As snowflakes fall in Gold Valley, Oregon, will this rugged cowboy finally win the woman of his dreams?
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?
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
Ellie Bell could sometimes imagine that she lived an entirely different life. Not because she didn't love so much about what she had, but because it was nice, even for a little while, to set down the various burdens that she carried around with her and just focus on the moment.
Getting chickens had been an interesting endeavor, one that had proved to be quite a bit more sanity-preserving than she had anticipated.
Sometimes when she was out collecting eggs, she felt like she'd fallen through a time warp. Where she was younger than twenty-eight. Not a woman with a heavy burden of responsibility, or the crushing weight of loss deep inside her.
But somebody liked. Somebody carefree. Whose only responsibility was to collect eggs and look out at the beautiful view that stretched out before her.
Her little farmhouse was modest, and it was old, with a porch that had white peeling paint that she hadn't been able to rally herself to fix. But she'd hung baskets of flowers from the rafters, and she supposed that was something.
At least it was something she was much more up for than painting.
Maybe someday she would get it together and do all the renovation that the place needed.
She took a deep breath, and she focused her gaze on the horizon. On the long stretch of emerald field that faded into the evergreen-covered mountains, currently bathed in a rose-gold glow from the setting sun. The days were getting shorter, heading into the Christmas season, and honestly, that was something else that just made her tired.
She had to do things.
For Amelia's sake.
Well, handily, Tammy Dalton was always around to do something. The Daltons had been her late husband's surrogate family, and after Clint's death, had become hers and Amelia's, as well.
Tammy always made a wonderful Christmas dinner, and the gathering that they had was spectacular. And it gave Ellie an excuse not to make a big fuss about Christmas at her house, which always felt vaguely sad to her.
She didn't want to drag out the ornaments that she had gotten with Clint. And she didn't want to get rid of them and get new ones either. They'd had cozy Christmases in their apartment back by the high school in town. Their own ornaments. First Christmas, with a bride and groom. The Bells, on a big silver bell ... She'd loved him so much. Right from the beginning. He was just a nice man. In spite of the fact he'd had a rough upbringing. He'd been open, and he'd laughed easily. He'd taught her to laugh a little easier.
He'd taught her to love in a way that was so different from the way she'd known love as a child.
She'd spent her growing-up years craving her mom's attention, while her mom craved only the attention of whatever man had her heart at the time.
She'd hated it. And she'd sworn off love herself.
But then she'd met Clint.
He'd been tall, with dark hair and a slight build. Rangy and athletic. He was the kind of guy who had to climb up the side of a rock face on a hike if there was one; the kind who had to jump over obstacles just as easily stepped over.
He'd been the one thing to distract her even slightly from her laser-focused vision. She'd wanted to go to college, be a teacher. Because it was teachers who'd given her the support, the help, that her own mother didn't.
She'd made Clint wait to get married until she was finished with school. She'd been strong that way. She'd been determined to forego boyfriends, especially while she was studying. But she hadn't been able to stay away from him. He was so magnetic and happy, and she'd wanted that.
As soon as she'd graduated, they'd gotten married.
They'd lived in little apartments near the high school, and Ellie had gotten jobs substitute-teaching in the area, and then spent a year as a teacher's assistant at the school right near their house.
They'd been young when Clint wanted to try for a baby, but he'd been so excited about it. So they'd started trying, and not just for a baby but also to find a house.
They'd found the farmhouse. She'd found out she was pregnant.
He'd been the proudest, happiest man alive that day.
And four weeks later he'd died.
Before they'd moved into their home. Before he'd ever even gotten to hear his child's heartbeat.
She'd never had a Christmas in the farmhouse. Her and Amelia's Christmas traditions were built around the Dalton family, and that was okay with Ellie.
Her egg-collecting was feeling terribly sad at the moment. But she blamed the upcoming Christmas season for that.
It was inescapably bittersweet.
Always, she thought about that first Christmas without him. When she had been eight months pregnant and so miserable. So alone.
Alone, except for Caleb Dalton.
The entire Dalton family had been good to her in the years following the loss of Clint, but no one had been quite as good as Caleb.
