A MelanieM Review: Wrecked by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The call comes when Beckett Adler least expects it. He’s made a new life for himself in Vermont and has a law practice of his own. After four years he’s even stopped wearing his wedding ring. So when he finds out his husband, bull rider Skyler Paulson, has been seriously injured at an event, he isn’t sure what he wants to do. He knows what’s right though, so he heads down to Baltimore to bring his man home.

Sky knows his injuries are a career-ender, and he can’t believe Beck has come for him after all this time. He’s not a hundred percent sure what went wrong with their marriage and he has no idea how to be anything but a bull rider. But he wants this second chance, so he grabs at it with both hands.

There’s a lot Sky has to learn, from how to walk again to how to settle down with the man he loves. Beck needs to learn to open up and how to be more trusting. For their marriage to work again, both men will have to find a way to meet in the middle. Because neither of them wants to be wrecked anymore.

I’m really enjoying the writing collaboration of Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga.  This is my second story of theirs, the first being Land of Enchantment, and each story has been a real joy to read.  Each, of course, involves bull riders.  Here, the bull rider is the estranged husband of lawyer Beckett Adler.  Separated for four years, each has nevertheless still kept the other man close in their heart.  Even if secretly and apart.  One up in Vermont and the other on the rodeo circuit.

Wrecked by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga brings both men back together right at the beginning of the novel.  It takes an agonizing phone call and a brutal fall to change the path of each man’s life once more.  I love how we dive immediately into the heart of Beckett’s pain and love.  The shock of seeing Sky again, his physical state, and the past rising up around them.  I was with them in the moment every step because of the writing here.

I am so used to BA Tortuga’s broken men and great characters, put that together with Jodi Payne’s and it just meshes so well.  The experience and knowledge of the rodeo world, the pain and injuries that bull riders will often undergo in their career, and the rehab (if lucky) that awaits them afterwards.  It’s all laid out here, folded in immaculately as part of the story and the relationship as they and Sky start to mend.

I will admit that second chance at love stories are such a favorite of mine.  I’m rooting for the couple to begin with, make one a cowboy and it’s double down time.  So it was very easy for me to believe this relationship and the fact that they still loved each other despite that many years apart.  I could see stubbornness being such a large part of not calling and then the time and fear helping the separation.  What also rang true, maybe, was Skyler’s doubt about his future. I’ve seen others go on to successful careers as ranchers or announcers but as this could be projecting his own personal demons I thought that was a big possibility.  In fact, I wished the story could have enlarged a bit towards the end to show Sky and Beck working their new journey out together, not just the more finished version we got.  Which, yes, I love immensely.

Wrecked by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga is that wonderful feel great, second chance at love contemporary romance you will read in one sitting.  And then want more. Maybe a sequel to.  It left me smiling and it made my afternoon.  What more could I want?

Cover art is perfect!  Love that contrast between characters!

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
Edition Language English

Buy for $4.99 or read on  Kindle Unlimited

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