Hiya peeps, we have B.A. Tortuga stopping by for a visit with her upcoming release Mud, Movies, Bullets, and Bulls, we have a fantastic guest post and a great excerpt so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
Mud, Movies, Bullets, and Bulls
Four men in need of a helping hand….
When a cowboy finds he has grit in all the wrong places, what is he to do? Meet the man of his dreams, of course. But what will save two cowboys from getting bogged down in the mire?
An ex-rodeo cowboy who hates working with Hollywood actors meets a movie star who is looking for something real. Will they get a happy ending, just like in the movies?
A redneck ends up injured and stranded, and his old friend comes to the rescue. It’s the old story of the one that got away. What will they do to keep each other in their lives—and will it be too late?
A professional bull rider is starting to feel his age. When he’s injured far from home and his career is threatened, it’s up to his best friend to step in and point out the other options. Both men have plans—but will they include each other?
Mud on Tires, Just Like in the Movies, Ricochet and No Bull all previously published with another publisher.
Caught in the Middle
by B.A. Tortuga
Hey y’all. I’m BA Tortuga – writer of rednecks and cowboys and down home folks that manage to fall in love. It’s my thing.
Sometimes – lots of times – I feel caught in the middle of the world.
Seriously. I’m a liberal redneck. I’m a divorced multi-racial lesbian cowboy rodeo fan mom that’s married to a bisexual woman. I’m a Texan in New Mexico. I honestly don’t fit anywhere and I can slide in a lot of places.
I write men that are in that spot quite a bit. Men that love other men, but are trapped – in their lives, in their communities, in their own self-images.
Because that’s the world I live in, I guess. I go home to see my daddy and I never hold my wife’s hand while we’re there. I don’t call her baby in public. My daddy introduces us as ‘his daughters’.
The men I write – and especially the men I wrote ten years ago, which are what these four stories in Mud, Movies, Bullets and Bulls feature – are from this world. This place in space where they found love in spite of everything. The world of bull riding, of acting, of working cowboy Colorado and redneck East Texas.
Somehow they find each other, grab hold of one another and hold on tight.
These stories rejoice in the finding of a place where two men that don’t fit anywhere else fit together.
Much love, y’all. Seriously. Much love.
from Mud on the Tires
FUCK, IT was hot.
Lee watched the heat shimmer off the road for a minute before he found his turn, then hopped out to unlock the gate so he could hit the dirt road that led back to the watering hole off Sulphur Creek. He took off his hat and wiped sweat from his brow before he jumped back into the truck, his dog Pie barking at him from the front seat. It was too damned hot for the mutt to ride back in the bed, and Pie was taking it very personally.
The heat had turned most of the watering holes and some of the creek beds into quagmires, and Lee’s job this week was to check and make sure none of the cattle had gotten stuck wandering through the thick-assed mud to get to clean water.
He toodled down the dirt track, his pickup bumping away as he and Pie sang along to Garth. Sure enough, when he got to the damned north watering hole, there was a heifer stuck in there, her calf wandering along the bank, lowing his damned fool head off.
“Well, shit, Pie. I told old Frank Mayhew he needed to get tanks.”
Pie just tilted his blue-gray head, his one blue eye laughing as Lee opened the door and let him out. “You go keep that calf out of the water, brat,” Lee said, and Pie took off like a shot.
Sighing, he got the winch rope and looked at the bellering momma cow. Damn it. Lee sat down on the bumper and pulled off his boots. No way was he losing them in that mud; the damned red-brown, baby-shit-looking stuff would just suck them right off.
And he was out of clean clothes in the toolbox up in the back of his truck bed too. Well, hell. He had to go into Meeker to get groceries after this.
He did have him some towels, though, so Lee shucked off his jeans, shirt, and tighty-whities, then tucked them away in the toolbox so Pie couldn’t drag them off and dunk them in the muck. Silly cowdog. He tossed his boots and socks in there too, then locked it up tight, as Pie had learned to work the latch if he didn’t use the padlock.
Finally ready, Lee clapped his Stetson back on over the bandanna he’d tied over his bald head to keep the sweat out of his eyes.
