Big Sky River - Linda Lael Miller ARC kindly provided by Harlequin HQN via Net Galley.This is my second Linda Lael Miller book. Both times I've picked up her book thinking that I was getting a cowboy romance...you know, horses, cows, dirty sweaty men with hearts of gold that call the ladies “ma’am.” Well, sigh! It was not to be, either time. The only animals involved were dogs and chickens, and our hero Boone wears a cowboy hat but that’s the only nod to the Midwestern lifestyle of the good ole USA. I was really disappointed, especially because this author is supposed to be some sort of queen of cowboys. Boone is a widower with two young sons that he sent to live with his sister after their mother died. I was pretty horrified with this, as I think it was a pretty selfish act for a father to do, especially because the boys were so young. Their mom dies, and instead of having their dad to be the rock solid person that he should be in their life, they are uprooted from the only home they’ve ever known to go live with someone who can, I suppose, give them a better life. Monetarily, anyways. This story was just as much a novel of Boone’s loss as a love story. The man imposed a form of emotional exile upon himself and has never really dealt with the death of his wife. He basically stuck his head in the sand and just moved forward, day by day. Now he’s finally coming back to reality because his sister can no longer keep his sons for him. Not because he wanted to be with his babies but because he had no other choice. Though he does love his kids, this part of the story just baffled me. I can’t comprehend sending my kids off to live somewhere else, especially at such a vulnerable time. This aspect of the story kept me from really connecting with Boone. I just didn’t really like him all that much, even though he seemed okay otherwise. He’s a soft spoken, easygoing person who finally learns what it means to be a Dad…when he allows the boys back into his home and his heart.Tara is the city slicker girl who moved next door to Boone…incidentally, she moved into his childhood home while he lives in a run down trailer in a yard full of overgrown weeds. Not only did Tara move from New York City after divorcing her rich surgeon husband, but she decided to take up…chicken farming? Well, THAT came out of left field. I mean, who decided to just be a chicken farmer one day? When Tara’s ex husband calls and needs Tara to keep his preteen daughters for awhile, she jumps at the chance. She loves her stepdaughters and her maternal instincts are strong despite the lack of children in her life. Between Tara’s girls and Boone’s boys, she ends up getting a lot of mothering time in. Since the two live next door to each other, they tend to run into each other a lot. For me, most of this story was about each parent dealing with the sudden need to raise kids that they haven’t been around in awhile. Tara and Boone don’t even show a glimmer of interest for nearly seventy five percent of the book. Seriously, not even a glimmer!! !! So this wasn’t so much a romance as it was a story about life in a small town, dealing with death, children, and the myriad stresses that come with both.I know that this author writes a decent story, but it’s just never been what I expected, so far. Not in a good way either. I like having some idea of what I’m reading about and what’s coming up, but I felt pretty lost during this read. The story was enjoyable, the kids were cute, the dogs even cuter. But the romance was seriously lacking, seemingly thrown in during the last forty pages just so the book would fit into the genre. I never felt connected to these two as a couple, and the chemistry and sensuality was almost nonexistent…and in a romance, where’s the plot if there IS no romance?