Hey guys, we have the brilliant B.A. Tortuga stopping by today with her upcoming Dreamspun Desire release Two Cowboys and a Baby. We have a fantastic guest post from B.A. and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
Two Cowboys and a Baby
A little bundle of joy means big changes.
Hoss McMasters has a working ranch, a bull riding career, a nosy momma, and a best friend he’s been in love with since he can remember. He’s a busy, happy cowboy, living the good life.
Then one morning he discovers a baby on his doorstep.
Well, Hoss does what any reasonable man would do—he calls his momma and his buddy, Sheriff Pooter, and they head to the clinic to see if Doc knows of any suddenly not-so-pregnant girls.
In the meantime, Hoss and his best friend, Bradley, have their hands full trying to care for an infant, run a ranch, and deal with the sudden confession that Bradley doesn’t hate Hoss for coming out to him in high school. In fact, Bradley’s been trying to catch Hoss’s attention for damn near a decade.
BA’s Soul Chocolate!
Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things…well, I love most things, I guess.
One of the things that I love with a fiery passion is tropes.
Seriously, the wilder and more convoluted the better.
Amnesiac biker with the billionaire Greek tycoon? I’m in.
Blind lost heir with a secret baby? Oh yeah.
Mistaken identity marriage of convenience? Preach it.
Bonded mate alien cowboys that are losing the ranch? Don’t dare me.
I eat these happy, wild, wonderful tropes up like they’re mind candy. Seriously, I want to wallow in the wonder that is a happy, wacky romp. I want to weep a little at the threat of darkness, but know that all is well in the end.
This is what I read romance for – I need to feed my soul a bite of chocolate.
OMG, y’all! Y’all! That’s what I’m going to call romance now. BA’s Soul Chocolate!
I like mine chock full o’ nuts, revved up with some coffee beans, and with a healthy dose of salted caramel.
I just had a blogspiration!
Heee! Okay, so, let’s say you’re into dark chocolate? I’m talking that delicious shit that tastes more like bread than candy? Read Amy Lane.
Then there’s like the Hershey’s kiss, you know? That perfect bite of uhn in all different flavors? Andrew Grey, baby.
Sean Michael is chocolate covered cherries. You know the ones with the stems on the top? Oh yeah.
Tara Lain? She’s like gourmet chocolate, y’all. The fancy shit that you almost – ALMOST – can’t eat because it’s so damn pretty but… NOM.
Damon Suede? Totally rocky road. You get a hit of sweet, a hit of nutty, and totally full of gooey white stuff. innocent grin
My girl, Julia Talbot? She’s a peppermint patty, all the way. Sweet and rich, but she bites and it makes you shiver.
Me? Salted caramel with Texas pecans on top. Something you think you’ll devour in one bite, but it sticks. Just a little.
Enough you come back for me.
Would it be weird to say come give me a nibble?
Much love, y’all.
HOSS MCMASTERS stared at his coffeemaker as if the damn thing was a snake that just bit him. Dirty water dripped from the counter, a sludge of coffee grounds making its own private waterfall on the way to his brand-new ceramic tile. He didn’t ask a hell of a lot from life, really—enough eight-second rides to keep his happy ass in entry fees, decent prices at the cattle auction, a lack of hoof-and-mouth disease, a truck that ran, and a goddamn coffeemaker that delivered a hot pot when he got his ass out of bed at the crack of dawn. That was it.
He glared at the offending Mr. Coffee and considered just picking the evil bitch up and throwing it against the wall. Of course, he’d just painted three months ago and Folgers left a stain, and God knew, Momma would ask him what this coffeepot ever did to him and…. Shit.
He grabbed a towel and started mopping up.
Life just wasn’t fair to cowboys.
He tossed all the grounds into the trash, then grabbed eggs out of the fridge. He turned around to pull the bread out of the bread box and damned near killed himself tripping on Joanie, his Australian shepherd.
“Christ! You need a bell, baby girl.” She’d been mute since birth, something about her vocal cords being crossed or something, and she’d never learned to make a boisterous noise.
She nudged him hard with her nose and went to the back door. Which had a doggie door. “Not time for ball yet, honey.”
She shot him this look that he swore said, “Look, ass hat, go to the fucking back door or I will eat your good boots.”
So he went.
Who was he to argue with the damn dog? She was like Lassie or something. Always telling him what to do.
Hoss opened the door and peered out. “No one here.”
One fuzzy brown eyebrow went up, and Joanie did her pointer impersonation, which was when Hoss caught sight of this… thing on his porch.
Like a basket deal. A plastic yellow basket deal.
A plastic yellow basket deal with a wriggling, not plastic, more-pink-than-yellow critter in it.
Maybe less of a critter than a baby. A wee baby.
“Well, fuck me sideways.”
Joanie just stared.
“Is that a baby?” He leaned down and reached in, and the wail that let out was absolutely 100 percent without a doubt a baby. “Huh.”
