedings. Pulled me right in and didn’t let me go.

If you like your stories hot and kinky, if you want to see two friends become much more in a (for them) totally unexpected way, and if you’re looking for a read that is as intense physically as it is emotionally, then you will probably like this short story.

Czech Me Out: An Austin Story
A strong cowboy, a determined food truck owner, and both of them discovering they are more than interested in each other makes for a very hot story. Korde may not have come to Austin expecting to find out all kinds of things that can happen when two men hit the bedroom, but Josh is more than willing to teach him. The result is an incendiary encounter… and then some.

Korde has the whole cowboy vibe going for him, but he makes money doing home improvements, mainly tiling. He is staying with his sister for now but is driving her crazy since he has nothing much else to do than hang around her place of work. All of that changes once he meets sexy food truck owner Josh who not only makes amazing food but needs his kitchen tiled. I loved the idea of asking Korde for an estimate as an excuse to come see Josh at his house. Korde has no idea what hits him when Josh makes his move, but he clearly likes it.

Josh is a dedicated top and determined to show Korde the advantages of becoming a dedicated bottom. Josh picks up Korde’s lack of experience pretty quickly, but he finds he has more to deal with than inexperience. Korde has a few preconceived ideas about what men should and should not like, and luckily Josh is just the man to show him what’s really important. And it isn’t who tops and who bottoms!

If you like stories about first times, if you enjoy reading about men who fall into immediate lust, and if you’re looking for an entertaining, hot read with some great humor, then you will probably like this short story.

Worth the Work
This story stars two men who should have been together for the last five years – not separated by pride and jobs and not telling each other the truth. Visits just aren’t enough to keep things going, yet they have never forgotten each other either. It’s just that the few visits they have had always included family – not conducive to dealing with the pending relationship issues they need to fix.

Chance is a photographer who takes pictures of cowboys and rodeos. He used to be a cowboy, but now he travels for work and he loves his job, but he has missed Kit ever since he left five years ago. So much so that he sends him a letter every single month, claiming they show you care a lot more than an e-mail or a phone call.

Kit is a rancher and was more sedentary back when Chance left, but he’s had a streak of bad luck – not that he’d ever admit or ask for help. But he figures he can visit Chance, since the man keeps asking. As it turns out, doing what he wants is a whole lot better than staying safe. It took him losing the ranch to realize it – but better late than never. Right?

Unfortunately nothing is as easy as it seems, and even though they want to be together, Fate conspires against them. They almost lose each other for the second time just because Kit won’t admit he needs help and Chance has trouble getting rid of his obsession with traveling to interesting places for his work. Both men play a part in the problems they create, and it’ll take both of them to fix the issues.

If you like your cowboys with some baggage and a lot of stubborn pride, if you think that real love can survive a separation, no matter how long it takes, and if you’re looking for a read that is as hot as it is complicated and sweet, then you will probably like this short story.

Purgatory
A dude ranch in the mountains of Colorado is the setting for a very unexpected reunion. Dante, a now-retired Navy SEAL, and Rory, a cowboy who now owns and runs a dude ranch have met before, but ten years ago Dante just wasn’t ready to settle down and Rory hadn’t found his niche yet. Meeting again is an immediate success, and as Rory and Dante get reacquainted, there are several flashbacks as they relive their memories.

It was interesting to see the contrast between the flashback scenes and the present day. Rory and Dante’s interactions were just as hot and intense as they had been ten years earlier, but each man has matured and the added emotional depth came through in how they talked and how they treated each other. They are definitely made to be together!

If you like your reunions hot and heavy, if you think two tough men can figure out how to deal with their softer side, and if you’re looking for a fun read with lots of man-on-man action, then you will probably like this short story.

Menagerie
The title of this story is well deserved – between Guy, the cowboy who runs a dude ranch that includes a petting zoo, and AJ, the new vet in town, there really is an entire menagerie of animals. The critters’ names alone are hilarious, their antics added a lot of fun to the story, and they made me laugh out loud more than once. There are dogs, cats, horses, a potbellied pig, turtles, parrots, a llama, goats, geese, rabbits… too many to count. They each seem to have a personality and I loved getting to know all of them.

