- Book Title: File Gumbo
- Book Series: Roughstock #3
- Author: BA Tortuga
- Publisher: Pride Publishing (January 19, 2016)
- Book Length: 225 pages
- Genre: Erotica, Fiction, Sports, Romance
- Reviewed by: Diane
- Rating: 3.5 Star
- Posting Date: January 19, 2016
There’s a promise, actually more a warning, in the acknowledgments that the author made a conscious choice to be true to the patois and storytelling rhythms of real cowboys, in particular those who risk life and limb on the rodeo circuit. If it’s one thing I know, it’s rodeo and the men who inhabit that world. Challenge accepted.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.
Clutter: the story starts with a roomful of strangers, with no context, all chattering away as if I should know what’s going on (this is where I usually click out), and far too few dialog tags to act as a mental GPS to orient the reader new to the series. I persisted, though it took a fair amount of page clicks to eventually discover the focus is on the Cajun Beau, a two-time champ on a roll, and his paramour Sam who’s having the season from hell. Both are bull riders. Their friends are as certifiable as they are—clowns, bull fighters, other riders. Most seem aware of Sam and Beau’s relationships, choosing to look the other way, because in that profession you’re family whether you like it or not.
Plot: this will be short… There isn’t any to speak of. The scenes, once you’ve established who’s who—and their relationships both in and outside the arena—tend to roll in an episodic fashion from one sex scene to another, from one ride to another, from one injury to another. There’s one section where the men assist a friend’s family during a rough patch, but then with a dizzying lack of transition you are dumped once more into a backwater town with fairgrounds, chutes and yet another countdown to that eight-second finish. Add to this a jealousy trope as a way to pull Beau and Sam apart, along with an impending sense of doom, and there you have it.
Continuity: the timeline is about as muddied as anything I’ve seen and the story is definitely not standalone. Where the characters are at any given moment (if not in a motel room getting it on) requires some leaps of faith to ferret out why this one is here with that minor character, or where in the wide world of rodeo sports is Beau when Sam is somewhere else… that kind of thing.
Now, before you wrinkle your nose, here’s a huge reason why you might want to give File Gumbo a chance. One word. Authenticity.
If you don’t know squat about bull riding, the dangers, the men who really do risk life and limb every time they approach that chute, the athleticism, bravery and brio you need to spend an eight second eternity on the back of a shit ton of ugly, or the commitment and sheer insanity of bull fighters and rodeo clowns who put themselves in harm’s way… File Gumbo will take you into that world total immersion style and leave you breathless.
When the author promised to tell this story true to the rhythms of the cowboy culture, well boy howdy did she ever. The characters, all of them, are seen through a filter of admiration and understanding for their quirks, their jealousies, and their competitive spirit. The author brings to life men of legend, warts and all. It was an admirable effort and kept me turning the pages even though I knew what was coming and dreaded it.
The scenes of affection are at once hot and sensuous, roughness grounded with gentleness and respect, and definitely plentiful (but eventually repetitive and occasionally confusing as to who’s doing what to whom).
I would grade File Gumbo heavily toward the erotica scale rather than romance due to the absence of a true plot and the frequency of the sex scenes. As for rating this one, that’s tough.
This is the story the author wanted to tell her way, and as a fellow devotee of all things western I fully support and respect that decision. I think she accomplished what she set out to do. For that reason, and because I really, really bought into this story despite its flaws, I’m giving it 3.5 Stars.
Beau is riding like the two-time champ that he is, but nothing is assured in the world of bullriding—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 is starting 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 be the last ride of Sam’s life?
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA 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 Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia, her best friend, Sean, and coffee. Lots of good coffee.
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