Title: Outlaw Cowboy
Author: Nicole Helm
Series: Big Sky Cowboys
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: May 3rd
Ever since his father’s accident, Caleb Shaw vowed he’d mend his wild ways, and he means to keep his word. He’s a changed man. A better man. And he knows he should want absolutely nothing to do with his crazy old life…or the maddening temptation that is Delia Rogers.
Because Delia? Is nothing but trouble.
Delia’s been stealing her sisters away from their violent father ever since she was old enough to fight back. But now with the police on her trail and all her bridges burned, there’s nowhere left to run but back into the arms of the one cowboy she knows she shouldn’t need. Caleb has always been too good for her, no matter how bad he claimed to be. Yet when close quarters turn into something more, Delia and Caleb are forced to decide what really matters: mending their reputations or healing their wary hearts…
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
Wow, there’s a lot of hurt in this book. Caleb and Delia are two people who have essentially been written off as “bad”, but what they truly are is hurt. Caleb was just a child when his mother told him he had the devil inside and left, leaving him feeling both responsible for her leaving and that her words were true. Granted, he did plenty for a while to live up to that, but deep down he’s a good guy who doesn’t believe he deserves a chance.
Delia comes from a nasty situation, with an abusive father and several younger sisters that she’s been fighting to save. She’s a good person underneath it all too, but her experiences have made her hard, and she hasn’t been given the chance to do things right or by the book, because life isn’t kind that way. The only good thing in her life is Caleb – he’s the only person who has ever been kind to her, and she can’t trust him because of it.
This is an emotional book, full of conflicted feelings and messy relationships. Caleb wants to be good, but doesn’t recognise when he is, while Delia thinks the only way she can get what she needs is to use Caleb. They both have serious issues and there were times when I really didn’t like the way they treat each other, even though I knew why they did it and from their point of view the reasons were good. It definitely tugged my emotions around throughout – but they’re both well written, complicated characters with a romance that I really wanted to read. Because when they let everything else slide away, the way they see each other is beautiful. Delia not only sees the good in Caleb but can draw it out as well, while he softens her hard edges and wins her trust. I wanted so badly for them to settle down and succeed, even when it seemed impossible.
Beyond these two, there’s also an exploration of wider family, with plenty more pain to go around for other characters. I really liked getting to know more about Summer, the secret sister, and I liked what we saw of Delia’s sisters too – particularly Rose.
In all I enjoyed this one. It’s emotional and the characters are conflicted and difficult throughout, but for me it never slipped over into melodrama and I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I’ll definitely be looking out for the next one – I need to know more about Summer.
Outlaw Cowboy is out May 3rd!
Visit Nicole Helm for more details.