Then there is hardworking Guy who wants to find someone to share his life, thinks time is running out, and anyway, where is he supposed to find a man interested in him in a small town in Wyoming? Luckily AJ arrives, takes over from the old vet, and shows an immediate interest in more than a professional relationship. AJ loves animals as much as Guy, if not more, and the two get along famously from the start.

Slow but steady is their motto, and it works for them. There is an immediate attraction and they act fairly fast, but can you blame them? The cold Wyoming winter is fast approaching and who wouldn’t want a warm body around for freezing winter nights and good company during the cold days?

If you like cowboys who love their animals, if you want to watch two strangers warm up to each other as the weather gets colder, and if you’re looking for a read that might just make you feel rather hot under the collar, then you will probably like this short story.

Where There’s a Will
Wills can have strange effects on people, and the way Reggie sets up his is super sneaky. He is dying from cancer and has the best intentions, wanting to get his two friends to reconcile their differences, but the way he “forces” them to start talking again isn’t meeting with much approval in the beginning. But neither Toby nor Keagan can refuse their friend Reggie his last wish, and both want the other to be better off thanks to all the money Reggie owns, so they decide to give sharing time and space together a go.

The sparks fly from the start. Toby and Keagan aren’t exactly enemies, in fact they used to be friends, and as it turns out there is history that sort of explains the craziness. But now, years later, they think they have nothing in common other than Reggie’s friendship and can’t stand each other. I did get a vibe of them “protesting too much”, but Keagan feels real anger and Toby has a lot of disdain and pent-up rage, so it looks like the situation will explode any time. They discover that they do have one thing in common: their love and respect for Reggie and their grief about losing him. They also don’t want the money to go to the organizations Reggie has named in case Toby and Keagan can’t fulfill the will’s requirements – and that whole setup is as clever as it is hilarious. Pure genius!

As it turns out, both men have a lot of anger inside them and, being proud and stubborn, they don’t talk about it. Instead, they get physical and start hitting things, get in fights, and yell obscenities at each other. For the longest time I wasn’t sure either of them was going to survive their forced cohabitation! The progress is slow and almost unnoticeable, and I was very happy to see the danger of them killing each other decrease as the story progressed.

If you like enemies-to-lovers stories with a twist, if you want to see two macho men go from incendiary hate to scorching love, and if you’re looking for a read that contains more cussing than should be legal, then you will probably like this short story.

Cut Bait
The setup of this story is pretty funny – what with Rick’s sister deciding she needs him and Billy, his lover, to test the sex toys she’s selling. Then things turn hilarious as they try out the various toys and end up having to “report” the results. What an idea!

The heat these various items – everything from … to … and …. – add to Rick and Billy’s love life is considerable. But it also detracts from the way they relate to each other and, in the end, they find out what’s really important to them – and it’s not toys!

If you like your romances a little kinky and funny at the same time, if you think it’s possible that “plain sex” can be as good as “spiced-up sex”, and if you’re looking for a read that is as funny as it is hot, then you will probably like this story.

Unwrapped
This is a story full of surprises, and just goes to show that appearances can be deceiving. Christian and Ryder both live in a small Texas town and have been at odds for years. Christian is a teacher and deep in the closet and hates how Ryder keeps trying to rile him up. Ryder is a mechanic who is just as deeply in the closet, and he has been trying to get the annoyingly controlled and reserved teacher to react for just as many years. They both think there is no “there” there…

When they meet up on a gay-friendly cruise, things are extremely awkward in the beginning. Neither man is in his normal “habitat”, both dress and behave differently, and very soon, they each begin to wonder why they never realized how hot the other guy is. Unwrapping each other both physically and emotionally turns out to be extremely interesting.


If you like your romances with lots of emotion and passion, if you think two buttoned-up men in the closet can figure out a way to be together once they leave their little town and predefined roles, and if you’re looking for a read that is as entertaining as it is hot, then you will probably like this short story.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Collection/ 8 short stories, 332 pages/105459 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-April-2018
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
Buy Link https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rough-in-wranglers-by-ba-tortuga-9510-b