A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas (Gold Valley Series #4)

A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas (Gold Valley Series #4)

by Maisey Yates

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Original)

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Overview

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!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335474629
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Series: Gold Valley Series , #4
Edition description: Original
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 71,860
Product dimensions: 4.09(w) x 6.58(h) x 1.31(d)

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Grant Dodge was alone. And that was how he liked it.

He had spent the entire day out in the cold mountain air conducting roping demonstrations and leading trail rides. Not that he minded any of those things in isolation. It was the addition of people that made them somewhat challenging.

Worse than having to deal with people in a general sense was dealing with people who recognized him.

Not the typical small-town recognition; he was used to that. Though he could live without getting sad widower face from people he barely knew in the grocery store, but even then, at least it was people who knew him because he'd lived in Gold Valley all his life.

What really got to him was the people who recognized him from the news stories.

Eight years hadn't done anything to make those moments less weird. People often couldn't place where they knew him from, but they knew they did. And they would press, and press, until he told them.

The woman who had recognized him today had been a grandmother. A great-grandmother, even. Sweet and gray-haired and looking at him with sympathetic eyes that made him want to jump off the nearest bridge.

It always seemed worse around the holidays. Perhaps because of the sentimentality people seemed to feel that time of year. And tried to inflict on him.

He didn't really know.

Whatever the reason, he seemed to have an uptick in well-meaning-but-irritating interactions.

Maybe that was why he always wanted to drink more this time of year, too.

He shook his head and settled down into his chair, looking around the small, cozy cabin that he called home. And then he looked into the full, inviting whiskey glass he called salvation.

He didn't have a problem or anything. He was functional. He considered that the benchmark. Low though it might be.

He was functional enough that his family mostly joked about his drinking, which meant it was probably fine.

But the one thing he didn't want to do was get in bed at night stone-cold sober. Sometimes he could. When the long, hard day of work came inside with him, resting on aching shoulders and the lower back that was getting touchier with each passing year — because age. Not that thirty-four was exceptionally aged, not at all. But physical labor had a way of speeding all that up.

But then, the alternative had been to spend the rest of his life working at the damned power company, living in a little house on a quiet street in a neighborhood tucked back behind the main street of Gold Valley Living the life of a man lost in suburban bliss, without any of the trappings that generally made it blissful.

No children.

No wife.

Not anymore.

He never had the children, but there had been a time when he and Lindsay had hoped for them. Even though ...

That had always been a pipe dream, he supposed.

But for a while, he and Lindsay had lived in a world of dreams. Reality had been too harsh. And sometimes sitting around and making plans for a future you knew wouldn't be there was all you could do.

He took a long swallow of whiskey and leaned back in his chair. This was why he didn't go to bed sober.

Because it was these quiet moments, the still ones — particularly this time of year — that had a way of crushing in on him, growing louder and louder in the silence of the room.

Solitude was often as welcome as it was terrifying. Sometimes it had teeth. And he did his best not to get savaged by them.

He took another swallow of whiskey and leaned back farther in the chair before setting the glass on the table with a decisive click. Then he let his head fall back.

He must've dozed off, because when he opened his eyes again the hands on the clock hanging on the wall had made a more pronounced journey than it would have if it had only been the few minutes it felt like.

He stretched, groaning as his joints popped. He stood, making his way over to the window and looking out into the darkness.

At least, he should have been looking out into the darkness.

Instead, he saw a dim light cutting through the trees.

They did have guests staying on the property, but none out in the woods behind Grant's cabin.

Grant lived well out of the way, on the opposite end of Dodge land from the guest cabins. And if there was anyone out there right now, they were not where they were supposed to be.

He opened up the drawer in the kitchen and took a small flashlight out, and then shoved on his boots before heading outside. He supposed, if he were thinking clearly, he would have called his brother Wyatt. But then, he was half-asleep and a little bit drunk, so he wasn't thinking all that clearly. Instead, he made his own way out through the trees and toward the single light that was glowing in the woods. When he was halfway between his house and the light it occurred to him what he was probably about to walk in on.

The back of his neck went hot, tension rising inside of him.

Odds were, anyone out in the middle of nowhere at this hour was up to one thing. And he didn't especially want to walk in and find two people having sex in the middle of the woods, interrupting his drinking and sleeping time. The teeth on that would be just a little bit too sharp to bear.

