Book Review – Keeping Promises by Jodi Payne & BA Tortuga

Publisher: Tygerseye Publishing
Pages: 262
Characters: West/Jeremy
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary

Jeremy M. Dunn III has the single dad thing down, so the last thing he wants to do is call his ex-husband to ask for help with their two kids. They didn’t part on good terms, and they’ve barely spoken since the divorce. But with a cast on his arm that goes up past his elbow, Jeremy has no choice. He needs a few days to figure out how to bathe their daughter, make school lunches and parent their son one-armed, and there isn’t anyone else he can ask for help.

Former rodeo cowboy West Belen was already on his way back to his kids, and to Trey (“the third”, his nickname for Jeremy). He made a promise to try again, and he means to keep it, so when he sees his chance to move back into his family’s life, he grabs it like the brass ring he knows it is. He’s determined to be more than an “every other weekend” dad to his children, and he doesn’t want to keep on living with regret about how he and Trey ended.

Jeremy still desires West, but he isn’t sure he can trust West to be responsible and available. West still thinks Trey is the hottest thing he’s ever seen, but he has no idea how to convince the man he’s ready to settle down. The two of them have never had trouble butting heads, but now they need to learn to work together to make a home for themselves and their kids where they both belong.

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I loved this feel good story about second chances and family. West and Jeremy are both great characters, and I enjoyed them getting to know each other again, being with their kids, and working for their HEA. After reading this one, I went and bought the rest in the authors’ ‘shoe series’.

I liked how West and Jeremy discovered there were things they hadn’t known about each other, and how maturity and hindsight gave them both a different perspective on the past. I thought it was realistic that the reason they’d originally broken up wasn’t just one sided but they’d each had their part to play in it. I loved the family scenes and especially their day to day life with the kids. Both men are great dads, and it shows all the way through the story. I like how they never lost their love for each other, but had found it increasingly difficult to live together especially with West’s chosen profession and everything that comes with that. I liked that the authors didn’t pull any punches about how dangerous rodeo riding is, and that West has injuries that aren’t going to go away.

I loved West’s vocab, and the way he talks. I could hear him in my head as I read the story. I liked how he has shifted his focus onto what’s truly important and towards the future, rather than the past, and that he and Jeremy had to work at not making the same mistakes they had before.

I thought Ava and Lucas felt real, and I liked the way they reacted to West moving back, and how they didn’t just accept there would be a HEA. The temper tantrum was a great reminder of life with a preschooler and everything that entails.

I would have liked to have seen more of Hank as he was in a way the catalyst for getting West and Jeremy back together. He sounded like a great guy, especially with the way he took West under his wing and raised him, being a dad to him in all the ways that count. The family theme in this story isn’t just about West, Jeremy, and their kids, but Hank and his relationship with West, and in turn the younger cowboys West and Jeremy take under their wing. I thought it was bittersweet that Jeremy figures out too late what an important part Hank filled in West’s life, and it also showed how much they hadn’t communicated in their original relationship. And that’s on both sides.

I’m looking forward reading more by these authors.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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