Always Dakota (Dakota Series #3)

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Local rancher Margaret Clemens is taking a chance on happiness, and going after what she wants for a change. And what she wants is marriage to cowboy, Matt Eilers. Regardless of what her friends and family say, and despite all the rumors, Margaret wants Matt anyway. Oh . . . and she plans on having his baby, too.

Please join me for my third — and final — visit to Buffalo Valley, North Dakota. This town exists only in my imagination, but its spirit and sense of community are ...

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Always Dakota (Dakota Series #3)

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Local rancher Margaret Clemens is taking a chance on happiness, and going after what she wants for a change. And what she wants is marriage to cowboy, Matt Eilers. Regardless of what her friends and family say, and despite all the rumors, Margaret wants Matt anyway. Oh . . . and she plans on having his baby, too.

Please join me for my third — and final — visit to Buffalo Valley, North Dakota. This town exists only in my imagination, but its spirit and sense of community are definitely real. Buffalo Valley resenbles many places in my family's history, and perhaps in yours. If you've been to Buffalo Valley before, I invite you to come and visit the friends you've met their; if not, prepare to make some new ones.

Buffalo Valley, North Dakota, has become a good place to live — the way it used to be, thirty or fourty years ago. People here are feeling confident about the future again.

Stalled lives are moving forward. People are taking risks — on new ventures and on lifelong dreams. On Happiness. And one of those people is local rancher Margaret Clemens, who's finally getting what she wants most. Marriage to cowboy Matt Eilers. Her friends dont think Matt's such a bargain; neither did her father. But Margaret's aware of Matt's reputation and his flaws. She wants him anyway. And she wants his baby . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A multifaceted tale of romance and deceit, the final installment of Macomber's Dakota trilogy (Dakota Born, Dakota Home) oozes with country charm and a strong sense of community spirit. Thanks to the arrival of enterprising newcomers, the once struggling farming town of Buffalo Valley, N.Dak., is now enjoying a revival. The marriage between Margaret Clemens, the only daughter of a longtime rancher, and outsider Matt Eilers symbolizes the town's metamorphosis. For any cowboy, Margaret would appear to be the catch of the town with her forthright demeanor and her recent inheritance of her father's prosperous ranch. What Matt has to offer besides his good looks is harder to discern, however. Smothering the weak flame of Matt and Margaret's attraction, Matt's scheming ex-girlfriend, Sheryl, announces that she is pregnant with his child. As Margaret and Matt grapple with issues of trust, other members of the community (familiar to those who have read the trilogy's earlier volumes) attempt to cope with a rebellious teenager, a fragile pregnancy and a kidnapping. Although Macomber excels at depicting believable characters, the romantic tension between Margaret and Matt is less than compelling. The real virtue of this narrative lies in Macomber's earnest portrayal of the people who inhabit this delightful town. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal

Rancher Margaret Clemens decides to take a chance on marriage to cowboy Matt Eilers, despite what anyone else says, in Always Dakota(2001), the rerelease of the third volume in Macomber's popular series set in Buffalo Valley, ND. Recommended for libraries with a strong Macomber readership that need to replenish their collections.

In Someday Soon(1995), a grieving widow meets a professional mercenary, and they both learn they need to reassess their priorities in order to accept love.

—Kristin Ramsdell
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585473991
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Series: Dakota Series, #3
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber, with more than 100 million copies of her books sold worldwide, is one of today's most popular authors. The #1 New York Times bestselling author is best known for her ability to create compelling characters and bring their stories to life in her books. Debbie is a regular resident on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times (70 times and counting), USA TODAY (currently 67 times) and Publishers Weekly (47 times). Visit her at


Publishing did not come easy to self-described "creative speller" Debbie Macomber. When Macomber decided to follow her dreams of becoming a bestselling novelist, she had a lot of obstacles in her path. For starters, Macomber is dyslexic. On top of this, she had only a high school degree, four young children at home, and absolutely no connections in the publishing world. If there's one thing you can say about Debbie Macomber, however, it is that she does not give up. She rented a typewriter and started writing, determined to break into the world of romance fiction.

The years went on and the rejection letters piled up. Her family was living on a shoestring budget, and Debbie was beginning to think that her dreams of being a novelist might never be fulfilled. She began writing for magazines to earn some extra money, and she eventually saved up enough to attend a romance writer's conference with three hundred other aspiring novelists. The organizers of the conference picked ten manuscripts to review in a group critique session. Debbie was thrilled to learn that her manuscript would be one of the novels discussed.