Caleb had been Clint's best friend in the world. A man who was like a brother to him, so he'd said often. He'd talked about Caleb all the time, from the beginning of their relationship. She could still remember going to her first Dalton family barbecue with Clint. He'd been nervous, because it had been like meeting his parents, he'd said.
All three Dalton brothers had presence. A perfect combination of their father, Hank's, charm and charisma, and their mother, Tammy's, beauty and quick wit.
Caleb had been unlike any man she'd ever met. A daredevil with an easy smile, and he was so big. Larger than life, both in height and in presence.
He could fix anything. If her car needed a tune-up or an oil change, Caleb could just do it. Why call the landlord when their apartment had an issue? Caleb could always handle it. She'd been in awe of that. The way his hands worked to puzzle together anything that might have been broken.
She could see why Clint loved the family the way he did, and Caleb in particular. She'd bonded with him easily, quickly.
And now ...
Caleb had become her best friend in the entire world. She'd always liked him. But he became something more during these long, lonely years.
He'd become her rock. Her salvation.
He was always on hand in an emergency. If she needed cold medicine in the middle of the night for Amelia, yet didn't want to drag her little girl to the store, she could call Caleb. And he would go get the cold medicine. He would bring it to her. If she wasn't well, he would be the first person to come by with soup, and to make sure that Amelia was taken care of while she convalesced.
He had built her chicken coop. Had been the one to help her figure out what you were supposed to do with chickens in the first place.
And when she had partnered with his brother Gabe to help start the school that she now taught at on the Dalton family ranch, Caleb had immediately partnered with her, too.
He had helped make her dream a reality, the moment that she was able to have dreams again.
She felt much happier, thinking about Caleb.
He was definitely a lot more of a safe space than Christmas could ever be.
As if thinking of him conjured him up, she heard the sound of truck tires on gravel, mixed with the sound of an old engine from a Ford F-150.
It was Caleb, coming home with Amelia. Amelia had spent the day with Tammy. The school that Ellie had been part of founding, and that she worked at full-time, specifically geared toward troubled boys, was on the Dalton family ranch, and Hank and Tammy Dalton lived there in a large house. Tammy had graciously offered to watch Amelia after preschool on the days when Ellie worked.
It just so happened that today, by the time Ellie had finished up, Amelia and Tammy were in the middle of a baking project.
Usually, Ellie would have hung out, but today she had been eager for escape. For a moment in silence. Out of time.
And she wasn't even sorry it was over. Because Caleb was here. And so was Amelia. No matter how difficult or chaotic life could seem, she loved the people in it.
She stepped out of the coop, her basket clutched in her hands, and she made her way across the field, toward her driveway. Her floral dress caught the breeze and fluttered around her legs, strands of blond hair whipping across her face. She pushed them away and smiled as Caleb got out of the truck.
"Was she good for you?" Ellie asked.
"We've been singing the theme song to a show I've never heard of for twenty minutes," he said, opening up the driver-side door wider so he could put the front seat down.
And there was Amelia, strapped into her car seat and looking extremely pleased with herself. "It was Shimmer and Shine, Caleb," she informed him.
"Shimmer and Shine," Caleb amended, directing that toward Ellie. "I think I like Peppa Pig better."
"You and me both," Ellie said.
She took a step toward the truck and Caleb grinned. "I've got her."
He pushed his black cowboy hat back on his head, his blue eyes catching the light. He had a dusting of light stubble on his jaw, not unusual for him at this hour of the day, and his muscular arms were still streaked with dirt, she noticed, as he began to unfasten Amelia's seat belt.
He had battered, workman's hands. He worked the ranch that his family owned, and he was a firefighter by trade. He'd ridden rodeo for a while before that, though not for very long. But still, everything he did had a certain amount of labor involved, and no small amount of danger.
She'd always liked curling up on the couch with a book, safe indoors, over doing anything outside. She knew that for his own reasons, that would be torture for Caleb. He was a man who needed movement, who needed open spaces. A man who preferred hands-on learning over book learning.
