Legendary bull rider Jake Daniels has only one plan this Christmas—to ignore the pain the season always brings. Until his best friend, Callie Carson, shows up on his ranch with a marriage proposal. Jake has lived so close to the edge it’s a miracle he’s still alive—he knows all about risk. But marrying the woman he craves more than anything feels like the biggest risk of all.
Callie Carson may be rodeo royalty, but to fulfill her dreams of riding saddle bronc, she needs her inheritance. And to access that, she needs a husband. But Jake the husband is deliciously different from Jake the friend, especially after the wild heat of their wedding night. He was only supposed to be her cowboy for Christmas, but Jake’s every heart-stopping touch has Callie questioning how she’ll ever be able to walk away.
In the bonus novella Her First Christmas Cowboy, Tala gets a surprise Christmas delivery—a cowboy on her doorstep!
Titles in the Gold Valley series include — Smooth-Talking Cowboy – Untamed Cowboy – Good Time Cowboy – A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas – Unbroken Cowboy – Cowboy to the Core – Lone Wolf Cowboy – Cowboy Christmas Redemption – The Bad Boy of Redemption Ranch – The Hero of Hope Springs -The Last Christmas Cowboy -The Heartbreaker of Echo Pass – Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch – The True Cowboy of Sunset Ridge (December 2021) –
(While I’ve read this entire series, not all were reviewed here at Happily Ever After Romance, the links above are only for titles on this site.)
This is an adult 18+ story that may contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.
Title: Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch
Series: Gold Valley #13
Author: Maisey Yates
Genre: Modern Western Romance, Christmas Romance
Published: October 26, 2021
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)
My Rating: 4.5 stars
I love returning to the Gold Valley series (world) at any time of the year, but especially around Christmas time. Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch is a delightful, fun, sexy story set around the holidays that delivered absolutely everything I’ve come to expect from this series, and its author, Maisey Yates… and then just a bit more. Callie and Jake’s story touches on so many emotions, on friendship that turns to something more given the right circumstances (or acknowledging what was always there simply unspoken), and the ways that we trick ourselves into sets of rules that really don’t matter in the long run.
Jake left the rodeo circuit after an incident that involved a good friend, and an injury that he somehow blames himself for not preventing. He left at the top, his rodeo family/friends don’t really understand why but Jake is steadfast in his belief that that particular career is behind him and now his ranch is his career. Unfortunately, (depending on your viewpoint) Jake is about to be drawn right back into that world by the very friend he left it in the rearview mirror for. Callie.
Callie’s dream is to break into the male world of saddle bronc riding. She’s good, she’s damned good at what she loves but because of one slip, one mistake, one broken bone she’s been sidelined by her father because of his place of authority in that field, and because of her mentor’s leaving her behind. She’s not about to give up that dream and has come up with a way to show them all that she has what it takes to succeed… it will just involve a bit of help from Jake, and a pretend marriage in order to access her inheritance to fund this dream of hers. She never intended for the marriage to be real for that was a road straight to losing her best friend… but emotions don’t always fall into line as we want them to.
My emotions were all over the place while reading Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch. Hope, joy, despair, anger, and understanding both sides of the ongoing argument that runs through Jake and Callie’s story. Their friendship is solid, it’s real, and it could also be the base that a real marriage is based on if only this couple would take the risks of showing how they really feel toward each other. Their banter, their affection for each other kept me glued to the pages hoping that they’d eventually see the reality of loving one another without losing one single thing that matters to them each. Although she’s stubborn, at times prickly, and always sassy, I respected Callie’s determination to follow her dream. And she learned some valuable life lessons along the way, as did other important people in her life.
We’ll meet up with some familiar faces from Gold Valley this holiday season, which is always a delight. Get a taste of what might be coming next. And enjoy watching a couple work their way through the emotions, the doubts right into each other arms for a forever kind of love. I loved Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch and if you love a solid romance with interesting characters then this one would be perfect for you. I’ll usually suggest reading any series in order, but as the thirteenth story that might be a stretch of time and finances. You could easily read Callie and Jake’s story on its own and not miss a thing for anything important (or people who matter) is explained within the narrative or dialogue. So, go ahead and indulge yourself this Christmas – you just might find a new to you series to follow as well.
I own a Kindle edition of Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch.
Available in a variety of formats including print or for your favorite e-reader.