I’ve been a horse lover all my life, and though I turned sixty this year and my riding days are mostly behind me now, horses and anything horse-related is still very special to me. I love saddles and bridles and boots—love the look, feel, and smell of them—and riding clothes, whether English or Western, have yet to lose their appeal.
I was about ten when my grandmother bought a horse for my sisters and me that she kept on the farm where my grandfather raised cattle. We rode every chance we got, but even that wasn’t enough to satisfy my craving. My family eventually moved to our own farm, and although we couldn’t afford saddles, my sisters and I had a great time galloping our ponies bareback across the fields. I never had a riding lesson, so I learned what I could from books, climbed aboard, and took off.
We went to horse shows and rodeos, and I always imagined myself in the place of those girls whose parents could afford fancy show horses, expensive tack, and riding lessons. Granted, we had more than most horse-loving girls could claim, but by the time I grew up and finally got around to owning horses again, I was in my forties. I had the money to buy all the things I’d dreamed of as a kid, including those coveted riding lessons, even though my family and my full-time nursing career didn’t leave me much time for riding. Over the years, I accumulated five horses and a horse trailer, along with English and western tack and clothes. I even competed in a couple of horse shows.
Unfortunately, not long after our second show, the mare I’d bred and raised from a foal developed a hip problem, and, not being particularly pain tolerant, she let me know in no uncertain terms that we weren’t doing that anymore. Our last altercation left me with a concussion and badly strained ligaments in my knees. I kept on riding and taking lessons, and despite a horse show career that never rematerialized, I continued to spend every spare moment at the barn. That is, until I started writing. After selling my first manuscript to Sourcebooks, my free time kinda dried up.
My beloved broodmare died about five years ago, and not long after that, I stopped riding, sold my trailer, and two of the horses I’d raised. I still have two mares, but they’re more like big pasture pets than anything. My arena sits vacant and forlorn. Grass covers the sandy expanse where I once rode, and trees and wild roses have grown up along the fence row.
When I quit my nursing job, I thought I might start riding again, but the one horse that I can ride has been plagued with chronic hoof infections, which I’m only just now getting under control. I keep thinking I’ll saddle her up and try again, until the aches and pains from previous horse-related accidents remind me that I’m not as young as I used to be, nor have the long hours spent sitting at my desk helped to avert the steady decline in my strength and stamina.
I still love my horses, though. I love hearing them neigh at me whenever I head toward the barn and the way they touch noses with me when I get there. I love their personalities and the heavenly aroma of horses and hay. Every once in a while, when the weather is warm and sunny, I spend a day at the barn, giving them baths and haircuts. They love the attention, and there’s nothing quite like the sheen on squeaky-clean horses with shining, tangle-free manes and tails. Spring is finally here, and as soon as they’ve finished shedding their winter coats, that’s exactly what I’ll do. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing about cowboys and horses and dream about what might have been.
Connect with Cheryl
Series: Cowboy Heaven #2
Author: Cheryl Brooks
Publication Date: April 5/16 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: contemporary romance
Back Cover Blurb:
SO MANY COWBOYS...
Shy computer specialist, dog lover, and amateur chef Tina Hayes has a thing for firefighters, but when she travels to the Circle Bar K ranch on family business, the ranch’s cowboys have no trouble persuading her to stay on as their cook. Especially not when she learns that brooding Wyatt McCabe—a man who makes her heart gallop like no one else can—is also a former firefighter.
HOW DOES SHE KNOW HE’S THE ONE?
Wyatt’s sizzling embraces leave Tina breathless. But being surrounded by a passel of smokin’ hot ranch hands can be complicated. With so many cowboys courting Tina all at once, Wyatt must prove to Tina that she belongs with him.
Hot cowboys, romance that sizzles, and enough chemistry to overheat your e-reader. Yup. This novel has it all. Top that off with a suspenseful plot and genuinely real characters and you have a story that you’ll definitely fall for.
Wyatt was the perfect hero for this story. He’s the strong silent type that everyone takes note of. Yet under it all he’s just as damaged as the rest of us, if not more so. He’s the guy that you can’t help but fall for. The hint of danger in a man who’s all heart. Tina’s shy nature covered an inner strength that was formidable. At the same time, she was so out of her element, yet trying so hard. It was priceless. Surrounded by the rest of the hilariously diverse cast of this novel, it was near perfect. I love how everyone brought new to the table.
With this novel, not only did Brooks create a vividly picturesque tale but also a whodunit that had me trying to guess the why’s and piece together the clues throughout. backed up with characters that you can’t help but fall in love with, this was definitely a winner.
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