Her excitement quickly faded when an editor from Harlequin tore her manuscript to pieces in front of the crowded room, evoking peals of laughter from the assembled writers. Afterwards, Macomber approached the editor and asked her what she could do to improve her novel. "Throw it away," the editor suggested.

Many writers would have given up right then and there, but not Macomber. The deeply religious Macomber took a lesson from Job and gathered strength from adversity. She returned home and mailed one last manuscript to Silhouette, a publisher of romance novels. "It cost $10 to mail it off," Macomber told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2000. "My husband was out of work at this time, in Alaska, trying to find a job. The children and I were living on his $250-a-week unemployment, and I can't tell you what $10 was to us at that time."

It turned out to be the best $10 Macomber ever spent. In 1984, Silhouette published her novel, Heartsong. (Incidentally, although Heartsong was Macomber's first sale, she actually published another book, Starlight, before Heartsong went to print.) Heartsong went on to become the first romance novel to ever be reviewed in Publishers Weekly, and Macomber was finally on her way.

Today, Macomber is one of the most widely read authors in America. A regular on the New York Times bestseller charts, she is best known for her Cedar Cove novels, a heartwarming story sequence set in a small town in Washington state, and for her Knitting Books series, featuring a group of women who patronize a Seattle yarn store. In addition, her backlist of early romances, including several contemporary Westerns, has been reissued with great success.

Macomber has made a successful transition from conventional romance to the somewhat more flexible genre known as "women's fiction." "I was at a point in my life where I found it difficult to identify with a 25-year-old heroine," Macomber said in an interview with "I found that I wanted to write more about the friendships women share with each other." To judge from her avid, ever-increasing fan base, Debbie's readers heartily approve.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Macomber:

"I'm dyslexic, although they didn't have a word for it when I was in grade school. The teachers said I had 'word blindness.' I've always been a creative speller and never achieved good grades in school. I graduated from high school but didn't have the opportunity to attend college, so I did what young women my age did at the time -- I married. I was a teenager, and Wayne and I (now married nearly 37 years) had four children in five years."

"I'm a yarnaholic. That means I have more yarn stashed away than any one person could possibly use in three or four lifetimes. There's something inspiring about yarn that makes me feel I could never have enough. Often I'll go into my yarn room (yes, room!) and just hold skeins of yarn and dream about projects. It's a comforting thing to do."

"My office walls are covered with autographs of famous writers -- it's what my children call my ‘dead author wall.' I have signatures from Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, Jack London, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Pearl Buck, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, to name a few."

"I'm morning person, and rip into the day with a half-mile swim (FYI: a half mile is a whole lot farther in the water than it is on land) at the local pool before I head into the office, arriving before eight. It takes me until nine or ten to read through all of the guest book entries from my web site and the mail before I go upstairs to the turret where I do my writing. Yes, I write in a turret -- is that romantic, or what? I started blogging last September and really enjoy sharing bits and pieces of my life with my readers. Once I'm home for the day, I cook dinner, trying out new recipes. Along with cooking, I also enjoy eating, especially when the meal is accompanied by a glass of good wine. Wayne and I take particular pleasure in sampling eastern Washington State wines (since we were both born and raised in that part of the state).

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    1. Hometown:
      Port Orchard, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 22, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yakima, Washington
    1. Education:
      Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt



Bernard Clemens was dying and he knew it, despite what the doctors—all those fancy specialists—had said about his heart. He knew. He was old and tired, ready for death.

    Sitting in the den of the home he'd built thirty years ago for his wife, he closed his eyes and remembered. Maggie had been his great love. His only love. Delicate and beautiful, nearly sixteen years younger, she could have had her choice of husbands, but she'd chosen him. An aging rancher with a craggy face and work-roughened hands. A man who had simple tastes and lacked social refinement. And yet she'd loved him.

    God help him, he'd loved her, loved her still, although she'd been gone now for nearly twenty-seven years.

    Her love had been gift enough, but she'd yearned to give him a son. Bernard, too, had hoped for an heir. He'd purchased the Circle C as a young man, buying the land adjacent to his parents' property, and eventually he'd built the combined ranches into one huge spread, an empire to pass onto his son. However, the child had been a girl and they'd named her Margaret, after her mother.

    The pregnancy had drained Maggie and she was further weakened that winter by a particularly bad strain of the flu. Pneumonia had set in soon afterward, and before anyone realized how serious it was, his Maggie was gone.

    In all his life, Bernard had never known such grief. With Maggie's death, he'd lost what he valued most—the woman who'd brought him joy. When they lowered her casket into theground, they might as well have buried him, too. From that point forward, he threw himself into ranching, buying more land, increasing his herd and consequently turning the Circle C into one of the largest and most prosperous cattle ranches in all of North Dakota.

