Commitment Ranch by B.A. Tortuga
Series: Leaning N Ranch, Book 1
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on September 15, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Ford Nixel left his family ranch behind back when he was in college and never looked back. After Uncle Ty took in Stoney, Ford’s ex-boyfriend, and gave him a job, and then Stoney went off and had a kid with Ford’s (now late) cousin, he’d had enough. And he’s managed to make quite a life for himself with law offices in both Santa Fe and Austin. So when Uncle Ty announces he’s signing over his half of the ranch to Ford, it’s both unexpected and a bit unwelcome for all involved.
But Ford values the family ranch, and he wants to work to keep it going. And as much as he despises Stoney, he can’t hold those feelings against Stoney’s son, Quartz. So he moves in, deciding that he’ll only be at the ranch part of the time and spend the rest of his days immersed in his law practice. But it turns out the ranch may need more of his attention than he originally thought. And being so close to Stoney brings some intense feelings to bear–and not all of them are the burning hatred he would like to believe they are. But it also turns out that some of the facts of Ford’s situation with Stoney are not at all what he assumed. Can they put the ill feelings of the past behind them for the sake of saving the ranch? And in the process, might they also find those feelings they thought they lost so many years ago?
I would sum this up by saying it’s an entertaining and engaging story about two stubborn cowboys whose stubbornness gets in the way of their own happiness. These two… you’ll find yourself shaking your head more than once. But there’s also a great cast of supporting characters who are interesting and fun in their own right. And since this is the start of a series, I hope we get to see some focused stories involving some of them in the near future.
Trial by Fire by B.A. Tortuga
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on March 15, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)
Lachlan McCoughey has been searching for his sister since she ran away a few years ago. When his private investigator finds her, he’s not too surprised that she ran away to the States. But he’s shocked to learn that she’s just died in a plane crash with her husband. And she’s left a three-month-old daughter behind. Lachlan is on the next plan from his Australia cattle station to bring his niece home.
Holden Sheffield is a bit rattled. His twin brother and his brother’s wife–Holden’s best friend–died suddenly in a plane crash. They left their daughter, Chloe, to him. And he’s determined to always do right by his new ward. Even if he’s still trying to figure out how to balance sudden fatherhood with running his family’s ranch and rodeo business. But when Chloe’s other uncle, a man Holden knows nothing about, shows up with his sights on taking Chloe back to Australia, he knows one thing: no one is taking his daughter away from him. He’s determined to respect her parents’ wishes.
The two men start on nothing resembling friendly footing. But as they get to know each other better, they learn that first impressions aren’t everything. And when they find themselves in the middle of a life-or-death situation, they both begin to wonder if what they have could become more than friendship.
Stubborn cowboys from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. Family loyalties. And a baby girl with no shortage of people willing to be there for her. Certainly an interesting premise to open up a novel.
This is the first book I’ve read from B.A. Tortuga, and I expect I’ll probably be reading more. The complexity of the characters and development of the story kept me glued to the pages. While billed as a romance–and there’s definitely that here–it also has elements of a crime/caper novel built into it. And it does so without ever losing its overall character.