Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy Online: Amazon ♥ Barnes & Noble ♥ Kobo
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
First in a new series about a struggling Montana ranch, a woman determined to save her family, and the NHL-star-turned-cowboy who makes it all possible.
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…
Mel Shaw has been the backbone of her family for so long and is at the end of her rope. With a ranch that needs a lot of work and money, an undependable brother and a father that has checked out, Mel is fighting an uphill battle to keep their ranch afloat and the fee being offered for consulting with a newbie rancher might just be what she needs to do so.
The only thing Dan Sharpe has always been able to commit to is hockey and after two game losses and whispers of cheating, Dan retreats to his grandparents’ ranch in Montana to regroup. Completely out of his element, he hires Mel Shaw as a ranch consultant to help him get the ranch back to life but Mel does not think that a wealthy professional athlete like Dan has it in him to stick it out and their differences of opinion form the core of their abrasive interactions.
I love the cover and the premise of REBEL COWBOY but it started out really slow and took a while for me to get into the story. The constant sniping between Dan and Mel didn’t really help, but the story picked up steam at some point and became very engaging. Mel was very rigid and no-nonsense and while I didn’t like it, it fit her circumstances. She’s given up her life for the ranch and her family and locked down her emotions so tight that it would take very little to break her. Dan on the other hand, runs when things get too hard but when he’s committed to a course, he’s unshakable. His grandparents’ ranch is important to him and he’s determined to make it a success not just for his grandparents but also for himself, especially as he realizes that he loves being in Montana, he enjoys the challenge the ranch provides him and he’s ready to walk away from his hockey career. How can two people who want very different things find common ground?
The characters snuck up on me and grabbed my heart. Mel was really softhearted but repeated emotional hits had formed a hard shell around her heart and made her distrusting; Dan’s patience was just what she needed to open up and take a chance on love again. Dan really was sweet and saw Mel very clearly. I love that he was determined to stick it out when it came to Mel and the ranch. His change from the clueless and entitled athlete to committed rancher was heartwarming and sometimes funny.
REBEL COWBOY was sometimes sad and very emotional but enjoyable; with a very sweet hero, a prickly heroine, and some very funny moments. Can anyone say Llama ranch? I think this is a great start to the series and I’m looking forward to the next book.