He grabbed the winch rope again and started in, wading through the surprisingly cold muck, remembering that the water was always chilly in Colorado, even when the sun was high enough in the sky to fry an egg on the ground. Thankfully the cow was stuck solid enough that she couldn’t thrash around too much, but that also meant he had to really work to get the rope around her.
So of course he was naked in the mud and half up on the cow’s back looking like he was doing something really nasty when he heard the rumble of a big, old engine coming right up the road.
Of course he was.
The big-assed dually slowed, red paint just a shining. For a half second, Lee thought the damned Dodge would keep on going, but that would mean his luck’d turned from bad to good. No, that truck pulled off, one tinted window rolling down to show a wide grin, a Stetson. “Uh. You, uh, okay out there, cowboy?”
Ever so casually he slid off the cow, took off his hat, and lowered it to cover his goods. “Well, this old girl is stuck solid. I’m afraid if I wade out and try to winch her out without getting behind to push, she’ll struggle herself deeper.”
There. See him. See him be able to speak even though he thought he might just burn up with embarrassment.
“I can understand that.” The hat brim was pushed up, giving him a look at a grinning mouth, full mustache just hiding the upper lip. “I tell you what, I’ll run the winch for you before the skeeters come out and start… uh… snacking.”
“That’d be right neighborly of you.” Lee stared at the truck. “You’re not Forestry or BLM, are you?”
“Nah. I’m up here hunting a spread. Lucked out driving by.” Acres and acres of denim-covered legs unfolded from the truck. The white dress shirt got stripped off and hung up on a hanger, a pretty little sheltie’s face peeking out before the door was closed.
“Well, I surely could use a hand.” Lee’s cheeks felt bright as a good charcoal grill in the summer. Lord. He got the cow tied off, then slogged back around, kind of sheltering himself from the man’s eyes.
“No problem, cowboy. Name’s Collin, by the way. Cute dog.” Collin headed over, knelt down by the winch, and looked a second, then nodded. “You holler when you’re ready.”
“Let me just….” There. Lee got it all arranged so momma cow wouldn’t kick the shit out of him. “I’m Lee. He’s Pie. Don’t let him bite your butt. He will, just for fun. All right, let ’er rip.”
The cowboy knew what he was doing, all right, and didn’t seem reluctant to help out. The winch did its job, the heifer lowing and thrashing, fighting the mud with all she was worth.
Lord. She was just flailing, splattering Lee with mud and God knew what else. Grunting, he pushed and guided, whistling up Pie, who barked and ran back and forth, pushing her in the right direction.
Collin took the calf, kept it from running to momma. The sheltie in the truck was barking and howling up a storm, actually rocking the truck as she bounced.
Lord love a duck. That little lady and Pie got together and there’d be trouble. The mud sucked at him, the sun beat down on his bare ass, and by the time he got the big old girl out of that sinkhole, he was feeling right down ugly, slipping and sliding and his johnson flopping all over.
“Shit marthy.” Collin came right over, helping him with the rope, square hands getting dirty, no sweat. “That was one stubborn bitch.”
“It was. She must’ve been stuck a while. You want to get in the back of my cab and get some of those gallon jugs of water? We’ll wet her whistle and ours.” And maybe he could sluice off some of the mud and get his damned kit back on before he burnt something he might need later. “I’d do it, but I’d just make a mess.”
“Sure enough. I got a beer cooler in my truck, for after. You look like you could use one.” Shit, was that a look?
Mr. Tall and Lanky dragged the water from Lee’s Chevy, all grins. The man had pale eyes in a dark, tanned face, just visible under the hat brim.
“I could. A cold one would go over real well.” His cheeks were gonna burn right through, like some bad horror movie, because even if that wasn’t a look, he was sure as shit looking back and… yeah. He washed his hands off before reaching for the old towels, snarling at Pie when the fool mutt grabbed the end of one for tug of war.
“You want a biscuit, pup? I reckon Lady’d share.” Those eyes caught his again real quick. “He friendly with other dogs?”
“He’s real friendly. He might try to herd her a bit. She’s not in heat, right?” Lord help him if she was. They’d be new grandparents in no time. Pie had populated half of the Western Slope of Colorado.
