A rough and tumble woman meets her match in a wild cowboy in this Blacktop Cowboys® novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Wrapped and Strapped.
Tanna Barker is a world champion barrel racer. But her personal life has been less successful. Her recently widowed 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.
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.
There’s something between them, but Tanna has been burned by love ’em and leave ’em road dogs before. It’ll take some sweet persuasion to convince her that Fletch is committed to their sizzling relationship for the long haul.
About the Author
Lorelei James is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary erotic romances. Her novels include the Mastered Series, featuring Caged and Unraveled, the Blacktop Cowboys® Series, featuring Wrapped and Strapped and Hillbilly Rockstar, and the Need You Series, featuring Just What I Needed and What You Need. Her books have won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, as well as the CAPA Award.
Read an Excerpt
"Sweet darlin', what did you say you did for a living?"
Sweet darlin'. Did this dude really think she'd buy into his fake cowboy shtick because he'd shown up at a Western bar wearing alligator boots and a Stetson? Please. She was a Texas girl, born and bred. And if there was one thing Tanna Barker knew, it was cowboys-real cowboys.
She smiled coyly. "I didn't say. But a shot of Patrn would loosen my tongue a whole lot."
Mr. Alligator Boots flagged down the bartender.
Tanna would've almost felt bad for this guy, except he'd approached her. Buying her a shot was the least he could do after he'd laid on the bullshit so thick she felt it seeping into her boots.
After knocking back the tequila, she confessed, "I don't normally share my occupation because it tends to be viewed as...a bit raunchy. But I'll make an exception for you, puddin' pop."
She saw his gears spinning as he pondered her raunchy occupation. Paid escort? Hooker? Exotic dancer? His eyes roamed over her skintight Miss Me jeans, her pink rhinestone b.b.simon belt and her shimmery ruffled blouse cut low enough to garner interest in her abundant cleavage.
Then Mr. Alligator Boots frowned at the bandage on her forehead. "What happened to you?"
"Hazard of my job." She confided, "I'm a professional Roller Derby girl. I'm the pivot for the Lonestar Ladies. I hit the cement in the ring last night after some bitch hooked me and I ended up with a skate to the head. It bled like a mother, I guess. I didn't notice, 'cause I play to win. Only took ten stitches this time. Last month I ripped the shit outta my calf and ended up with twenty-five stitches."
"I can show you the scar. Bet a tough cowboy like you is into scars, ain't ya?" she taunted.
Mr. Alligator Boots backed away and waved at someone across the room. "Would you look at the time? I gotta go. I see my friends are here."
Tanna held in her laughter until he disappeared.
Within five minutes another friendly guy sidled up. Younger than Mr. Alligator Boots. But he still wore the Hey, baby, I'm all that and a real cowboy look of a smarmy douche bag. She smiled and waited for him to strike up a conversation.
Hello, free shot number two.
Talk about shooting fish in a barrel. Over the next two hours, and after multiple complimentary shots of tequila, her injury had been the result of a bow hunting accident, from getting clipped by her gear after jumping from an airplane, from a drunken brawl with her fellow missionaries, from hitting the roll bar during the demolition derby finals and her personal favorite-the whip she'd used on her lover recoiled and sliced her in the face. Truly a classic. As the queen of tall tales, she couldn't wait to share these fun little fibs with her buddy Celia Lawson Gilchrist.
Hopefully pregnancy hadn't affected Celia's sense of humor.
Tanna ordered a Corona, lamenting the lack of Lone Star beer this far north. Still, she was grateful for her friends who'd offered her a place to live in Wyoming while she got her head on straight. Her life had been in turmoil these past two years, more than she'd let on. She just wanted a place to hole up, lick her wounds and figure out what the hell to do with herself.
Rather than imposing on Celia and Kyle Gilchrist or Lainie and Hank Lawson, even for one night, Tanna had checked into a dive motel in Rawlins within stumbling distance of Cactus Jack's Bar. This wouldn't be her last night of freedom, but it'd be her last chance to be anonymously wild for a while.
Right. Tell yourself that. You can't go more than two weeks without getting into trouble.
Another guy, this one with too many tats and too few teeth, slunk up next to her. "What's a looker like you doin' drinking alone?"
"Celebrating that I just got out of jail last week."
His bleary eyes lit up. "What a coincidence. I just got outta jail too. What were you in for?"
