Here’s my 5-star review!
The Rehabilitation of Angel Sinclair by Nancee Cain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Homeless Addict Woos Insecure Divorcee: Who’s Rehabilitating Who?
Recovering heroin addict, Angel, walks into Pine Bluff, Alabama to meet up with an old friend. But what he finds on his journey is a new romantic partner, Maggie. In this lovely addition to the Pine Bluff series, Angel and Maggie rehabilitate each other.
Nancee Cain’s experience in the addiction field shines through in this story. Angel’s family problems and resulting low self-worth are heartbreaking. His mother’s eating disorder and his father’s cold criticism contributed to his risk for addiction. When Angel first meets Maggie and she questions if he has stolen from her, his hangdog resignation made me cry. But Maggie looks beneath his hopeless, scruffy facade to see his inner strength and talent.
I have trouble understanding the attraction young women have for much older men, but I find the age difference between Angel and Maggie to be refreshing. Fourteen years older than Angel, Maggie dances to Rick James’ “Super Freak” and bakes delicious goodies as she tries to get her bed and breakfast off the ground. Angel helps her mission by becoming her handyman, and boy is he ever handy. Although Angel is wise beyond his years, he enjoys professing himself as her boy toy.
At first, Maggie believes that Angel’s friend, Emma, is his girlfriend, turning her green with envy:
Maybe she’d break one of her long, Barbie legs. Maggie didn’t wish her anything too serious or harmful, just a fracture that would leave her totally immobilized. She’d even make her a cake and wish her a speedy recovery. Then, with luck, this Emma would gain thirty pounds.
Angel is a masterful artist and his guestbook full of sketches of scenes from around the inn is quite the thoughtful gift he gives to Maggie. I’m such a rule follower that Angel’s secret habit of spray-painting graffiti made me uncomfortable, but his “writing” has realistic consequences.
Like most women, Maggie has negative body image, which frustrates Angel.
“Maggie, when will you believe me when I say you’re beautiful?”
“I’m not twenty-five,” she replied. “I need to lose ten pounds–“
He placed a hand over her mouth. “Don’t talk about the woman I’m crazy about like that. It pisses me off, because she’s perfect as is.”
It’s like Angel is the first man to really see Maggie, as a smart, competent, sexy woman. Maybe Maggie can grow to see herself that way as well?
“Maggie? Who takes care of you?”
“Me?” She pulled away. “I don’t understand what you mean.”
“I bet you took care of your dad. I know you catered to Brian and Phillip. Who has ever taken care of you?”
“I’m f-fine. I can take care of myself.”
“I know you can. But what if I want to take care of you? Would you trust me enough to let me?”
Wow, every woman needs an Angel in her life. Maggie is drawn to caring for Angel’s wounded soul, and Angel is drawn to building Maggie’s faltering confidence, but both realize that they have to be whole in their own right to make this romance work.
We get to meet the hero of the next book in the series: Angel’s estranged older brother, Damien. Damien is a ruthless attorney who likes to play violin on the roof (in particular, one of my favorite songs–“Meditation” from Thais). Damien tries to dissuade Maggie from loving his addict brother, but Maggie tells him off. I look forward to learning more about this complex character and his future love interest!
Each unique story in this series gets stronger and deeper. Highly recommended!