Title: Rebel Cowboy
Author: Nicole Helm
My Rating: A-
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Big Sky Cowboys #1
Main Characters: Mel and Dan
Release Date: January 2016
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
Mel Shaw is determined to keep her family ranch from going under, so she takes on a job helping some city slicker get his old ranch up and running. And if that means being in tight quarters with the hot NHL-star-turned-cowboy? Well, she did say she'd do anything for family.
After leaving his NHL career behind, Dan never expected to find a home on his rundown Montana ranch, but with Mel guiding the way, he finds that and so much more…
This is the first book in a new series set in Montana ranch country. Dan is an NHL hockey player who has choked two years in a row in the NHL playoffs. Choked to the point that he's being accused of cheating and throwing the games. That's not what's happened, but he can't get anyone to believe him. So he's run off to his grandparents ranch in Montana to figure out what he's going to do after hockey, since it's looking more and more likely that his hockey career is over.
There he's hired Mel to come and teach him all things ranching. He isn't expecting Mel to be a female, but Dan is a pretty easy-going guy...he can live with an attractive woman showing him the ropes.
This is an interesting story just because both the characters are so closed off. Mel's issues are more obvious, but as more and more of the story is revealed it becomes obvious that Dan has just as many mental scars and walls as she does. The difference is that he recognizes that and knows that those walls are going to ruin everything between them. Now he just has to convince Mel of that fact. Both the characters go through a huge personal growth arc. I loved that by the end of the story, Dan was so proactive in that growth. He's so freaking good for Mel. He knows she needs him and is willing to push her to realizing that, too. BUT he refuses to let her run him and his feelings over in her efforts to not be hurt.
I liked the story. The writing is really well done. The story flows and the characters are really well developed. It was super easy to read. The hard part was setting it down to do other things when I needed to. I got swept away with it. The setting was amazing. I loved the surprise of the llama's. I loved the peripheral story of the hockey and Dan's family. There was a lot more emphasis placed on Mel's family since they are the basis for the series. I did not see the surprise of Summer coming. And I have to admit, while I'm excited about book #2 coming out, it's going to be hard for me to fall in love with Mel's brother. He is not a nice guy in this story...at all. She kept mention his unknown demons...I'm dying to know those secrets that were going on in the background there. The story is definitely not over.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.