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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Believing In Dreams

Well, here she is, my personal Best Horse of the Century bid.

Her name is Zenyatta. But hold on folks, bear with me, we aren't talking about horses today. Not... exactly.

For those of you unfamiliar with horse racing, Zenyatta went into this past weekend's Breeders Cup Classic undefeated, 19 starts, 19 wins. Her racing record is simply unheard of, and her career on the track brought life to a sport that long needed someone to rally behind. She ran against the boys for the second time (having won last year), on dirt for the second time (California circuit is all synthetic track). She may not have been the most favored when looking at records, etc, but she was, hands down, the crowd's favorite.

And she lost. By a head. But her race is still being talked about because of the heart she put into it.

To think... this 19-1, near perfect, crowd favorite mare who's earned over six million dollars in purse money, was purchased for a mere (yes mere) $60,000 and reportedly was "considered a good-for-nothing horse at one point because she had ringworm."

Someone believed in Zenyatta. In return, Zenyatta gave everything she had.

Which is a bit like Clint King's struggle in my new release, A Christmas To Believe In.

Clint's racing stable is struggling. Every dream he owns is in his prize mare who's due to foal before she should, in order to grant him a foal worthy of competition. All of his adult life he's struggled with living up to his father's expectations.

Clint's only ever needed someone to believe in him.

Now, don't get me wrong, Clint's not wallowing in his circumstances, and he's not full of self-pity. He knows what he wants, he knows how to get it, and nothing's going to stand in his way.

A bit like Zenyatta knew how to get over that wire 19 times, when starting at dead last.

It just goes to show what a little love can do. And for Clint, love becomes more priceless than any gift he's ever known.

So, all that said, everybody has dreams that we hold dear. Secret fears, hopes, and aspirations we share with only a select few. I truly believe that A Christmas To Believe In is one every reader can relate to. There might be a horse on the cover but it's not about horses. It's about love, and how important it is. Not just to Clint, but to Jesse, and to Ethan, Jesse's foster child, as well.

Please check it out! It's available for pre-order now, and will release in digital and print on November 24th!

In the meantime, here's a bit from the book:

OFFICIAL BLURB:

Struggling Thoroughbred breeder, Clint King, hasn’t been home for Christmas in five years. Like his brothers, Alex and Heath, life has kept him away. Clint’s farm is barely hanging on. His prize mare's due to foal any day, and in the wake of his father’s death, Clint can’t stand the idea of returning. The memories are too much, let alone his father’s imposing shadow. Except, Alex is getting married on Christmas Eve, and their mother’s put her foot down. She’ll have her boys at home. With his mare in tow behind him, Clint prepares to meet a sister he’s never known and Alex’s unexpected triplets. The one salvation he looks forward to is childhood companion, tomboy Jesse Saurs. Yet when he reunites with Jesse, he uncomfortably discovers she’s become all woman.

Jesse Saurs has everything she needs – financial security, a home, and a foster child who’s about to become her son. She’s spent two years breaking down Ethan’s emotional barriers, and with the final hearing scheduled just before Christmas, this year promises to make his dreams come true. When she learns Clint and his brothers are returning, she anticipates a holiday reunion that’s sure to entertain Ethan. But on the night of Clint’s return, the ‘brother’ she expected leaves her trembling after just a single hug. Even worse, Ethan makes it clear Clint's not welcome.

Will this Christmas destroy what's left of hopes and dreams, or will it give the three the gift they've all been longing for?


EXCERPT:

“You’d like him, Ethan. He was a lot of fun when we were younger."
“Uh huh.” Noncommittal, he answered in a flat tone.

Jesse lapsed into silence, sensing she walked a thin line. Still, she couldn’t let the subject rest. There had to be a way to convince Ethan that Clint wasn’t a threat to his stability. Until she achieved that, she couldn’t just let go and let him harbor hate. Clint didn’t deserve it. Cautiously, she ventured, “Horses could be a lot of fun.”

Ethan snorted.

“You might give it a try. Something new and different. It can’t hurt, at any rate. If you don’t like Angel, well, then you’ve at least given it a shot.”

He tossed his controller in front of him, his interest in the game lost. She braced herself for the inevitable, knowing full well, whatever came out of his mouth next would hurt.

“Give it up, would you? I don’t want to know him. I don’t have to like your friends.”

“But Ethan-”

He scooted away like she’d cracked a whip in his face. “Enough! Don’t you get it? I don’t give a fuck about him.”

“Ethan Scott!”

“What? Too crude for you, Jesse?”

She flinched, drew in a deep breath and held it. Jesse. He hadn’t called her by her first name for over a year. Exhaling slowly, she set her controller down and slid off his bed. Though she knew in her heart, too many years of pain drove his emotions, the barb stung. On the same hand, she’d pushed. Ethan couldn’t tolerate pushing. He had to come to things on his own time.

Foregoing the lecture, she crossed to the door. “Goodnight, Ethan.”

He said nothing. Merely picked up his controller and set the options back to one-player.On a heavy sigh, Jesse left his room.

Inside hers, she clicked on the lamp by her bedside and reclined against her pillows. Tears brimmed in her eyes. She closed them to keep the salty flow at bay and curled her fingers into the sheets. In a thousand years, she never would have imagined that the only man she’d ever truly wanted would be Clint. In his arms, she felt safe. Protected. Undefeatable. He lit her up in ways she had only begun to comprehend, and it seemed as if fate determined to work against her.

If she weren’t careful, she’d lose Ethan. Every agonizing step she’d made would crumble under the weight of his fears. He’d close up, inevitably turn back to the life he’d known before he entered hers, and she couldn’t stomach the thought of where that would lead him. Jail, if he were lucky. Dead, if he wasn’t.

Yet, shouldn’t she be allowed some personal happiness as well? There were so many unwritten rules to parenthood – sacrifice for the children, put all personal goals aside, give up everything to see to their happiness. She’d exchange her life for Ethan’s in a heartbeat, but Clint offered something no child could. Even if it was only temporary, and this giddy feeling that brimmed in her soul would end when he left, he promised fulfillment of a need that ran so deep she couldn’t name it.

A tear slipped between her eyelashes and trickled down her cheek. She sniffled to hold the rest in check. She never should have let him kiss her a second time tonight. The first had been catastrophic enough. The second…

She wouldn’t be satisfied with anything but all of him after that second kiss. Instinct demanded she leap at what lay in front of her. Hang on to it until it burned itself out with his inevitable departure. Logic, on the other hand, warned her that if she did, she’d lose the one thing that mattered most – her son.




2 comments:

Molly Daniels said...

That's sooo true. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of love and the knowledge someone believes in you:)

jean hart stewart said...

Great buildup to a classic dilemna. Clashing loves is a real grabber. Jean

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