A real jailbird was hitting on her? Awesome. That'd teach her to lie. "Arson. I allegedly"-she made quotes in the air when she said allegedly-"set fire to my ex's trailer and blew up his truck with a couple of incendiary rounds. The man has no sense of humor and if I ever see that lyin' bastard again..." Tanna squinted at him suspiciously. "Hey. Come to think of it, you look an awful lot like him. An awful lot." She sneered and poked him in the chest. "LeRoy, I swear to God, if you think you can pull some kind of lame disguise with me-"
"I ain't LeRoy, and lady, you're plumb crazy." He backed away. Ran away was more like it.
She couldn't help but snicker before she upended her beer.
"Word of advice, sugar twang? Bein's the town of Rawlins hosts the Wyoming state penitentiary, there's a higher than average population of ex-cons around. And they're not all so easily conned as him."
Tanna glanced up at the man.
Oh, hello, sweet darlin'.
How hadn't she noticed this giant? At least six feet five, he easily cast her five feet three inches in shadow. And holy frijoles, was this guy hot. Like, really hot. After being approached by wannabe cowboys all night, there was no doubt this guy was the real deal. So she shamelessly took in his banging body, from his summer-weight cowboy hat to the tips of his dusty boots-and every inch in between.
His age looked to be mid-thirties. In this part of the country his reddish gold complexion had to be from Native American ancestry. Her avid gaze took in his angular features. A high forehead not marred by a single wrinkle. A slash of dark eyebrows arched over eyes the color of warm topaz. His cheekbones were prominent in a wide-set face. A thin blade of nose. The corners of his lips turned up in an indulgent smile. And check out that ridiculously strong-looking, chiseled jawline. His thick neck tapered into shoulders so wide it appeared he wore football pads, until she realized this hunky man couldn't hide bulky equipment under his skintight T-shirt.
"You done looking your fill? Or did you want me to turn around so you can ogle my ass too?"
"Better to know up front that I'm staring at your package, and not considering the size of your wallet, don'tcha think?" Tanna retorted with saccharine sweetness.
He laughed. A deep, sexy rumble that caused a little flip in her belly. "So will you let me buy you a beer if I pull out my wallet?"
"If you're sure you wanna spend money on an ex-con."
"You're not an ex-con by any stretch of your imagination." He waved down the bartender. "But I am interested to hear which lie I'll rate." He shot her a grin. "I'm hoping you'll claim to be a secret agent."
Tanna leaned across the bar. "Got a Bond girl fantasy you wanna tell me about, ace?"
"I'm more a fan of Lara Croft or Sydney Bristow. Chicks who kick ass turn my crank."
"Hot women who know how to kill and how to dress to kill are the ultimate asset."
"Oh, those women ain't got nothin' on you in the asset department." His gaze dipped to the deep V of her cleavage.
It didn't bother her that he was blatantly checking out her rack. When he finally dragged his gaze to hers again, the unbridled lust in his eyes sent a wave of liquid heat through her.
"You are trouble," she murmured, unable to look away from him. Something about this man pulled her in and revved her up.
"No more trouble than you are, spy girl." He held out a twenty for the bartender without breaking eye contact. "You wanna grab us a booth and we'll talk about what kinda trouble we can get into together?"
She nodded. Just as she stepped back, a man jockeying for her spot at the bar jostled her, sending her off balance. Her tall, dark and handsome stranger kept her from falling by using a firm arm to pull her forward. Her breasts met the hard wall of his chest and all the air left her lungs in a rush. Good God, was he solid.
He sucked in a sharp breath at the sudden intimate contact.
The side of her face smashed against his pectorals. She remained like that, inhaling his scent until he tugged on her hair to get her attention. She glanced up into his eyes, feeling a blast of pure sexual heat.
"Might be dangerous to keep looking at me like that," he said softly.
"Because you're afraid I wanna do more than look at you?"
"No." His rough-edged fingertip traced a line down her neck, from the dent in her chin to the start of her cleavage. "But maybe I want more than you're willing to give."
Tanna stared at him. Normally such blatant sexual talk so soon after meeting had her stepping back. But something about this man kept her right where she was-completely entranced by him.
"Say the word, sugar twang, and I'll walk away."
"And if I don't want you to walk away?" she countered boldly.
"Then our night just got a whole lot more interesting."
"Sounds good to me." Opening her mouth over the hard curve of his pectorals, she blew a stream of hot air through the shirt, then lightly bit down. "I'm game for whatever you've got in mind."
"Grab your beer." He led them to the only unoccupied booth, by the front door.
She slid into the bench seat opposite him and raised her bottle for a toast.
