Review of Dead Cow Pants (Torquere Sip) by Julia Talbot

Standard

Rating: 4 stars

Shay has returned a changed wolf to the pack he left for the big city.  Shay is now painfully thin, and way too quiet for his best friend, Darius, who remembers his friend the way he used to be.  Darius thinks a pair of leather pants will do wonders for Shay’s confidence but Shay may just be the only werewolf in history to hate the smell of leather!  Shay believes leather smells like dead cows and refuses to wear any dead cow pants. But Dar has more than missed his friend and figures helping him rediscover his self confidence might just lead to something both have  wanted all their lives. Now if he can just get him to put on those pants!

How can you not love a short story about a werewolf who eschews wearing animals products?  Julia Talbot gives us an adorable story about two best friends reuniting and the unspoken love that has been there all along.  My only quibble with this story is that Talbot delivers such wonderful characterizations and then puts them in a plot that just begs for more backstory.  What happened to Shay after he left the pack?  Why is he so thin? What was going on with Shay to make him leave the pack to begin with?  The story left me with so many questions because I became invested in these characters from the start and loved what little I knew of them.  At any rate, terrific short story full of two intriguing questions and one author’s twist on the werewolf genre.  Great job.

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

Standard

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