A Cowboy's Redemption - Marin Thomas

 Series: Cowboys of the Rio Grande (Book 1)



Cruz Rivera is on his last second chance. He can't afford to blow it by falling for the beautiful blonde widow who just hired him to fix up her family's New Mexico property. If he's going to get back on the rodeo circuit, Cruz needs to focus. Besides, a sweet single mom like Sara Mendez can do better than someone with Cruz's troubled history.


Sara isn't making it easy for Cruz to keep his distance. He's a man of many secrets, but Sarah sees only good in his warm brown eyes. Though Cruz knows he should move on before Sara discovers the truth about his past, he can't leave the closest thing to a home he's ever known. Cruz is the only man Sara wants--can he become the one she deserves?


Wonderful story of second chances and new beginnings. Cruz has just been released from spending twelve years in prison thanks to trying to help a friend. He has no home, no job, and little money. He's met at the gate by an old friend who gives him the things Cruz inherited from another friend who wanted Cruz to get back on the rodeo circuit. As Cruz drives toward the location of a rodeo, he stops to eat a small cantina. There he meets Sara, a single mother who needs help with repairs to the property.


Sara is a single mother and nurse who lives in Albuquerque. She lost her husband, a doctor who ran a clinic in a poor area, to gang violence. She wants her father-in-law to leave where he is and move in with her, but the property has to be fixed up before she can sell it. Cruz's arrival is timely and she hires him to help. She senses that he has secrets, but she also sees a loneliness in his eyes that matches the loneliness in her heart. 


I loved Cruz. He's a nice man that had a rough childhood and bad luck that sent him to prison. Now that he's out he's feeling a bit lost, as he has no idea what he wants to do. He had done well in the prison rodeo, but that's not really what he wants to do. Meeting Sara and her adorable daughter gives him at least a temporary purpose. He's attracted to Sara, and sees that she's attracted to him, but he feels that she can do better than him. 


I loved the relationship that grew between Cruz and Sara. Cruz needed the work that Sara offered him, but he was hesitant to stay because of his past. He hoped to finish and move on before she found out, but he found it very hard to leave. Sara and her daughter gave him a feeling of belonging he had never had before. I liked the way that Sara trusted her instincts when she hired Cruz. Even after she found out about his record she believed in him. I ached for them both as they fell in love, but things from their pasts kept them apart. I loved the way that Sara's father-in-law brought them back together, and how Cruz finally accepted that he was worth loving.


There were some heartbreaking moments in the book, such as the way Cruz was treated at the rodeos he went to. They were balanced by some really sweet ones also, like when Cruz arrived at the boys' ranch and was greeted by his old teacher. The acceptance and respect that he found at the ranch was just what he needed, and Sara's arrival was the perfect ending. I can't wait to read the next book!