D.R. Graham
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Release Date
April 2015
Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Western Romance

Cole grabbed my arm. "You don't need to do this. I got myself into this mess. I'll live with the consequences."

I exhaled and slid Shae-Lynn's pink armband over my forearm. I kissed it, then did a prayer before climbing into the chute. "This isn't about you anymore. I got something to prove."

Rodeo is all Billy Ryan and his brother Cole have ever known -- until one deadly wreck changes everything. With their mom requiring full-time care and Cole dealing with his own demons, Billy needs to step up to take care of his family. So he walks away from his future as a champion bull rider. Convincing himself he didn't quit because he lost his nerve...

Barrel racer Shae-Lynn, the sweet good-girl-next-door, grew up with the boys on the rodeo circuit. She's the only person who knows Billy better than he knows himself. She could help him get back in the ring, but there's a limit to how many times she'll watch him make the same mistakes. Especially when it comes to her heart.

When Cole's gambling debts get out of control and the bills at home pile up, Billy has no choice but to enter a winner takes all bull riding event. He needs Shae-Lynn by his side, but that isn't going to happen unless he figures out a way to cowboy up and prove he's good enough for a woman like her.

Intense, emotional and complex, this is Friday Night Lights meets Nicholas Sparks' The Longest Ride... with edge!

Book Review by Fic Central (reviewer)
Feb 13, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
256 people found the following review helpful
Billy Ray and his brother Cole live and breathe rodeo, but after their dad was killed in a rodeo accident, they've had more than their fair share of burdens. After losing their father, they lost the family ranch, and it's all they can do to keep their heads above water. Now they're having to take care of their mother, whose MS is only getting worse, and with Cole's gambling issues and Billy's plans to retire before the rodeo does him in, things aren't exactly looking up. Good girl Shae understands what he's going through, and she'd love to be more than just a sympathetic ear, but she's not sure Billy can be the man she needs him to be.

The Verdict: I'm a sucker for the modern western, but it's not too often I get the chance to read one in the New Adult category, so I was really looking forward to seeing how RANK would play out -- and it was even better than I'd hoped!

Billy and Cole haven't had it easy, but they've partied it up on the rodeo circuit for years, and if there's one group that likes to gossip, it's the group of cowboys and competitors that travel to the same exhibitions on a regular basis. But Shae lost her heart to Billy years ago, and even though she suspects it's hopeless, that old flame still burns. In many ways, Shae is Billy's opposite. She's a regular on the circuit as well, but while Billy and Cole are always finding trouble, Shae's the good girl that Billy's always overlooked in favor of someone flashier, easier, and wilder. When he finally gets his head on straight and really takes notice of her, he's got an uphill battle to get his life under control and be the kind of guy who can commit to Shae and make her happy.

Their relationship isn't your typical romance, and that's what makes their story such a fantastic read. It's a series of ups and downs, misunderstandings and bad decisions, and all the emotions that go along. Instead of coming together and falling in love overnight, they make mistakes, read each other wrong, and fight their feelings when they finally seem to be making sense of things. With all the highs and lows of a romance typical of their age group, Billy and Shae make a mess of things before they finally get their hearts straight.

Through it all, the cast of secondary characters keeps things even more interesting by manufacturing just the kind of drama that always gets in the way of a smooth ride. But just when I expected a scene to fall victim to the type of cliche all too common in romances, things took a more believable turn, with a depth to the characters that accurately reflects real life. Their feelings and hesitations were everything anyone who has survived early adulthood can relate to, and even though their story eventually heads toward happily ever after, it never felt manufactured.

RANK is a refreshingly different adult romance with complex and believably flawed characters, plenty of real life challenges and the mistakes they make facing them, and a raw look at the often gritty world of rodeo. Unlike most of my country-themed favorite reads, this is one book I think will appeal to all contemporary romance fans.
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