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Cowboy To The Core / Lone Wolf Cowboy
Gold Valley Novels
Maisey Yates

June 18, 2019 / July 30, 2019/ ISBN 9781335504975 / 9781335474643
Western / Romance

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


Cowboy 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?

Reviewed 2019