About the Book
Things are changing…
Ben likes his life at Happy Trails. As a trail guide on a property in Australia he doesn’t have to work hard to make friends. All he needs to do is make sure his clients are safe on their horses and have an enjoyable ride.
Ben can manage that. He loves that he can work with horses all day, every day. The humans are an added annoyance but he only has to deal with them in short bouts.
The new cook hired for the farm looks like she could be a complication. Ben is averse to change and he is certain her arrival means change.
Brooke knows the trial position as cook at Happy Trails is a blessing. She needs a job to support herself and her daughter – the fact that she can cook for an income is an added bonus.
If she can just avoid the interest of trail guide and jokester Jake, she’ll be fine. After all, she isn’t interested in a new male in her life. She just wants to focus on her daughter and make a future for them.
Equine Excerpt: B and B
Ben finished his third cup of coffee before heading back out to the mare. He’d checked on her every couple of hours over the course of the evening and although she hadn’t worsened, she’d taken awhile for her symptoms to decline. He’d never been so relieved to see a horse pass manure than at 3:00 that morning. He’d checked her again at 5:00 and been rewarded with a spectacular sunset shortly after.
He fed the horses early, knowing he might as well get it out of the way before it got too hot and then checked on Ellie again at 8:00 and 10:00. The last check he’d been pleased to find that she was eating and drinking quite happily, calling out to her friends in the paddock and her temperature had gone down.
“Just a couple more hours of me observing you before I put you back out to pasture, girlie,” he’d explained as he watched the farm utility vehicle heading down the drive with three females on their way to church.
A couple of hours later and they were returning. Ben was once again checking on the mare, lost in his own thoughts as he watched her methodically chew on another flake of hay.
“How’s Ellie doing?” Brooke suddenly asked from beside him, gaining his attention, “Margaret said she had colic last night?”
“Yeah. I think she’s passed the worst of it, though. She started eating normally about six this morning and seems to have her digestive system functioning fine,” he responded with a tired smile.
Brooke returned the smile. Ben noticed that Ella wasn’t with her; he concluded she must have gone inside with Margaret.
“You look beat! Did you get much sleep last night in between checks?” Brooke asked.
“Is there a ride booked this afternoon?” she questioned further.
“Yeah, a few experienced riders. It’ll be nice to go for a bit of a run,” he responded, causing Brooke to grin.
“I’ll bet! I hope it’s refreshing for you, rather than tiring.”
Ben glanced at Brooke’s attire as she leant on the rail to the yard Ellie was in. She was dressed simply but beautifully. Suddenly he thought about her comment at Ella’s birthday lunch. Maybe she dresses so nicely for a man at church.
“So does your man go to church?” he asked suddenly, not able to take the question back although he would have liked to.
Brooke looked at him in confusion.
“I was thinking about your comment to Jake about not being single… and well, there aren’t really many opportunities around here,” he gestured at the property before them, “to meet people, so I wondered if he went to the church you go along to each week.”
“Oh! Honestly the congregation is made up of mainly older people…” her voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper, “and I just said that to tease Jake.”
Her laughter hit something deep within him. He couldn’t decide what made it beautiful, but was surprised to find that that was how he would describe it. Perhaps it was the fact that it followed a statement of her being available that made it so appealing.
It wasn’t until she turned her attention to him that he realised he must have crept closer. How else was her face now so close to his? She smiled at him, seemingly oblivious to the thoughts racing through his mind.
It wasn’t until she looked up at him in surprise that he realised he had gone too far. He wondered if his gaze mirrored hers. How had he kissed her? Fool!
“I’m… sorry,” he muttered, taking a step back to put some space between them.
“For kissing me?” she asked in confusion.
He frowned. What else would I be apologising for?
“Because you didn’t want to do that?”
He looked at her, struggling to gather his thoughts. He wasn’t sure what she wanted him to say; why he needed to clarify in what way he was sorry for having crossed a boundary that shouldn’t have been crossed.
“I don’t tend to do things that I don’t want to do,” he muttered, taking another step back.
“So you did want to kiss me?” she asked clarifying.
Just get out of here.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have kissed you,” Ben responded firmly, turning on his heel and striding off.
He forced himself to not run away, but was sure that his pace increased even as the distance between them did. Why did his cabin seem so far away?
About the Author
Christine Meunier considers herself introduced to the wonderful world of horses at the late age of 13 when her parents agreed to lease a horse for her. She started experiencing horses via books from a young age and continues to do so, but recognises that horses cannot be learnt solely from books.
She has been studying horses from age 16, starting with the Certificate II in Horse Studies. In 2015 she finished a Bachelor of Equine Science.
Christine has worked at numerous thoroughbred studs in Australia as well as overseas in Ireland for a breeding season.
She then gained experience in a couple of Melbourne based horse riding schools, instructing at a basic level before heading off overseas again, this time to South Africa to spend hours in the saddle of endurance and trail horses on the Wild Coast.
Particularly passionate about careers in the equine industry, she writes a blog Equus Education.
She lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and two children.
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