The Last Christmas Cowboy
Claiming The Rancher’s Heir
The Last Christmas Cowboy and Claiming The Rancher’s Heir by Maisy Yates are holiday gifts for anyone who reads her stories. During this time of year people need to put smiles on their faces, especially after enduring 2020, and these books do just that.
The Last Christmas Cowboy delves into how people must endure after losing a loved one. Both the hero, Logan Heath and the heroine, Rose Daniels, lost their parents in the same plane crash. Both have survivor’s guilt and wish the crash never happened. Logan losing his mother and Rose losing both her parents shattered their world, which is probably why they became each other’s friend and confidant. Now seventeen years later, they are still broken but are dealing with it differently, even as they work the ranch together.
After Rose decides to become a matchmaker to her beloved older sister, Iris, she confides in Logan and enlists his help. She refuses to accept his assertion that she knows nothing about chemistry until they share an electrifying kiss. The plot has Rose realizing she must decide if she wants the relationship with Logan to change from friend to something more, while he battles self-restraint and desire.
Claiming The Rancher’s Heir is an enemy to lover story. On the surface, Wren Maxfield and Creed Cooper hate each other. But, to benefit both of their wineries, they’re willing to set aside their differences and work together. Yet, it is very difficult for both to set aside their animosity and stop trading barbed comments. It becomes clear that both of them are responding with hostility in order to hide their attraction to one another. What makes this story even better is the soul-searching both are doing to try to find the person they truly want to be.
Both these books will have readers’ constantly turning the pages. Per usual, Yates writes terrific characters with great sparring dialogue, not to mention an interesting relationship story.
Elise Cooper: In Claiming the Rancher’s Heir, why an enemy to lover story?
Maisey Yates: I was at this vacation rental, doing research for my next women’s fiction novel. I sat down at the kitchen table and in my head popped the heroine saying the only way I would dance with you is on your grave. I wanted this antagonistic relationship because I enjoy writing that kind of banter. It was a lot of fun to write.
EC: How would you describe the relationship?
MY: Hostility covered up this intense attraction between the two of them. With these shorter books I don’t like to go half-way because there is not a lot of time to get into the nuance of things. In many ways the hero pushed the heroine to change.
EC: How would you describe the heroine, Wren?
MY: She thinks she has it together but really does not. She is smart and polished with a little bit of wildness. Sometimes stubborn, prissy, and controlling, but it is used to cover up the fact she cannot find herself.
EC: What role did her parents play in shaping who Wren is today?
MY: Her parents had a strong expectation of who she is supposed to be. Her father is controlling, difficult, and sleezy. Wren wanted to please him so tried to be the person he wanted. Now she is in a crisis because her father is not the person who she thought him to be. She has to find herself because she was living her life for him, but now considers him an awful person.
EC: How would you describe the hero, Cooper?
MY: Wounded because of his family history. He appears to be a laid-back cowboy type, which is what gets on Wren’s nerves. That is actually a cover because when things happen, he is more in control. Overall, he is rustic, self-confidant, and as with all my heroes he is a shade arrogant.
EC: The role of the setting?
MY: It is set in Oregon’s wine country, which is where I live. They work together to promote the wine trade with events and tourism. It is funny, even though I do not drink, I use wineries in a lot of my books. I wanted to capture the wine country vibe we have in Southern Oregon. There is a spirit of collaboration rather than competition.
EC: The other book, The Last Christmas Cowboy, has a heroine Rose?
MY: She is based on Emma in Jane Austin. I think she means well, but thinks she knows it all. Unfortunately, she misreads situations. She has hope and enthusiasm, an outdoor girl who is impulsive and direct.
EC: How would you describe the hero, Logan?
MY: He is an older hero who wants to do what is right. Loyal, a solid guy, supportive, protective, and caring.
EC: How would you describe the relationship?
MY: He is the best friend of Rose’s older brother. He feels guilty because he is very much attracted to Rose. He respects her as a friend and tries very hard to have a platonic relationship. I have this quote in the book, “Rose had taken something dark and full of guilt and shame and has turned it into the most beautiful moment he could’ve asked for. She had taken his grief and turned it into joy. She had taken guilt and turned it into love. She had taken a broken man and made him whole.” Although Rose also felt guilt and sadness, she channeled it into hope. They found their way out of grief together, with a willingness to help each other heal.
EC: What about Rose’s older sister, Iris. What was their relationship?
MY: Iris was the maternal character. Rose sells her short, thinking she can never find a man. She sees Iris as dependable, and soft, who was always the caregiver.
EC: What about your next books?
MY: The next book will be Iris’ book and titled, The HeartBreaker of Echo Past. It is due out in June 2021. Her hero is a mountain man with a wounded and dark past.
Out in January of next year is Cricket’s book, The Rancher’s Heir. She is the youngest sister of Wren. It is a little bit old school romance. She feels she is much more like the Coopers’ family and thinks maybe she is Cash Cooper’s daughter. She is not. I wrote this during the lockdown and wanted a firecracker kind of heroine. Maybe in the fourth book, I will put in a romance between Cooper’s dad and Wren’s mom.
Also, out in January will be a book I wrote with three other authors: Jackie Ashenden, Caitlin Crews, and Nicole Helm. It is titled A Good Old-Fashioned Cowboy. The plot has four friends who open up shops on main street. They are staying in Grandma June’s house, which is now a vacation rental. They make a pact where no one can use their phones, no technology.
My new women’s fiction comes out in May of next year. It is titled, Confessions From The Quilting Circle. It’s about three sisters who decided to finish their late grandmother’s memory quilt, along with their mother, and how each fabric they select for the quilt reveals family secrets and brings them to a place of sharing their own secrets. I used some of my own family history for this book, so it was a fun one to write.