Cover Image: Breakaway Cowboy

Breakaway Cowboy

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Member Reviews

This is a Cowboy Romance, and this is the first book in the High Country Hawkes series. I really loved the characters, and I really loved the horses in this book. This book was not as steamy and hot as most other Harlequin Desire books I have read. I would not call this book hot and steamy at all. I did really love the connection the two main characters had, and I loved the storyline. I could not put this book down, and I read it in one setting because I was so pulled into the storyline

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Complicated Family Expectations & Romance!!

The Hawkes family has ranched in Colorado for seven generations. Expectations have driven Dallas to the rodeo circuit, but now he is recovering from an injury.

When Sierra loses her boyfriend, housing and job all in the same moment of dumping her cheating boyfriend, her college roomie McKinney Hawkes invites her to the ranch. Double duty; she gets a place to stay and regroup - and she can use her skills as a wellness coach to assist Dallas.

But Dallas would not accept help - so she plays the role of ranch hand while working to get close to him.

Of course Sierra has zero experience which initially angers Dallas. Older horse Cedric gains the benefits from Sierra’s massage and care. A willingness to continue low level chores and opening up to her recent past bring her closer to Dallas.

Emotional, history-laden, romantic, and good friends all come together to provide a terrific story.

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Breakaway Cowboy begins the High Country Hawkes series with an emotionally intense romance between one cowboy who seems to have hit rock-bottom in some important parts of his life and a woman who has just had her life upended by a man who was supposed to love her forever. Country man, city woman – so many reasons why this couple should not work, yet they’re about to prove that notion completely wrong.

Just when I’d thought that I had already met the grumpiest, stubbornest, most bull-headed cowboy this month… along comes Dallas Hawke to prove me wrong. If you looked up stubborn in the dictionary, you’d find Dallas Hawke’s name… in bold print. *grin*

Dallas is back home, the last place he wants to be with a bad shoulder injury, the kind that ends a rodeo career faster than growing too old. He’s grumpy, denying that this injury will make him pick a different kind of life and barking out at anyone who dares to cross his path with unwanted advice. This is one reason why his sister didn’t come clean about inviting her friend, Sierra, a wellness coach, to the ranch to help him deal with it all… because Dallas would have refused to even meet her, let alone allow her to help. But the convoluted tale these friends did come up with has holes large enough to drive a herd through – fortunately, no one is paying close attention… yet.

Breakaway Cowboy easily drew me into the lives of the Hawke family in this introductory story. There are reasons why Dallas hates being at the ranch. We get hints throughout, but the final definition of those fears comes near the end of this story. Add to that reluctance you have an injured man who doesn’t really know what to do with himself if he can’t rodeo anymore. He’s hurting, not willing to admit it, and being a grump is so much easier than dealing with any of that, it seems. Sierra’s trying so hard to help Dallas in a roundabout way, but since she and her friend have lied so much about exactly who she is and what she professionally does… well, there’s only so much she can try to do except wait him out, get him to trust her just enough to give him some encouragement, some ways to help himself. Unfortunately, she and Dallas’ sister wait too long before telling the truth.

If you love a well-written romance full of emotions, good intentions, cowboys, and friends who try to help a situation, then you’d enjoy Breakaway Cowboy. I loved this couple, but they are almost equally stubborn, and it shows. I look forward to continuing the series because these are some seriously stubborn siblings.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own – good, bad, or indifferent.*

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This is a Cowboy Romance, and this is the first book in the High Country Hawkes series. I really loved the characters, and I really loved the horses in this book. This book was not as steamy and hot as most other Harlequin Desire books I have read. I would not call this book hot and steamy at all. I did really love the connection the two main characters had, and I loved the storyline. I could not put this book down, and I read it in one setting because I was so pulled into the storyline. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Harlequin Desire) or author (Barbara Dunlop) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

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This is the 1st book in the “High Country Hawkes Series” and the 1st time I have read a book by this author I will most definitely be reading more books by Barbara Dunlop. I am a big fan of cowboys and just like Sierra I know nothing about that life I just enjoy reading about cowboy romance. If it wasn’t for “Murphy Laws” Sierra wouldn’t have any luck at all. She has lost her fiancé, home and job all in the same day. Dallas worked on the rodeo circuit and injured himself and finds his self-home on the range recovering. Sierra is a therapist and friends with Dallas’ sister McKinney who gets her to come to the ranch and help brother deal with injury. As Sierra is helping Dallas work thru and accept his injury the two are getting closer and closer and are very much attracted to each other. This is a very enjoyable cowboy romance that I recommend for your reading pleasure.

