Title: The Terms of Release (The Release Series #1)
Author: B.A. Tortuga
Publisher: Dreamspinner Publishing
Release Date: March 24th 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary/Cowboys/Law Enforcement
Page Count: 249
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
They say a man can always come home. So after doing hard time, Sage Redding heads to his family’s northeast Texas ranch to help his ailing daddy with the cutting horses.
Adam (Win) Winchester is a county deputy and the cousin of one of the men killed in the incident that sent Sage to prison for almost a decade. While Win’s uncles, Jim and Teddy, are determined to make Sage and the entire Redding family pay for their loss, Win just figures Sage has paid his dues and maybe needs a friend. Maybe he needs more than a friend. In fact, Win’s counting on it.
No one’s denying Sage is an ex-con who went to prison for manslaughter. Regardless of the love he has for his father, he’s returned knowing things will likely go badly for him. Maybe a man can always come home, but he may not be able to stay.
Sage Redding made a terrible mistake when he was a teenager and ended up getting 10 years of jail time because of it. Did he deserve it? Well, it doesn’t really matter to him now because he has finished his sentence and is now living on his own. A free man who has paid his debt. Originally from Texas, where his family currently lives, he decides to stay in California so he won’t have to deal with the demons that live in his hometown and want him to continue to pay for his youthful mistakes.
When Sage’s mother calls him and asks him to come home and help his ailing father on their farm, he feels obligated and returns to Texas. The narrow-minded townspeople have not forgotten Sage’s crime and let him know at every opportunity that he will continue to pay until the day he dies. Sage is resigned to this for himself, but will do everything in his power to make sure his family is treated properly.
Adam “Win” Winchester is a local county sheriff who works side-by-side with his two bigoted uncles. He is ex-military and knows a thing or two about pain and loss. He becomes re-acquainted with Sage (they went to high school together but were not friends) and quickly falls for the kind, damaged, vulnerable cowboy. While Sage is in his late 20’s, he went into prison as a teen and missed out on 10 years of growing up and learning about the world around him. His exuberance for life attracted Win and the two start a sexual relationship that quickly focuses on heavy emotions and a lot of love.
This story was hard to read at times. Sage gets beaten down over and over. And since he is so afraid of slipping up and ending back in prison, he takes whatever anyone can dish out. Win steps in and starts to help Sage see that he can stand up to these folks and their ancient beliefs and Sage starts to blossom under Win’s patient and nurturing eye. By the end of the book, that sad, sinking feeling starts to go away and these two get a well deserved HEA, but, man, they really had to fight for it!
I just finished reading book 2 The Articles of Release and Win and Sage are featured quite a bit. All is well with the boys and it was refreshing to see them living their lives out in the open with new jobs and new friends and still deeply in love. It is easier for me to write this review after seeing the boys in book 2 get on so well.
If you are looking for a high angst ex-prisoner-meets-cop romance with a great deal of hurt/healing/comfort built-in, this book is for you!