Lovely Blue Flowers

The Hydrangea Serrata ‘Blue Billow’- Tiny Tuff Stuff Mountain Hydrangea is the perfect bush to plant if you love and would like these beautiful lace cap blooms in your flower garden.

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This Hydrangea bush is planted next to our utility shed for shade coverage. We also have a huge tree to protect the bush from Summer’s blistering heat. They are hardy enough for full sun, but I like it in part shade for protection, because here in the South, we have some scorching heat days.

My neighbor was a former teacher. She would often share photos of flowers with her students from her yard, and this bush from my yard, was one of the photos she made sure to snap every year. Sometimes I shared blooms with her so the children could get a first-hand look and feel of the soft petals, but most of the time the flowers weren’t in bloom while school was still in session. She always had wonderful stories from the children to share.

The Hydrangea blooms always made it into a cut flower vase for my table. A classic cut crystal vase was gorgeous to use, but I also used a quart Mason Jar as a vase. The jars make for a great centerpiece filled with Hydrangea blooms, or anything else for that matter.

Hydrangeas bloom on old and new wood. So…if you fail to cut the bush back one year, you’re safe! The plant I bought was supposed to be 18-24 inches high, but mine kept growing to about 4 feet. The pot was labeled wrong! I certainly didn’t mind though, because the blooms are so pretty to enjoy while I sit on the deck with a nice cool glass of tea in a warm evening or a steaming cup of coffee in cool mornings.

I have three varieties of Hydrangea. They’re all so colorful, it’s hard to decide which I enjoy the most. If you’re in the market for Hydrangea, check out the different varieties before you choose from your garden center. The snowball is probably the most widely planted, because the blooms are huge and gorgeous!

Did you know you could change the color of the Hydrangea bloom? The whites ones will remain white, so don’t even try to change its color.

If you like the blue blooms, the soil needs to be more acidic. For pink blooms the soil should be more alkaline.

Here’s a link that explains how.
http://www.gardenista.com/posts/magic-trick-how-to-make-your-hydrangea-change-color

They’re also easy to dry and use in arrangements for a long time to come. Here’s a link for the directions.
http://www.hgtvgardens.com/drying/how-to-dry-hydrangeas

Now if we can keep the rabbits from our vegetable gardens, we’ll be happy women!
Happy planting, and may you grow lovely blooms.

Happy Summer reading.

2018 3D BX Set Summer

If you haven’t received your copy of Summer Romance on Main Street, please consider checking it out on Amazon. http://a.co/gliP4Fb Our newest Spring Book Bundle has seven new and amazing stories for only .99 cents!

Until next time…I wish you Love, Butterflies and Music.

 

Inspiration!

This month, The Authors of Main Street released our summer boxed set “SUMMER ROMANCE ON MAIN STREET” and my contribution was my novella “IN PLAIN SIGHT“.
In Plain Sight-gimpIN PLAIN SIGHT” is set in Door County, Wisconsin, about three hours from my home. If you look at your left hand with your fingers together, Door county is at the tip of your thumb. Welcome to Wisconsin.

I was in The Door recently and would like to share photos of some of the inspirations that I used in my novellas “CHRISTMAS IN JULY” and “IN PLAIN SIGHT“.

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In Door County, cherries are king. Here are some cherry crepes from Julie’s Café – my favorite place in Fish Creek to grab breakfast.

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With all those available cherries, one great use is in making sweet cherry wine. In “IN PLAIN SIGHT“, the Murphy brothers, Fergus and Fingal run a winery modeled after the one below.

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Door County has many quaint towns and villages that cater to tourists. There are many resorts and rental properties. Maddy’s Dr. Seuss-like condominium from “CHRISTMAS IN JULY” was inspired by these beauties.

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My current work in progress, a full length novel, is also set in Door County. In it, Garrett Oakley lives in this fine home.

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As I drive throughout Door County, buildings, scenery and people inspire my creativity and take on a life of their own. Sometimes I jot down those lives and they become part of my stories.

Are you inspired by your surroundings and dream up stories to go along with them?

Leigh

Taking stock and moving on

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, winter has arrived with a vengeance. We had an extended summer, about a week of autumn then bang. Or rather, blow. And rain, and snow, and cold — oh the cold.

I’ve been hunkered down finishing novellas. First Beached for our Summer Romance on Main Street, out later this week. Then Paradise Regained for the Bluestocking Belles box set, due out later this year. Paradise Regained is a prequel to my (barely started) series Children of the Mountain King, in which a duke returns to Regency England with six children whose mother was — ethnically interesting. Paradise Regained tells the parents’ story, in the Kopet Dag mountains between Iran and Turkmenistan.

