A MelanieM Review: Land of Enchantment by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

East meets West. City meets country. Though there’s no denying opposites attract, can a college kid from New Jersey and a New Mexican cowboy learn to speak the same language, let alone trust each other?

When Mason Wild heads out West to escape his past, he doesn’t have a plan or a penny to his name. Luckily he finds a job with a roofing company run by a rodeo cowboy who’s kind, easy to work for, and even with his jaw wired shut, hotter than July in the high desert.

Bull rider Levi Yost knows what it’s like to be down on his luck. He’s not much older than Mason, but he’s been around the block a few times, or at least around the rodeo arena. He takes a chance on the kid, giving him a job and a place to live on his ranch. The two of them discover a surprising amount of common ground, but trouble has a way of finding each of them. Mason has to learn to be fully honest with Levi, who in turn has to realize he’s not just riding out for himself anymore.

Land of Enchantment by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga is such a sweet and endearing contemporary romance.  It contains so many of the elements that I just love from hurting cowboys (bull rider in this case), friends to lovers, a great setting, sense of place and community.  And a believable cast of characters to support the main ones and a firm foundation upon which to base a wonderful plot.

The clear strengths here?

The main characters who are firmly drawn from the beginning but still given plenty of room for individual growth throughout the story.  That especially holds true for Mason Wild who finds his true self in the heat and beauty of the New Mexico land and blossoms under the hard work, friendship and acceptance he finds there.  There’s such a connection here in sharing Mason’s deep satisfaction and joy as he learns more skills at the construction jobs, becomes friends, establishes himself, finding his center and feeling at home.  We feel him expand internally and it’s wonderful and due to the writing that brings Mason alive and makes us feel all the changes he’s undergoing.

Another character pondering changes?  That would be Levi Yost.  The life and career of a bull rider is short and physically painful.  And if the bull doesn’t decide when to end a bull rider’s career, then it’s up to the bull rider when to retire.  How many more trips to the ER? How many more broken bones? We meet him with a wired jaw and needing help to work on his construction jobs.  That’s where Mason gets hired.  And both of their lives change.

The element that didn’t really work for me?  That would be the scenes with the sister. Where I should have felt sympathy towards her character instead I was irritated, wishing her off the page and just into therapy. I wish there was more groundwork laid out for them.  And later on more of a resolution scene between them (for reasons of spoilers I won’t go into).  She just came off as a “lesser” element here.

I love everything about Levi and Mason’s relationship from early stages until the end, and thought the character of Allmon was another favorite.    This is a story to lean into and deeply enjoy, a cowboy romance to savor!  And I did.  You will too.  I absolutely recommend this to all lovers of contemporary romance and cowboys looking for love.

Cover art by AJ Corza is perfect with Mason’s tennis shoe’s and Levi’s boots.  I just love that cover.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 330 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
Edition Language English

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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