It unnerved her that he continued to fight wildfires, even after what had happened to Clint. But she knew that it was unreasonable to ask him to quit his job.
Didn't mean she didn't want him to.
He set Amelia down gently on the ground, and her little girl launched herself at Ellie. She swung her up for a hug before depositing her back in the driveway. "Did you have a fun day with Grandma Tammy?" she asked.
Tammy Dalton was the closest thing Amelia had to a grandmother.
Both Clint and Ellie hadn't had involved families at all. In fact, it was one of the things that had bonded them together when they'd met.
Ellie had been cautious. She'd never dated. Not after watching the way her own single mother had burned through men, the quality of which had been incredibly variable.
Of course, she had ended up a single mother anyway.
Which seemed fully unfair, given how very much she had tried not to perpetuate the cycle she'd been born into. She'd gotten into school. She'd finished. She'd started a teaching career. Gotten married.
But she'd been widowed.
If there was one thing she'd learned it was that you couldn't plan everything, no matter how much you might want to.
"It was good," Amelia said. "We made chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies."
"And where are the cookies?" Ellie asked.
"We ate them all," Caleb said.
"Did you really?"
She hunted around behind him, trying to see if she could find a plate of cookies in the truck.
"Of course not," he said. "I have some for you."
"Can I take the eggs in the house?" Amelia asked.
"Sure," Ellie said, handing her daughter the basket.
She raced up the stairs as quickly as her little legs could carry her, her pink cowgirl boots glittering with each movement. A gift from the Daltons. So of course, they were Amelia's favorite.
"Thank you," Ellie said. "It was nice to have a few minutes to myself this evening."
"No problem. You're on my way home."
"I am. It's handy."
It really was. More than handy. A lifeline. The man was like one of the mountains that surrounded her home. Stalwart and steady, never changing, even as the seasons around them did.
He reached into the truck and pulled out a plate of cookies, handing it to her. She didn't wait. She dove in, taking a peanut butter one from the top and helping herself to a large bite. "Your mom is a genius," she said. "I try, based on everything she's taught me, but they still never turn out this good."
"I don't even try," he said, shrugging. "I just eat them."
As if to demonstrate his point, he grabbed one of the chocolate chip ones from the top and put the whole thing in his mouth.
"That's mean," she said. "You could have taken some more from your mother's house."
"I did," he said.
"Then you have no call taking my cookies."
"It's a delivery fee."
"For my child or for the snacks?"
"Thanks for reminding me," he said, this time taking a peanut butter one.
She expected him to go then, because it had been a long day, and it wasn't like she hadn't seen him at work earlier. But he didn't. Instead, he stood for a moment, his expression uncharacteristically thoughtful. "I might not be able to drop Amelia off at home as often in the future."
It was abrupt and weird. Especially considering she'd just been thinking about what a stalwart Caleb was.
"Yeah," he said. He braced himself on the truck, and her eyes were drawn to his biceps, to the way the muscle shifted beneath his tanned, scarred skin.
She wondered what the scar on the inside of his arm was from. Barbed wire? An angry bull? Maybe just from a youthful misdeed. It was very hard to say with a man like Caleb.
It really was a wonderful arm. It had to be said. Objectively speaking, Caleb was a perfect masculine specimen.
He wasn't pretty. No, he was too raw to be anything like pretty. Even with those blue eyes, which were the kind of blue that women had difficulty letting pass by without remarking on. But he was scarred, and he was weathered from working outdoors, and, as she had previously been thinking, his hands were rough.
Though, they could be gentle when they needed to be.
If she had a single friend, she would definitely set her up with Caleb.
"I ... Why?"
"I'm buying a new piece of property."
"Really?" Caleb hadn't given any indication that he was thinking of moving away from the acre lot that he lived on.
"Yeah," he responded, maddeningly opaque.
"Details, Caleb." Having a man for a best friend could be annoying, because they didn't tell you things, like the fact that they were considering moving. And then, when they finally did tell you, they didn't tell you anything about it.
"I bought Jehoshaphat Brown's place."
"You didn't," she said.
