Always Dakota (Dakota Series #3)

Always Dakota (Dakota Series #3)

by Debbie Macomber

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Original)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778318941
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 06/28/2016
Series: Dakota Series , #3
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 79,127
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

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 www.DebbieMacomber.com.

Hometown:

Port Orchard, Washington

Date of Birth:

October 22, 1948

Place of Birth:

Yakima, Washington

Education:

Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college

Read an Excerpt



Prologue


September


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

(Continues...)

GATHERING LIES

By MEG O'BRIEN

MIRA

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

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

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Always Dakota (Dakota Series #3) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful addition to the Dakota series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the whole series, loved the characters and how they all intertwined
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
sunfi on LibraryThing 21 days ago
The final book in the Dakota Valley story about a small farming town in North Dakota. The town was dying until someone steps in and breathes hope into it again. This installment followed a couple characters that were only mentioned briefly in the second book, it was nice to see their stories developed. This book along with the other two are just good solid stories. There is nothing exotic or challenging about them just people relating and communicating with one another. These books definitely have a female perspective without being overly "syrupy sweet".
thedomestichick on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I didn't like this book as much as I liked her other books - Montana, Blossom Street series, etc. I think my dislike stemmed from the Axel subplot and the handling of Shelley's pregnancy. Having friends/family who have endured the adoptive process, I really disliked the way Axel was taken from the couple. I work as a volunteer GAL, and the first mandate is to keep the child feeling stable. Unless the home was truly unfit (and this would be determined by a caseworker as WELL AS a CASA volunteer), the child most likely would have stayed in that very loving home he already knew. I also didn't like the way it was 'wrapped up' so neatly with him adjusting so easily - again, personal experience. I am also a stepmother, and my DH's ex is a lot like Shelley - used the children for personal gain, vindictive, hateful and spiteful. I can guarantee you that she will never give up her rights like that - no matter how much she would like. In fact, most stepmothers that deal with vindictive exes have pretty much the same experience - even when mothers abandon their young (one moved to England with no visits) they still play victim and refuse to give up their rights. The hate runs too deep. I also know that the strain on the marriage would have been nearly unbearable once the baby was on the EOW schedule and the women were interacting (which would be inevitable). It would not have been so easy to just pack him off to the hospital for that first visit, and it's never that easy to just "forgive, move on and love another woman's child" - trust me. Again, the ending for this part of the book was too "neat and tidy" to align with my personal experience.
Anonymous 10 months ago
A wonderful ending to a nice series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this series and wish it would continue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too many abrupt character changes. Story doesn't flow smoothly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"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!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Next book over...
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. Spartanburg,SC