But then, if he wasn't getting any, nobody else should, either.

Especially not right next to his house.

That only increased his irritation as he continued on toward the light, the wind whipping through the trees, the bitter cold biting through the flannel shirt he was wearing. He should've put a jacket on, but he hadn't thought of it.

He swore, and then he swore again as he approached the light.

He frowned. Right. There was a cabin back here, but it was dilapidated. One of the original buildings on the property, from back in the late 1800s. One that hadn't been inhabited in a long time. At least, not by humans. He had a feeling there had been several raccoons, and about ten thousand spiders. But not humans.

And raccoons did not light lanterns. So he could safely assume this was not a raccoon.

He was on the verge of storming in — because why the hell not? — but something stopped him. Instead, he softened his footsteps and walked up to the window.

It was not what he'd been expecting.

It was a person, but not people. And nobody was having sex.

Instead, there was a small woman, curled up beneath the threadbare blanket. She looked like she was asleep. The camping lantern next to her head was turned on, a thin, yellow band of light stretching across what he could see of her face.

She was not one of the guests; at least, he was reasonably certain. He didn't make a practice of memorizing what they all looked like.

Mostly because he didn't care.

It was also difficult to identify her positively because she was curled up in a ball, the blanket halfway up over her head. He shifted his position and saw there was a backpack in the corner of the room. But nothing else.

He frowned, looking at her again, and he saw that there were shoes on her feet, which were sticking out just past the edge of the blanket.

He dragged his hand over his face.

She could be a criminal. A fugitive from the law. But then, most likely she was a woman running from a difficult situation. Possibly from a man.

Which could mean there was a safety issue. And he had guests on his ranch, not to mention his younger sister, Jamie.

Jamie knew how to handle herself, of course. She was a tough-as-rawhide cowgirl who was often packing heat. But that didn't mean Grant would knowingly expose her to danger.

It was a lot of drama that he didn't want coming to roost.

He stood there, debating for a moment, and then he turned away from the cabin, jogging back to his house and grabbing his cell phone off the bedside table. He dialed his brother Wyatt's number, knowing that he was going to wake up spitting mad. Because it was four-thirty in the morning, and nobody wanted to be woken up at that hour. Though the Dodges were frequently up before the sun. They had responsibilities to take care of on the ranch that dictated early mornings. Though not this early.

"What the hell?" Wyatt asked by way of greeting.

His voice was gruff, evidence that he had been asleep.

"We have a visitor," Grant said, keeping his own voice low.

"Are you drunk?"

"No," Grant said.

At least, he didn't think he was. But even if he were he wouldn't hallucinate a woman sleeping in a cabin on their land.

"Really?" Wyatt pressed.

"Not anymore," Grant said.

"What's our visitor?" Wyatt asked, clearly confused.

"I woke up early," Grant said, by way of explanation. There was no need to tell Wyatt that he had fallen asleep in a chair in his living room after drinking a glass of whiskey. And that the pain in his back from sitting sleeping up had been the thing that had woken him. "I went and looked out the window and saw a light coming from the woods. I investigated. There's a woman sleeping in one of the cabins."

"What?"

"I wanted to call you and find out what the hell you want to do about it."

"You could call the police," Wyatt suggested.

"No," Grant said. He wasn't sure why that was his conclusion, only that it was. Just that ... He had no idea what the circumstances might be. She could be young. A runaway teenage girl, and if they called the police ... who knew who might come for her. It might be the very people she was running from. And he would rather make sure he wasn't throwing her back into harm's way.

Grant didn't consider himself a particularly compassionate person, not these days. He'd drained all that out of him over eight years of being a caregiver to the woman he was married to. He didn't resent it. Didn't resent Lindsay at all. But that didn't mean he had anything left to give anyone else. Particularly a random stranger.

That artery had been bled dry.

Still, he couldn't ignore the fact that there was something incredibly vulnerable in the way she was sleeping. With the light on. Like she was afraid of monsters even out there in the middle of nowhere.

"Okay," Wyatt said slowly. "Then what do you suggest?"

"She's a tiny little woman," Grant said. "I imagine we can handle her. Go in and talk to her. Maybe Lindy should talk to her."

"Hell, no," Wyatt said. "We are not sending my wife in to talk to a random stranger squatting on our property."

