Book Review – Leading the Blind by BA Tortuga

Roughstock #7
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Pages: 174
Characters: Jason/Bax
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys, Series

You don’t need the use of your eyes to see forever.

After his head injury leaves him blind, professional bull rider Jason Scott can only think of one thing. He desperately needs to win the title in the big leagues of bull riding so he can retire and start a new life—one he can live with his best friend and lover, Andy Baxter.

Andy—or Bax, as his friends call him—wants to keep Jason safe and alive, but he would never ask his man to be less than he is. With the help of their best friends, they start out on a path that will lead them back to the major events and to a deception that might lose them all their jobs.

There’s no way the league officials would let Jason ride if they knew he was blind, so Jason and Bax have to figure out how to get Jason back to the top of the leaderboard without any kind of advantage or cheating being called. Meanwhile, they have to figure out what their new life is going to look like and what they’ll be if they’re not bull riders any longer.

Will they get what they want? Or will the whole thing just be a case of the blind leading the blind?

Reader advisory: This book contains some bull riding-related injuries. There is a brief homophobic slur from a secondary character.

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I loved the premise of this story, with Jason determined to see his bull riding career through to the point he can retire, despite his blindness. It’s a compelling story with its mix of drama, action, romance, and a strong sense of family. This author is one of my go to authors for cowboy stories.

I liked both Jason and Bax, and how they are both dealing with the impact of bull riding on their bodies. I thought the author did a great job in describing not just the physical, but also mental and emotional consequences. I was on the edge of my seat every time Jason got on a bull as the author didn’t shy away from how dangerous a profession it is. I thought it said a lot for Jason’s strength of character and determination that he was able to do that. It would be scary enough to someone who could see. I liked that he was badly injured as he worked towards staying in there—no pun intended—until he was in a position to retire, as it reinforced the risks he was taking.

I thought Jason and Bax’s relationship was sweet, especially with the way Bax looked out for Jason, and how strongly they both worked towards a future together. Figuring out how to move forward when everything is about to change isn’t easy, yet I liked how practical they both were, and how they were fully aware of what they could and couldn’t do.

I think one of the strengths of this story is family and found family. Their friends are far more than that, and the lengths they go to in order to help Jason hide his blindness shows that. I loved Emmy. She’s a force to be reckoned with. The banter is fabulous.

4.5 stars out of 5.

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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