The Cowboy's Faith

By: Danica Favorite

His secret past. His second chance.

Three Sisters Ranch could be his way home...

When inexperienced rancher Nicole Bell starts training her troubled mare, Fernando Montoya has just the expertise she needs. But helping Nicole brings Fernando dangerously close to revealing the secret he’d rather keep hidden: he learned the skill in prison. While the horse draws them together, can Fernando find a way to tell her the truth...and keep it from pulling them apart?

Fernando realized he’d pushed too hard with Nicole.

He’d tried so hard to get her to understand his way of thinking—and forgive him. He should have been more gentle and patient with her, rather than demanding.

“How will this stop her from biting?” Nicole asked, looking up from Snookie.

He felt Nicole’s horse tense as he felt along the ridge on her back. “Horses bite for a lot of reasons. She’s exploring, but she also knows it’s a good way to protect herself. We just have to show her that she doesn’t need to protect herself anymore.”

As Nicole nodded once again, he saw more confidence in her eyes. She seemed more open and less afraid. Like the lessons that were healing Snookie were working in Nicole’s heart, as well.

Maybe he and Nicole would never get to a place where things were good between them. But he would do everything in his power to make sure her heart didn’t get broken again...

Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily-ever-after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun. Find her at

Chapter One

The foolish woman was going to get herself killed.

Fernando Montoya parked his truck and jumped out, then ran to the arena where Nicole Bell was working a bay mare. Clearly green, the mare looked terrified. Like she had no idea what was happening to her. Based on Nicole’s jerky movements, Fernando had to agree with the mare. Nicole seemed to be clueless as to what she was doing.

As he got closer, he slowed his pace, knowing that his panic would scare the horse even more. He forced himself to calm his breathing as he drew near.

“Hi, Nicole.”

He spoke quietly, softly, but Nicole spun as if he’d shouted.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

He’d just wanted to make sure Nicole was okay.

Columbine Springs was barely twenty minutes out of his way—a short stopover on his way from Denver to southern Colorado to a new job with his uncle’s construction company. It would be another two hours to his destination, but it was worth it to take the detour. The tiny ranching town with its fertile grassland surrounded by mountains had little to recommend it, other than a faded-out sign for an ice-cream place that promised the best cones in the Rockies. No reason to stop, other than the fact that this run-down ranch just off the highway was where Nicole and her two sisters now lived.

He wouldn’t stay long, just long enough to reassure himself that Nicole’s excuses of being too busy with her new ranch to talk were true.

After all, he had a new life of his own to get to. At least that’s what he kept telling himself. The job was menial work, something a trained monkey could do, but it was all that was available to him, thanks to the inexperience of his youth.

One felony conviction. That’s all anyone saw on his employment applications, even though he’d done his time, was a hard worker and hadn’t been in any trouble in the four years since he’d gotten out. No one wanted to know the circumstances of his crime or that he was truly sorry for his mistake.

He’d give anything to right the wrongs of his past, but he couldn’t, so all he wanted to do now was find a way to build a future for himself, even if it wasn’t the future he’d planned.

Not that he could share that with Nicole. His employment woes weren’t something he shared with anyone, least of all the reasons for them.

“I was on my way to just south of Salida, where my uncle lives. Thought I’d stop by to see how you were doing. I heard you and your sisters inherited a ranch from a long-lost relative or something like that.”

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