I received an ARC via NetGalley and HARLEQUIN - Romance (U.S. & Canada), Harlequin Desire Romance and I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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Grumpy injured Colorado cowboy who snarls at the world. Dumped, duped, and unemployed Sierra arrives under duplicity to work on Dallas. I love how all the Hawkes’ sibling names were Texas towns.
The magic between Sierra and Dallas was inevitable and the surly cowboy could saddle my horse any day.
My favorite part was Cedric, the horse, and how attached he became to Sierra. Animals in books can steal some of the show and I liked the parts with Cedric.
Saddle up!

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Barbara Dunlop is a new-to-me author, and Breakaway Cowboy is the first novel in her High Country Hawkes series, and although it was fairly well-written, and a quick, one-sitting read, it wasn't quite my cup of tea, since I found that I didn't love the premise/plot of the novel or particularly like the main characters, so for this reader, it was a just an okay, 2-star read.

The novel opens as Dallas Hawkes, middle son of the family, is home from the rodeo at the huge, 80,000 acre ranch that 6 generations of his family have worked, to recuperate from a bad fall off a bucking bronco that resulted in serious injury to his shoulder. He hasn't been in residence at the ranch for over a decade, preferring to pursue his rodeo career, and he's not at all happy to be there. He's in pain, he's angry, and he's pushing 30, nearing the age when most rodeo cowboys retire--but he's not ready to do that, and he's ignoring doctor's advice that told him his rodeo days were over, but he plans to return to the rodeo circuit as soon as possible. The possible end to his career has made him unreasonable and downright surly.

Sierra Armstrong, has just ended her engagement to her cheating fiance. She lived in his condo, worked at his wellness clinic, and now finds herself alone, homeless and jobless. She's wondering what to do when she gets a phone call from Dallas' younger sister, McKinney, and when Sierra explains her situation, McKinney, her friend since their college days together, thinks she has the answer. She asks Sierra to come to the ranch and help Dallas, but to hide her profession from him, since he doesn't believe in such new-age things, and instead Sierra is to pretend to be a ranch hand trainee, although Sierra hasn't a clue what that means. However, this ruse will give her a place to live, and time to figure out what to do with her life, and Sierra reluctantly agrees to the plan.

To say that Dallas has his doubts about the pretty blonde is putting it mildly--he barely acknowledges her presence, doesn't believe her story, or her lies, and thinks the family should fire her. McKinney and Sierra also lie about the fact that they know each other, lie about why Sierra is there, lie about her previous job, lie about the fact that she never submitted a resume, and lie about the fact that she's there under false pretenses. As a reader, and as a human being, I'm not a fan of lying, so this whole set-up, cooked up by McKinney and agreed to by Sierra, struck me the wrong way. Nor did I particularly appreciate how rude and obnoxious Dallas behaved toward Sierra and everyone else in his family.

Yes, this is a romance novel after all, and yes, eventually Sierra slowly manages to help Dallas recuperate, and yes, their relationship does eventually warm up, but my dislike of the entire subterfuge plot. Dallas' surly rudeness, and Sierra's readiness to run at the first sign that Dallas might be on to her, made this a hard novel to love, and although there's the expected HEA ending, I found that this novel was just a barely okay read.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Sierra Armstrong loses her job, home and fiancé in the same day. Her old college friend calls that day and invites her to the family ranch. Dallas Hawkes is home recovering from his rodeo injury. Sierra is undercover trying to get close to Dallas and get him to see if she can get him back in shape. Dallas thinks she is an intern for the ranch and that she is a nuisance. As they become closer, she offers to massage his shoulder, but it seems they are attracted to each other. Great story

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This is the first book in the High Country Hawkes series. McKinney enlists her therapist friend Sierra to secretly help her brother Dallas with accepting an injury. Ms. Dunlop has created a beautiful place filled with great characters which made this a book I couldn’t put down. If you love a great cowboy love story you won’t regret picking this one up. I can’t wait to go back to Jagged Creek.

Thank you NetGalley, Barbara Dunlop and Harlequin for the ARC of this book which I voluntarily read and reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Publication date: 2/21/2023

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Breakaway Cowboy is a well written romance. I loved the plot and the character dynamics. I recommend this book to readers of romance

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I received an arc from NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

Sierra and her friend McKinney come up with a plan to help fix Dallas but Dallas is dealing with pain and not the most friendly to Sierra when she arrives at the family ranch.

Sierra finally breaks through to Dallas and she helps him with his injured shoulder as well as opening up and being happy.

When Dallas finds out what McKinney and Sierra have been up to he is not happy! Love the ranch and this story, especially Cedric and the bond he firms with Sierra. Great ranch themed read.

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