    As for being a father to young Margaret, he'd tried, but as the eldest of seven boys, he had no experience in dealing with little girls. In the years that followed, his six younger brothers had all lived and worked with him for brief periods of time, eventually moving on and getting married and starting families of their own.

    They'd helped him raise her, teaching her about ranching ways—riding and roping ... and cussing, he was sorry to admit.

    To this day, Margaret loved her uncles. Loved riding horses, too. She was a fine horsewoman, and more knowledgeable about cattle than any man he knew. She'd grown tall and smart—not to mention smart-mouthed—but Bernard feared he'd done his only child a grave disservice. Margaret resembled him more than she did her mother. Maggie had been a fragile, dainty woman who brought out everything that was good in Bernard.

    Their daughter, unfortunately, revealed very little of her mother's gentleness or charm. How could she, seeing that she'd been raised by a grief-stricken father and six bachelors? Margaret looked like Bernard, talked like him and dressed like him: It was a crying shame she hadn't been a boy, since, until recently, she was often mistaken for one. His own doing, he thought, shaking his head. Had Maggie lived, she would have seen to the proper upbringing of their daughter. Would have taught their little girl social graces and femininity, as mothers do. Bernard had given it his best shot. He loved his daughter, but he felt that he'd failed her.

    To her credit, Margaret possessed a generous, loving heart and she was a fine businesswoman. Bernard couldn't help being proud of her, despite a constant sense of guilt about her unconventional upbringing.

    There was a light knock. At his hoarse "Come in" the housekeeper opened the door. "Matt Eilers is here to see you," Sadie announced brusquely.

    With effort, Bernard straightened, his fingers digging into the padded leather arms of his chair as he forced himself to meet this neighbor. "Send him in."

    She nodded and left.

    Less than a minute later, Matt Eilers appeared, Stetson in hand.

    "You'll forgive me if I don't get up," Bernard said.

    "Of course."

    Bernard gestured toward the matching chair on the opposite side of the fireplace. "Sit down."

    Matt obliged, giving Bernard his first good look at this man his daughter apparently loved. Frankly, he was disappointed. He'd seen Matt at social affairs, the occasional wedding, harvest dance or barbecue, but they'd never spoken. Somehow, he'd expected more substance, and he felt surprised that Margaret would be taken in by a pretty face and an empty heart. Over the last few years Bernard had heard plenty about his neighbor to the west, and not much of it had been flattering.

    "I imagine you're wondering why I asked to meet with you."

    "I am," Matt said, perching on the edge of the chair. He held his hat in both hands, his expression questioning.

    "You enjoy ranching?"

    "Yes, sir."

    At least he was polite, and that boded well. "How long you been ranching the Stockert place?"

    "Four years. I'd like to buy my own spread one day, but for now I'm leasing the land and building up my herd."

    "So I understand." Bernard leaned back in his chair. His breath came slowly, painfully. "You have family in the area?"

    Matt's gaze shifted to the Oriental rug. "No. My parents divorced when I was five. My father ranched in Montana and I worked summers with him, but he died when I was fifteen."

    "Ranching's in your blood then, same as mine."

    "It is," Matt agreed.

    Bernard hesitated, waiting until he had breath enough to continue. "You know my daughter Margaret."

    Matt nodded.

    "What do you think of her?"

    The question seemed to take him by surprise. "Think of her? How do you mean?"

    Bernard waved his hand. "Your general impression."

    Slumping back in the chair, Matt shrugged. "I ... I don't know what you want me to say."

    "Just be honest," he snapped, impatient. He didn't have the strength—or the time—for word games.

    "Well ..." Matt paused. "Margaret's Margaret. She's ... unique."

    That was true enough. As far as Bernard knew, she'd only worn a dress twice in her entire life. He'd tried to get her into one when she was ten and the attempt had damn near killed him. "Did you know she's in love with you?"

    "Margaret?" Matt sprang to his feet. "I swear I haven't touched her! I swear it." The color fled from his face and he shook his head as though to emphasize his words.

    "I believe you.... Sit down."

    Matt did as asked, but his demeanor had changed dramatically. His posture was stiff, his face tight with apprehension and uncertainty.

    "She's gotten it in her head that she's going to marry you."

    Matt had the look of a caged animal. "I ... I'm not sure what to say."

    "You don't know my daughter, otherwise you'd realize that when she sets her mind to something, there isn't much that'll stand in her way."

    "I ... I ..."