Wyatt had gotten married only a couple months earlier — extremely quickly — after finally getting together with the woman he'd been obsessing over for years. Although Wyatt would never say he'd been obsessing over Lindy for that long, but Grant knew it was true.

When you were a man with no social or sex life you had a lot of time to observe things. The entire world was Grant's own personal Where's Waldo game. He had nothing to do but sit around and identify hidden feelings and truths in the lives of other people.

And drink. There was the drinking.

"We're going to end up giving her a damn heart attack," Grant said.

"She's sleeping on our land," Wyatt said. "As much as I don't relish the idea of terrifying a woman, it's not like she checked into the Embassy Suites and bought herself some privacy."

Grant shrugged. Mostly, he didn't want to hassle with her personally. He wanted to go back to sleep and wake up in a world where he didn't have to contend with another person or care about their feelings or whether or not he scared them.

"You're right there," Wyatt pointed out. "Why don't you wake her up?"

"And then what?"

"I don't know. Bring her over to the house. Give her some breakfast. Unless she shoots you."

"Which is a good point," Grant said. "I don't want to get shot."

"Bring your gun."

"I don't want to be in a shootout."

"Bring something."

Grant hung up the phone. His brother was just getting on his nerves now. He grumbled and grabbed hold of his hunting knife, which was in a leather case that snapped onto his belt. He put it on his hip, grabbed his cowboy hat and went back to the front door.

He was not using a hunting knife on a woman, even if she came at him. But he supposed if there was a gun involved he might have to use something.

He just felt resigned, really. If she wanted to shoot him he might let her.

Then at least he could get some rest.

He grunted and walked out of the house again, shoving his phone in his pocket, because he should probably bring that, too. In all honesty, he would need the phone before he needed the knife.

He walked quietly across the heavily wooded ground, careful not to land any heavy footfalls. Of course, if he did, he might wake her up, startle her and send her off running. And if she did that, then she wasn't his responsibility. Not anymore. If she wasn't on the property, what did he care where she was?

He didn't.

He gritted his teeth and stopped right in front of the cabin door. And then he pushed it open.

* * *

Mckenna Tate was used to sleeping lightly. And tonight was no exception. She had been keeping one ear tuned into the sounds around her, just in case, even while she dozed.

Not that deep sleeping in this place was likely. It was cold, and the floor of the little cabin was hard. Two days spent in it didn't make it feel any more like home.

Except it wasn't fine right now, because she heard something. And that was why she'd stirred.

Suddenly, reality slammed into her. The door to the cabin was opening.

She scrambled into a sitting position, attempting to push herself onto her feet, but then the door flung open completely, and she found herself stumbling back, hitting the wall and curling up there like a startled animal ready to strike.

It was a man. Which, out here in this big bad world, was the scariest thing she could think of. She would rather tangle with a bear any day. This was definitely a man.

Silhouetted in the doorway, tall and broad and terrifying. He had a cowboy hat pulled down low over his face, and she couldn't see any of his features. She could just see that he was big.

"Calm down," he said, as if a command issued from a stranger would make her feel calm.

"What?" So, now she knew he was insane, which was great. Telling a woman whose sleep he'd just interrupted to be calm.

"I said," he responded, "calm down. I'm not going to hurt you."

"Like you would announce you were going to hurt me if that was your plan," she said, curling up tighter. "I have no idea what I would do if I was going to hurt you. Because I'm not going to. I do, however, want to know what you're doing here."

"Sleeping."

"I can see that. Or rather, I could. Though you aren't sleeping now."

"Very observant. I'd give you a trophy, but I'm fresh out."

He shifted, crossing his arms. "You're awfully mouthy for somebody sleeping on someone else's property."

"And you're awfully chatty for a guy who just found someone sleeping on his property. Don't you have follow-up questions?"

"Several. But I don't want you crouched there in the corner like you think I'm about to stab you."

She snorted out a laugh. "Oh, I'm not really that worried you're gonna randomly stab me. It's other things I worry about with men."

"You don't have to worry about that, either," he said.

His voice didn't soften it all. He didn't look like he felt bad for her, or like he pitied her in any way. That would not be the angle to take with him. Crying or anything like that. She could see that right away. She could paint a glorious picture of her tragic plight, and he would probably just stand there like a man carved from rock. Unmoved. Whoever he was, he was not a soft touch.

She was pretty good at identifying a soft touch. They were the kind of people who came in handy in desperate situations. People who wanted to wrap you in a blanket, give you a piece of pie and say some encouraging words so that they could go on with their day feeling like they were decent human beings.

