Thursday, September 15, 2016

Commitment Ranch by BA Tortuga

A fist fight, a snowstorm, a stolen kiss in the barn... and a second chance at love.

Ford Nixel has two law offices, two fancy condominiums, and all the right connections. In short, he has everything he wants.

The last thing he needs is his Uncle Ty’s stake in the Leaning N, a ranch that’s been in the family for generations. Ford hasn’t even been to the ranch in over a decade, not since he left his boyfriend Stoney behind and headed back to college alone.

Ford arrives at the Leaning N to find Stoney, now a single father, right where he left him. A fist fight, a snowstorm, and a stolen kiss in the barn later—Ford knows none of the heat between them has dissipated.

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Book 1
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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is BA Tortuga at her best. This story about a cowboy and a big city lawyer thrown together to save their family ranch is a wonderfully crafted, feel-good, sexy Western.

The remote Colorado ranch might just be the actual leading man in this story. The ranch’s motley collection of loosely connected family members, ornery cowboys, quirky ranch hands, and a vegan ranch cook creates a fabulous backdrop for Ford and Stoney’s stormy relationship. This series focuses on a quieter side to ranch life, far away from the rodeo glamour in the Roughstock series. I enjoyed the more settled community on the working ranch and I love the potential Ford sees in the ranch as he starts to develop it.

Lovers in college, Ford has never forgiven Stoney for leaving him and stealing his family and the ranch in the process. Several years later, Ford’s ornery uncle leaves the ranch to the two men, forcing them to work as partners to keep the ranch going for the next generation. While this storyline has been used before, the author manipulates it beautifully – the situation is believable and the conflict between these two men feels real. There is more hurt than anger sitting between Ford and Stoney and I really enjoyed their relationship. The heat and regret between these two creates powerful chemistry between two strong, but very different men.

The need to save the ranch provides a focus, a timeline, and a fast-paced, coherent storyline. Some of this author’s recent plots have wandered a little aimlessly, but this is structured and clear. As the start to a new series, all the wonderful characters at the Leaning N are introduced clearly and developed beautifully. There are many possibilities for new pairings in the future and I’m really looking forward to the next books in this new series.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars
M/M Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings

I have read a lot of previous books by BA Tortuga and normally really enjoy them. This book was probably my least favorite that I've read in a while from Tortuga.

You have Stoney and Ford – with their history, you know that they will have some unresolved issues while working with each other. You have Ty, who is the owner and patriarch of the family.

The unresolved issues between Stoney and Ford are somewhat juvenile, in my opinion. Yes, it was strange the circumstance of Quartz and Stoney, but all three men, Ty, Stoney, and Ford made it so much worse. Things stewed for years and it took a health concern for Ty in order to bring all three back together in a semblance of family.

I really enjoyed the story with all of the characters, especially Geoff. However, the chemistry and heat between the two main characters was lukewarm at best. I don't think they were really meant for each other and if they were, it was more of a friendship turned relationship.

Overall, this was a lackluster start to a series. However, I do want Geoff to get his own story.

A new cowboy series from Ms Tortuga is truly a thing to celebrate! This is a great book, which subtly includes a lot of issues, and yet keeps the main plot front and centre.

Stoney and Ford are two men who once thought they were everything to each other, only for it to all go catastrophically wrong – in part due to a major miscommunication. Well, many years later they are forced together by circumstance, and whilst there are many things they have to resolve, only the least romantic wouldn't wish them a happily ever after. Getting there wasn't likely to be simple, but it is fun being on board for the adventure. Some of the side characters absolutely need their story told – Geoff being first in line as far as I am concerned! I loved that the heart of the home was his kitchen, that Quartz was a firecracker of a kid, and that the Leaning N is where they were destined to be.

It’s no secret that Tortuga is one of my favorite M/M romance writers, especially of contemporary western romances, because she excels at creating authentic characters and penning seriously hot cowboy lovin’ scenes. So it’s no surprise that I jumped at the chance to review Commitment Ranch. The first book in a new series? That was a no-brainer for me – I’m in. And Ford and Stoney’s story did not disappoint one iota.

When Ford receives the call summoning him to his uncle’s ranch, it takes everything in him to fight his instinct to refuse. The fact that his uncle raised him after his parents’ death and has never asked Ford for anything is the only reason he’s able to return to the land – and the man – he’s avoided for over a decade. While it becomes abundantly clear that neither Ford nor Stoney wish to be around one another, the depth of the hurt that each man carries means they avoid thinking about or talking about what happened all those years ago. This means the reader only learns the details a little at a time as both Stoney and Ford throw themselves into work and anything else they can to avoid the elephant in the room and the thoughts and memories that accompany it. As the men are forced to work together to save the Leaning N Ranch, they find they have to clear the air if there’s any hope of keeping the ranch afloat. But they soon find (much to my delight), that clearing the air leads to them embracing more than the shared goal of saving the ranch. Remember that hot cowboy lovin’ I mentioned before? Yep, Tortuga delivers on the promise as Ford and Stoney reconnect (literally) and fall in love all over again.

Even though I sussed out most of what happened that ended their fledgling relationship all those years ago, I was surprised by Ty’s part in it. The nature of the miscommunication and/or misunderstanding was such that I could easily see neither man being willing to take that first step to clear things up – hurt feelings, wounded pride, and self-doubt are all rather large obstacles to overcome when one’s heart is involved. It was not only believable, but the kind of thing that would make the men avoid one another for years. I enjoyed watching them find their way back from “hate” to love – a place neither man actually left, but one they refused to admit to themselves. I loved Quartz and how the author fleshed out his character in a realistic fashion without putting a huge spotlight on him, thus showing another aspect of individuals like him (sorry, I’m trying really hard not to spoil the surprise that is Quartz). As Commitment Ranch is the first in a new series and we got to meet a cast of interesting characters, I’m already looking forward to returning to the Leaning N for the next installment.

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy's Girl, BA spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she's not doing that, she's writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA's personal saviors include her wife, Julia, her best friend, Sean, and coffee. Lots of good coffee.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Commitment Ranch (Leaning N #1) by BA Tortuga to read and review.

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