“He might find himself out-herded. Lady’s been known to herd houseplants at my mom’s.” The door of the dually popped open, and the sheltie hopped down, fluffy tail wagging furiously. “You stay out of that mud, girl. I mean it.”
“She’s a pretty girl.” He meant it. The little thing was just what the doctor ordered for Pie, and the two dogs tore off, barking happily. Lee shucked off more mud, finally feeling like he might could put his jeans back on. “Thanks, man.”
“She’s a sweetheart and is dead tired of being in the truck.” A longneck dripping with ice was put on the hood of his truck, the cowboy giving him a little privacy.
“Thanks again.” Underwear, jeans, hoo yeah. And just in time too, because the sun was shining on his savior just so, and damn. Damn. He was starting to take interest in places that woulda shown. He grabbed the beer, letting his arms dry off before he put his shirt on. “So you said you were looking for a place?”
“Yessir. I’ve just sold a place down near Enid, and my daddy passed away and left me a nest egg. I reckoned to head where shit ain’t so flat.”
“Enid, huh? Well you sure picked a good spot. But it’s cold as a witch’s tit in the winter.” Lee grinned, feeling much more equal to being social now he wasn’t buck naked and hanging on a cow. “There’s a few places up for sale around here. I’d be happy to show you.”
“Yeah, I did a stint in Ellsworth in South Dakota, so I know cold. And, yeah. I’d appreciate the help. I’ve been looking for a few weeks, and this is where I’ve set my teeth to.”
Man, that cowboy had a smile that went on and on.
“It’s a good one for farming and ranching. Some of the other places, like down to the Junction, well, they’ve gotten citified. I think old man Mabry might be selling.” Oh, that beer was cold. Good. He sucked down about half.
“I’m not much for the city. I raise draft horses, some cattle, but the horses are my babies.” Collin’s bottle went up, long throat working. “Damn, that hit the spot.”
“It did.” Now Lee let himself look. Really look. The smile worked for him on a bone-deep level, but man, so did that long-assed body.
There wasn’t an ounce of spare flesh on the man, from the long arms to the flat belly to the jaw that was square enough to level with. The mustache was nut-brown, and the hair short enough to be lost under the wide hat brim. Those eyes, though—they were light and almost gray but leaning hard toward blue.
He hummed a little under his breath, saved from more embarrassment by Pie and the little sheltie running up, barking up a storm. He laughed and knelt to let Pie have a little beer. “Were you a good boy, huh? Did you show the lady all around?”
Pie danced for him, and Collin grabbed some biscuits and shared them. The little sheltie was a looker, shiny button eyes and a pretty face.
He stroked her silky nose, figuring he could see why Pie was showing off. “This was the last of my rounds. How do you feel about steak?” Lord. He was pushing it.
“I think it’s one of the top ten things on this earth.” Lee shot him another grin, another wink. “Worth hauling cattle out of the mud stark-ass naked for.”
He busted out laughing, just completely unable to stop himself. Clearly he had no shame. “I was out of clothes, and I have to go into town. Couldn’t get all muddy, now could I?”
“Hey, I’m all for a little nudie ranching. Hell, buddy, you might start a trend.”
They laughed until Lee’s gut hurt, until he had to wheeze for breath and stop laughing or he was gonna piss himself. The dogs went nuts, barking and dancing and wagging. “It coulda been worse, I guess,” he finally gasped out. “You coulda been that new girl that runs the BLM office.”
That got Collin to laughing again. “Well, sir. You’d’ve give her something to dream on, no shit.”
“Yeah, but I’d never be able to follow through, she started chasing me.” There. Let that pretty man stick that in his hat and start smoking it. “You want to follow me into town, I can pay you back for being gentlemanly, buy you some supper.”
“I’ll be right behind you.” Collin gave him another look, this one longer, then whistled, and that sheltie jumped right in the truck, then looked back like she couldn’t figure why Pie wasn’t coming too.
“Come on, Pie. Come on. You can cuddle up under that tree on Main Street.” Grinning, he waved at Collin and hopped into his truck, then gunned it toward town.
And if he still had a little mud in his shorts? Well, it was worth it to have met the man. It surely was.
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, 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 Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, 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 has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. 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.
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