Shane Marston may be a champion horse breeder back in America, but down under, in Australia, he’s just a rookie—especially when it comes to the beguiling jockey with the flaming red hair who looks like an angel and rides like a bat out of hell. Her fragile, exquisite exterior belies her addiction to living on the edge. Shane’s used to breaking in horses, but does he have the strength to tame this incredible woman?
Adelaide Delaney pushes herself—and her horses—to the limit on the track, determined to win enough money to make her dreams come true. But racing is more than a means to an end; it’s her one and only passion—that, and the racehorse named Resolute. Until she meets Shane. When he offers up his heart, she discovers all the aching pleasures that had been missing from her life. But Adelaide wonders if she can really give Shane what he most desires: to trade the dangers and the thrills of racing for the sweet safety of his embrace.
This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
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Oh, hell, I’ll have to break my promise.
It was an unhappy thought, and weighed heavily on Addie’s already low spirits. Her father had always said that the most dishonorable thing anyone could do was to break a promise, and now she would have to break her promise to him.
No more professional racing, he’d said, it was too dangerous. And she had promised. No more racing, except on Resolute.
But now she had to. And she thought more of the cruel demands she would be forced to place on Resolute than of the equally cruel demands on herself. She could race Resolute perhaps four times in two months—if he remained sound, and if the handicappers did not pile weight on him in their efforts to achieve fairness. She had no doubt he’d win, except perhaps for the Melbourne Cup, which was always uncertain.
Still, even if they won the Cup, it would not be enough. She’d have to race constantly herself, take every mount offered her and work to win every race; her percentage of the winnings would make up the difference. It had to. And when she thought of that, thought of race after race on good, bad, and indifferent horses, thought of crowds and reporters…
Addie gazed through the kitchen window, watching the lean middle-aged man working to repair the old tractor. There were, Addie thought painfully, too many lines of care on his face. There was too much strain, and in his eyes was too much despairing anxiety.
And as she looked out at her father now, courage and determination returned. Whatever it took, she would find in herself. Whatever was necessary, she would do. Even if it meant breaking a promise.
“So we’re agreed?” Sydney asked.
Addie looked at her sisters, seeing them as two parts of herself as well as separate beings. Sydney older, Manda younger; the one dark and controlled, the other bright and effervescent. Addie had always felt close to her sisters, but never as close as she did at this moment.
“Right. We’ve got to keep our individual goals in mind, but if one of us needs help, the other two will come running,” Manda said. “We’ve got to remember this is a joint project. We all must succeed.”
Addie nodded in agreement. “But what about Dad? It’s important we keep this a secret. There’s potential danger in all our plans, and we can’t worry him. You two have it a hell of a lot easier than I do. He’s bound to hear what I’m doing.” She almost shuddered, thinking about it. The eyes watching her. It wouldn’t bother her during a race, but afterward…Reporters and photographers and a kind of notoriety that made her extremely uncomfortable.
“Do the best you can,” Sydney said. “And if you need help, ring us.”
Addie looked at her older sister, the sister who’d gotten a large measure of the Italian blood they shared, and who was quiet and still and always reminded Addie of a madonna. All her passions were caged in outward serenity; and of course she was worried and anxious, but she’d never let it show. Not Sydney. Lovely, graceful Sydney, who could fly, Addie thought, if she’d only let herself.
Addie pulled her thoughts back to planning the next few weeks. “I’ll be on the move, so I’ll check in often. And since I’ll be closest to home, I’ll keep an eye on Dad.”
“Good,” Sydney said. “Be sure and let us know if anything changes with him.”
In the momentary silence Addie thought again of the coming weeks, and shivered. Each of them alone, fighting the clock and the odds. Could they do it?
Manda drew a deep, shaky breath. “Lord, I’m scared. What if we blow it?”
Addie looked at her in surprise. Manda—scared? Their quicksilver bird with her exotic plumage, always rushing to get somewhere because she’d never been there before?
Then Addie understood. Warm, generous Manda, who loved their father and who had realized, probably for the first time in her life, that an adventure could have an ending far worse than simple failure could ever be.
“I’m scared too.” Addie returned Manda’s quick, grateful smile, wondering if her younger sister knew just how strong she really was. Perhaps these next weeks would show her.
“We all are,” Sydney said. She reached for her sisters’ hands and clasped each one tightly. “But we won’t fail because we can’t.” She smiled with an effort. “This isn’t another one of Manda’s trips to the sea. This dream has to become a reality.”
Addie felt the tie between them that was more than touch, more than blood, and her own determination hardened.
They had this bond, and they each wanted something. Something desperately important to all of them. And Addie knew they would all push themselves to their limits to reach that goal.
And suddenly, Addie knew they’d do it. Whatever chances they took, whatever risks they ran, this time they would make it to the sea.