Best New Artist, by BA Tortuga
Published by: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Kasey “Tuff” Tuffman just told Nashville to kiss his you know what. After winning Best New Artist at an award show, he knows it’s time to head back home to Texas. So after a very public meltdown, Tuff makes his way to Austin, where the Red Dirt music lives large.
Jonah Littlejohn once loved KT more than anything in the world. When KT loses it on national TV, Jonah knows he has to reach out and offer his home studio as a place to heal and make music. A bad relationship has left Jonah broken and wary of romance, but he wants to help his old lover out.
Seeing Jonah again proves to Tuff that he’s made the right decision. Now all he has to do is convince Jonah that they’re the most perfect duet there’s ever been.
Reference to off page/past physical assault
Best New Artist is a second-chance story about two country musicians who slowly re-kindle their old romance when one of them returns home after his music career implodes.
Whether or not you have a passing familiarity with Texas or country music, you could hardly miss the author’s fondness for both in this book. It reads like a love letter to all things country & western, with the music taking center stage.
Kasey “Tuff” Tuffman has just lit a fire and walked away from a music career he has spent years trying to build when he calls up ex-boyfriend, Jonah (Jo Jo) Littlejohn, looking for a quiet place to lay low and lick his wounds. While Jonah is happy to welcome him back, neither man is the same person they were ten years earlier when Jonah walked away from their relationship, unwilling to sit back and be Tuff’s dirty little secret. Both men have grown and changed in the intervening years, but making music together again proves that the old attraction is still there. All Tuff and Jo Jo need now, is time and patience to learn how to hit all the right notes again.
So, I’m not a huge fan of ‘trauma’ stories, especially ones that rely on the magic of love and sex to heal what clearly needs to be addressed by a therapist. In this case, Jonah was attacked by his boyfriend and left for dead. This has resulted in sleepless nights, an almost non-existent appetite, the inability to have an erection in front of another man, and tattooing almost his entire body to create a sort of armor or shell. And yet, it only takes the love of an ex-boyfriend and healing tones of country music to fix him. Nah. I’m not buying that. If you’re going to give your MC a backstory that includes a horrific attack, there is no shame in giving them the help they need. Yes, love and support is important but it won’t cure PTSD.
Unfortunately, this did impact my enjoyment of the story as a whole, which is a shame because there was a pretty good story here.
Tuff and Jo Jo are certainly likeable characters. I loved how gentle Tuff was with Jo Jo, and how he managed to tread the line between being protective but still letting him breathe. And the author certainly seems to know what she’s talking about in terms of country artists, popular songs, and even the details of what’s involved in laying down tracks at a recording studio. And if she got some things wrong, it didn’t seem glaring or obvious in any way.
Ultimately, I would have appreciated this story a whole lot more had the author not resorted to the sexual healing of Jo Jo. However, I did rather enjoy the parts that focused on the creating and playing of music, and if this is something that interests you – even if you’re not a country music fan – you may very well find this worth picking up.
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga 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 porn sites in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her partner, 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 is feeling the Colorado mountains calling. 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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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.