Now they’re both out the door, I’m taking some time to catch up with chapters in Never Kiss a Toad, the Victorian historical I’m co-writing with Mariana Gabriella and posting one chapter at a time on Wattpad. We’re in the last third of the book, and Mariana has written her chapters all the way to the end.

Never Kiss a Toad is a story of star-crossed lovers. The daughter of my rake from my Regency novels has known the son of her rake from her Regency novel Royal Regard since they were babies. They have always thought they would one day marry — right up until the day that her father catches them together in the heir’s wing of his house — in the bed to which he used to bring his women in his wild days.

Mari’s poor fellow is exiled (to university in France), and the rest of the book is about how one thing after another happens to keep the two apart.

Once I’ve caught up with Mari, I have a list of other projects, including one tentatively called The Daddy Wish. It’s a romantic suspense, if I can do such a thing in 30,000 words or less. How does this sound for the next Authors of Main Street Christmas set?

She has given up on men. After several unpleasant experiences, she no longer trusts her judgement. Besides, all her energies are devoted to therapy for her daughter, who is recovering from a brain injury.

Three men hope to change her mind. One of them is a villain.

The man who was driving when her daughter was injured fears she will never forgive him.

Her daughter’s biological father hopes he can convince her he has changed. He was once her best friend until his own sports injuries stopped his promising career and trapped him in a downward spiral of self-pity, drugs, and alcohol.

The local police officer, a widower with two young children, thinks she could be just what his family needs.

It’ll be set in New Zealand again. Oh, and the wish of the title starts the story. The daughter sees the mother struggling, and wishes for a daddy.

 

A Summer Romance to Remember

Have you ever had a summer romance? One that only lasted as long as you were at summer camp or on vacation? I had one of those.

beach during sunset

Photo by b. on Pexels.com

When I was a teenager, we did a lot of camping. Our favorite place was Sunset Beach near Santa Cruz, California. Warm during the day, cool enough at night for sweatshirts and bonfires, and a long trek down the side of a cliff to the beach.

The summer that I would turn sixteen, we went for a week-long trip to the beach. In the campsite beside ours was another family. A family with three boys. Two were young, but the oldest was my age.

Philip was gorgeous in that tall, dark, and handsome way of bad boys forever. He played the guitar. And he seemed to like me. I had never attracted boys (late bloomer) and certainly none that looked like Philip.

For a week, we were inseparable. Down to the beach. Climbing rocks and trees. Kissing at the campfire. And then it was time to go. We traded addresses, promising to write to each other…forever!!

I wrote to him every day and I got a letter back every two or three days. Then…

He showed up at my house to see me. It was surreal. Somehow, Philip was supposed to remain at the beach in my mind. A little summer flirting to look back at in the future as a fun, romantic time. Not at my front door.

My mom thought it was the most romantic thing ever. I thought it was stalker-like. He was supposed to stay where I left him. LOL

I can’t remember what I said or what we did that day he showed up, but my confusion and coldness must have shown, because he left that night and I never saw him or heard from him again. But, I choose to remember the time at the beach and keep that good memory.

Did you ever have a little summer romance?

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Make sure to check out my story, Retreat, Interrupted in our Summer Romance on Main Street boxed set.


Jill James, romance writer

I’m back!

Yes, I made it! I’m here.

Except it seems nothing is going or went as it should. My email is down. (Still don’t know what is wrong with that.) I’ve locked myself out of a dozen different sites trying to access them from my daughter’s house in North Carolina while I recuperated from my surgery.

My old cat decided he was lonely while I was gone and did a few not so nice things. I did have a friend checking on him constantly, but she isn’t his mommy. My being gone for two months must have been very upsetting to him. I’ve yet to discover how to reason with one of my pets. Their concept of time isn’t very good.

Sugarplum, my tiny dog, stayed with my oldest daughter and enjoyed playing with twins, 80+ pound Basset hounds. My daughter kept Sugarplum spoiled with lots of lap time, belly rubs, and treats. But she played so much she lost a little weight. She’s eating her weight in dog food since she’s been home and her ribs are still poking out. I think she’s only seven and a half pounds – normal for her is eight pounds. At least she’s not overweight. She’s happy and healthy. She also adores my daughter and her Significant Other. We’ve nicknamed him the dog whisperer because he’s so very good with animals and they love him.

