Welcome to our Saturday Spotlight, here on Alternative-Read.com – Today we are really pleased to welcome back New York Times Bestseller, Maisey Yates!
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 speciality, 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 to not 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.
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.
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?
Elise Cooper: You seem to have a recurring theme about choices?
Maisey Yates: You can choose to be defined by what wounded you or to choose to grab hold to a new feeling. It comes down to love versus staying with something bad that happened.
EC: Why did you write Jamie as a tomboy?
MY: I have a soft spot for them as a type of heroine. Probably because when I was younger I was that tough girl, the one who had friends who were boys. Jamie is the tough country girl type who is confident in what she is very good at. She thinks she can handle almost everything.
EC: You have an Annie Oakley quote at the beginning of the book?
MY: You are referring to the one, “I ain’t afraid to love a man. But I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.” I came across it many times and had it in my mind. I put it in because this is what I was thinking about Jamie. The quote cemented for me the picture of Jamie. She is practical, direct, tough, a straight talker, not apologetic, and sometimes a bit cocky. She wants to realize her dreams.
EC: How would you describe the hero, Gabe?
MY: He is an older hero who knows his flaws. He is a little more emotionally aware than Jamie is. I think he is at a different stage than she is. Interestingly, he is making a move back home, while she is making a move away from home. In the beginning, they are in very different emotional spaces.
EC: Horses seem to play an important role in a lot of your books?
MY: Horses have personalities, much like dogs do. My life long best friend is a phenomenal horse person, a professional who trains and sells horses. Something I observed is that each horse has a different temperament. It is important to match the personality of the horse with the personality of the person. Some people cannot handle a high-spirited horse.
EC: Each of the main characters has had family issues? First, talk about Jamie, please.
MY: She 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.
EC: Gabe had a dysfunctional family?
MY: There was a lot of emotion in his 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.
EC: What about the relationship?
MY: Both of them were profoundly affected by their childhood, which influenced the relationship. Maybe they see themselves in the other person. I do like stories like this with the age gap romance because they can learn from each other. He watched her let down walls and be brave, while Gabe learned how to show vulnerability.
EC: Lone Wolf Cowboy was a deviation from other stories in that the heroine is a dysfunctional character having to overcome addiction and a miscarriage and now a pregnancy?
MY: It is not the first time I have written a heroine getting pregnant out of wedlock. I short changed my readers because I did not think anyone would want me to write Vanessa’s story. She was a drug addict in a previous book and I thought people would not care if she got a happy ending. She had to make a lot of tough choices for herself.
EC: Interestingly, Vanessa got pregnant because there was no safe sex?
MY: 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.
EC: What about the addiction?
MY: I thought a lot about how I was going to write this. It is important to me to have an honest view of addiction so I talked to people that went through it. I wanted to write her story with compassion and made sure I never put her sobriety at risk. After all, romance is about hope and that everybody deserves love. I never wanted to be disrespectful to her struggles.
EC: There is a powerful quote about death?
MY: The quote is based on a firefighter I knew who passed away fighting a fire. I think a lot about him, off and on. The quote, “It leaves people who love that person behind. And it leaves a hole inside them that can’t be filled. It’s love that makes it matter… The tragedy of death was in the hearts that were left behind, and in the possibilities of life missed by those who were taken too soon.” I wrote this thinking of the repercussions of the people left behind. I read a quote recently, ‘grief is terrible because the person you need to talk to about it isn’t here.” The more you care about that person the greater the loss.
EC: Please describe Jacob?
MY: He is the middle child who is looking for his own purpose. He wanted to fix everything. I think he is a frustrated protector. He is a wounded person, like Vanessa, who went through a lot.
EC: Vanessa’s sister Olivia was an interesting character?
MY: She is totally me. She and I have a tendency to hold everything together. Just as Olivia, I am a perfectionist, people pleaser, sometimes judgmental and inflexible.
EC: You introduced a new character Aiden, who is a troubled youth?
MY: I have plans for him, Dallas, and Violet, and will visit these younger characters as they grow up. Readers will also be able to see the other characters in the background and how they progressed. I think Aiden learned something through the manual labor and realizes he can build something. He has the chance to make different choices and I am pretty sure he will grow into a hero who becomes a cowboy.
EC: Your next book?
MY: It is titled, Cowboy Christmas Redemption and will be out in September. It is the last book in the series. The reason for the Christmas time setting is that not everyone is happy around the holidays. I examined what is it like for someone who lost a husband, and a child who lost a father. When someone dies the tragedy is not theirs, but the person left behind. I saved Caleb and Ellie’s story for last because they have the greatest journey to go.
If you liked this interview
Gold Valley’s wildest cowboy has finally met his match…
Jamie Dodge is confident she knows everything there is to know about cowboys. She grew up surrounded by them, after all. But somehow her new boss, champion saddle bronc rider Gabe Dalton, and his brand of cowboy charm have her interested in all kinds of things she never has been before.
There are a million reasons Gabe should ignore his attraction to Jamie. He needs her horse-training skills on his family’s ranch…and the Dodge brothers would happily hurt him for touching her. Forget kissing her. He’d be a dead man. But Jamie’s tough-talking attitude masks an innocence that tempts him past the breaking point…and soothes the restlessness that’s dogged Gabe his whole life. Has this cowboy finally found a place he wants to call home?
Lone Wolf Cowboy (A Gold Valley Novel)
by Maisey Yates
Will Gold Valley’s most reclusive cowboy finally find a reason to heal?
As a former EMT and a wildland firefighter, there’s no one Jacob Dalton can’t rescue—except himself. Since his best friend’s tragic death, Jacob has isolated himself…until Vanessa Logan returns to Gold Valley. He saved her life during a medical call years ago, and he’s never forgotten her. The instant jolt of heat between them takes him by surprise, but he knows that giving in to it would only end in disaster…
For Vanessa, returning home was about healing, not about exploring her attraction with Jacob. He is the guardian angel from her past—with strong, capable hands and an irresistible mouth. A temptation she knows she can’t afford. Until the chemistry between them explodes, and unites them in a way they could never have imagined…
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