BLURB During an oppressive Iowa summer of drought and farm foreclosures, widowed Maggie Anderson makes a bold decision: She’ll merge her love of horses and her family’s three hundred and twenty acres into a horse farm and try her hand at nearby Prairie Meadows Race Track, where racing purses have just been augmented by the recently added casino gambling.
Down on his luck after being falsely accused in a racing scandal and banned from training, former Arlington Race Track trainer Ed Harrington has skulked home to Des Moines to drown his sorrows and wait for the dust to clear. He’s unprepared for the piercing robin’s-egg-blue eyes of pint-sized Maggie Anderson, who finds him at a flophouse and offers him a job. Can he pull himself together and meet the challenge?
As the two forge a tumultuous working partnership, they soon discover someone is out to get Maggie’s farm and will stop at almost nothing to force her off the land. Can they find and stop the culprit before someone is killed? Can they survive the far greater danger unleashed by the raw passion simmering just beneath the surface of their relationship?
“Mr. Harrington, have you decided to take the job?”
“Well, it’s not like I have a lot of other offers.” He grinned faintly, like a child returning from a runaway attempt.
That smile tore at Maggie’s heart. Had he really said she was pretty?
“You may be getting in way over your head,” he cautioned. “Hell, maybe me, too. But I’m willing to try. Of course, I don’t have much to lose. If you’re going to be in this business, it’s important to know something about all elements of the game. In the long run, you may not want to take on the track responsibilities of a trainer. There are a lot ways to play the game.
“We do need to clear up one matter.” Harrington sighed and dropped his gaze. “You know I can’t take your horses to the track. Can’t help you out there.”
Maggie nodded. “I know about the ban, Ed. That doesn’t have anything to do with me. You’ve been vouched for. That’s enough. There are likely a lot of bridges yet to cross. Let’s take them one at a time.”
“I’m all for that, Maggie.” Harrington lifted his cup in salute.
That was the first time he’d called her Maggie. It sounded too familiar, yet they had to be on a first name basis if they were going to work together as a team. She took a short breath, excited about actually beginning to put in place her plan to save the farm. Her nerves tingled at the prospect.
Or, perhaps they were responding to the man who pronounced Maggie in a gravelly voice that oozed intimacy.
Want to know more about Adriana Kraft?
Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a husband/wife team writing sizzling romantic suspense and erotic romance. The award-winning pair has published over thirty erotic romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. Romantic pairings include straight m/f, lesbian, bisexual, ménage and polyamory, in both contemporary and paranormal settings.
It’s Research, You Know
We’re celebrating the release of Heat Wave, Book Two in our romantic suspense series set in the horseracing industry, Riders Up.
We thought we’d share a little about researching for this series. Naturally, events in authors’ lives often serve as inspiration for the stories they write. With this series, we really can’t tell the difference between “research” and just living our lives.
Both of us have always loved horses and always hoped someday we’d have time, space and resources to own at least one, never dreaming it might actually happen. Some years back, my husband came into a small inheritance, and all the right ingredients coalesced. We lived out west at the time and had a friend who trained and raced horses at nearby Wyoming Downs. It wasn’t long before we’d worked out an arrangement with him, and he and my husband were able to attend the Barretts sale in California, where they came home with two promising thoroughbred fillies.
One of them did quite well for a brief time, even winning an allowance race at Los Alamitos. The other one sustained an early injury, but went on to become an excellent broodmare. We traded our interest in her to our friend for a promising quarter horse, who ran for a while at Wyoming Downs, but never took to racing. We then brought him off the track, stabled him closer to home, and my husband did his transitional ground training. We ultimately sold him to a rancher who trained him as a cutting horse.
So when we write the details of managing race horses, watching pre-dawn workouts, hanging out on shedrow, checking for hot or swollen joints, cooling a horse on a hot-walker, picking hooves, mucking stalls – all of the above, we’re writing things we know and love. We hope you do, too!
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