Jehoshaphat Brown was an eccentric who lived a few miles up out of town, and had the largest Christmas tree farm in the area. "I did," he said. "I mostly don't believe it because I don't believe he would move. But he is. He's moving to Hawaii."
"Now, I really don't believe that," she said.
"Hey," he responded, "believe whatever you want, but he is. He's moving to Hawaii, taking a job as a bartender at a resort. Oceanside. He bought a condo with the money I paid him."
"But you are ... You're going to run a Christmas tree farm?"
"At least temporarily. Everything's ready to go now, which means finishing out the year, or the next few years, is guaranteed money in the bank to begin other ventures. There's contracts already made with outfits around the country, truckers on hand to drive the things to their destinations. And he owns that small lot down on the main street of town. So, I'm all set not only to sell this year's crop around the country, but also sell it here."
"But you don't ... You don't actually want to ... be a Christmas tree farmer?" "My ultimate goal is cattle," he said.
She'd had no idea. None at all. Not that he wanted his own ranch, not that he'd been unhappy at the school. Was he unhappy at the school? Was he leaving?
"What does this mean for your position at the school?" "I will be leaving. Which I will be talking to Gabe about later tonight."
"With West Caldwell coming into town, there's no need for me to hang around. He's going to be working on the ranch."
"Your half brother that you've never met. That's putting a lot of stock in a man you don't even know."
"Gabe figures we owe him. And, since Gabe is awash in guilt over the whole half sibling thing, I figure that works in my favor."
As much as Ellie loved Hank Dalton, the patriarch of the Dalton clan, it was becoming more and more clear that he was problematic. A couple of years ago it had been discovered that he had a daughter that none of them had known about. McKenna Tate. She'd come into town after discovering the identity of her family, and after some adjusting, the Dalton family had welcomed her into the full. But on the heels of that revelation had come another one.
There were three more children. All adults now.
Hank had never known about them. But Tammy had.
It had changed the relationship, that reveal.
But Hank was awash enough in the guilt from the actions in his past, that the two of them were trying to work through it to an extent. And Ellie really hoped that they did. For some selfish reasons, if she was honest. Because she loved them, and they were the closest thing to a family for her, and she didn't want to lose them.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Cowboy Christmas Redemption"
Copyright © 2019 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates was a very moving read. Intense, heartbreaking. Beautiful. I loved the dynamics in Ellie’s and Caleb’s relationship. They’ve been friends for a long time, but Caleb has been in love with Ellie since the first moment he met her. She was with his best friend Clint, though, so he never tried to cross that line. Ellie definitely noticed Caleb was attractive, but she never let herself see him as anything more than her friend. Despite these initially unrequited feelings, Ellie and Caleb become really close. I genuinely loved their friendship. Before they’re ever together, they’re already so devoted to each other. They’ve been through so much together, including Clint’s death and the birth of her daughter, Amelia, which Caleb was present for. When Clint dies, Caleb steps up to make sure Ellie and Amelia are okay, never trying to push the boundaries of their friendship. But, when Ellie decides she’s ready to ‘get back out there’ and build a new life for herself – including exploring romance – Caleb decides its time to stop holding himself back. The chemistry between Ellie and Caleb was just as intense as their emotional bond, and it made for such a vivid, beautifully realistic relationship. The transition from friends-to-lovers was written perfectly as Ellie and Caleb fumbled about trying to find their way. I loved seeing Ellie fall in love with Caleb, and Caleb’s determination to be the best man he could be for Ellie and Amelia just made my heart ache from sweetness. Their journey is angsty and exquisite, and I adored every moment of it. If you like beautiful romances that make you feel a taste of every emotion under the rainbow, Cowboy Christmas Redemption is for you. Ellie and Caleb will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book. *I was provided an eARC copy of this book by Harlequin and Netgalley (thank-you!). All opinions expressed are voluntary and my own.*