The animals did fine. I’m the one who had problems. The actual surgery appears to have gone very well. Waking up and realizing that I was alive, moving, and thinking clearly was a terrific feeling. It’s impossible to explain how scared I was going into that surgery.

A whole chunk of my hair was shaved off and several spots on my head had little sections of hair removed. What a mess! But I sweep my hair to one side and hide the largest shaved area. One of the smaller spots of shaved hair was along my part line, so I moved my part. I think it’s a great camouflage job. Guess eventually enough hair will grow back that I’ll simply be able to cut my hair to one length… Five years from now I’ll get that haircut.

My biggest problem is damage to one eye. Nine hours of surgery, I think most anything could happen and apparently it did.  The specialists who have cared for my eye have suggested several explanations as to how it was damaged. It’s physical damage that was done. It shouldn’t have happened but it did.

My girls brought me “home” the day after surgery with a caveat from my neurosurgeon. I had to have an appointment the following day with an ophthalmologist. My eye was flaming red. Thus started a long process of trying to heal and protect my eye from more damage. I still have no clue if it will ever be right or if I’ll ever be able to see more than hazy light through it. It’s been frustrating and debilitating.

What is amazing is how much and what medical science can do today. My surgery is mind-boggling in itself, but what they are doing to save my eye is unreal. These procedures weren’t around thirty years ago. I’m not giving up on the eye. I’m working closely with the retina specialists to heal and keep this eye healed. I think it will happen.

At the moment, my time on the computer is limited. Using only one eye, the one that was the weaker of the two, is all I have. It tires easily. But I’m determined. I’m a little behind on my writing schedule because of the complication with my eye, however, I’m still writing. People have faced worse things and have kept going. I figure I’m a little like that pink rabbit that just keeps going and going. I refuse to give in or give up. I’m crossing my fingers that in another month, my eye will be better. Progress will be made!

The Authors of Main Street have our newest boxed set up on Pre-Order for 99c. That box does not contain my story. BUT!!! If you order the boxed set, my story will appear on an update shortly after you receive the book. That gives you plenty of time to read the other stories first. And this time, I’ll be as surprised as you because I haven’t read a single word in this release. I can’t wait to indulge in another AoMS reading fest of great stories, knowing that each one of these summer romances will entertain and be different.

Fifty Miles at a Breath

OAVS #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath Coming Soon!

Hi all! We can’t wait for our Summertime Boxed set to be released this month, including seven great new novellas by Authors of Main Street authors! It’ll feature my Once Upon a Vet School #6: Fifth Miles at a Breath!  (Yes, you noticed… I’m going backwards… LOL)

Well… mine’s sort of a novella… I seem to have this little problem with “writing short“.  It’s come out at 59K… when it was meant to be… much less. :/  I hope you enjoy it!

Like horses? Things veterinary? You’ll love Fifty Miles at a Breath!

Fifty Miles at a breath

Here’s the first chapter from Fifty Miles at a Breath:

Fifty miles at a breath break

Southern California, 1986

“You’ll regret you refused me,” Gareth Barnett-Payne menaced, reaching for me, but I spun and ran until my legs—

“Lena… Lena” Raywyn, the head veterinary technician, waved her hand before my eyes.

I blinked, shaking my head and willing my heart to stop pounding in my chest.

“Are you okay?” Her brows knitted together.

I gripped the edge of the desk before me. “Yes, fine,” I mumbled, wondering how anyone could be so vicious. “So,” I swallowed hard and dragged myself back to today, “what’s the surgery schedule for tomorrow, Ray?”

She looked at me sideways, then turned to the schedule before her.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to release the tension stacked up from three weeks of flea allergy dermatitis, hotspots, anal glands and catfight abscesses. Through those stinking hot Santa Barbara summer days, I yearned for the touch of a velvet nose, the solid muscle and bone, and the scent of a horse. Any horse. It wouldn’t be much longer before I could go home to my own roan. I bit my lip and scanned the small animal clinic, my eyes and nose running as freely as they’d been since the moment I first walked in through the practice doorway. Cat allergy in a vet—great. Thank god I was going to be an equine vet.

“Let’s see,” Ray’s finger ran down the page, “two dogs spays, a cruciate surgery, four cat neuters, and… hmmm… I can’t read it. I’ll need to ask Dr. Franco.” She flashed a grin at me. “With your handwriting, you should make a fantastic veterinarian, too. I can’t read a thing you write.”

“I really do try,” I said, with a rueful grin.

“Could have fooled me.”

“Not too many cats for tomorrow, then,” I sighed, “that’s a good thing.”