"What're we toasting to?"
"Ex-cons and little white lies." She smirked. "And a guy with a big...bullshit meter."
"I'll drink to that." He grinned.
Sweet Lord. There was damn dangerous wattage in those pearly whites of his.
He rested his massive shoulders against the back of the booth. "So, what's your name besides Hot Trouble?"
Tanna shook her head. "How about if we keep it simple and don't exchange names?"
He didn't even blink. "Because you'd probably give me a fake one anyway."
"Yep. I see this ain't your first go-round in this type of rodeo either, cowboy."
"I'm good with no names-I like 'sugar twang' better anyway-but there are a couple of basic questions I've gotta ask first."
The twinkle vanished from his eyes. "You're not married and out on the town looking for one night with a stranger to cure your marital boredom?"
"No, sir. I don't cheat. So no boyfriend either." She pointed with her beer bottle. "Back atcha."
"No significant other in my life. Or in my bed on a regular basis."
"That clears that up. Next question."
His eyes flicked to the bandage on her forehead. "What happened there?"
"Nothin'. It's a prop to garner sympathy, start conversations and con men into buying me drinks."
That seemed to amuse him rather than annoy him. "What brings you to Rawlins, Wyoming?"
"Just passing through on my way to start a new job." Not exactly a lie. "What about you?"
"I'm on the road a lot too." He let his bottle dangle a couple of inches above the table and swung it like a pendulum. "You're not really on the run from an ex?"
Tanna snickered. "Nope. I'm just killing time in a honky-tonk before I move on."
"So you're not looking for Mr. Right?"
"More like looking for 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 long, wet kiss. 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?"
"Oh yeah." His smile turned decidedly predatory. "But I'm not gonna shake your hand like this is a business arrangement." He lifted their joined hands and kissed the inside of her forearm, from her wrist to the crook of her elbow. "I'm gonna seduce you."
"Right here, right now?"
"Just giving you a sneak peek at my playbook." His thumb lazily swept an arc from her knuckles to her wrist. "But I won't attempt an all-out blitz. I'd rather make the plays drive by drive. Trust me. I'll still get us to the goal line."
Tanna squirmed in her seat. "I've never been turned on by a football analogy before."
He chuckled. "I'm happy you caught the right sport reference."
"Bite your tongue. I'm a Texan. Football is not a sport; it's a religion."
"My mistake. That said, I'm gonna jump ahead in the offensive playbook and score us a room at the motel across the street. Be right back."
He slid from the booth leaving her staring after him feeling...what? Guilty? Like she should offer to pay for half? Or tell him she'd already booked a room? Or was she feeling like a skanky ho for picking up yet another guy in a bar?
Nah. It'd been a while since she'd hooked up. And what was wrong with acting on her baser impulses anyway? Nothing. Men did it all the freakin' time. Her body, her choice. All pleasure, no emotional pain. Just what she needed.
Tanna ordered another round of Coronas and let her head fall back. Her mind filled with thoughts of roving hands and hot mouths. Of cool cotton sheets beneath her. She imagined the taste of his mouth. His skin. She thought about his hair teasing her as he kissed down the center of her body. By the time she'd finished fleshing out all the sexual scenarios she'd like to put into play, the bench seat creaked. She angled her head and opened her eyes to see her hot stranger sliding next to her.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for the Blacktop Cowboys™ novels and the novels of Lorelei James:
“Her sexy cowboys are to die for!”—New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks
“Lorelei James knows how to write one hot, sexy cowboy.”—New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Tanna Barker, wild child and world champion barrel racer, is about as down as a person can get. Life has dealt Tanna some rough blows lately. The death of her mother, betrayal of her father, the loss of the ranch she called home and always thought would be there, and an accident in the ring resulting in considerable injury to herself and death to her horse, Jezebel. Essentially homeless and broke Tanna’s accepted a friends offer of temporary summer employment at The Split Rock in Muddy Gap, Wyoming. Augustus Fletcher aka Doc or Fletch is a large animal vet. Alone in his practice his life is revolves around work. Firm in his belief that no woman or relationship can handle the demands of his profession his personal life is a series of one night stands or very short term quasi relationships. However; his friends’ married happiness and his most recent interlude with an unnamed Texas cowgirl have him questioning that belief. TURN AND BURN is without question my favorite in Ms. James’ Blacktop Cowboy series. Tanna has lost a lot in the past couple years yet she’s grown enough to realize how spoiled and selfish she was. There’s still a deep down pain and her inability to deal with it gives her nightmares and holds her back. There’s quite a