4.5 Caleb and Ellie’s love story in Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates, book 8 in A Gold Valley series, was an emotional, sexy, and enjoyable tale. Since the day he met her, Caleb Dalton has loved Ellie Bell; despite her dating, and then marrying his best friend Clint. Now a widow and single mom, Ellie thinks of Caleb as her best friend and rock. She has always been oblivious to his feelings and interest in her; which was difficult for me to visualize and understand. Caleb has always been hands-off with Ellie so when he discovers that she has a Christmas wish list including a kiss under the mistletoe, he knows he’s in. He’s not going to let anyone else get close to her and take another chance at losing her. He is the only one who will be kissing Ellie as well as sharing the magic of Christmas with her and her daughter. Now if only Caleb can prove that he’s the one to complete and fulfill Ellie and her daughter’s lives. Ms. Yates wrote a fun, flirty, sexy sports romance that should not be missed. She provided a tale rich with emotions, sexual chemistry, wonderful dialogue, and endearing characters giving Caleb and Elle a chance to at love, and the chance to be a family for. I highly recommend Cowboy Christmas Redemption to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
When Clint passes away, Caleb is determined to be there for his best friend's window, Ellie and her daughter, Amelia. Caleb has always had feelings for Ellie but he is holding himself back because of his respect for Clint. When Ellie decides she is ready to move on, there is NO WAY another man is going to win her. He just will NOT stand for it! Well! Caleb just stole my heart. He is strong and kind! The best type of cowboy there is! When he and Ellie FINALLY get together...it is no holds barred! I fell in love with both of these characters. They both struggle through their grief and with the help of each other, they find their way to true love. It's not all peaches and cream...there are a few obstacles in the way. But that is just the tantalizing part of the story! Don't miss this sweet, tear jerker! I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.
Guilt, unrequited love, grief, family drama - all of that boils down to angst, lots and lots of angst. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing except when you have angst just for the sake of angst, and after a while, this started to feel that way. Nevertheless, we do have a sexy cowboy to swoon over, and Caleb is such a sweetheart. He's a little bit too guilt-ridden in my opinion, which holds him back, but he's still lovable, and it's hard not to want to see him get his happy ever after. Ellie made me a bit crazy with her back and forth. I get her reasons for being so gunshy, but the repetition of her inner monologue caused a few eye-rolls for me. The conclusion was the saving grace in Cowboy Christmas Redemption, and I have to hand it to Maisey Yates - that scene between our couple, once they have their epiphany, warms you all the way to your toes. In the end, this one had things I liked and things I didn't, but the story was definitely worth the read, and that conclusion leaves you with all the warm fuzzies a Christmas romance should.
but too drawn out for me
You simply must cheer for the characters throughout the whole story
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 read stories from this author and have enjoyed each book. This one was no different. I enjoyed following both main characters through their journey. I highly recommend. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
Finding Your Heart at Christmas Ellie Bell has been a widow for several years. It’s been difficult raising her daughter, Amelia, alone, but this year the mist of grief is lifting. She wants to make a real Christmas for her daughter. She also wants to move on. She wants to kiss a man under the mistletoe, dance, and have fun. Caleb Dalton has been Ellie’s salvation. He was Clint, her husband’s best friend, and although Ellie doesn’t know it, he’s always loved her. As Christmas approaches, Caleb is also thinking of moving on. He’s bought a ranch of his own. If he moves there he won’t be as close and suddenly Ellie realizes how much she depends on him and will miss him. The scene is set for Christmas magic and acknowledging love. This book is part of a series about the Daltons. The characters have a long history with each other which forms part of the background in the early chapters. It’s not difficult to catch up, but it takes a bit to keep the backstory straight. Ellie and Caleb are struggling with acknowledging how they feel for each other and that they’ve felt this way for a long time. I was glad to see them finally getting together. However, one of my favorite characters is Amelia. She’s such a happy little girl. You want to have Caleb and Ellie get together so she can have her perfect family. I received this book from Harlequin for this review.
