Rebel CowboyTitle:  Rebel Cowboy
Series:  Big Sky Cowboys #1
Author:  Nicole Helm
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Cowboy Romance (modern), Sports Romance
Published:  January 5, 2016
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
My Rating:  4 stars
Source:  NetGalley
Cover Description:

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.

Read on for my thoughts on Rebel Cowboy.  No true spoilers, promise.

There are times when life just suck.s  No way around that fact, but the strong accept it, gather their courage and strength and deal… until life doesn’t suck anymore but is actually a joy to live.

That’s pretty much where Dan and Mel are at the beginning of Rebel Cowboy.  While Mel might have dreamed of taking on the family ranch one day, it certainly wasn’t under these circumstances with her father paralyzed from a fall and her brother more interested in the bottom of a bottle than the ranch.  A ranch that was leaking money like an overfilled sieve.  So when the fancy, professional hockey player decided he wanted to play cowboy for awhile and offered the much needed cash Mel desperately wished for to keep her own ranch running – she jumped on the three month consult.  Yeah, teach a city boy to ranch in three months – but, hey it was his money and she’d gladly take it.

Dan’s professional hockey career was pretty much done.  With the love he had for the game, how could a couple of bad losses turn into the accusations of cheating, like he’d ever throw a game – it simply wasn’t in him.  But rumor has destroyed many a career and Dan simply wanted out – maybe for a while, maybe for good.  Right now he needed to distract himself with hard, mind-numbing work and his grandparent’s rundown ranch seemed like the perfect fit.  Of course, he’d need some instructions but he was a fast learner.

The very last thing he expected “Mel” to look like was this fiery, standoffish, testy beauty in front of him.  But if she could teach him the basics on running this ranch, so be it.  Seems the cowgirl didn’t like the decision he’d made to turn cowboy – but that was her problem… unless he made it his, too.

While I enjoyed Rebel Cowboy, I gotta admit that 90% of the time, Mel was extremely hard to like, let along relate to.  I get that she had a lot on her shoulders and preconceived ideas about Dan..but come on girl, lighten up a bit.  I loved Dan and his interest in and initial reactions to his “mystery llama” and his decision to turn his place into a llama ranch.  It’s different, entertaining and I have to say the llama’s did add some comic moments.

Not every romance is going to run smoothly, and that certainly was the case for Mel and Dan.  But, if you hang in there with them, let them find their feet and start to weave their spell around your reading heart – you may find, like I did, that their romance couldn’t have happened any other way.  Personalities are odd things, but what’s beneath at the core is what is important in any person.  When Dan and Mel let each other see the real them, maybe exposed a bit of weakness then they became more human and more likable.

The first story in a series is always the deciding factor for me in continuing with the whole thing.  Rebel Cowboy was a good kickoff to the Big Sky Cowboys series and I’ll continue it and see where it takes me.

*I received an e-ARC of Rebel Cowboy from the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

Available in Paperback and for the Kindle