Author ~ BA Tortuga
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 15th March 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
One Aussie. One Texan. One baby. One hell of a fight.
When his sister and her husband are killed in an accident, Aussie cattle station owner Lachlan McCoughney rushes to Texas to rescue their infant daughter, Chloe. He expects to find his niece living in squalor with the Sheffields, a rodeo family.
Instead, Lachlan finds Holden Sheffield, a salt-of-the-earth cowboy running a huge business operation. They want to explore their mutual attraction despite the many problems thrown their way, and together, they must find a way to give Chloe a new family and find a love that spans thousands of acres and two continents
B. A. Tortuga has done a masterful job on “Trial by Fire”. A combination family saga, crime thriller and culture clash between Texas and Australian ranchers, it delivers many beautiful, moving moments, and a growing relationship between the lead characters that warms the heart and inflames the passions.
It starts with the crash of a small plane in Texas. The couple who died flying their private plane are husband and wife. The husband is a young man, Landon Sheffield, a bull-rider and scion of a successful small ranch and rodeo empire in Texas. Small, that is, compared to the monster land holdings, farm and station in Australia where his wife, the former Ades McCoughey was raised.
Landon is survived by his twin brother, Holden, who is devastated by the tragic loss. Ades also has a brother, Lachlan, who runs the huge ranching empire in Australia. Holden and Lachlan are destined to meet, sooner than later, because there’s a third member of the family who belongs to both families, the couple’s baby, Chloe, who was not on the plane with them, but will never see her mother and father again.
Lachlan heads off immediately to Texas to claim his niece. His welcome is not exactly warm. Holden assaults him, knocks him on his butt and threatens to shoot the man on sight. Welcome to Texas.
It’s immediately obvious that the two men, as different physically as can be and raised in radically different circumstances, are destined for one another, and that’s what “Trial by Fire” is all about. Somehow the men have to reach an accommodation about Chloe. They both love the beautiful young girl; they both have a huge stake in her future. But there are equally huge obstacles to overcome, including two ranches separated by several oceans and thousands of miles. The accommodation grows out of the burgeoning attraction and affection between the two men who fall, fast and hard, for each other.
It’s beautiful to watch them dance the dance, withhold their hearts, deal with their tragic losses and find a way to make a new family, a family with Lachlan and Holden at the head of the table, and Chloe adored and raised by both of them. Lots of lives are about to change, and it’s not going to be easy. But people who love each other and love the child they have in common will find a way. Fortunately, there’s unlimited resources available in the McGoughey’s wealth, so they don’t have to deal with practicalities, just what’s best for themselves and their niece.
At some point the families on both sides get involved, which complicates everything. They too have to find common ground and a way of living with the new situation. This is a gay romance (and a fine one), so, of course, they will do it – not without disagreement and lots of egos getting bruised. Ultimately, it’s up to the young men to ensure that their love for each other and their beautiful niece is enough to break through all barriers. Which they do, in no uncertain terms.
This is an extremely well-written and evocative book. Two hot cowboys (and wealthy businessmen), a beautiful child and the vast vistas of Texas and Australia add to the accessibility and vivid colors of the prose. A terrible crime that threatens everything keeps the reader on edge, and you’ll be wondering how they’ll ever work out the insurmountable obstacles they face in forming a new, close, loving family with all competing interests taken into consideration.
But what really makes the book special is the elegant way the author renders the two hearts ceding to each other, becoming one, and overcoming everything thrown in their way. These guys are not just hot, they have beautiful souls and are, obviously, meant to be together. Would that they had met under better circumstances, but one has to play the cards they’re dealt, and B. A. Tortuga ensures that they do.
If you’re looking for a really good love story that’s borne out of tragedy, wealthy and successful characters who love the land and their families, and the romance of the ranch and the ranching life, you’ll adore “Trial by Fire”. I did.
Meet BA Tortuga
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 partner, 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 is feeling the Colorado mountains calling. 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.