4.5 Stars: What do you do when you are in love with your best friend's widow? How do you get past the fact that you have loved her since the first time you met her? Ellie Bell's husband, Clint, has been gone for five years. He was killed fighting a wildfire before he even knew he was going to be a dad. Caleb Dalton was his stand in for so many things. He held Ellie when she was sad and while she grieved, he was there for the birth of her child Amelia, and he has been a surrogate father for Amelia ever since. To Ellie, he is her best friend, but Dalton wants more. When Ellie decides she is ready to move on and comes up with a list of things she wants to do by Christmas, Caleb sees red. He does not want to see her in someone else's arms. When Ellie tries to dance and kiss a stranger, she realizes she can't. The only person she trusts to help her move on in her love life is Caleb. First, I have to say that I have not read any other books in this series, I think I need to go back and find out what happened before. I still enjoyed this story, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had the background. Ellie is a vulnerable woman with some baggage and flaws. She loved her husband and there is guilt when she thinks about moving on. She also sees her daughter, Amelia, and thinks she needs to move on for her. She loves Caleb, but again feels guilty. She doesn't think she deserves to be happy. Caleb is also carrying a pile of baggage. He has always felt less than Clint and that he was always second best. He also feels guilty that he loved Ellie while she was married to Clint. Amelia is adorable. She loves her mom and Caleb very much. She never knew her father so there is no confusion there, she loves Caleb and is not afraid to tell anyone that. When Caleb and Ellie begin a physical relationship, it is supposed to be no-strings, but you know that is not going to work out. When they finally open up to each other, it is beautiful Maisey Yates does a wonderful job with the sharing of emotions and my heart broke listening to them baring their souls to each other. Of course their path is rocky, there is some angst, a few hurdles, but some family members do their best to smooth the pathway for them and their advice is right on. I loved how the story ended and the epilogue is wonderful and ties the story up nicely. This was an enjoyable story, with a couple of sex scenes that were quite vivid, so it that is not your thing, you can skim over them. A quick read with a HEA for any contemporary romance lover. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Cowboy Christmas Redemption, by Maisey Yates, became available at booksellers on 9-24-19. Part of Ms Yates Gold Valley series it works quite well as a stand-alone story. I've given only 3 stars as there were parts of the plot that didn't ring true. For me, a little unbelievable but there's so much more that I flew through the tale. I became invested in the characters, and that's always the sign of a good story. Ellie Bell is a widow with a small daughter. Her husband was a part of the Dalton family and they took her into the fold too. They're all still close, which is nice for the sake of Amelia, she has loads of people who care for her. Her struggles seem real, her insecurities real. Her rough childhood makes her appreciate the Dalton's and she doesn't want to endanger that in any way. She's begun to think about moving on, she's mourned enough. I felt that too, it's hard to be brave. Caleb Dalton is the character I had trouble with. On one hand he's a great, thoughtful guy, but on the other hand he's screwed up pretty bad. He's held onto guilt, his sense of duty, and his love for Ellie for way too long. He tortures himself like there's a penance he has to pay forever. He's unlikable until he snaps out of it and acts like a man, not a mouse. All in all I liked the book and it ended well. Happy Christmas reading. #Netgalley #MaiseyYates #CowboyChristmasRedemption #GoldValley #HQNBooks
While the author does provide some backstory, so this could be read as a standalone, without one of those "List of Characters" or "Book family Tree" I would not recommend it. There are too many characters and baggage from the previous books. However, those of us who have read at least the last four of them, knew that eventually Caleb Dalton and Ellie Bell would get their HEA. Caleb has been in love with Ellie, since the first time he saw her, but she was already with his best friend, Clint. So he shoved his feelings down deep and decided that love and marriage would never be for him. Ellie's mother had made her believe that she was never good enough to be loved and cared for, so she had her own plan of becoming a teacher and taking care of herself, but that was before she met Clint, who loved her and made her life fun. They were responsible, building a little nest egg, bought a house and she was pregnant with their child, when he was killed in a helicopter crash while firefighting The Daltons were all devastated, as they had figuratively adopted him into their family. Jacob blamed himself, as Clint had taken his place, and Caleb became her best friend, telling her that she was a widow, being there at the birth of her daughter, fixing what needed fixing and because of a secret, he felt guilty of his feeling about her and didn't think he was good enough to take Clint's place. It was Ellie, however, who diagnosed his dyslexia. Five years later, Caleb is still in love with her, but would never do anything about it, and buys a Christmas Tree Farm, so he can have something of his own. Ellie realizes that she also needs to move on, so draws up a Christmas Wish list, which includes dancing, kisses and sex, and wants Caleb's help, not realizing how much pain she is causing him. Lots of Dalton family drama adds to the story. Will Ellie wake up and see what she has with Caleb, or sentence them both to years of loneliness? I read an ARC from NetGalley.com. This is my unbiased and voluntary review.
