Valley NovelsMaisey Yates
June 18, 2019 / July 30, 2019/ ISBN 9781335504975 / 9781335474643
Western / Romance
by Elise Cooper
to the Core and
Lone Wolf Cowboy by Maisey Yates are the latest in
the “Gold Valley series.” What these novels have
in common, a Yates specialty is showing how individuals make
their own choices and can choose love over being broken. Both
books delve into the lives of the Dalton brothers and how their
father’s imperfection affected them regarding relationships.
Jamie Dodge is the heroine in Cowboy to the Core. She is the
only girl in a male dominated life. During delivery, her mother
dies, leaving Jamie, her brothers, and father to be without
a mother and wife. No one ever made her feel that it was her
fault, but she is guilt ridden. Because of that, she has worked
harder than anyone not to be thought of as poor Jamie, who lost
her mother. Jamie built a real tough outer skin and sky-high
walls around her heart and hides her vulnerability with a streak
of stubbornness that includes a sassy mouth. Feeling she always
had to be “one of the boys,” she tried to ignore
the feelings of loss for not having a female role model.
Deciding it is time to go out on her own, she accepts a job
with Gabe Dalton to take care of his horses. Jamie has been
around cowboys like Gabe her whole life. She won’t be
fooled by his words or ways. She wants this job to prove herself
and to save up to start barrel racing. As long as he listens
to her ideas about the horses and their needs, she thinks their
relationship can be tolerable. As they work side-by-side, rivalry
turns to friendship that turns to a blossoming relationship.
Because of his father’s infidelities and the fact that
his father sold Gabe’s horses out from under him, he is
a very wounded hero. Yet, when around Jamie, his restlessness
seems to be soothed. The story takes readers on a journey with
Jamie and Gabe to see if they can find happiness with each other.
“I wrote each of these characters with a dysfunctional
family. Jamie was raised by her dad and four brothers. My mom
was also raised by a single dad and brothers. I remember my
mom telling me she loved Mary Poppins so much because there
was a woman who had influence over a family. Jamie, although
she is not willing to admit it, is profoundly affected by the
loss of her mom and never wanted to be a burden. I enjoyed writing
that she thinks she is OK but eventually lets herself decide
to have some femininity. There was a lot of emotion in Gabe’s
house as he was growing up, and a lot of it was toxic. His father,
Hank, is so flawed, nice but selfish. He was someone who wanted
to live his life for that moment of happiness and never thought
outside of himself. Gabe was the protector of his mother because
his dad did not do it.”
The other novel, Lone Wolf Cowboy, is in some ways a departure
from the usual Yates’ storyline in that the heroine is
broken. Vanessa Logan is a recovering addict who once had a
miscarriage and now finds herself pregnant, after a one night
stand with Jacob Dalton. He has become a recluse since his friend’s
tragic death, in which Jacob blames himself.
As a former EMT and a wildland firefighter, there’s no
one Jacob Dalton can’t rescue, except himself. While working
one night many years ago, he saved Vanessa’s life during
a medical emergency, and they have never forgotten each other.
But after Vanessa’s return to work as an art therapist
to troubled youths, Jacob feels a strong connection with her.
After finding out that she is pregnant from a lustful night,
he does the right thing and asks her to marry him. The problem
is, will these two people allow their troubles to be put to
pasture, or will they decide to remain isolated.
There is a reference to safe sex. Yates noted, “I think
if the guy doesn’t use a condom assume the girl will get
pregnant. I was told by an author friend of mine that during
the 1980s, this genre never had a conversation of safe sex.
I think compared to other mediums; safe sex is included a lot
in the romance genre. The first time I wrote an accidental pregnancy,
my editor said ‘I don’t know if we can have this
because it is so irresponsible.’ My response, ‘people
do a lot of stupid stuff when it comes to sex.’ When it
comes to sex, there are bad decisions made when it feels good
in the moment. The editor I am working with now didn’t
even blink. Sometimes irresponsible behavior does occur because
as adults, we are not perfect.”
Both these books have very likeable characters that take the
reader on a roller coaster ride with them. Will they allow themselves
to overcome defects and instead have a thriving relationship?