The Rancher’s Wager (A Gold Valley Book)
January 12, 2021
The Rancher’s Wager by Maisey Yates will remind readers of a romantic western TV show. People can picture the hero and heroine in a poker game where losing the bet means the loser must be the other’s ranch hand.
“I wrote it when there was a total lockdown, during the month of April. I wanted to write something that was fun, and not about Covid. It is about the female protagonist winning her male counterpart in a poker game. It has old school romance and enables the readers to escape. Basically, I made my own fun, so I wrote this. I will only put Covid into my stories if there is a long-term change. Then it will make its way into my stories. For example, after 911 the way tickets at the airport, or the way we go through security has changed. If there is a permanent modification caused by Covid, writers will adopt it, take it on board, and have it organically put into a story.’
The plot has rancher Jackson Cooper facing off in a charity poker game against his rival Cricket Maxfield, where the stakes get personal. Whoever loses must be the others’ worker for thirty days. Jackson intentionally loses, or so he thinks, to get Cricket to realize she is not cut out for ranching. At that point he will swoop in and buy her out. Cricket’s motive for agreeing to the bet, and winning, was to get closer to Jackson to understand her own backstory. From there fireworks ignite the relationship.
“Jackson is a dark horse. He is a manipulator who thinks he is in control. Hard-headed, strong, stubborn, tough, and irritating, but an overall good guy. While Cricket is a free-spirited determined tomboy. She is one of the few characters I wrote with curly hair. I think she is naïve, wounded, yet, strong, and a go-getter. She is making her own way because of her competitive spirit, fierceness, and stubbornness.”
Their relationship has Cricket trying to understand why she is so attracted to Jackson. She has a crush on him, but thinks he is unattainable. He called her “Little Cricket, because he saw her as a kid sister and wanted to distance himself from her. I am a sucker for the older guy with the younger heroine. There was a seed there, but it needed the right time to bloom. In some ways both are emotionally immature, and he underestimated her. He knows more about the world and sexual experience, but she teaches him how to love.”
As with all her books, this novel being no difference, Yates writes fun plots, riveting relationships, and characters readers want to get to know.