Welcome to our second week of celebrations for the amazing
This week we're going to look at Stetsons And Stakeouts and Soft Place To Fall, plus five little-known facts about BA. There's also a chance to win one of her books.
First up, Stetsons And Stakeouts
Gianni Cesare is a DEA agent and rancher—who also happens to be a millionaire heir to an Italian count. Running a multiagency sting out of his East Texas ranch means he needs a new foreman… preferably someone a little wet behind the ears who won’t ask too many questions.
Gianni’s Aunt Jerilyn hires Bonner Fannin, a roughstock rider with zero ranch experience and a sister who’s pregnant with a violent biker’s twins. If that’s not bad enough, Bonner is pretending he and his sister are married to protect her and to help get him the job.
Gianni didn’t think Bonner was the marrying type during their torrid beach affair years ago, but he’s not sure if he has time to explore that thought now, as overrun as his ranch is with drug cartels, macho government agents, and local cops. Looks like Bonner and Gianni are both in over their heads, and they may have to band together during this adventure to swim rather than sink.
Gianni hated morning meetings. Especially when he was on the ranch, because that had always been vacation to him, time to sleep in and hot tub.
Instead, he had to meet with this new foreman Jerilyn had hired. Then he had brunch with Xavvy. Dinner at Chris’s tonight. He’d never been so socially busy in Texas.
He really just wanted to be a laze.
He dressed in his Armani, leaving the tie and the cufflinks off but keeping the jacket. God, if he had to dress like this every day, he needed to keep the AC at fifty-five. He was sweating like a whore in church already, and he hadn’t left the house. Moving to his office, he waited for Maria to show the kid in. She’d scowled at him and said, “Housekeeper, not butler.”
That was a grand idea. Getting a butler. Someone sexy and English and insufferable. He could just see the guy looking down his long nose at Luis….
The knock on the door came right on time, and he barked, “Entra.”
“Mornin’, sir.” The door opened, offering him a backlit visual of a straw hat, broad shoulders, tiny waist and ass, bowed legs. His favorite kind of—
The cowboy stepped into the light, and Gianni’s eyes widened. He knew that face, those blue eyes. Jesus. He’d spent a sweaty, spanky weekend with this guy in Padre six years ago.
He still had some really good dreams about it.
Fuck. Fuck. He schooled his face. He was older now, coiffed. Not some shaggy stud in Speedos. This was his job—to be someone else every assignment.
“Come in,” he repeated in English. “Have a seat.”
“Thank you, sir.” Bonner Fannin nodded once, then perched on the chair before the desk.
“My aunt did not tell me you were so young.” He deepened his accent to sound more Italian.
“Yeah, she took a chance with me. She was real kind.”
“She is.” He studied Bonner, whose head was down, eyes on the floor. Did the man even remember all that acrobatic wonderment?
Surely he did. They had turned each other inside out; he had touched Bonner deep. Hell, he hadn’t known cowboys could be that flexible.
He bit back a grin. “So, you think you’re up to this challenge?”
“Yessir. I can manage. I can follow directions, and you got a good team.” He remembered that scar that cut from the corner of Bonner’s lip to his jaw. The guy was a bull rider. He had abs for days….
“Bene. I want someone who can go between my aunt and the hands, sì? She is not getting younger, and I want her to have more time.”
“Yes, sir. I will take care of it. Is there anything specific you want me to focus on?”
He wanted to say “my dick” just to see what Bonner would do. Instead he only smiled, knowing he looked like an Italian shark. “Just the day-to-day realities of the ranch. She shouldn’t have to order feed or schedule the farrier.”
“One of the new hands is a farrier. Even if we still call someone in, that will be a big help.”
Oh, who had that skill? Someone was being sneaky. “Mr. Clarins has been the farrier for years, so I would not want to deny him the work, but having someone on the staff is a good idea.”
“Of course. The previous foreman left lists.”
That sounded ominous. Gianni didn’t even know who the previous foreman was. “Have you met with my aunt to make sure those are all correct?”
“Not yet. She scheduled me for tomorrow.” Bonner did smile a little now. “She had bingo today.”
“Bingo.” He let himself sound disdainful, but it was really jealousy. That had to be more fun than work. And it looked like Bonner liked Jerilyn, while he wouldn’t even admit he knew Gianni. Not that Gianni was going to admit he remembered Bonner. Not one bit.
He leaned back in his chair, stretching, and Bonner’s eyes slid right down his body.
Oh, Bonner remembered him. The flush on those lean cheeks when Bonner glanced up told him that and—Gianni frowned.
“I hear your wife is going to have twins.”
“That’s the rumor.”
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Second in this week's line-up, Soft Place To Fall
Stetson Major and Curtis Traynor are about as opposite as two cowboys can get. Stetson is a rancher, tied to the land he loves in Taos, New Mexico, while Curtis is a rodeo cowboy whose wanderlust never could be tamed. But now Stetson’s momma is dying of Alzheimer’s, and she can't remember that Curtis hasn't been Stetson's boyfriend for a long time. Curtis's absence makes her cry, so Stetson swallows his pride and calls his ex-lover.
