Rocky Mountain Angel

Rocky Mountain Angel - Vivian Arend Thirty years ago four sons split an inherited spread in the majestic foothills of the Canadian Rockies. The people of small town Rocky Mountain House have given each family of ranchers a nickname: Angel, Whiskey Creek, Six Pack and Moonshine.

Gabe Coleman has a lot on his plate. The family ranch is in financial trouble and his old man is a miserable cuss with a chip on his shoulder the size of Mt. Everest and he won’t listen to son’s ideas to revitalize the farm. Then Allison Parker one of his high school classmates comes galloping into his life (literally) with a harebrained idea about becoming his fake fiancé. You see Allison found out from a close friend that her mother is dying of cancer. Allison’s mom made her friend swear she wouldn’t tell her two daughters and son. Allison loved her job and life in Red Deer, Alberta and had no intention of returning home to Rocky Mountain House, her mother knew this so would be suspicious as to why she suddenly decided to return home and work in the family restaurant. Allison approached Gabe with the fiancé plan because she knew of his desire to nurture and develop organic farming on the Angel Coleman land and she is an authority on the discipline with many connections in the business. Allison presents Gabe with an offer he can’t refuse.

Gabe built a log cabin that he owns free and clear on the Angel Coleman land. Living separate from the main house offers him independence and contact with his father is kept to a minimum. In addition, Gabe’s younger brother Rafe is able to stay over for a reprieve from what is a difficult home life. Gabe and Rafe’s mother is kind and sweet but it is Ben, their father who makes all their lives hell.

In Gabe, Vivian Arend develops a quintessential cowboy; he loves and is one with the land and certainly has alpha traits but I also saw beta qualities too. He has suffered a number of hard knocks and one particularly devastating loss that colored his life and formed his character. He is extremely kind, responsible and he demonstrates patience and maturity in dealing with his extended family. Gabe is the go-too guy when help is needed; he has a heart of gold, but it’s been broken and crushed. Gabe keeps a well of guilt and grief locked inside that gives him an enticing vulnerability. That said he shows strength and restraint when standing up to Ben. I felt I knew Gabe very well demonstrating how well fleshed-out this hero’s character is.

Allison and her family suffered during and after their father passed following a protracted illness. She is therefore not only dealing with the shock and grief of dealing with her mother’s diagnosis but, is fearful regarding her sibling’s reaction to the news. Allison is an intelligent career woman but a country girl at heart. She soon realizes that she likes being home, seeing her mother deteriorate is painful but the small town life and working in the family business again grows on her. The other person who grows on her is Gabe (he’d grow on me too).

I loved the way Allison and Gabe’s relationship progresses. To make things seem sincere to their families, Allison moves into Gabe’s cabin. They don’t share a bed initially but they establish a close friendship, which grows as does their sexual attraction and chemistry. There is spontaneity to their initial intimacy, both need comfort and a release but their emotional attachment is realistic and special. This series is an erotic romance so there is explicit sexuality and some outdoor, um mud-play. lol

The Coleman’s know how to have a good time, which means a weekly family gathering at the local watering hole for drinks, gossip and shenanigans. There is a subplot involving tough guy Travis of the Six Pack Coleman’s who likes to find more than his fair share of trouble. Gabe is the one who is there to watch out for him and try to give guidance. And those naughty twins are coming to grips with their own emotional and personal growth issues. Arend introduces new Coleman gals whose stories I’m looking forward to reading.

Rocky Mountain Angel is an extremely poignant relationship driven novel that embraces themes of parental neglect and abuse, family dysfunction and grief following the loss of a beloved family member. You can feel the wind in your face while enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the setting which this author describes so vividly. This one is the more emotional of the Six Pack Ranch novels to date. What stood out for me and made it a five-star read was Gabe and Allison’s devotion to their family and to each other, you can’t help but want them be together. Rocky Mountain Angel is a tear-jerker for more reasons than one but it’s also a wonderful, memorable read.