He straightened up and looked for a truck. A car. Hell, at this point he’d accept a stork or a cabbage patch on his property, but he had nothing.
“Someone forget a baby?”
The baby screamed.
Joanie sat down and scratched the back of her neck.
Hoss sighed. All this without coffee. He bent down and pulled the soft blanket back, staring at the poor, hungry-looking kid. “Well, honey, we’d best call the sheriff. I can take horses and cows and the occasional donkey, but this has to be illegal.”
Still, the sun couldn’t be good for babies, could it? He reckoned to bring the little thing inside in the shade until someone came to fetch it. Someone official. He wasn’t just going to hand the baby over to any random stranger who came calling like it was a puppy on Craigslist.
Hoss hoisted up the basket, which had another B name he couldn’t remember. Basset? Bassist? The wails stopped, the wee one hiccupping a bit, and his ears thanked all that was holy. “Bassinet? Maybe? Although those may be them things from the cover of Rosemary’s Baby, the devil baby bed. If you’re a devil baby, you oughta know my dog bites.”
Joanie sat down next to the chair he put the basket on and peered into it, wagging gently.
“Yeah, yeah, don’t make me a liar so fast, J.” He dug out his phone. He had the nonemergency number in there, just in case he had to report trespassing or something. Question was, did he have it under S for sheriff, D for Dunny, or P for Pooter?
“Shit. Maybe I ought to call 911.” Was this an emergency? Ah, there. Pooter it was. He dialed the man’s personal cell, figuring that was a good compromise.
“Pooter? It’s Hoss McMasters. I got me a problem, and I don’t know exactly what to do about it.”
“Hey, Hoss. I was about to head to Glenda’s for breakfast. Come on.”
“Well, I’d like to, but you see, someone done left a baby here.”
“A baby what?”
“Like a baby baby. Like a little person with no teeth baby.”
On cue, the baby in question started screaming, and he heard Pooter sucking his teeth. “Well, I’ll be. No shit? Whose baby is it?”
“I ain’t got the foggiest. You got someone who lost one? Maybe thought they’d left one on the wrong porch?”
“No…. Ought you should come on, Hoss, and meet me up to the clinic. Doc Simpson’s on call. He likes babies.”
“Right. Okay, I can do that.” He wasn’t sure what the clinic could do, but the baby did look hungry. “I’ll meet you there in twenty.”
He looked down at the little one and frowned. “Well, now. Let’s go get you dropped off, huh? With someone who knows how to make it better.” He knew what to do for calves and kids and foals, but for human babies? No, Hoss was at a loss there.
Speaking of at a loss…. How the hell was he going to tie this chair into the truck? Maybe he ought to call his momma. She had to know someone with a car seat.
He dialed her number, not wanting to hurt the baby with a bad case of stupid.
“Hey, Little Wyatt, how’s it going?”
Right on cue, the baby started screaming.
“Are you castrating cats? If you are, it’s not a good time to call your momma.”
“Someone left a baby on the porch.” Castrating cats at home wasn’t on his to-do list, dammit.
“Someone left a baby on the porch. I called Pooter. He said take it to Doc Simpson.”
“You mean a human baby?” Her voice rose with disbelief.
“Uh-huh. Like a little young person with no teeth.” Why was this so fucking hard to understand? Was it the he was queer thing? He wasn’t sure Pooter thought on that, even if Momma did.
“Well, shit. I’ll be right there. I’ll grab Krista’s old car seat out of the storage shed. Your Aunt Maybell left it. Do you need diapers?”
“I don’t know! I ain’t undressing it!” What if someone thought he’d hurt the little thing?
“Wyatt Earp McMasters the Third. You see if that baby is wet. And if it’s a boy or a girl. I will be there in ten.”
Oh man. Oh man. “Uh. Momma says I should see if you’re wet.” Obviously that needed a wet rag and a dry rag and…. “Did they leave you with anything? Diapers or a bottle?”
He leaned toward the basket and reached for the baby, who reached right back, its face just beet red.
“You are not happy, huh? I don’t blame you. It would totally piss me off to be dumped on some random cowboy. I mean, seriously.”
He hoisted… her? She was dressed in pink under the yellow blanket, so he would guess so. Hoss pulled her up and cradled her against his shoulder.
She sobbed, and the sound just got to him, made him frown. “Oh, baby girl. I know. We’ll get you to the clinic, and then Pooter will find your momma.”
God knew she needed to eat, and her butt was wet as a dishrag. God love her, he hoped his momma brought diapers.
Maybe he could use one of the soft dishtowels. Not to feed her, to cover her bits. Just to get her dry. All that wet could cause a rash, right? Damn, her little outfit had to be clammy too.
“Okay, darlin’. Let’s get you all warm and dry.”
He had towels. He’d just put the yucky clothes in a… oh, a Ziploc bag! That would preserve hairs and shit from the mom, and then Pooter could… do CSI stuff between breakfast and his coffee run….
