The Rebellious Rancher
by Kate Pearce
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Book #3 in the Millers of Morgan Valley series
Number of pages: 352
Source: ARC from Net Galley
Contemporary Romance/Western M/F
After his father decides to leave the ranch to his older brother, usually calm, steadfast Ben Miller struggles to deal with his resentment. When he’s invited to develop a trail riding experience on the Morgans’ dude ranch, Ben jumps at the chance. Soon he’s assigned a mysterious client, an actress whose family secretly wants her removed from influences in LA. Ben’s determined to teach her to fend for herself. But he quickly discovers she’s more than a pampered pretty face . . .
Silver Meadow believes she’s preparing for a serious dramatic role—one that will free her from her controlling parents. She’s certainly not going to be controlled by Ben, especially when he takes her out in the middle of nowhere to learn how to survive. Yet gradually, far from her cell phone, Silver begins to open up to him about her life—and finds they have more in common than they thought. Soon a romance blossoms—but can a jet-setting movie star and a homebody cowboy find the best of both worlds?
Kate Pearce is one of those authors whose stories I covet. That may not be the right word. Close but not quite. It’s the one stuck in my head so I can’t really think of any other words right now. You know how that is, right? Anyway, you know when you find a television show that you love and you end up putting off watching the last few episodes because you just don’t want it to end? Well, I’ve had an eArc of this book for months. Months! While I wanted to read it closer to the publication day, and I had tons of other books to read, there was still something in me putting off reading this story. Not because I didn’t want to read it, but because I knew I’d get sucked into the world of Morgan Valley and not want to climb out. I didn’t want to start the book because I already didn’t want it to end. (And I was right, I read this story in one go on a rainy Sunday afternoon.) I haven’t read anything other than the Morgan Ranch series and the Millers of Morgan Valley series by this author and I’ll have to change that soon. These stories bring me so much joy and fill me with warm-fuzzies every time.
If it’s not obvious from the above paragraph, I loved this story. Ben and Silver bring out the best in one another. Silver had a tendency to slip into the rich, privileged, spoiled role a bit too easily the first couple of days she’s with Ben. But his reaction, or non-reaction, had a humbling effect on Silver and made her realize how different her life was from most of the rest of the world. Not that she was blind to her privilege and all its trappings. Sometimes when you’re right in the middle of it all and it is how your day to day life is, it’s easy to forget how lucky you really are. So, while I was quite prepared to have some dislike for Silver, she always redeemed herself. And generally, almost immediately. The author did a wonderful job of making a character who could have easily ended up an unlikable caricature into a truly well-liked character instead.
Romance often uses lack of communication between its characters as a device to move the story in certain directions. One of the great things about this story is the honesty these two tried to have with each other. Almost every single misunderstanding that happened with Ben and Silver had to do with outside forces. Other people telling them half-truths and leading them in the wrong direction. Their connection was strong enough that, even when they would huff off in their own direction, they knew it couldn’t be the end. Sure, they did enough to self-sabotage. But they had a lot of help from people who had their best interests at heart but were very misguided.
Jeff Miller, Ben’s dad, always seems to somehow come through for his kids by the end of their stories. And even his mom is slowly trying to pull herself out of the whole she put herself into 20 years ago. Yet I still cannot forgive either of them. Being nice and helping things along once in a while does not give anyone, even a person’s father, the right to be a jerk the other 95% of the time. We find out that Ben’s mom did something important for him in the past. That’s great. But it was her being a mom, not being some sort of altruistic stranger. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over these two. There are couple of Miller boys still waiting for their HEAs, so we’ll see.
Speaking of families, I wouldn’t be averse to Silver’s siblings getting HEAs, too. I love how they banded together and stuck up for each other. And I still want to know what Aaron’s birth name is!
** I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in my review are my own and given freely. **