Thursday, February 26, 2009
Summer's Story by Nancy Famolari
Summer's father, a famous racehorse trainer, is dead; his only asset, a fabulous trotter. Two men offer help to get the horse to the races. Summer refuses Ned, owner of Golden Oaks, blaming him for her father's death. Davis, a famous racehorse driver, wins her heart, but deserts her after she suffers a serious accident on the track. Behind the scenes, Max, a wealthy owner, will do anything to get the horse for his stable. Can Summer get her trotter to the winner's circle and most important will she find love?
“If you think I'll stay in your house after you killed my father, Ned Granger, You're crazy.” Summer Langston folded her arms across her chest and glared.
“I think that's a bit of an overstatement.” Ned shoved his hands into this jeans pockets and rocked back on the heels of his English leather boots.
“Well, I don't. When you told him he couldn't work with the yearlings anymore, it broke his heart. You might as well have shot him.”
“I'm sorry, Summer.”
For a long moment the house was so still the ticking of the kitchen clock sounded like a blacksmith's hammer striking a metal shoe. Summer couldn't believe that things had gone so wrong. The move to Golden Oaks had seemed like the answer to a prayer. A wonderful old house to live in, top ranked yearlings to train, and a chance to try the breeding experiments Sam had always dreamed of doing.
Ned broke the silence. “I know you blame me, but frankly, Sam's drinking was way out of control. I had to do what I thought was right for the farm. I hoped he'd take it as a sign and get some help.”
“He could have gotten treatment and stayed on. He loved those horse. They were his whole life.” Summer wanted to grab the tall man in front of her, flail her fists at his broad chest until he felt the same pain she did.
“Be fair, Summer. Candyman coliced and nearly died when he got into the grain bin. Sam left the stall door open. I couldn't put any more horses at risk.”
“Maybe Sam didn't leave the door open. Maybe – maybe Candyman got it open.”
“Summer face facts, your father may have been the best Standardbred trainer I ever worked with, but he was an alcoholic. He was drunk most of the time this fall. You should know. You were running the stable.”
Summer stared at the green fields beyond the farmhouse window dotted with prize winning Standardbred horse. Ned worked hard to make his farm one of the best. She didn't want to believe that her father had decided to drink himself to death and put the reputation of the farm at risk. Someone else had to be responsible. Ned was responsible. She was responsible. They could have done more. She felt tears welling up behind her eyes.
Ned stepped closer. “I didn't ask him to leave. I did make it clear that he couldn't work with the horses until he got into a treatment program.” He lifted his arms as though he might try to comfort her. “I thought you knew.”
Summer moved so that the oak table separated them. She couldn't bear to have Ned touch her. He'd let Sam down; he'd let her down. “You could have tried harder.”
“I'm sorry you feel that way, Summer. I did the best I could.” Ned reached for the white stetson he'd tossed on the table.
Outside an engine roared, a door slammed and a heavy tromp of boots crossed the wooden porch. The old oak door swung wide and a tall, broad shouldered man with curly dark brown hair strode into the room. “Thought I might find you here.”
Summer fought down the fission of excitement that Davis always generated in her. “Where else would I be? I live here.” Sadly she let her eyes drift around the familiar room. “At least I live here for the moment.”
“That's good enough.” The dark man crossed floor in two steps and put his arms around the slight figure. “I came as soon as I heard.”
Against her better judgment, Summer relaxed into his embrace. It felt good to have someone hold her. “I'm glad you came.”
“I know it hurts. I loved the old guy too.”
They stood silently for a moment. Then Davis released her and said, “So what got your temper up? I could hear you yelling all the way across the yard.”
“You couldn't possibly have heard. You just got here.”
Davis grinned. “That's better. Well, maybe I only heard you from the porch, but when I see those red cheeks, I know someone's gettin' cussed.”
Summer stamped her foot. “I wasn't cussing.”
Davis looked at Ned standing stiffly beside the table. “That right?”
“I wouldn't call it cussing exactly.”
Summer opened her mouth, but Davis beat her to it. “All right, Irish. Just tell me what's going on.”
Ned said, “I was offering my sympathy and telling her she didn't have to rush to move.” His brilliant blue gaze rested on Summer. “I'd be happy to help any way I can. I – I'd like to make it up to you in some way.”
Davis put a protective arm around her shoulders. “I think Summer's got friends who can take care of her.”
“I'm sure she does. Are you planning to have her move in with you?”
“If she wants to.”
Summer shook off the heavy arm. “I'm not moving in with anyone. I'll find my own place.”
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