bit more truth and growth in Tanna’s future. The combination of ways Ms. James resolves Tanna’s conflicts are realistic and individually suited to her. It’s not one aha! flash of insight moment when everything becomes clear nor is it easy but that’s as it should be. It’s perfect given her character and circumstances. Fletch has a few issues of his own but not near as many as Tanna. He also does a better job of facing and dealing with them. Fletch is a gentle giant but not someone you’d want to cross. This is not erotica where you “open to any random page” and discover explicit scenes. Tanna and Fletch sizzle but even from the beginning there’s more focus on their emotional connection and depth. Ms. James distinguishes her books from many others in the genre in several ways. First is the complexity and depth of her characters including the secondary players. I adore the Mud Lilies and love that the older characters aren’t marginalized or treated dismissively. They’re respected, valued, and very much a part of the action. One of my favorite scenes is when the Mud Lilies initiate Tanna. The scene that actually brought tears to my eyes also involved one of the Mud Lilies. It’s never just about sex. Sure, there’s plenty of spice and heat but there’s always that underlying emotional and mental connection that transcends mere sex. Tanna and Fletch really plumb those depths on their journey. Very satisfying. Ms. James’ personal knowledge of cowboys, ranch’s, and rodeo life give outsiders an intimate insider’s look at the reality rather than the Hollywood version. Not for everyone but I love experiencing it vicariously. There’s a strong sense of continuity, community, and family. Within that framework we catch up on the lives of previously introduced characters in a completely natural way thanks to that connectivity. Almost like visiting home. Fletch and Tanna definitely spoke to me and I really liked who Tanna grew to be. In my humble opinion TURN AND BURN delivered on every level and set the standard for subsequent books to measure up to. Reviewed by IvyD for Manic Readers
Omg, I loved this story and love love love this series! !!!!!! Tanna and Doc were fantastic together, so much love it was UNBELIEVABLE! ! Still love the mud lillies.....lol, lol. The scene with the dog, ugh, cried, and how Fletcher handled it made me love him more!!! Nothing hotter or sexier then a man who loves animals....woohoo, I cant wait for more
This series/author is an auto buy for me. Lorelei James never disappoints! The story and characters feel like family and I could relate to them. The emotions jump off the page and into your heart. As always I'll be waiting for the next addition.
While I liked Tanna and Fletch, I didn't love them, and I wandered a bit while listening to their story. They started out with such promise, but then, as they too realized, they used sex to placate each other, and that became repetitious between them. They had such depth of emotions though, and when those came through, they broke my heart. It was nice to have a mature couple find each other, and not as a second chance, or another chance, at love. These two never thought they'd be reaching the other side of 35 without having had found the one, yet, here they were. Didn't make them any smarter, just made them handle the set-backs a little different I like Tanna and Fletch, they certainly sparked well together, but their emotional tie is what made them stand out
I won received this book from Goodreads Giveaways for an honest review. This is a wonderfully written story about a Barrel Racer that has had a bad accident. She has lost her mom her just before she had the accident barrel racing, then her father sells their family ranch and marries her mother accident. After getting rehab she finds out that she can't be near horses and has bad panic attacks. Two of her old barrel racing friends have married and move to Wyoming and after trying to figuring out what to do they have a friend who runs a Getaway spa and needs help during the summer. So she goes to Wyoming and stop in the town before her friends town and go out to drink to get free drinks and meet Dr. Fletcher, DVM and they have a one night stand. Never exchanging names on the first night. Little surprise he happens to be her friends vet. He helps her find her way with help of her cousin and another rodeo celeb to finding her footing with horses again. And he also helps her & himself in love. It is a wonderful story.
Another great Lorelei James book.
I absolutely LOVE and trust everything Lorelei puts out. Her writing styles from her western/cowboy to her fighter/mma is remarkably different. However, amazing at the same time. It takes a brilliant writer to be so diverse in her styles.
I really liked this book. It was a good addition to the series. The only thing that bothered me was Fletch's nickname for Tanna (sugar twang). It sounded stupid to me and I found myself skipping over it. As far as the sex being too graphic...maybe you should read the description of the book before you buy it or visit the author's web site...you have to be 18 to enter. The descriptions have warnings. Also....your reading a certain genre. What did you expect?
