The Rancher’s Wager (Gold Valley Vineyards)

The Rancher’s Wager
by Maisey Yates
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Book #3 in the Gold Valley Vineyards series
Number of Pages: 224
Kindle Edition
Source:  Amazon Pre-Order
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating:  NC-17 Read 1/27/21

Tempers flare as passion takes over in this new Gold Valley Vineyards novel from New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates!

This wealthy rancher has placed his bet…
And it’s winner takes all!

No one gets under Jackson Cooper’s skin like fellow ranch owner Cricket Maxfield. Now, facing off at a charity poker game, the stakes get personal. Jackson finds himself on the losing end… And paying up means being the ranch hand at Cricket’s beck and call. In close quarters, tempers flare—and the fire between them ignites into a passion that won’t be ignored…

As I had suspected when reading Claiming the Rancher’s Heir, Cricket found her match in Jackson Cooper. Her brother-in-law’s brother, a man quite a number of years older than her, and possibly her brother.  Wait…what? Don’t worry, that’s not really a spoiler since it’s obvious right away that Cricket has the suspicion of not really belonging in her own family and maybe, instead, being a Cooper herself. The way she tries so hard to deny her growing attraction to Jackson and the pull he has on her really leaves the reader yearning along with this couple to find out the truth and get on with the kissing.

Not that I don’t like a slow build here and there, but I was ready for the wick on this candle to get its flame. Once these two realized there was nothing taboo (at least nothing beyond the age-gap and their own preconceived ideas) about them giving into their desires, things ramped up. I have to say, I really liked Jackson and Cricket as a couple.

Although Cricket often acted like a child, Jackson tended to not let her get away with it and to call her on her behavior. And, for her part, once her behavior was pointed out Cricket was mortified and really tried to act like the functioning adult she wanted to be and that Jackson knew she could be if given the chance. Plus, growing up with a jerk of a father herself really helped Cricket to show Jackson certain things about his own familial relationships that he maybe took for granted. Truly, one of the best conversations in this story was one of the conversations Jackson had with his dad, one on one, about past hurts and the way things went down with Jackson’s mom before she passed away.

In some ways it’s a bit odd how interconnected these two families are becoming. With Cricket’s mom and Jackson’s dad still having their story playing out on the periphery, these families look to be getting only more tangled as time goes on. I’m curious as to how it will all play out in the end.

4.5 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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