She had a feeling this man did not care whether or not he was a decent human being.

She recognized that in him, because it was the same thing in her.

You couldn't care much about whether or not you were decent when you mostly just wanted to be alive.

"I just want to sleep here," she said, holding her hand out. "That's all."

"You don't have anywhere else to sleep?"

"Yeah, actually, I have a mansion up on the hill. But I like a little impromptu camping. Bonus points if it's on someone else's land, because it adds to the spirit of adventure. I love being woken up in the middle of the night by large, angry ranchers."

"It's not really the middle of the night. It's almost five in the morning."

She groaned. "Close enough to the middle of the night in my world."

"This is usually about the time I get up every day."

"Don't brag to the less fortunate," she said. "I'm liable to get jealous of such decadent living."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Maisey Yates.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Evampire9 10 months ago
Grant Dodge didn’t expect to find the woman he found sleeping in an abandoned cabin on his family ranch to be so intriguing. Grant has forgotten what it’s like to feel like a man and McKenna wants him, she doesn’t pity him for his being a widower. McKenna came to Gold Valley to confront her birth father and she had no plan to work at the Dodge ranch or fall for the gorgeous cowboy who keeps his heart roped off. This cowboy romance is one powerfully emotional romance that captures readers by the heart and refuses to let go. Strong, convincing characters make it easy for readers to become completely caught up in their lives and all the intense emotions that flows from the pages. The romance seems to be doomed from the way these two fight against the magnetic and sizzling chemistry that flows between these two and readers can practically feel that energy. This wounded couple’s journey to happily ever after is a steady paced, suspenseful and heart felt read. Readers can expect tears and smiles as well as a whole range of emotions to be felt throughout this romance because the author brings these characters to brilliant life and the small town and loyal family adds a heartwarming counter balance to all the tragedy that fills this couple’s past in this poignant heart tugging, holiday romance.
AAndrade 10 months ago
LEH0644 More than 1 year ago
At 18, Grant Dodge married Lindsay knowing that she would soon die of cancer. He loved her and felt she was responsible for turning his life around. Their marriage lasted eight years and ever since then Grant has been morose and bitter. He found McKenna Tate staying in one of their abandoned cabins and offers her a job at the ranch he runs with his brothers. They are attracted to each other but he feels it would not be right for him to enjoy life when Lindsay died. It takes McKenna’s love and wisdom to bring Grant back to life.
onemused More than 1 year ago
"A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas" was a great Christmas-themed romance that follows two unlikely people on their journey to love. Grant Dodge has been wallowing in loneliness. He frequently drinks himself to sleep at night and is generally very grouchy. He married his high school sweetheart when they were 18, and they had a rough marriage- not because of fighting or anything like that, but because she had terminal cancer. After 8 years of caring for her, he lost her to the disease. It's been 8 years since then, but in a small town, he feels everyone's pity and expectations for him. Thus, he hasn't been with anyone since she died. One night, he finds a woman sleeping on the floor of one of the cabins on the ranch. McKenna is newly homeless, on a search for her family. She was given up by her mother when she was 2 and heavily suffers from abandonment issues- that being said, she is pretty mature, logical, and knowledgeable about her own issues. She found out her father lives in Gold Valley and spent all her money getting into town. She plans to look for a job and figure out a way to introduce herself to him and her half-brothers living there. When Grant takes McKenna to his brother, he offers her a job doing odds and ends around the ranch with room and board- beautiful generosity of a job and a place to stay. As McKenna and Grant begin working together, their feelings grow. However, neither wants to admit to what is growing between them, and they each must go through their own journeys to understand where they want to go and what they want from life. The book has some really steamy scenes, some really romantic scenes, and some really heart-warming scenes. I found it to be really engaging and fast, enjoying every minute. I did have some minor concerns, such as about Grant's drinking which is argued in the first several pages how it is not alcoholism, but seems like it. This does fade to the background as time goes on. Any concerns were minor, and overall, I really enjoyed Grant/McKenna and their romance. It's also a great Christmas read with all the holiday feelings. I highly recommend for lovers of cowboy romances! Please note that I received a copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
bsnksmom More than 1 year ago