“We don’t have many appointments, so Dr. Franco will be free to supervise and you should be able to do most of the surgeries.”

“I’m pretty lucky,” I nodded, “I get to do so much surgery here. I’ve been speaking with some of my classmates. They just don’t get the opportunities I’ve been handed. I’ll be forever grateful to you and Dr. Franco for that. I’m going to be a horse vet, but I’m sure there’ll still be other animals in my life.”

Ray looked at me, brows narrowed, until I began to squirm, with an overwhelming urge to cover myself. “What?”

“It’s a man, isn’t it?”

I gritted my teeth and held my breath. “Maybe.”

“No maybe about it. Who is he?”

“Some creep with a control fetish.”

Ray blinked and shook her head. “Tell me he isn’t your problem anymore.”

“He’s not my problem anymore.”

“Truth?”

I nodded. “Never was, much, though he encouraged the idea… rather forcefully.”

“You need to come out with us to a few clubs tomorrow night. Just the girls.”

“I’d rather stay away from men, but thanks all the same.”

Ray’s smile faded. “It’ll be fun, Lena. It’s a group of women. We’ll dance, have a blast, and go home. Alone. Can you think about it?” Her smile was hopeful.

“I’ll think about it,” I said, biting my lip. “Can I tell you tomorrow?”

“Sure, but we’d love to have you along.”

“I don’t know… I’m truly over men,” I swallowed hard. “They’re just not worth the angst.”

“All you have to do is come out with us. You don’t even need to dance with them. You can dance with the rest of the girls.”

I was far from certain, but I had no other plans for my hot Friday night. “Okay,” I finally said.

Fifty miles at a breath scene break

The electronic music throbbing across the dance floor jangled in my head. It was so loud, my heart thumped in shock along with the beat. With a deep breath, I forced my butt to stay on the barstool. And tried to smile. And look pleasant. Hard when everything about the place made me want to run screaming out the door. The men either plastic and young in their shiny, synthetic shi—

“Aren’t you glad you came with us, now?” Ray’s voice cut into my thoughts during a momentary lull in the noise,

I bit my cheek and nodded. No use wrecking her night, too. There certainly wasn’t anyone here with whom I’d want to wake up, much less spend the rest of my life. Maybe I was just too serious.

“That guy,” Ray nodded her chin, “the one who looks like he never leaves the beach, has been eyeing you up for the past half hour. Why don’t you go put him out of his misery?”

I rolled my eyes as the music started pounding again. “Come on, Ray, you know I can’t shoot guys in here,” I shouted over the music and smirked. “Someone might object.”

Ray closed her eyes and shook her head. “You really are a tough case, aren’t you?” she yelled back.

“Okay, I’ll go. I don’t imagine he knows how to dance Western Swing,” I said into her ear as I hopped from my perch.

“You go girl!” Ray barked, her eyes twinkling.

Mr. Lifeguard may have been eyeing me up, but he looked ready to bolt at my approach.

“Hi, my friend thought I should come ask you to dance.”

“Hello,” he said, with a heavy accent and I blinked.

“A Danish hello?” A smile cracked my visage.

This could be interesting.

His rabbit-in-the-headlights look dissolved and he laughed.

Hvordan har du de?” he said, in my mother’s native language.

Fint tak,” I replied. That made me smile. My mother would be pleased,

He started off on a stream of rapid-fire dansk, and with a laugh, I put a hand on his arm to stop him.

“Whoa there. You’ve already heard most of my Danish. From my mom, I learned hello, thank you, you’re welcome, and stand up. Baby words.”

His smile melted, and he bit his lip.

“It’s okay,” I smiled. “Want to dance?”

Tak, thank you. That, I would love,” he said, as he put a hand on the small of my back and guided me to the crowded dance floor.

“You wouldn’t know how to dance properly, would you?”

With a smile that lit the whole room, he took my hand and whirled me around the floor. The man could dance—and I was thankful once again for my many years of Latin and ballroom lessons. I never knew when they’d come in handy, like now.

“What are you doing so far from home?” I asked, after we’d been dancing for what seemed like hours.

“I’ve been at University here, studying marine biology.”

“Really?” So, the lifeguard guess was close. “I almost did that. I love to dive—I started when I was an undergraduate here,” I shouted, “but I’m in veterinary school up north now. Maybe we could go for a dive before I have to go home.”

“I would love to,” he bit his lip, his brow furrowed, “but I fly back to Danmark tomorrow morning. I wish we’d met sooner.” He genuinely looked wistful and my heart twinged at the thought of the friendship we might have had.

