Cowboy Christmas Redemption
by Maisey Yates
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: HQN Books
Book #8 in the Gold Valley series
Number of Pages: 352
Source: Amazon purchase
Contemporary Romance/Holiday M/F
Cowboy Caleb Dalton has loved single mom Ellie Bell, and her little daughter, Amelia, for years. But since Ellie is his best friend’s widow, Caleb’s head knows Ellie will always be strictly off-limits. If only his heart got the memo. So when Caleb discovers that Ellie has a Christmas wish list—and hopes for a kiss under the mistletoe—he’s throwing his cowboy hat into the ring. If anyone’s going to be kissing Ellie and sharing this magical time with her and her daughter, it’s him.
Ellie has dreaded the holidays since losing her husband. But this year, she’s finally ready to make some changes. She never expects the biggest change to be the heart-stopping kiss she shares with Caleb. For almost five years, Caleb has been her best friend, her rock, her salvation. This Christmas, can Caleb prove he’s also the missing puzzle piece of Ellie’s and Amelia’s hearts?
I’ve been patiently waiting through the last few book in this series to see how the story of Ellie and Caleb would play out. It’s been obvious to everyone but Ellie that Caleb’s feelings for her went well beyond his best friend’s widow. So, I was anxious to see if she would reciprocate those feelings once the fog of grief lifted.
This story gripped my heart and tore it from my chest. Seriously, the feelings Caleb had for Ellie and the way he kept them tamped down for so darn long was just beautifully brutal. The scene that starts the build up of Caleb discovering Ellie’s Christmas list, how that discovery plays out, the raw emotion that comes from Caleb and the cluelessness of Ellie…GAH! My stomach was just in knots the whole time.
Once Ellie’s past, with her mom, is revealed the reader knows where this will end up eventually. I couldn’t help but hope I was wrong. But, in the end, it needed to go there. Ellie and Caleb needed to know if what they had was real, was enough, was forever.
Man, Caleb is a good guy. A good guy that has no clue how wonderful he really is. Past mistakes, especially when you’re a teen, do not dictate who you are as an adult. He grew and learned from those mistakes, but still kept beating himself up about them. All while holding them inside, not even talking to his brothers about them. Not only did Ellie help him see past those mistakes, she helped him see that they weren’t as huge as he had built them up in his mind over the years.
The passion and chemistry that sparked between these two was off the charts. Yet, Caleb was still so patient and constantly tried to do what he thought was right.
Sometimes, when it comes to the Dalton family, I think there’s a bit too much repetition about the parents. As we watch the “kids” all find their HEA, we also watch the years long marriage of Hank and Tammy be knocked for a loop and slowly get built back up, even with the illegitimate kids coming out of the woodwork. I actually find the story quite interesting and I love how the author reflects their relationship with their children’s struggles. It just seems that sometimes, within the same story, the details are repeated too often.
Listen, if that’s my only issue with this book that’s a really good thing. It’s actually a non-issue, truth be told. Just an observation. And I can’t help but think that someone who is reading this story as a standalone wouldn’t think the same way as I do. This is a wonderful story. It will drain you dry and then build you back up again.