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The Rebel  - Jessica Bird, J.R. Ward Frances "Frankie" Moorehouse is struggling to keep her B&B above water. Her chef took off, her office ceiling caved in, she's up to her eyes in debt, and guests are lacking due to the bad economy. She runs the place with an iron will and fist. On top of all that, she takes care of her grandmother who has Alzheimers and her sister Joy. Her brother Alex is a professional sailor and off on some big adventure. It seems that the fate of her family (estate) rests solely on her shoulders.

While on his way to check out a prospective site for his restaurant, Nate Walker's car breaks down. Guess where he ends up? When he shows up at the back door, he's welcomed by the sight of the lovely owner fretting over burnt dinner and the prospect of getting chewed out once again by her picky guests. Nate steps in and saves the day by taking charge and salvaging what's left of the burnt chicken. While Frankie is grateful for the save, she's irritated that someone had to bail her out in the first place. Seeing as Nate needs to save money for his restaurant, and the B&B is in dire need of a chef, he talks Frankie into hiring him for the summer. When he starts to show a personal interest in her, her walls immediately go up. He doesn't let that stop him though, even if his ego is in for a good bruising.

I didn't warm up to Frankie at all. I simply didn't like her. Not in the beginning, definitely not in the middle, and at the end, I simply didn't care what she did or said. Her parents death in a boating accident on the lake when she was a little girl still haunts her. The breakup with her fiance a decade ago has left her jaded towards all men of the upper class. Social standings seem too wide an obstacle to overcome. When Nate shows up, she has no idea who he is except that he's a master chef, he doesn't have nice things to say about his family save for his brother Jack, and every heated look he throws her way has her wanting to hightail it out of the room or start an argument with him in an effort to dissuade his interest.

I loved Nate throughout this story. Despite his pedigree, he's a humble man who knows what he wants and goes after it with everything he has. He's captivated by Frankie's tough as nails attitude and smart mouth. While he tries to woo her, he endures his ego taking a major beat down when she pushes him away time and time again.

The story as a whole left me a little underwhelmed, especially after the more exciting story of his brother Jack and Callie in An Irresistible Bachelor. While this story was sweet, I got really frustrated with Frankie's attitude. Quick to jump the gun and make assumptions about Nate almost all the way up until the very end demonstrated a lack of growth on her part. She didn't seem to learn anything from past mistakes. And seriously, who hasn't had a failed relationship before? She takes that one event cloud her judgment to the extreme. As for Nate, his own tragedy was more believable, but he dealt with it when he confided in Frankie. I thought the ending was a little rushed. Though I expected that particular outcome, I won't deny I was hoping for Frankie to be the one to make a sacrifice. I also would have liked a little more background on Nate and what he went through.

I see two more books, one telling Alex's story, and other tells Spike's (WTH?!). We barely even meet Spike in this book except for snippets of phone conversations he has with Nate. I'd rather read about Joy and Gray.