Author: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Publisher: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary / Western
Page Count: 275
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The call comes when Beckett Adler least expects it. He’s made a new life for himself in Vermont and has a law practice of his own. After four years he’s even stopped wearing his wedding ring. So when he finds out his husband, bull rider Skyler Paulson, has been seriously injured at an event, he isn’t sure what he wants to do. He knows what’s right though, so he heads down to Baltimore to bring his man home.
Sky knows his injuries are a career-ender, and he can’t believe Beck has come for him after all this time. He’s not a hundred percent sure what went wrong with their marriage and he has no idea how to be anything but a bull rider. But he wants this second chance, so he grabs at it with both hands.
There’s a lot Sky has to learn, from how to walk again to how to settle down with the man he loves. Beck needs to learn to open up and how to be more trusting. For their marriage to work again, both men will have to find a way to meet in the middle. Because neither of them wants to be wrecked anymore.
This book is a genuine winner. Not too many authors can write a novel (let along two, working together!), primarily about a relationship, elucidating the personalities of the two main characters – all without the benefit of decorating excessively with plot points. After all, in Wrecked, it is the people drawing us in, rather than what’s happening around them. The novel shocks us to attention with a major occurrence – a rodeo accident that seriously injures Sky, which sufficiently frames all subsequent interactions and elucidations between Sky and Beck. And so we are introduced into the ambivalence which has wrecked their relationship. (“Sometimes love wasn’t enough to put a square peg in a round hole.”)
A critic’s point of disorder. As just said, the novel’s primary focus is on interactions between Sky and Beck, rather than “what is happening and what has just occurred.” So, much of the text is constructed of conversations between our main characters. Unfortunately, too often, who is the actual speaker of particular words of dialog can become confusing. (And, I assure you, I read the novel well before cocktail time, bringing all my necessary acuity to the task.) Fortunately, this particular issue, while not a major detriment to the reader’s pleasure is, at the least, somewhat annoying and should have been avoided. But, good news, when the novel eventually progresses to the point where the dialog more frequently includes third characters, this problem seems to ameliorate.
Wrecked presents a life cycle: Sky and Beck, now in their early 30’s, started as a couple eight years earlier but have spent the last four years apart. Despite their overwhelming physical attraction, in the beginning they were too young and too different to communicate their mutual love and need. Their differences and fears challenged their respective self-confidence. (“I’m a shit and I’ve got the skills God gave a hamster, but I know how to give you what you need in the bed.”) This is a heartening story of a second chance, of a reconciliation and rediscovery, and Beck and Sky realize that they need to forgive each other for the past missteps and figure out where they are now.
As an aside, the novel is replete with wonderful, descriptive sex – not inserted merely to whet one’s erotic appetite, but rather, more fully to present the very nature of Sky, Beck and their coupleship. Lucky reader: you can be a secret sharer.