Title: File Gumbo (Roughstock Book 3)
Author Name & Publisher: B.A. Tortuga (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: January 19, 2016 – 225 pgs
Beau is riding like the two-time champ that he is, but nothing is assured in the world of bull riding–not happiness, not wealth, and not survival.
Beau is a two-time champion bullrider who is working on his third title. Sam is his long-time lover and traveling partner, who is feeling the sting of having just about the worst season he can remember. The two of them are on the road together twenty-four seven, and it’s starting to get to them a little, between the constant injuries Sam faces, and the relentless press that Beau has to put up with. Add in friends on the circuit who need their help and the fact that they have to hide what they mean to each other, and it’s no wonder that Sam and Beau’s relationship starts to wear a little from the friction.
When things blow up in their faces, Sam leaves the bullriding tour for a while, but the boys find out they’re far more miserable apart than they are together. Beau and Sam may agree to disagree in order to make peace and help out their friends Jason and Coke, but in the unpredictable world of extreme sports, nothing goes as it’s planned.
Can Beau and Sam recover from what just might the last ride of Sam’s life?
I am a huge fan of this series, but I really struggled with this disjointed story. While Beau and Sam are the central characters, the first third of the story reads like a catch-up with characters from earlier books. I enjoyed the first two stories, so this isn’t too much of a hardship but I found myself confused by the initial onslaught of character names and nicknames. Characters appeared or were discussed – but they weren’t re-introduced in this book. My memory is good, but not perfect. Andy and AJ, Coke, Gramps, Poot – I really struggled to get the burgeoning cast of Roughstock characters straight in my head.
We don’t learn much about Sam or Beau until the second third of the book. As they are already a couple, this story doesn’t build like a traditional romance. I felt like I was expected to know these characters before the story started, but unless I’ve missed a book in the series, I really didn’t. We learn that Beau is on his way to his third world championship. And we learn that Sam’s career is flailing. And Sam is getting stick for his role as Beau’s sidekick. But these are all events. I’m not sure I ever learned much about these two as humans.
The final third of the book follows a recovery from a serious injury. This feels a little like a re-run of Jason’s recovery in the first book of the series. Yes, cowboys don’t like to be injured. Yes, it gets them depressed. Yes, they need to find them mental strength to overcome their injuries – we had this storyline before.
I feel slightly odd rating a Tortuga book so low. I usually love her writing and I’ve loved the rest of the Roughstock series. I think the lack of a central story arc makes this difficult for me. There isn’t a romance arc here and there is no central conflict driving the story forward. Fans of the series will enjoy catching up with favourite characters, but I would recommend re-reading the first two books before starting this one.
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.