Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
When Navy SEAL Luke Blanchard comes back to Northeast Texas after a devastating injury, he feels like the whole world has gone dark. In a wheelchair and feeling worthless, Luke has no idea what to do, even as his twin brother Matt is determined to lift him up and help him heal.
Rory McConnell is a local prodigy, a real estate lawyer with a plan to buy up land before his bitter rival can collect it. When the Blanchard ranch goes into the red, he offers to buy out the debt. Luke backs his brother instead, but he doesn’t believe for a minute that Rory is a bad guy. No one that sexy and fun can be, right?
As Luke claws his way out of depression with a crazy idea to run a therapy ranch, he and Rory start to explore the need growing between them. Will Rory’s need for revenge against a man who damaged him forever come between them, or will it be the force which brings these two wounded men together for good?
Ya’ll know I love me some B.A. Tortuga (hoping to sound all B.A. Tortuga like and probably not succeeding very well) and The Wounded Warrior (Rocking W #1) is just another prime example why. The first in a new series from Pride Publishing, the author delivers up another great story with two wounded men, each damaged in different but very deep ways, living in a hot, small Texas town she knows inside and out.
There’s been a lot of twins in B.A.’s stories recently, not sure why other than maybe she’s as intrigued by the twin dynamics just as we are. In The Wounded Warrior, we have another twin set in Luke and Matt Blanchard. Luke, the Navy SEAL, is The Wounded Warrior, returning home from a tour in a wheelchair, his world blown apart. Matt is the brother trying to find the Luke he knows and loves buried under the PTSD, depression, and darkness Luke is existing in. A horse trainer, Matt also rescues horses and other animals, and its to these injured, almost broken animals that Luke is drawn to. Something Matt notices as well, as watches as horses and man start to heal each other.
The beauty of B.A. Tortuga’s writing is her ability to make us empathize so completely with her characters because she pulls us into their mindset and their emotions. Told from multiple points of view, we completely get these men and we hurt for them. For Matt in his inability at times to help his brother, his twin and for Luke, caught up in survivor’s guilt, his wheelchair and his feelings of inadequacy after being a SEAL. Those two alone are superb but then there’s another damaged soul here and that’s Rory McConnell.
Rory McConnell is a local real estate lawyer with a past that’s haunting him to the point that his present is consumed with plans of revenge against those that hurt him. The author will only slowly reveal Rory’s past to Luke and the readers after a time, but we get hints enough to know that what’s coming will be horrific. The Rory we meet is determined, charming and driven to the point he makes the wrong impression on both Blanchard brothers, something he soon corrects. Its important we understand Rory the man, damaged and a warrior in his own right, avenging a wrong against a criminal or criminals still at large. Watching these men connect, learn to trust, and love is such an out and out pleasure. Its sweet, sexy and enough to make you reach for those boxes of tissues!
Along with all that? You get B.A. Tortuga’s cast of characters, from the Blanchard “Momma and dad “Preacher”, both people to be reckoned with, to Lori, Luke’s amazing assistance, Avery the therapist, and so many more including the town’s people themselves. Here’s a small sample of Rory taking Luke out to the local restaurant where everyone in town eats for lunch. The flow of the chatter has the easy, down home feel I’ve heard in town’s across Georgia and Alabama too. It’s as recognizable as it is authentic. I love it and it’s another reason I read a Tortuga story:
“Something smells amazing,” Luke said.
“It”s meatloaf day.”
“You like meatloaf?” Luke was undecided. His mom’s had not been great, but after the army he wasn’t picky.
“I hate it. I am going to have a patty melt. Hey, Sue Ann, how goes it?”
Sue Ann Landers’ who had been one of Mark’s conquests back in the day, was obviously a rockabilly fanatic, the bright crimson beehive matching her cat-eye glasses exactly. “Faboo. The new girl is pregnant, cries at the drop of a hat and spilled an entire tray of drinks on Miss Hattie’s church group.”
“Wow. If I let her wait on us and don’t make her cry, do I get our pie for free?” Luke reckoned Rory couldn’t not make a deal. It must be in the man’s bones.
They ended up at a table in the back, out of the way. Bless her red head, Sue Ann didn’t want his chair messing up the flow, but that worked for Luke. Less gawking.
I could see that so clearly, right down to Miss Hattie’s church group and the fact that Sue Ann called her Miss Hattie. Truth rolling out in every word. Combine that with characters you hurt for and grow to love, a story that makes you cry and woop for joy? And then sets you up for other stories? Yep, I’m not only all in but I’m anxiously waiting for the next in the series. Can’t wait to see which Blanchard boys gets the next one, if indeed it’s one of them. Plus there’s all the veterans coming to The Rocking W. Well, I’ll leave that part of the story to the readers. I highly recommend this to all of you. Grab it up and start reading before the next one comes out.
Cover art by Posh Gosh works great for the storyline and characters.
ebook, 217 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Pride Publishing
SeriesRocking W #1