Turn and Burn (Blacktop Cowboys). Lorelei James. Review from jeannie zelos book reviews. I love romance with a sensual spicy edge and Lorelei does that so well. Of course as a horse lover/rider I enjoy ones set in an equine scene too so this book is a double whammy for me. Tanna is a great lead, having been injured while riding also I understand her fear of getting back on – or even getting close to a horse. I was never in her league being a happy hacker rather than competition orientated, but the clammy, choking, paralysing fear is the same whatever and Lorelei writes that so well – I felt the fear with Tanna. I like books that tell the story through dialogue, have characters that feel real and allow me to feel “in” the scene, and here I could envisage so clearly what was happening. Hot ans sexy Vet Fletch was a fabulous character too – that man certainly has a way with words – and actions! I really enjoyed this story, loved meeting all the characters and they were a great mix esp the “older” ladies. That scene where Fletch has to PTS the elderly dog of one of them had me really choked. For many of us pets are family and we grieve for them just the same. I loved the people, enjoyed the world setting created – as a UK resident the rodeo/barrel racing world is one I can only imagine but Lorelei brings it alive. The book was a great read, kept me glued until the end, and the sex scenes were scorching and sensual. I've only one tiny criticism – and being a real drama lover in my romance it is a personal one that most readers won't worry about – and that's the highs were terrific, and the lows where Tanna is struggling with her career and current phobia were perfect, but when it came to a relationship low between her and Fletch I didn't really feel it – I like to have a sad part where I can wallow, and although I felt there were things they needed to overcome they weren't really deep enough to make me feel moved to tears. Sucker that I am I enjoy the downs as they make the highs so much sweeter. Anyway – a great read, at £5.17 for 342 pages. Stars: four and a half, just that bit more :( and I’d have gone five. ARC supplied by Netgalley
Could not wait for this story to come out and had the entire thing read in a matter of hours. Love all things written by Lorelei James. Gets you out of whatever reality you are facing and lets you be in someone else's world if only for a short time.
Lorelei James has done it again! What Jaci Burton did to racecar drivers and J.R. Ward did to Vampires, James has done to cowboys. She has taken an excellent cast of characters, plunked them in the middle of Wyoming, and created amazing romances each and every time. Turn and Burn, her newest release, may be my favorite so far, featuring daredevil horserider Tanna and sweet Veterinarian, August “Fletch” Fletcher Tanna is heading to Wyoming from her home state of Texas following the death of her Mother and a pretty horrific injury that severely hurt her and caused the death of her horse. As she arrives, penniless, alone, and starved for attention, she meets Fletch, the town’s Vet. Fletch is different than James’ other heroes. While there is plenty of hot sex, for which James’ cowboy books are known for, this novel seemed much more charged mentally and emotionally. Fletch understands Tanna has been emotionally scarred and I enjoyed their journey together in helping to realize her fears and overcome them. Tanna is scarred and her journey to being the rider she once was is not smooth sailing. James tackles these topics head on in a realistic manner and everything isn’t all right in an instant. While I loved the naughty parts, Turn and Burn had just the right mixture of emotional connection to create an amazing story that made me wish it didn't end. The only disappointment I had, was the ending, because I would have liked a bit of a update on what had happened with the other characters from previous books. The sense of community is wonderful and there is truly a world built within these books. Turn and Burn is a fantastic addition to the world James has created. I loved the mixture of fast talking Texas girl Tanna and laid back Fletch. Each is so different from what the other is used to and find missing piece in one another. Great characters, a fun story, and even better sex scenes equal another hit from Lorelei James.
Really enjoyed this book. Love the whole series so far!!!!
This story had such potential but the female lead wasn't at all likeable. I can understand a woman on the rodeo circuit wanting to have a good time, but this woman was basically a slut and a bad tempered one at that. I loved the "hero", he was way too good for her and she was too stupid to realize what a prize she had in him until it was almost too late. And, please don't get me started on the references to riding and care of horses. No horsewoman in her right mind would train a barrel horse (or any competition horse for that matter) for hours on end and then give them a "snack" or let them graze in the middle of the training, not unless they had lots of money to spend on a vet for the colic that would certainly happen by feeding a hot horse. I love Ms. James books, but this one didn't make the mark.
NUMBER OF STARS:3 REVIEW: This was just an okay book for me. Maybe I should have read the books before this one. I am not sure. I just never really connected with the characters, the world and the whole story in general. It was not a bad story and I like the cast of characters. It just didn’t grab me and suck me in. I am sure that Lorelei fans will really enjoy this book and I hope that they do. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.
Love this series ! You got to love a cowboy that's all cowboy ! Can not wait for next book !