Guest Reviewed by Morgan
Title: The Terms of Release
Author: B.A. Tortuga
Narrator: Slate Anders
Heroes: Adam Winchester (Win) and Sage Redding
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 240 Pages / 8 hours, 1 minute
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Book – March 24, 2014 / Audio – Sept. 12, 2014
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Audible and iTunes
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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.
Review – Book:
Sage Redding was gay in a small town in Texas. That was his first mistake. His second mistake was hooking up with the black sheep of the “ruling family” of this town, Angel. His third mistake was getting so high he couldn’t save himself from the disaster that killed Angel and sent Sage to prison for manslaughter.
Sage serves his time in prison and is out on parole when his father’s illness forces him to return to the town that hates him. Sage, so very good at heart, returns to help his family keep their horse ranch, knowing that he may lose his life trying to do the right thing.
Adam is Angel’s cousin. He hates that part of his family and has always known Sage was only guilty of being young and dumb. When the heat turns up and Sage becomes the victim of town violence, Adam becomes Sage’s protector and lover.
The two face daunting odds, but there are some allies in town, and the two are in love. There is a very dramatic ending and a hopeful happily ever after for our boys.
The story is beautifully written and an emotional roller coaster. Every time you turn around, Sage is getting the sh*t beat out of him. Adam tries to help but can only do so much, the threat of returning to prison is big and it’s real since Angel’s dad is the sherrif.
On the one hand, I wasn’t sure why in the hell Sage came back. Sure, he doesn’t want to lose the ranch, but realistically, even if he saves it, there’s no way he can expect to keep it. The town is determined to destroy him. And, honestly, what in the world could make losing your life worth it? There doesn’t seem to be any real hope except leaving, and that Sage won’t do.
There is a bit of “insta-love” between Adam and Sage. Seemingly the only gay guys around for miles, conveniently falling for each other, but they do seem well suited for the other. The violence against Sage, all the crap he was given early in life and in prison, begins to tire after awhile, but the point is made – he’s been through hell, he deserves more now.
Adam isn’t as fleshed out as Sage, as far as characters go, but he loves Sage, and there is a moment of realistic doubt near the end where he wonders how he can be with someone who was someone’s “bitch” in prison.
The ending, at last, brings about some fairly logical decisions about who should live where, etcetera, which is gratifying, and helps to make the angst really pay off.
Overall it was a good story, with a very touching romance, lots of country charm and flavor and some fairly satisfying sex scenes to round everything out.
I give the story a 3.5 of 5 stars.
Review – Audio Book:
Slate Anders does a nice job with the narration. He does a few inflections to differentiate the main characters, but nothing over the top. He doesn’t do a lot of “acting” and mostly fades into the background, letting the story tell itself in a way that’s not distracting.
I give the narration a 4 of 5 stars.
Together I would round it up to a 4 of 5 stars, as it was a good story done very well. I recommend it to anyone with interest in cowboys, lots of angst/pain/hurt, and anyone with a fondness for quirky country sayings.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*