“Believe me when I say I’m gutted to hear you’re leaving.” That’d be right. I finally meet someone with the same interests… and he’s heading halfway around the world the next day.

“Gutted?”

“Sorry, very sorry.” My mouth twisted.

“Me too,” said the Viking. He took my hand and made a little bow over it, then he kissed it. I had to take a deep breath and lock my knees to keep from melting. I love Europeans.

“It seems your friends are ready to leave.” He nodded at Ray’s table full of women. They looked at us over their empty glasses, purses slung over their shoulders. “Mange tusind tak, and goodbye for now,” he said, as he turned away toward his own friends.

Many thousand thanks…

My heart sinking, I rejoined Ray and her friends as they walked out the door.

Outside on the street, Ray and I split from her friends and turned toward our apartment over the clinic. Ray stared at the retreating back of the blonde Viking as he and his friends headed away from us and tripped over a crack in the pavement. She recovered and turned back to me. Her mouth twitched in the light of the streetlamp. “Well, you’ve certainly found yourself a live one,” she said, with a wink. “When will you see him again?”

I snorted. “Probably never. He flies home to Denmark tomorrow.”

Ray’s face fell. “You can’t be serious.”

“Story of my life.” I nodded. “Told you it’s not worth it,” I couldn’t repress a smile, “but the dancing was spectacular.”

“You two were awesome out there.”

“It was all him. I just followed.”

“Could have fooled me,” Ray muttered.

“Truth be told, it’s easier, or safer, anyway, than dancing Western Swing, where the only rules are to try to stay on your feet while they fling you around. It’s fun, but Jesper’s dancing was… so much more subtle. It was easy, like… like… dancing.” I beamed at my friend. “Thank you for dragging me along. I really enjoyed myself.”

“You at least have each other’s contacts, right?”

My mouth dropped open and nothing came out.

“I can see,” Ray sighed, “I’ll need to take you under my wing. You clearly lack training.”

We both laughed, but mine was a bit self-conscious.

“I’ll be okay.” I gave her a half smile. “My focus needs to be veterinary school now. I really don’t have the time or the energy for anything other than that. The next two years are going to be hard enough just taking care of me and my animals, without worrying about the ups and downs of a relationship.”

“I see,” Ray said, though she looked like she did no such thing.

“It’s really true,” I said firmly, wrapped an arm around Ray’s shoulders, and gave her a squeeze. “I have friends like you. What more could a vet student want?”

“I guess you’re right, and you have your precious horse waiting for you back at home.” Ray stopped dead and stared at me. “Oh my god, horse.…” she slapped her palm to her forehead and jerked her head toward me. “How could I forget about you?”

“Pardon?”

“A vet tech friend of mine asked me last week if I knew anyone who could help at an endurance ride next weekend.”

“Like a horse endurance ride?” I goggled at her.

“No, you goof, they’re racing penguins. Of course, it’s a horse endurance ride.” Ray’s eyes sparkled. She’d grown up with horses, but with her head tech position at the clinic, she didn’t have time for them now.

“Where do I sign?”

“Have you ever helped at an endurance ride?”

fifty miles at a breath

“I’ve been on the ‘P & R Team’ at the vet school and my family’s done endurance since before I was born—I’ve been on my family’s Tevis Cup crew since before I could walk.”

“Boy, am I glad to hear that.” Ray let out a breath and shook her head. “Sarah’s desperate for some helpers.” She turned to me, brow furrowed. “What’s a P & R team?”

“P for pulse, R for respiration. It’s a team of vet students that helps at local endurance rides by taking heart rates and respiratory rates on the horses before they go on to the vets at the control checks. It frees the vets up to focus on lameness and metabolic problems.”

“Oh, of course.”

“Where is it?” A tingle of excitement ran up my back.

“It’s at Los Lomitos, about an hour and a half from here. I’ll make you a deal: if you go help Sarah, you can leave on Friday at noon and needn’t be back at work until Tuesday morning—you can take some time for yourself up there.”

The weight, the tension sliding from my shoulders made me want to dance the rest of the way home. I was grateful for the opportunity offered by this summer preceptorship, but I wasn’t sure if I’d survive a whole two months down here, away from home and my animals, with only patient dogs and cats for company. Ray was offering me not only respite, but horses, too.

“Sweeten the deal,” Ray said, at my continued silence, “I’ll send you with my tent, sleeping bag and everything you’ll need to camp in luxury. Including poison oak medication.”