Patient, devoted readers of this series have finally been gifted with Caleb and Ellie’s story, just in time for the Christmas holidays. Caleb has secretly loved Ellie since he was a teen, even after he learns that she is marrying his best friend, Clint. In the five years since Clint’s death, Caleb has been Ellie’s best friend and her rock, helping her and her daughter, Amelia, in any way he can. Their shared grief and his guilt over his feelings for Ellie have kept him from acting on them until the day she shares her Christmas wishlist. She’s finally decided that she needs to put her grief aside and find a man for her 5 steps to sex. When she asks him to be her first because she feels safe with him, the last thing she expects is to unleash a ravenous animal who is anything but nice and easy. Once the beast is out of the cage, there’s no going back to the comfortable friendship, but can she allow herself to love when the only times she did, she lost? Will Caleb ever feel he can measure up to a good man like Clint? The path to love for the two of them is emotion-packed and sexually-charged, and what a wild ride it is. So worth the wait! I received a complimentary ARC of this book from HQN through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
Thank you ms yates you dod it again!! Loved this story
Caleb has loved Ellie for at least 10 years and her daughter for 4 years. It was love at first sight for him, but unfortunately Ellie was in love with his good friend and brother-from-another, Clint. However, Clint dies in an accident before his daughter is born and Caleb steps in as Ellie's friend and protector. Caleb has always felt inferior to everyone due to his learning disabilities and doesn't feel that he is good enough for Ellie, but he also cannot see her being with anyone who isn't him. Ellie has been alone for 4 years and isn't real crazy about her maturing, post childbirth body, but she is lonely and is craving the physical touch of a man. Ellie decides to make a Christmas wish list and with the help of her friend, Vanessa, she is going to try to find a man to sleep with her. Caleb gets a hint of what is going on and shows up at the bar and sees red. He dances with Ellie and then confronts her about what she is doing and she finally says that maybe it should be him that fulfills her list. Once he sees what all she has listed, he knows that this is going to be a huge test of his patience, his love, and his libido. In order for Ellie and Caleb to find their HEA, they must both confront and overcome the shadows in their past. I really loved this book and look forward to reading more by Ms. Yates. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
4 1/2 STARS! COWBOY CHRISTMAS REDEMPTION is book eight in the ever-delightful Gold Valley series by Maisey Yates and centers around a widowed single mom and her best friend cowboy in a friends to lovers/forbidden love romance. This series is rich in character development, and as we are getting the love story of the main couple, we are often getting updates on some of our favorite couples from previous books as well. Caleb's family has been going through some drama for a few books now, so he was quick to catch my eye as his story started to unfold and feel familiar from the previous tidbits we had learned about it all. He's been looking out for Ellie for years now, and when he learns she's ready to move forward with her life, he wants to be right beside her as she does. Ellie pulled at our heartstrings from the start. Since losing her husband five years ago, she's been pouring her heart and soul into raising their daughter Amelia, with lots of help from her husband's (and now her own) best friend. When she starts to look at Caleb in a whole new way, she's not sure what to make of it. I strongly recommend this book and this entire series for anyone loving a small town romance that is heavy on family and friend connections. The angst is spot on, and the happily ever after always feel heartwarmingly real.