    Bernard cut him off. He was growing weak and there





Copyright © 2001 Meg O'Brien. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 65 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Kevgreat man

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Zach tigerstrike and rage

    We love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Dakota's story chap. 1

    "I win!" Alek barked, tackling Dakota. "No fair! I wasn't ready!" Growled Dakota, throwing his brother off of him. "Guys! Daddy wants us!" Shouted willow. The three pups ran into their home, a small cave a mile away from blood wolf territory. "Daddy needs to go." The black wolf said sadly. So the three pups waved goodbye to their father as he walked away. He had been gone for nearly four hours when they really got concerned. So they cuddled together and fell asleep. The next day, Alek caught a hawk and soon after they decided to go look for their dad and set off. As they were walking, they encountered a mountain lion eating the flesh off of a black wolf pelt. They stared in horror as they watched the mountain lion attack willow. Dakota was split up from his brother, never seeing him again. (Three positive posts and ill do the rest!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Love this series!!

    Good reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013


    A wonderful addition to the Dakota series

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    debbie's romance

    the dakota sweries is one not to be missed. they are romances as only debbie can write them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    very good!

    I loved the whole series, loved the characters and how they all intertwined

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012


    Next book over...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012



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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012


    This was a great book and hard to put down. Calla was a rral piece of work. All the characters were great just like any town or city.


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  • Posted January 7, 2012

    Makes you feel like you are living with these people

    Loved this Dakota Series. Makes you want to know more about the town and its occupants. You don't want to put the books down. Everyone will enjoy this series and there are so many characters with dynamics that you can relate to.

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

    Excellent feel good story.

    A good book about small town life, and the people who have a history in the town.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    NOT lendable

    Do not buy if you plan on lending as this is not lendable!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Great Macomber Book

    As usual, Debbie keeps your interest, yearning for the next turn of events. I love her characters.

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  • Posted May 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An amazing love story!

    This book is an amazing love story of trials and tribulations of love, parenting, small town life and hard work. the characters are easy to identify with as well as the reality of the lives they live. It was touching, heartfelt and at times emotional. You can really feel the love and compassion the characters felt for each other.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    Delightful reading

    For those who enjoyed visiting this town in the Dakota trilogy, there is a book 4 sequel which I found in our local library. It is called 'Buffalo Valley' by Debbie Macomber. It is a somewhat shorter novel and quite repetetive in spots of the former Dakota series,but enjoyable reading. Once again, the community bands together to address a crisis, there is a new romance, and the former mariages produce new offspring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2002

    Great Ending to a Great Trilogy!

    I just finished Always Dakota and although Ms. MaComber rapped things up nicely, there is room for more stories about the people in this lovely town! I think Giselle was so disappointed about the 'back and forth between characters' because you HAVE to read the first 2 stories before you can read Always Dakota. The relationship between Mat and Margaret was beautiful, as well as the relationships between Jeb and Maddy and Sarah and Dennis. At times, I wanted to shake Calle, but I guess growing up a teen in a small town is sometimes hard. All in all, I think this was a great ending to the story of a town's (re)growth as well as the growth of it inhabitants. Bravo, Ms. MaComber!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2001


    I'm sorry, I'd love to praise the book, but I couldn't even finish it. It annoyed me how she continues to switch between 5 different people and their 5 different stories! I wanted to read about Matt & Maragret, but that just wasn't happening! Their story, so far and I've read 100 pages, isn't anymore important than any of the other characters' stories. I don't recommend this book unless you can enjoy this style of writing.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    warm Buffalo Valley visit

    Buffalo Valley rancher Bernard Clemons, knowing he is dying, meets with cowboy Matt Eilers. Bernard discusses his beloved daughter Margaret with Matt informing the latter that she loves him and plans to marry him. Matt says he will never marry Margaret and though Bernard does not believe the man is good enough for his only child, he knows differently. <P>After Bernard dies, a grieving Margaret offers Matt an opportunity to own a ranch, a dream he has had since he ranched with his deceased father in Montana. They marry, but his past haunts them as his ex-girlfriend claims he left her pregnant, something he does not deny. <P>The third and final installment in Debbie Macomber¿s warm Buffalo Valley series is a fine addition to the trilogy. ALWAYS DAKOTA is an entertaining tale that showcases realistic people living and dreaming in a small ranching community in North Dakota. The M&M couple consists of two independent individuals whose relationship seems a bit tepid when compared with that of the townsfolk. Still, Ms. Macomber has written another winning wholesome novel that will send fans of contemporary romance seeking the two previous books (see DAKOTA BORN and DAKOTA HOME). <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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