“You poor thing.”
She’d stopped screaming and was chewing her baby fist, staring at him as he talked to her. His voice seemed to calm her, so he muttered on.
He cleaned her up and wrapped her bottom half up in a dishtowel and a gallon Ziploc baggie, then used a soft T-shirt wrapped around the rest of her.
That would do ’til Momma showed up.
Her little mouth made sucking motions, and he thought about what he could… maybe another cloth dipped in a little milk. He had half-and-half. Did that count?
He had nipples for the calves, the goats, but her mouth was way smaller. He hadn’t had to bottle-feed a dog in a long, long time, so those would be dry-rotted. Oh, he had the droppers somewhere, from when he fed those baby rabbits.
“Let’s go look in the mudroom, little one.” He bounced her just a little when he walked her to the mudroom, and the crunch of his mom’s tires on gravel sounded outside. Hallelujah. “Ah, there’s our savior. Savioress? Saviorette? There’s my momma. She’s a champ, and she loves babies.”
“Son? Little Wyatt? You in here?”
“Can’t you call me Trey like Daddy does, Momma?” He walked back into the kitchen and held out the baby.
“Is that a baggie? Good Lord, boy, are you stupid?” She took the wee thing and tucked her into her arm like a champ.
“Well, the last time I needed a diaper….”
“Do not talk back to me, young man.”
“I’m not. I wasn’t.” He rolled his eyes. “She was so wet.”
“She, huh? What’s her name?”
“There wasn’t a note or nothing. Just this basket and a baby.” Wasn’t there supposed to be a “Kind stranger, please care for my young one. Asshole mother” note pinned to the baby’s front?
“She’s the spitting image of you when you were wee.”
“All babies look alike, Momma.”
“They do not.” His momma took the baby back to the kitchen table. “Get that bag I brought out of the truck?”
“Sure. I don’t suppose you brought coffee?”
“Nevermind.” He just needed to figure out what the hell happened to his coffeemaker. He brought the flowerdy shopping bag over and handed it to her.
Momma popped the baby’s diaper on, then dressed her in a union suit–looking thing that was way too big for her. “I have a car seat, but we should take your truck. Mine is full of shit for the rummage sale.”
“Sure. Come on. She probably needs to eat and get checked out.”
“She does.” Momma pursed her lips. “Oh, who would do this? And why you?”
“You mean you didn’t have it hired done?” he teased, knowing better. He just shrugged and shut the door behind him. “I don’t know. I sure didn’t hear nothin’, you know? Joanie’s the one that let me know.”
“Huh.” Momma led the way outside. “Get that car seat out of my truck.”
“Yes, Momma.” Bossy wonderful old woman. Hoss grabbed an older car seat from the bed of her truck before buckling it into the backseat of his king cab. “I’ll grab some towels. This is too big for her.”
“Good deal. Make sure you grab your wallet and your phone charger.”
Momma looked at him like he was a newborn fool. “In case it takes a while?”
“I’m just dropping her off, Momma.”
“We are not going to just leave this poor baby with social services.” Momma’s chin set.
“Will we even have a choice?” Weren’t there laws or something?
“We will if I have anything to say about it. Pooter is terrified of me. Now, come on!”
“Yes, Momma. Okay. Sure.” Get the car seat and his damn car charger. He had his wallet. Did he have boots? He glanced down. No. He had slippers. “Be right back.”
On the way inside, he grabbed his phone and dialed his best buddy, Bradley Germaine.
“Yo, buddy. S’up?”
“Hey, Bradley. Can you feed for me this morning?” He tugged one boot on, hopping as he went.
“Sure. You okay?” Bradley sounded worried.
“Someone left a baby on the porch.” He kept saying that, and it kept not making sense.
“What? What kind of baby?”
“A girl one.”
“No, I mean, what species. Dork.”
“People. Someone left her on the porch like a damn package.”
“No shit?” Now Bradley was working up a good mad. “Jesus, what kind of asshole does that?”
“You got me. I called Pooter and Momma.”
“Did you get lost in there, boy?”
“Be right there, dammit!” God, he was trying, but it was hard to get the boot on and talk on the phone.
“Don’t you cuss at me!” His momma could shout.
“I’ll feed. You need some help, man? At the clinic?”
“I… shit, I don’t know. I ain’t never had this happen before, have you?” Lord knew Bradley’d fucked more women than he had, given that his number was none.
“No. I mean, I had more chance of it, once upon a time.”
Yeah, Bradley had been on a long dry spell.
“Well, this is the first—and last, please God—baby that’ll be dropped off like this. It ain’t nice.”
“No. No, it’s not. I’ll come feed, then maybe meet you for lunch if you’re done in town?” Bradley asked.
“Sounds good. I’ll holler after a bit.”
“Cool. Take pictures so I can see the baby,” Bradley said before he hung up.
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.
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