Review: The Retreat: A Roughstock Story (Roughstock) by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery year the bullfighters hold their retreat, three days free of families and outside obligations.  Its a time to bond and renew before the rodeo circuit begins again.  And for the first time, Dillon Walsh, rodeo clown and significant other of Coke Pharris has been invited.  With “all manner of mischief is on the menu along with the barbecue”, can Coke and Dillon find time for love as well?

The Retreat is more a piece of flash fiction or excerpt than a stand alone story. It is a glimpse in the early days of Coke and Dillon’s relationship.  While the story doesn’t go into details, Tortuga hints at the early stages of Coke and Dillon’s romance by pointing out that this is the first time Dillon has been invited to be a part of this tightly knit group of men.  And by how circumspect the men are with their PDAs.  Only one other member makes a significant appearance in this short story, it is a telling one with Nate and his wife as a couple who are also close friends of Coke’s and now Dillon’s.   This couple acts as a centering element for Coke and Dillon’s relationship.  They are both a barometer and anchor for all the other bullfighters reactions.

B.A. Tortuga’s great characterizations are front and center of this short story. So even without any background you will find yourself grinning in response to Dillon’s reaction over being invited to the bullfighter shindig:

He gave his butt a little shake, happy and loose in his hips. He sure did like the idea of being invited to the annual bullfighter weekend. He’d never been to one before. Hell, he hadn’t known about them until Nate had asked him.

Just walked right up to him and popped him on the arm and said, “You coming to both parts of the retreat, yeah?”

Like he knew all about it. Like he was just a part of the team, totally, finally.

Of course he’d said yes. Absolutely.

You get the glee, the joy over being finally included in a group of men who are important to him.  Just lovely.

There are any number of Roughstock shorts out there to be enjoyed.  But first, go back and read the core stories in the Roughstock series, Get the background to all the characters and relationships mentioned upon in the short stories.  This will leave your frustrations with these interludes at the door and let you settle back for a quick trip with characters you have grown to love.  Here are the books and stories in the Roughstock series in the order they were written and should be read:

Core Roughstock stories:
Roughstock: Blind Ride — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Give it Time: the Seven of Wands – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: And a Smile — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Doce — A Roughstock Story – Novella, m/m
Amorzinhos — A Roughstock Story – Novela, m/m, threesome
Roughstock: File Gumbo — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Roughstock: And a Smile — Coke’s Clown – Novela, m/m,
Shutter Speed, A Roughstock Story: the Seven of Pentacles – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: City/Country – Novel, m/f
Roughstock: Picking Roses – Novel, m/f
Needing To: A Roughstock Story – Novella, m/m
Upcoming Roughstock Novels
Roughstock: What She Wants – Novel, m/m/f
Roughstock: Tag Team – Season Two – Novel, m/m
Roughstock: Terremoto – Season Two- Novel, m/m

Roughstock Shorts:
Cowboy Christmas (Coke and Dillon)
A Cowboy Family Christmas (Coke and Dillon)
Barbed Wire and Bootheels (Sam and Beau)
Just Another Day At The Office (Coke and Dillon
Leatherwork and Lonely Cowboys, a Roughstock short (Beau and Sam)
The Retreat (Coke and Dillon)
The New Guy (Coke and Dillon)
Some Good Doctoring (CB and Jonesy) – Free Read

Book Details:

ebook, 13 pages
Published May 2nd 2012 by Torquere Press

Review of Leather Work and Lonely Cowboys, a Roughstock Story by BA Tortuga

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Rating: 5 stars

Beau is lonely and feeling every moment of Sam’s absence.  Not that Sam has left, it’s just that he has become absorbed in the leather working he does as therapy to help his recovery from the accident.  So Beau plans a little road trip in their camper hoping that time alone will reignite the heat missing lately in their relationship and force Sam to talk use his voice again, if only in passion.

Leather Work and Lonely Cowboys is absolutely a 5 star story, even if you are unfamiliar with Beau and Sam from previous Roughtstock books.  All the of the elements that make BA Tortuga’s stories so compelling and memorable are present.  You don’t have to know Beau and Sam’s backstory to understand them.  They’re cowboys so deeply in love with each other that they can communicate without words even as Beau is missing the sound of his lover’s voice.  BA Tortuga makes us feel each small gesture, each touch exchanged between the two men that becomes magnified within the context of the moment.  Even the “pups” and Boudreaux, their Bloodhound have their part to play in helping us understand who these men are and the challenges they are facing in their relationship.

Now having said that you can read this as a stand alone, I say please don’t.  You would be shortchanging yourself. Beau and Sam are part of a group of rodeo cowboys that make up the Roughstock stories, tales so rich in emotion, so deep in characterizations and  s0 authentic in location that the stories smell of leather, sweat, and livestock.  I love all the men involved in this universe Beau and Sam, Coke and Dillon and all the others.  Beau and Sam first appear in Roughstock:  File Gumbo- Season One.  And then keep appearing from Starting the Roux, a Roughstock story as well as in Coke and Dillon’s stories.  BA Totuga writes so realistically and with such affection for these men that it translates with ease to the reader and you become entrenched in their world as the characters themselves.

Here are the Roughstock stories not in the order they were written but grouped according to pairing:

Roughstock: File Gumbo – Season One (Sam and Beau)

Roughstock: And a Smile — Season One (Coke and Dillon with Sam and Beau mentioned)

Roughstock: And a Smile — Coke’s Clown (Coke and Dillon, with Sam and Beau)

Cowboy Christmas: A Roughstock Short (Coke and Dillon)

The New Guy, a Roughstock story (Coke and Dillon)

The Retreat, a Roughstock story (Coke and Dillon)

Roughstock: Blindride — Season One

Starting the Roux, a Roughstock story (Beau and Same)

Leather Work and Lonely Cowboys, a Roughstock story (Sam and Beau)

Doce, A Roughstock Story: The Ten of Wands – Roughstock universe

Give it Time: the Seven of Wands – Roughstock universe

Shutter Speed, A Roughstock Story: the Seven of Pentacles – Roughstock universe

Amorzinhos, A Roughstock Story