I have been looking forward to reading A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas for a while. Grant Dodge captured my interest in Gold Valley #3, Good Time Cowboy, and I couldn't wait to see how his story played out. Over the last eight years, Grant Dodge has become a virtual recluse. He doesn't participate in town activities unless he's forced to. He's tired of the pitying looks he gets from nearly every woman he meets. When he married his high school sweetheart 16 years earlier, he knew she had cancer and was going to die. What he didn't know was that it would take eight years and that when it eventually happened, his love story would be broadcast nationally, making him the tragic hero in the eyes of every woman he encounters from then on. Finding herself homeless, McKenna Tate decides to finally track down the father listed on her birth certificate. She's had no one to call her own since her mother surrendered her to the foster care system at the age of two. When she learns that her father is a rancher in Gold Valley, she travels there to try to meet him. Stranded by her junker of a truck, she takes refuge in an abandoned cabin on the Get Out of Dodge Guest Ranch. Seeing a light where there shouldn't be one, Grant Dodge investigates and discovers a sleeping woman on the wood floor of their most derelict cabin. He offers her a better place to sleep, and breakfast. He even gets her a job on the ranch. As he shows her the ranch, he discovers that, not only is he strongly attracted to her, but she seems to be the one woman in 100 mile radius who doesn't know his story and pity him. Could they possibly have the no-strings relationship he craves? As their relationship heats up, can Grant and McKenna get past their past hurts to allow love into their futures? While I loved the storyline, and the characters were great, I did have an issue with some of the wordiness in this story. When I could flip through almost three pages sometimes, and not miss a thing in the story, that's a problem, and the reason I'm only giving this three stars. I'm kind of hoping that, since I read a pre-publication version, that some of this was resolved in the final copy. If it was, this would have been a five star story for me. I do recommend the book, but be warned, you may find yourself skimming some pretty major chunks!
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
4 1/2 STARS! Christmas comes to Gold Valley! With the next book in her beloved series, Maisey Yates brings us the brother's story we've all been waiting for. We knew he lost his wife, and we knew he seemed to still be spending his life pining away, but we were missing lots of the back story! Grant Dodge is a real joy to get to know, and McKenna is just the spitfire he needs to bring him back to life. Really enjoyed their story! Widower Grant Dodge never expected to find a woman sleeping in an old cabin on his family's ranch, but when he does he's intrigued by her. He doesn't get the opportunity to interact with someone that doesn't know his past and who only sees him as a former husband anymore, and he has to admit, he really likes the lack of pity in her eyes! Down on her luck McKenna Tate has come to Gold Valley to contact the man she discovered is her birth father, but she's not so sure what kind of reception she's going to receive. Along the way, she stumbles into the middle of a family filled with kindness, and a man that attracts her attention, as well as awakens her libido. She's not sure what Grant's story is, but she'd like to mix things up with him a bit while she's around!
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
OMG, Grant's story--loved!!! Watching Grant drink his way through his brothers' stories was painful. I hoped against hope that his journey toward his own HEA would be worthy of his backstory, and oh, boy--was it ever. McKenna was exactly the heroine he needed. She didn't know his tragic history for a large portion of the book, and certainly didn't know the secret that no one else knew--he got to tell her both of those things, if not exactly on his own schedule, then at least in his own way. She had her own less-than-ideal upbringing; in a twisted sort of fashion it was their individual crappy histories that helped to make them prefect for each other. Though of course it's not going to be easy, Ms. Yates makes sure of that ;) OMG, you guys--I cried some pretty ugly hopeful/happy tears in the last 10% or so of this story. It. Was. So. Good. I'm afraid I'm going to be good for pretty much nothing for the rest of the day... A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas should work just fine as a standalone if needed--really, it's Grant and McKenna's story, and everything you need to know about how their pasts influence their present is revealed in due course here. Because it's a Maisey Yates book, though, there's all kinds of secondary characters with equally wonderful and awkward relationships on the pages too--if you've read previous series books, you'll love seeing them all again, but if you haven't, that's fine too. There's all kinds of delightful hints at future stories here too (Bea and Dane! Jamie and Gabe! Gabe's brothers!) that are going to make sure that Ms. Yates' books are going to be playing an active role on my TBR for quite some time to come... Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
