Title: Author: BA Tortuga
Publisher: Torquere Books
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: short story (10K 39 PDF pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5



 A guest review by John

Summary Review: Two opposites from a small town Texas on the same gay cruise?THE BLURB

Ryder Carroll and Christian Isham have never gotten along. In their small Texas town, they’re constantly at odds. Which is why it seems like some kind of cruel joke that when both of them go on gay-friendly vacation for Christmas, they keeping meeting up in unexpected places.

The thing is, once Ry and Chris see what lies beneath the mechanic’s coveralls and the buttoned up school teacher, they’re so intrigued that they can’t stay away from one another. Can they find any common ground beyond the physical attraction they’ve unwrapped?


Christian Isham is an elementary school teacher from a small Texas town and he’s about to board a gay cruise.  He’s looking forward to his first vacation in several years and the chance to be out of the closet for 10 days.  He wants some sun, a few umbrella drinks, good food, and some hot sex. But as he casually looks around the dock area, he spots a hot, humpy cowboy, tight wranglers, body hugging t-shirt, and black Stetson hat.  Just the kind of man that gets his blood pumping.  But that jawline looks familar.  He is vaguely concerned about someone from home recognizing him, but then that someone would be afraid of Christian doing the same.

Later on deck he does recognize someone from home, the mechanic that has made his life hell for the past 20 years, Ryder Carroll.  And Ryder sees Christian.  Each man knows the other from their small town.  But each man is not who the other thinks he is.  Ryder wears baggy coveralls in his mechanic’s shop, but now his muscles bulge in places Christian would like to explore, on anyone other than Ryder. And Ryder is seeing Christian in revealing clothes for the first time, exposing intriguing body piercings and ink.  That’s definitely not the straight-laced school teacher he has taunted for years.

Cruise ships are huge with lots of people.  Surely these two can avoid each other.  But it seems as though fate is not going to let them alone.  As Christian carries his luggage to his room, who should he see walking down the hall and stopping at the door right across from his own room?  You guessed it.  And at the formal dinner that night, Ryder is seated at an isolated table for two, and of all the people to be seated across from him, there is Christian.  This Christmas cruise is not starting out well for either one.

But then they meet up at a dance and decide to throw caution to the wind, at least for the remainder of the cruise.

Unwrapped is wonderful little story.  All of 39 pages, it will transport you through lots of emotions told by both men.  I live in a small Texas town and am in the closet, so I know all about what Christian and Ryder have gone through to get to the place Unwrapped starts.  Each deals with life in his own way and each gets away every so often to let loose and be who he really is.  But they also like their life the way it is.  Neither man is expecting to find someone special and then, at first, it looks like the person they like the least is confronting them at every turn on this huge ship.

Of course there is lots of sex!  Very well described sex scenes, I might add. 

Unwrapped ends before the cruise does, and in that ending the mind is free to add all sorts of scenes. That is the mark of a good author – to leave the reader wanting more. 

Highly recommended.



  • Hi John,

    I’m with Tam here, couldn’t relate to BA Tortuga’s characters and gave up trying a while ago. maybe I should try again. Thanks for the review!

  • Hey John – Well done review. I enjoy a short story when the author makes it believable. As Cole said they’re often just okay. I will add this to my TBR. Thanks John.

  • Thanks for the review, John!

    I have looked at this story several times trying to decide if I wanted it or not. I’m often like that with short stories, because, to me, they tend to be sort of middle-of-the-road, you know? Not bad, but not great. So thank you for the glowing review, it has helped me make my choice :)

    • I find that I like to read, for pleasure, novel length stories. But I like to review shorter length stories. It is easier for me.

      Glad you will be buying it. I’ll just send my bill to Wave and Torquere for my cut. grin

    • Thanks, Lily. I haven’t read much Tortuga before this, but at Christmas I bought Blind Ride:Season One. I enjoyed that one a lot too.

  • I have to say that BA Tortuga’s writing and I have never really meshed. I think it’s because the characters are so southern and coming from somewhere so northern (LOL) I just can’t really connect with them. They are too foreign, even though I liked stories with foreign characters. I don’t know, just hasn’t worked, but hey, I know they are very popular and obviously work for a lot of people. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Don’t like cowboys, Tam? lol Yeah, you and Wave are such foreigners. But different subjects and styles for different people. I understand what you mean.

      • John

        you and Wave are such foreigners

        I love southern settings, and cowboys are some of my favourite characters. :) Since you’re so hot on this book I’m definitely going to be reading it soon.

      • I do love cowboys, but I find Tortuga’s men hardly speak English. LOL I like my cowboys to be at least speaking my language and they use all kinds of weird nicknames, like 3 each and I never know who the hell is who. :-) But yeah, I’m a ferner.

        • Tam, these two are well spoken and don’t talk ‘texan’, or at least it isn’t a distraction. Remember, one is a school teacher.

  • Hey Eden, thanks for the kind words. That description kind of did it for me too.

    I read this little story 3 times, twice during the writing of this review. It flows real easy and I just couldn’t stop.

    I think kindle and nook have close to the same capacity.

  • Great review, John. You had me at,”he spots a hot, humpy cowboy, tight wranglers, body hugging t-shirt, and black Stetson hat.” All the pretty stars are an added bonus. Now you’ve got me wondering exactly how many books my new Nook will hold.

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