Book 8 in Maisey Yates’s Gold Valley series, this is as much a story of three people coming together to form a family as it is a romance—and a brilliantly written romance it is, too. Ellie Bell has relied heavily on Caleb Dalton since the death of her husband, Clint (who was Caleb’s best friend). Caleb was there for Ellie through her grief and the birth of her daughter, Amelia. Years later, Caleb is still a constant source of friendship to Ellie, and is a father figure to Amelia. When Ellie decides she’s ready to move forward with her life and have a sexual relationship with a man, Caleb steps up to the plate. Ellie and Caleb’s romantic journey is full of intense emotion, and all the more beautiful because of it. Ellie must wade through lingering issues resulting from her mother’s neglect, and Caleb must come to terms with his belief that Clint was the better, more deserving man. Ellie’s status as a widowed single mother and Amelia’s need for a father are well-managed in Yates’s hands. There is more than one scene between Caleb and Amelia that will certainly tug at readers’ heartstrings. This story is a fantastic blend of family, second chances, and holding on to hope—one of Yates’s best novels yet. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
She’s his best friend’s widow, but Caleb Dalton has loved Ellie Bell and her daughter Amelia for years, so when he discovers that she has a Christmas wish list – he’s throwing his hat into the ring. Ellie’s finally decided that it’s time to make some changes, but she never expects the biggest change to the heart-stopping she shares with Caleb. This holiday romance is a very moving and sweet romance that produces a few tears as Caleb and Ellie figure out how to untangle their friendship and move it into a happily ever after. This hero and heroine are strong and easily capture the hearts of the readers as all of the emotional turmoil flows from the pages and readers can’t help but feel that Caleb and Ellie along with Amelia would make a great family, especially at such a special time of the year. The plot proceeds at a steady pace and keeps readers engaged with this topsy turvy romance that has a couple struggling over some turbulent issues over moving forward when they have lost someone so close to them. The holiday setting and of course the growing Dalton family adds to the wonderful spirit of reaching for a happily ever after that warms the heart and captivates readers from the very beginning.
I’ve enjoyed this series and I feel like I’ve been waiting for Caleb and Ellie’s story since the beginning. And I’m so happy it delivered. Ellie and Caleb are both loyal and good people. They’re tied together through death and it was interesting to see how that played out as their relationship changed. I loved Ellie’s daughter Amelia and all of the scenes she was in. Plot wise, it was good. There’s a lot of grief for each of them to deal with and so there was a lot of inner monologue. I did love that they communicated well and often. And thankfully, the super angsty time didn’t drag out. I was hoping for a bit more happiness. There were sparks of it here and there and logically I know it wouldn’t have felt authentic, but still. Overall, it was a fairly quick and satisfying read with a fabulous epilogue. **Huge thanks to HQN Books for providing the arc free of charge**
COWBOY CHRISTMAS REDEMPTION follows two friends on their path to more. Ellie was married to Caleb's best friend, Clint, who died fighting fires in a helicopter crash right before their daughter was born. Ellie has been in survival mode for the last several years, birthing and then raising her daughter, Amelia, who is now four. With the school she and the others started, her life is growing more. Ellie has been lucky to have Caleb right by her side, helping with Amelia and anything else she needs. Caleb has decided that it is time for him to move on, and he has bought a Christmas tree farm that he will harvest and then begin his own ranch, outside of his family. He carries a lot of guilt for the way he has always felt about Ellie (even while she was married to the best guy) and conflicting feelings about the way he was raised. With the family finding their half-siblings, Caleb has been re-evaluating the things that bothered him, like his father writing him off for college- something he pushed for everyone except Caleb- due to undiagnosed learning disabilities which he has now discovered and come to terms with. Ellie is also trying to expand her world, and she has started with a Christmas list of goals which begin with getting a dress and dancing and end with you-know-what. When she starts working on it, she realizes the person who she wants to work on it with is Caleb. But first, they have to deal with their own hang-ups and impediments in the relationship. Their chemistry was great, and I love the list premise. However, the book does drag in places as they are both conflicted and there's a lot of push-pull. I would have liked the book shortened a bit, I think, but I still enjoyed reading their story overall. The chemistry is off-the-charts and a whole lot of fun. With the extra cowboy charm of the Gold Valley series, this was a fun Christmas-themed read. Recommend for fans of Yates looking for a lightly Christmas themed book. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.