To Curtis, Stetson is the one who got away, the love of his life. And Momma is his friend, so he’s happy to help out. Yet returning to the ranch stirs up all sorts of feelings that, while buried, never really went away. Still, the rodeo nationals are coming up, and Curtis can’t stay—even if he’s starting to want to, especially to support Stetson when he needs it most.
Stetson and Curtis want to find a place where they both fit, to be there to catch each other when they fall. But family, money problems, and the call of the rodeo circuit might end their second-chance romance before it even gets started.
“Why would I be bitchy? I got nothing to bitch about, man. You left, and we both know your happy ass never so much as looked back for me. Not once. You could have…. Anytime. Any fucking time you could have called up and said something, but you didn’t.” His fists clenched up and both horses started tossing their heads, whinnying at the tension in the air.
“Neither did you.”
Curtis shrugged, lip curling just enough to make Stetson want to beat the living fuck out of the bastard. “I didn’t see you calling or coming to an event none. I didn’t see you out there looking for me, any more than I looked for you, so quit being a titty-baby and walk it the fuck off.” Curtis wheeled around so they were facing each other. Then one hand landed on the center of his chest, not quite a blow, totally not a caress. “You want to fight, Roper? Bring it on. I’ll let you kick my ass, and you can pretend not to know I allowed it. We fucking broke up. I was a kid with big balls and dreams, and you were fucking scared to walk away from here in case it changed while you weren’t here to watch it. Now you’re a lonely old fuck with a dying momma, and I live in my fucking truck chasing the bright lights and broncs. Suck it up, buttercup, and get the fuck over yourself.”
“Fuck you, Curtis.” Shit, he hadn’t heard Curtis say that many words in a row… ever.
“There are a metric fuckton of goat heads down here, Roper, and I’m too old for that shit.”
God, that slow drawl made him want to smile. “I missed you. I was scared to call. What if you didn’t remember me?” He felt a little as if the question scraped his soul like a wire brush.
Curtis hooted, the sound lonely and sad. “Like I wouldn’t know you in my cups or in my grave. There ain’t a handle made for the knife we sharpened between us.”
No. No, that was true. They hurt each other in the deep places.
“I don’t like to think of you living in your truck, Curtis.”
He got this warm smile that threatened to plant a seed in him.
“And I don’t like to think of you dealing with this all alone, Roper.”
“You’re welcome to stay here through the holidays, you know. I just… I mean, shit, never mind. Who wants to be here like this?” His cheeks burned with a mixture of rage and want and shame.
They looked at each other for a long, silent minute—hell, it might have been a month that he stood there, lost in Curtis’s eyes, before either the cold or the weight of all their combined bullshit got to them and they turned as a man and got back in the saddle.
“I’d love to stay through Thanksgiving. I don’t have to be anywhere until two days before the Finals.”
“Would you?” The words were out of his mouth before he even thought to yank them back.
“Yeah.” Curtis beamed at him. “Been staying in hotels the last few years. Hell, I’d rather eat at the Golden Corral with you than do that.”
“We probably will. After Momma’s meal there at the hospital.”
“Sounds good.” Curtis nudged Bell close, their legs brushing. “Anything with you does.”
“Yeah. I hear that.” He sighed softly. “It’s getting colder. We got to get back and feed.”
“We should.” The old ghost town was just in sight, the off-kilter mining office roof still intact. Curtis nodded to it. “Remember that weekend we camped there?”
“I do. We damn near froze our balls off.” They’d managed to keep warm, though. More than warm. They’d performed some amazing gymnastics.
“We also found a way to make heat,” Curtis said, echoing his thoughts.
“We did. Although that family of coyotes were sure unhappy about us being there. You remember how they howled?” It had been eerie as fuck for him, and he’d grown up around the critters. Curtis had damn near swallowed his tongue.
“Oh God. I thought we were gonna get eaten.” They’d laughed and laughed the next day.
“You did. Lord, they were so loud.”
They turned back toward the ranch, both chuckling. Lord have mercy, he could remember Curtis running to the door, all naked, chucking firewood at the coyotes, howling like a monkey.
Stetson laughed harder, making Vixen snort and toss her head.
“Don’t you get bucked off, Roper.”
“No. No, it’s been too good a day for that. Thank you for this.”
“You’re welcome.” Curtis grinned at him like this whole thing was perfect. It would be too, if it wasn’t about his mom dying.
Still, it was what it was, and he was going to take it.
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5 Little Known Things about Me
- I’m desperately allergic to cats.
- I am a jigsaw puzzle fanatic. Hell, I’m a puzzle fanatic.
- I have been a singer, an artist, and a musician, but I can’t act to save my life.
- I collect collections – I have turtles, china, witches, birds, Wizard of Oz, Winnie the Pooh…
- I wanted to be a nun when I grew up.
More about the author:
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, 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 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 heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. 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.
Thanks for stopping by to celebrate this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of BA's books, including a first look at her upcoming book in the Border Crossing series, a personal story she's chosen to share, and another chance at winning one of her books.
Until then, happy reading!