A heartbreakingly beautiful, deeply emotional, wonderful story of hope and love, a story that not only had me in tears at the 5% mark but kept me at the roll-a-coaster of feelings throughout the unputdownable tale. I mean, it wasn't a surprise to me that Grant Dodge's story would bring me to tears, or that it would be a wild ride through some deep emotional waters. Also, I expected the lady to finally catch his eye to be something spectacular and nothing short of amazing. And then walks in McKenna Tate, and yes, she is a spectacular and amazing woman, she is strong, she is fierce, she is an independent woman who knows what she wants. And she is as broken inside as Grant is. Yes, the tears are still coming as I write this because I do not know if I have ever loved book characters as much as I love Grant and McKenna. I have read thousands of books, yet these two just walked right into my heart like no one else, and I wanted them to find peace, trust, love, home, family, and all the happiness that they deserve. While no one had ever claimed McKenna as their family or loved her, Grant had loved greatly, been loved deeply yet lost it to all to cancer. Their stories are the opposite yet the same. There is that golden line that goes through both of their stories, that need to be loved, learning to trust those feelings, and daring to take the risk even with the possibility of losing it all. McKenna and Grant's tale is a delicate and delightful love story, it is as fragile as it fierce, as ardent as it is alluring, and it does take a bit of the magic of the season to bring them the full circle back to the old, abandoned cabin again. What brought McKenna into the town of Gold Valley is the search of belonging, an attempt to find her father and a family to belong to. That secondary storyline is no less touching as the romance developing between her and Grant, as turbulent, and much in need of a Christmas miracle as well. Allround a poignant, passionate, and moving story. A captivating tale of love, family, and hope set to play out during the most special time of the year. ~ Five Spoons!
MTSmith More than 1 year ago
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. Received from publisher for an honest review
alterlisa More than 1 year ago
Though this is listed as a Gold Valley series book, it takes place in the same community that the Copper Ridge books do so you may "see" familiar faces. I've just started on my Christmas reads and this has been one of my favorites so far. Grant is a member of the walking wounded and it's fascinating watching him gradually come back to life while helping homeless McKenna adjust to life in what has become one of my favorite areas, Copper Ridge. As always with Yates books, the underlying story is family and this one will tug at your heartstrings on multiple levels.
MAustinreviewer More than 1 year ago
A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas was a good 4 star read. Grant is a widower and hasn’t been able to move forward after his wife's death. When he discovers McKenna sleeping in a cabin on his families property he wasn’t sure what to think. He ends up offering her some help. McKenna came to town to see her birth father, with no money she ended up finding an abandoned cabin, where she ends up meeting Grant. She isn’t sure how to approach her birth father and is a little uneasy about it. McKenna ends up working for Grants brother on the ranch. We discover that these two have a lot of things in common. They both have things from their past they are trying to move forward from. My heart really went out to McKenna and her struggles, all she wanted was to be a part of a family. When Grant met McKenna there was something about her that pulled him in, he was feeling things that he hasn’t felt in a long time. When these two connect we get some very hot and steamy scenes. I loved the story but at times it seemed to drag on a little bit. These two had such a great connection and chemistry. I was happy to read their story and see them finally find the happiness they both deserved. If your looking for a great read that tugs at the heart strings 1-click and get started today. This is my first read from Maisey Yates and I look forward to reading more from her. Alpha Book Club I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. Reviewed by MAustin from Alpha Book Club
Sailon More than 1 year ago
Completely engaging, emotionally invested in the outcome, I couldn't help but love A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas. Yates crafted an emotionally jarring tale of two people deeply scarred by life circumstances...but they still manage to have hope for the future. I loved how they managed to heal each other without all this unnecessary angst but focusing on change, making their lives better and not settling for anything less. A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas will put you through the gambit of emotions and leaving you wanting more when it ends. I received this ARC copy of A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas from HARLEQUIN - Romance (U.S. & Canada) - HQN. This is my honest and voluntary review.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
I’ve been waiting for Grant’s story since the first mention of his background. I love love loved McKenna. She’s had an interesting life and maintained hope the entire time. I enjoyed her tenacity and strength. Grant was just as stoic as I was expecting, but he’s also a bit of a gooey marshmallow. I loved seeing McKenna push his buttons and while their chemistry wasn’t super apparent to me, I was there for it. Plot wise, it did get a bit slow at points. There’s a lot more inner monologue than there is dialogue. However, I loved seeing all of the other couples and the set up for the next story. Overall, it was definitely worth the wait. I can’t wait for Bea’s book. **Huge thanks to HQN for providing the arc free of charge**