Review: Rodeo Rebel by Debra Kayn



Title: Rodeo Rebel

Author:  Debra Kayn

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

When widower and land baron Cole Reardon acquired the Turner Grain Corporation, he didn’t know the company sponsored a bull rider. He refuses to support thrill-seekers dumb enough to get on the back of a crazed animal. He’s not willing to risk his fortune and livelihood when he has his daughter’s well-being to consider. Not even when the bull rider is the sexiest woman he’s ever seen.

Bull rider Florentine McDougal plans to turn pro after the season championship, fulfilling her lifelong dream of succeeding in a man’s world. That is, until Cole Reardon shows up and threatens to break his sponsorship contract with her. Now everything she’s worked for is less than eight seconds away from being destroyed.

Cole distracts Florentine with his sexy mouth and unreasonable demands, and he’s not going to compromise his integrity. But she’s not going to let him loose until she has pro status. And neither will come away from this dust-up unscathed.


This was a fun read because of the role reversals.  Cole, a widower, has withdrawn from risk after his wife dies in a tragic accident.  He doesn’t condone dangerous behavior in any form, and he shelters his young daughter from all possible harm.  When he purchases Turner Grain Corporation, he is appalled to discover that he is now the unhappy sponsor of a bull rider.  A female bull rider at that!  Determined to buy out her contract, Cole and Florentine shoot sparks from their very first encounter.  He doesn’t want to send a message to Sarah, his daughter, that he supports stupid, dangerous behavior.  Little does he know that he’s met his match in Florentine.

Florentine is just as determined to make it in the male world of bull riding.  She wants to make it to the top, so she can mentor disadvantaged girls, proving to them that anything is possible with the right attitude.  When handsome Cole shows up demanding that she release him from her contract, she gets a major bug up her butt.   Cole grated on both my nerves and Florentine’s with his unwillingness to see her side of things.  While I don’t think that trying to ride a large, pissed off beast is very intelligent, I had to at least give her props for sticking to her guns and going after what she wanted.  I would have been more comfortable with her career choice had she donned proper safety gear, you know, a helmet  and a face mask, but then she probably wouldn’t have suffered from a concussion, which set up their courtship at Florentine’s family’s ranch.

While I would have liked more time on the rodeo circuit, I did enjoy meeting the McDougal clan.  Florentine comes from a large family, and they exert a great deal of influence over their small town.  Florentine developed her desire to help others while growing up on the large cattle ranch and watching her father give generously of his time and money.  I liked this.  Everyone was nice; there are no douchebags in Rodeo Rebel, no real bad guys to get ticked off at.  Instead, you have a family that cares for each other, and an emotionally remote, seriously uptight dude who doesn’t know what’s just hit him.  Cole is extremely slow on the uptake, and that frustrated me about him.  He is so afraid of taking chances that he is willing walk away from Florentine and the chemistry zinging between them.

This is a quick, fun read.  I loved Florentine’s drive and her ability to embrace risk – both emotional and physical. Cole needed a kick in the pants to re-engage with life, and Florentine gave it to him.  While I have some concerns that he will remain a fuddy duddy,  I am confident that Florentine will quickly set him straight again.

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

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Review: Wish by Kelly Hunter


Title: Wish (Novella)

Author: Kelly Hunter

Publisher: Kelly Hunter

ISBN: B00600ZZ86


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

All single mother Billie Temple wants for Christmas is to trade her hectic Sydney lifestyle for simple country living and a place to call home.

All widowed cattleman Adam Kincaid wants is for Billie and her son to go away.
Santa’s got a problem.


I loved Kelly Hunter’s The Man She Loves to Hate, so I was exciting to learn that she self-published a novella.  I didn’t even sample it before I plunked down my hard earned $1.50, either, which I never do when I am buying books for my Kindle.  I love the ability to preview a story before I commit myself to buying it, but because I loved the author’s Harlequin so much, I skipped the exploratory stage.  I was going into this story with both guns locked and loaded!  I was happy with the results.

Billie Temple has tried to make a happy life for her son Cal, and when she is given the opportunity to move away from Sydney to the country, she jumps at the chance.  She doesn’t like having Cal live above the bar she manages in the city, so when she is offered a chance to manage a bar in safer surroundings, it’s like the answer to her prayers.  Until she meets Adam Kincaid, the gruff rancher who owns the small house she’s renting.  Adam thought that Billie was a man, and he’s not happy to learn that she’s a woman, and that she’s got a young boy in tow.  It’s not safe in country.  There are snakes, storms, and frequent power outages.  Too bad for Adam that Billie is every bit as stubborn as he is, and she refuses to be chased away from her new home.

I liked this short, compelling romance about two people finding a second chance at love.  Both Adam and Billie have had to deal with the death of their partners, and neither one of them is looking for another relationship.  Billie has Cal to deal with, and Adam is still fighting the ghosts of his late wife and child.  Second chances at finding happiness is one of my favorite romance tropes, and I thought this one was done well enough that my not so favorite romance trope – friends with benefits- didn’t bother me all that much.  I didn’t totally buy into Billie going along with that, either, because she has been so cautious with her child-rearing. She has done everything in her power to keep Cal shielded from the more unpleasant and more unsavory aspects of life, so it didn’t ring entirely true that she would risk so much by having no-strings attached sex with Adam.  Even if he is as sexy as sin.

One thing that I did find occasionally distracting was the use of Australian slang.  I mentioned on GoodReads that I had no idea what a chook was until I read Wish, and I don’t commonly hear trucks being referred to as utes.  There were several sentences that drew me up short, because the language sounded so strange to my American ears.  Since I don’t read many books that haven’t already had a once over by US editors, I found this interesting, though sometimes it slowed my reading because I had to re-read a passage here and there to understand the odd to my ears language.

Wish is a short, sexy read, and I’m looking forward to reading more of Kelly Hunter’s books.  She’s an auto-buy now, whether the book is self-pubbed or not.  This was a fun experiment for me, because it proved again that novellas, which I have previously dismissed, can offer a compelling, well-developed reading experience.

Grade: B

Review copy purchased from Amazon

The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge