Series: The Cowboy & The Dom #1
Authors: Jodi Payne & BA Tortuga
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Length: 334 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
When a killer strikes, Texan and former rodeo cowboy, Sam O’Reilly, loses his older brother. Unbeknownst to Sam, James was also the lover and sub of a sophisticated New York City Dom named Thomas Ward. Sam comes to the city determined to stay until he can bring the murderer to his own brand of justice, while Thomas’ more ordered mind is hoping for a legal solution. Neither man expects their connection to the other, but having each lost someone irreplaceable, their hearts are crying out for comfort almost as loudly as their bodies are screaming for each other.
Some yearnings refuse to be ignored, but transcending their differences to explore the fragile connection between them will prove to be a steep a hill to climb--the first of many. As Sam and Thomas take the first tentative steps on the rocky path that might lead to a relationship, the killer steps out of the shadows...And this time, his sights are set on Sam.
Note to our readers: Each of the three books in The Cowboy and the Dom Series has a fully realized, romantic ending. However, the overarching suspense element will leave readers on a cliffhanger after books one and two, to be fully resolved in book three.
When Sam realized it would be up to him to find the person who killed his brother, James, he left home for New York to take on the task his family had given him. Then Sam met Thomas, James’ boyfriend and…Dom and Sam’s world turned upside down. First, he’d never known his brother was in to being beaten and found it sexy; secondly, Sam should not feel the way he does about Thomas—after all, his brother was barely in the grave and Sam was having feelings about his brother’s lover that just weren’t right. But the more time he spent with Thomas, the more he couldn’t deny he was attracted to the man. Then Thomas took him to the club and Sam realized that the idea of being a submissive was something he might just be interested in giving a try.
The team of B.A. Tortuga and Jodi Payne have begun a new series with their new book, First Rodeo. Delving deeply into the idea of how a dominant connects with a new submissive from the very first meeting to the beginning of a real relationship, this novel is almost a how to in terms of learning about beginning BDSM. With lots of communication and emotional investment, Thomas starts to realize that he feels deeply for Sam just as he did for his brother, James. But he also recognizes that the two men could not be more different and it’s that revelation that allows him to mold his thinking and his approach to Sam to help the young man understand that he is a true submissive by nature.
Sam, on the other hand, has no clue as to what BDSM is all about or if it’s even something he would enjoy. But he does know that Thomas is a man he is willing to give up his life back home for and remain in New York despite it causing a rift between he and his parents and this is the first place I wished the book had gone into more detail. We never really get a sense of who Sam’s parents are or what their feelings are about him remaining in New York aside from one short phone call with his mother. That piece of the story felt undeveloped and had me wishing for a bit more interaction between Sam and his folks particularly since his very presence in New York was due to the family putting the job of finding the killer squarely on Sam’s shoulders.
This then leads to the other aspect of the book that was left fairly untouched which was the murder of James and what might happen next. I understand this is a three part series and that the mystery surrounding James’ murder will get more page time in subsequent novels but still it was barely more than introduced in this first book. We learn very little about James other than that he and Thomas were in the lifestyle together and he was a teacher. I understood that the authors chose to establish the D/s relationship between Thomas and Sam first but I felt we spent a great deal of time in BDSM 101 rather than developing the other plot thread surrounding the murder. I wished we could have had a bit more balance with both getting some page time.
First Rodeo was a wonderful view into the establishment of a D/s relationship and the way two men turned their shared grief into a sweet relationship that gave them both much needed emotional support and comfort. While it left some big unanswered questions, I do look forward to the next installment in the series to see how Sam and Thomas grow together and what develops in the mystery aspect of the novel.
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