Turn and Burn
NAL / August 6, 2013 / $15.00 print / $8.89 digital
Tanna Barker is a world champion barrel racer. But her personal life has been less of a success, and she’s feeling adrift. After her mother’s unexpected death, her father has remarried, and sold the Texas ranch she called home. Now a rodeo injury has left the restless spitfire holed up in Muddy Gap, unsure what her next move should be.
Until she meets her match in a wild, wild cowboy
Veterinarian August Fletcher has always put his job first. He’s never found a woman who could handle his on-the-road lifestyle. But when sassy, sexy Tanna blows into town, he finally finds the woman of his fantasies. And there’s something between them, but she claims she’s been burned by love ’em and leave ’em road dogs before. How can Fletch prove that he’s in it for the long haul, and that their sizzling relationship is better than winning any rodeo medal? It’ll take some sweet persuasion to convince Tanna that Muddy Gap is where she belongs.
Turn and Burn tells the story of a spitfire barrel racer and hot to trot veterinarian. She’s adrift after the death of her mother and a rodeo injury that’s put her out of the ring, and he’s consumed by dedication to his work. She hails from the great state of Texas, and he’s firmly rooted in the ranches of Wyoming. She desperately needs a breath of fresh air and a new start; his life is begging for a change. And the fifth book in Lorelei James’s Blacktop Cowboys series is everything it should be.
Fate collides when Tanna and Fletch happen to meet up in the same bar one lonely night in Muddy Gap, Wyoming. She’s just passing through for the summer, and neither of them are looking for anything more than a distraction when they lock eyes and the fire blazes. The chemistry is hot and strong, and with every thinly veiled innuendo and brilliant back-and-forth exchange, Tanna and Fletch heat up quickly.
“So you're not looking for Mr. Right?”
“More like Mr. Right Now.”
His handsome face remained skeptical.
“Let's cut to the chase. I like sex. There isn't a substitute for the way naked flesh feels sliding together in the heat of passion. There isn't a substitute for a heart-pounding, blood-pulsing orgasm. There isn't a substitute for sex. Period. I'm not supposed to admit I get antsy and snappish if I go too long without it. I'm not supposed to admit that satisfying the craving for intimate physical contact is all I want. I don't want messy emotional entanglements. Just. Hot. Sex.”
He leaned forward and took her hand, staring deeply into her eyes. “I think I love you.”
“In all seriousness, it's refreshing that you're so up front about what you want.”
“Or what I don't want.” Tanna swallowed a mouthful of beer. “So, you interested in taking me for a tumble?”
But after one rockin’ night, Tanna cuts tail and Fletch realizes he already wants more. They discover just what a small world it is when they run into each other in the harsh light of day at a cattle branding full of mutual acquaintances. And there begins the chase. It takes some convincing to make Tanna see that there’s something more between them than friendship, even if she is skittish of more than just horses. And soon even the friends-with-benefits label isn’t working for them.
“I want more than just a memory, Tanna.” His heart sped up. “I'm sitting here acting all polite like, making conversation with you, while my brain keeps flashing to the image of your naked body. I keep hearing those sexy sounds you make when I'm inside you. I'm remembering how you taste. So, gorgeous, I'm just gonna lay it on the line. I want to be your lover for however long you're in town.”
“You wanna be fuck buddies?”
He shook his head. “I can have that anytime I want and I'm sure you can too. I want something different. I'd like to try”—he gasped with complete exaggeration—“dating.”
“It'll be fun.”
Tanna didn't look convinced. “Can I think about it?”
“Sure. I'll give you fifteen seconds starting right now.”
“You are such a caveman.”
“You seemed to like that side of me well enough three times on Saturday night and once on Sunday morning.”
“Lord almighty, you never give up.”
“Not when I've found something worth keeping.”
This is a story that really shows the evolution of a relationship, how a one-night-stand is sometimes anything but, how good sexual connection can be and how much better it can be when a deeper bond is forged. Fletch and Tanna have a lot of similarities: They both love animals, and seeing a big man like Fletch caring for the smallest of God’s creatures is heartwarming, while watching world champion barrel racer Tanna struggle to get back up on a horse again is heartbreaking. The diversity in the fact that he is part Native American and she is half Mexican is truly interesting in setting this story apart from other westerns. James knows the heartland unlike any other and this always shines through.
Tanna and Fletch deal with jealousy and insecurity and the fact that each of their paths seem to be too divergent, with too many hurdles in the way, to make it work. It’s in seeing how they overcome each one, how they push and support and love each other, before they’re even ready to admit it, that makes this tear-jerker a beautiful romance in every way.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Lorelei James's Turn and Burn before its August 6 release:
Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.