Today we welcome B.A. Tortuga with her new release
Ever The Same
Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.
A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.
Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.
Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.
“It’s not like him to pick on someone who’s having a hard time.”
“Of course it’s not. Randi’s the one that’s the vicious little bitch, right?”
Damn, Mr. Snooty could snap.
“What? She’s had a shit life for the last year. She lost one of her dads, she had to leave Austin and her friends and her school, and suddenly she’s the fucking bad guy?”
“Hey, I never said my boy was perfect,” Audie said, snarling a little himself. “He’s managed to get to six without trying to kill anyone, though, so this is new. Back off.”
“Enough. No one is saying either of these children are bad. Randi has a huge number of hurdles to overcome, and Grainger is a shy little boy with a tendency to follow the crowd. Neither of these children have mothers at home, and I was hoping we could brainstorm some ways to help Randi feel included with the others.”
This was ridiculous. It wasn’t his fucking job to make sure this asshole’s little brat felt like she didn’t need to punch his son anymore.
“That’s her teacher’s job, Shannon.” Audie was through with this shit. “I’ll tell my boy to stay away from her. Can we go now?”
“Yes. Yes, of course. Mr. White….”
“I’ll talk to her. If it happens again, I’ll… shit, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll make it up as I go along.” The guy stood, and his mom handed him a cane. A white cane.
Oh, Jesus fucking Christ. Seriously? Seriously, Grainger picked the kid with a blind dad and a dead….
Additional exclusive excerpt:
“I did. Your girl is a natural, Dixon. She had a good seat, keeps her heels down.”
“Excellent.” Hopefully that was the right answer, because honestly, she kept her heels down where? He was a kid from the outskirts of Austin, child of a hippie musician wannabe and a social worker who worked for the state. He only saw horses on the road and at the Star of Texas rodeo.
“Did you want to come meet the horse she’s gonna be practicing on?” Audie was a dad. He seemed to get that Dixon was a little wigged out.
Okay, which was the best way to play this? Say no, don’t step in horse poop, and avoid a possible unnecessary chomping from Black Beauty, but prove without a shadow of a doubt that he was the least macho person here, including the Barbies? Or suck it up, be thankful he had sneakers on, and pray that he only stepped in manure and didn’t fall in it?
This book had me in its grips from the start! Lonesome single dad, who's been hiding his sexuality for most of his life, meets lonesome, blind, widowed single dad, and sparks fly from the get-go.
Called into the principal's office because their kids have been fighting with each other, Audie, the closeted single dad, meets Dixon, who because a horrible car accident not only lost his beloved husband, but also his sight.
Audie is a great character. Loving and caring, he realizes quickly that Randi (Dixon's daughter) is only lashing out because of her pain, and does what he can to help. He doesn't expect to fall in love, doesn't quite know how to get out from under his mother's thumb. He's in the closet, more or less, and has little hope to make a better life for himself and his son, Grainger. He is humble, straight-forward, but also resigned to his lot in life.
Dixon is a bit more complicated, but what really stood out for me is the fact that he's basically given up. He's lost his husband, and he can't seem to find the will to make things easier for him. He's living with his parents and his youngest brother, and initially struck me as mad at the world and hindering himself from moving forward. He seemed stuck.
The kids were a breath of fresh air. So often authors make them precocious and wiser than their years, but here all we get are two realistic children, who act their age. They were the catalyst to Audie meeting Dixon, but also the glue that kept them together, to explore the relationship we see unfolding before our eyes.
Of course, nothing is easy for either of them, but they learn quickly that working together makes things easier on both of them.
I really liked how the author made it very clear that Dixon is torn between the love he still feels for his deceased spouse and the new feelings Audie is waking in him. I liked that they didn't immediately fall into bed, that they made their kids a priority, that they had honest conversations, and nothing smacked of insta-love.
I also liked that for every step forward Dixon took, someone was trying to discourage him - as if they wanted him to stay stuck. I saw too much pity and not enough support from his family, but the two men face the challenges head-on, and eventually get to where they want to be.
The outside influences notwithstanding, their honesty and willingness to fight for each other is what made this such an enjoyable read. It was steady progress, and the setbacks along the way enhanced their final success. I loved the flirting, their banter, and there was plenty of heat between them too.
This is the kind of story I love to read!
** I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **
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About the author:
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy's Girl, BA Tortuga 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 porn sites in the name of research. BA's personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has headed to the high desert mountains. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.
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