Title: Rebel Cowboy
Author: Nicole Helm
Series: Big Sky Cowboys #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: Jan 5th
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…
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
I wasn’t sure about this book at first. Mel is prickly and has a definite chip on her shoulder about her ranch and her responsibilities and the irritations of people not taking things seriously because they have too much money, while Dan seems too easy going and as if he doesn’t care too much about anything outside of hockey.
However, I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. Mel remains prickly throughout and there were times when I struggled to like her. In fact there are times when she’s just mean and others where she’s plain cruel. I don’t care that she’s afraid, she’s nasty, and there were plenty of times I wanted her to stop talking. Yes she has her reasons, some of them very good, but that didn’t excuse all of her behaviour.
Thank goodness for Dan. What a surprising sweetheart he turned out to be. He may start out childish and a bit annoying, but boy does he grow up throughout this book. I would have liked to have known a little bit more about what he went through as a child (often referred to, never fully explained), but he’s much more complicated than I expected and also really lovely. I was a little sad about how some things were resolved for him, but they made sense within the story. I just wanted him to triumph over everything, and the way he was with Mel was pretty cute.
There’s also a llama. I grew really fond of Mystery Llama. I just wish it hadn’t practically vanished after it served its narrative purpose – it might also have been nice to have known what sex it actually was, since it’s referred to as both he and she throughout.
Overall I enjoyed this. Dan was the best thing in it for me, but things with Mel’s family are certainly interesting and I’d love to know what will happen next there. If you like a country girl/city boy type tale, then this definitely ticks those boxes, but it also brings a sweet romance and a good guy pitting his wits against a strong (and not always nice) woman. There’s plenty of antagonistic banter and surprising moments of support, not to mention a mystery llama. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next one.
Rebel Cowboy is out January 5th!
Visit Nicole Helm for more details.