Series & Title: Gold Valley, Book 4: A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas
Author: Maisey Yates
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Bookbub
Publisher: Harlequin: HQN Books
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Western, Romance
ARC Provided By: Harlequin via NetGalley
Reviewed For & Hosted By: TLC Book Tours
It’s Christmas in Gold Valley, and this wounded widower is about to get another shot at love…
Grant Dodge didn’t expect to find a woman sleeping in an abandoned cabin on his family ranch. Or to find her so intriguing. Unlike every other woman in town, McKenna Tate doesn’t know Grant’s a widower. There’s no pity in the looks she gives him. McKenna wants him, and Grant has forgotten what it’s like to feel like a man. A no-strings fling for Christmas might be the kind of holiday cheer Grant needs…
With only a suitcase to her name, McKenna came to Gold Valley to confront her birth father. She didn’t plan to work at the Dodge ranch or fall for the gorgeous cowboy who keeps his heart roped off. But there’s no denying the way their broken pieces fit together. Hope brought her to Gold Valley—but will it be the gift that could finally heal Grant, and McKenna’s own wounded heart?
Also includes a bonus Gold Valley novella, Snowed in with the Cowboy!
McKenna longs for a family, something she hasn't had since she was a toddler when her mother gave her up and she was placed in foster care. Aged out of the system at eighteen, she spends nearly a decade hoping against hope that someone was out there that she could indeed call family. When information about a man who might possibly be her father comes her way, she grabs her suitcase and heads for Gold Valley.
Grant is out of hope. He's out of longing. He's...out. The losses he's suffered have made him distant and ornery, not really a good place to be for someone so young who has so much life going on around him. But loss is loss, and grief is grief. Doesn't mean he gets to be annoyingly contemptible.
Discovering McKenna was a surprise. Training her on his family ranch was ground-breaking. Engaging with another human on a civil level was amusing. But McKenna wasn't just a match to his cantankerous personality. She was his perfect opposite. Where Grant's well of hope had run dry, hers was overflowing. Hers became his, renewing that longing, that desire for more that he hadn't felt in so long.
Their romance wasn't easy though. In no way was it smooth sailing. There was so much pushing away instead of pulling together. There was so much hurt and anxiety over letting go and staying. Like I said, loss is loss, and grief is grief. Both manifest in unexpected ways and can lead to a world of hurt and regret if it isn't acknowledged and dealt with accordingly. And realization is a powerful motivator. Realizing what could be, what won't be, what needs to be, what has to be. When Grant reached this point with McKenna, the significance wasn't lost on anyone aware of their relationship. It was truly time to move forward, to open up again, to love and be loved again.
While the focus of this story is Grant and McKenna's romance, the underlying plot is McKenna's search for family. She finds her father, who, unfortunately, isn't the man she deserves to have as a father. His attempt to buy her off is appalling, but meeting one of her half-brothers gave me hope of her keeping some connection to that side of her even if her father doesn't want her.
If I could sum up this book in one word, it would be one I've used throughout this review: hope. Life has a way of knocking a person down, but it's hope, more often than not, that pushes them to get back up and keep pressing forward. There's a good amount of determination and will as well, but hope fuels all of that. Coupled with love, it's an echo of what the Christmas season is about, why there are songs and poems and stories (yes, stories upon stories!) written about such powerful and compelling sentiments. It pulls people, like Grant and McKenna, from the pits of minimal existence and thrusts them into lives that are filled to overflowing with long-forgotten or never-before-felt emotions and feelings that they are so deserving of and cherish.
This is one I'll hold close this holiday season, not just for the loveliness of the story but the reminder of hope in uncertainty. Ms. Yates knew what she was doing when she penned this story. May it's message ring loud this coming Christmas season.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.
In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.