Book Review – Tending Tyler by Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga

Lone Star #1
Publisher: Tygerseye Publishing
Pages: 228
Characters: Tyler/Matthew
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary, Series

Bartender, Tyler McKeehan, feels like his whole life is on hold. All he does is work and sleep, because he just doesn’t know how to move on with his day to day after the shocking loss of his best friend. When he meets Matt at Les’s Bar where he works in New York, though, he thinks he might have found someone who can nudge him out of his rut. The cowboy seems to live on fast forward, but at the same time, this kind, generous man makes Tyler feel wanted and safe.

Ranch owner, Matthew Whitehead, is just in New York for a visit. But when he runs into Tyler at Les’s Bar, he can tell right away that Tyler is special. Matt’s family thinks he makes snap decisions, and they worry about him, but he knows what he wants, and even after just a few days, he’s willing to fight to keep Tyler in his life. When Matt has to head back to Texas, he tells Tyler to come visit him and meet his kids. Soon.

Tyler doesn’t know if he can just pick up and go to Texas, but he misses Matt’s affection and calming presence, so when life gets too overwhelming, he makes the call. Between Matt’s huge, boisterous family, his children, his busy ranch, and the vast differences between New York City and Texas, Tyler wonders if he should go back to his old life every day. Matt is determined to keep Tyler right where he is, but can they overcome the odds against them and make a new life together?

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This story has all the feels, and I loved it. I was drawn into Tyler and Matt’s story immediately and couldn’t put it down. It’s a lovely mix of romance, family, with a touch of drama, action, and angst. My first thought when I finished reading was “wow, that was such a good story,” and I’m very happy this is the first of a new series, as I’m looking forward to more.

Matthew and Tyler were already sweet together by the time they had their first lunch date. Their connection feels very real, and I liked that although their relationship moved very fast, they still took the time to connect on an emotional and conversational level. Seeing how Matt’s life is, I could understand why he moved so fast as it’s how he lives, and with losing his wife, that brings home how important it is to grab what you want and go for it. I loved how different he and Tyler are, yet how Tyler fits into Matt’s life on the ranch so quickly, despite his fear that Matt’s family will think he can do better. I loved how, after all the angst, Tyler and Matt are honest with each other, and talk through their fears, rather than giving into letting it drive them apart.

This is very much a story about family, and found family. I loved the scenes with Matt’s daughters, and the way they accept Tyler is very sweet and heartfelt. The supporting cast are an interesting bunch, and I loved how they are all look out for each other. The banter is great.

The action drama part of the story is well written, and had me turning pages to make sure everyone would be okay. I loved the epilogue, and hope to catch up with these guys again in the rest of the series.

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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