I laughed, afraid my cheeks might split from smiling so widely. “I’m in. You had me at hello.”

Fifty miles at a breath scene break

It was still early afternoon on Friday when I arrived at the endurance race campground and found Ray’s friend Sarah, the ride manager.

I’d beamed at myself in the rearview mirror for most of the drive. Four days of horses, camping, and outdoor life after the desert of life in a city. I’d owe Ray forever.

The somewhat frazzled Sarah managed a welcoming smile for me. “There’s nothing you need to do until later, Lena,” she said, handing me a lanyard and passes. “Ray told me your history, and I can’t say how glad I am to have a volunteer of your experience and training.”

“Happy to help,” I said. “I just want to touch some horses.”

“Plenty of opportunity for that.” Sarah’s eyes twinkled. “The P & R team briefing starts at 7 p.m. and there’s another session afterward to practice taking pulse and respiratory rates. You wouldn’t want to help with that, would you?”

“Of course,” I said. “I’m at your disposal.”

“I’d hoped you’d say that. Most of the team are experienced horse people, but only a few have taken vitals before.”

“I’d be happy to help them.” I smiled.

“Thanks so much.” Sarah’s eyes glinted. “Go ahead and set up your camp. There’s a nice swimming hole in the creek, just down there,” she pointed, “if you feel so inclined. I need to run,” she said, as a man wearing an OFFICIAL badge touched her on the shoulder, an expectant look on his face. “I’ll see you at dinner.” Sarah and the man headed off at a trot.

As my meals were supplied by the ride management, setting up camp took only minutes and I was soon free to enjoy my afternoon.

A luxury I haven’t had in long months,

Inside Ray’s tent, I dropped my jeans and slipped into my shorts and bikini top, grabbed a towel, and headed for the proffered swimming hole. I hadn’t gotten far when the throaty rumble of an Arabian caught my attention. He stared at me intently from his wooden tie stall and I approached him, looking around for someone connected to this magnificent creature, but no one was near. His blood bay coat gleamed over a faultlessly muscled body. He whickered again as I neared him. With his body carriage, he had to be a stallion, so I peeked under his belly. Yep, a stallion.

I reached out a hand to him and he lipped gently at my palm.

“Ooh, aren’t you the most handsome man?” I murmured.

I jumped when he answered.

“Why, thank you,” came a deep voice, tinged with humor.

I chuckled into the laughing gaze of the man who raised himself from the ground behind the short wall at the stallion’s feet. “I thought he answered me, for a moment.”

The man’s face creased into deep laugh lines around his gorgeous blue eyes. He was as handsome as the horse, to be sure.

“He talks, this boy,” he said, as he slid one arm over the bay’s back and gave him a scratch on his withers, then stuck out his other hand. “Blake, Blake Sagan. Pleased to meet you.”

I smiled and introduced myself. “Just admiring your stallion. He’s a beaut.”

“Thanks. He’s pretty special. His name’s Prince. Prince Witeż, after his grandfather. My pride and joy. Are you racing tomorrow?”

“Not this time. I’m here to help, P & R team.”

“Ever been to an endurance ride before?” He looked sideways at me while he waited for my answer.

“Oh, a few. My grandfather’s done the Tevis Cup numerous times, my mom and stepdad a few more, and I’ve done some shorter rides plus ride & ties. I usually get to crew, though.”

“Ah,” his eyes glinted, “you must be the vet student from Santa Barbara.”.

I blinked. News traveled fast.

“I knew Sarah was looking for helpers.” He smiled. “Thanks for coming along.”

“Glad to help. I was in serious need of a horse fix. I’ve been working in a small animal clinic this summer.”

“Not keen on the smallies?”

“I love them, but my heart’s with the horses.”

“You off for a swim?” He nodded at my towel.

“Sure am. Sarah told me to go down by the bridge.”

“It’s a nice spot, but there’s an even better one a little way upstream. I’m taking Prince down there for a swim shortly.”

“I’ll see you down there, then.”

“Be there soon,” he said, and waved at me as I walked away.

Blake’s gaze—there was more light in that man’s sparkling eyes then I’d seen in ages. I wondered what he did besides ride horses—with that quick, intelligent spark, it must be something special.

What can I be thinking?

The next two years are not about more devastating relationships. It’s time to finish my doctorate and establish my career.

I cannot go there.

I simply cannot.

 

 

Fifty miles at a breath break

Want to read more? Keep an eye out for Fifty Miles at a Breath in Summertime Romance on Main Street!

Coming in June 2018!

Fifty Miles at a Breath