My novel about the horsey set (3-day eventing)–a romantic suspense, is named after a class in horse shows where the competitors race the clock as the fences are constantly raised in a jump-off. I wanted to share my gorgeous new cover by Debbie Taylor (she did the cover for Love For Sale, too). The book is still in rewrites, but hopefully it will be released in early fall at the latest. Here’s the blurb:
Becca McQuaid came to England to find the perfect horse but instead met a darkly mysterious challenge in Austen Heath, Baron of Hampton. She’s determined to buy Austen’s stallion Gambler’s Choice. He’s determined not to sell, but the rivals are thrown together by an accident that leaves Austen with a broken leg and the threat he’ll never ride again.
Austen Heath has the title, heritage and manor house…but not the fortune. Becca is wealthy. Her charms are irresistible, but he believes she’s shopping for a Ladyship to go with her money. He has another reason to hold the sexy blonde at arms’ length—the unexplained disappearance of a childhood friend everyone thinks was his lover. When her body is discovered on his property, he becomes a suspect in her murder.
Then the killer begins stalking Becca. Who is the slayer haunting Hampton Hall? Is it the Baron of Hampton himself?
Rebecca McQuaid was in England for one reason. To find the perfect match.
Size was important. Becca was a tall girl. Money was of no consequence whatsoever. Becca was a wealthy girl. Heart mattered most. He must have the heart to go the distance. She dreamed of a partnership that would last a lifetime. But looks did rank quite high on her list of priorities. Becca simply couldn’t ride an ugly horse.
“That would be like dating an ugly man.” She tossed long blonde hair over her shoulder.
Meg shot her a frown, her tone labeling Becca as an uncivilized colonist. “Rebecca McQuaid, you say the damnedest things.”
An appreciative chuckle turned her around to squint into the sun. A tall, elegant shadow of a man on a magnificent horse caught her imagination mid-stride. She couldn’t see the rider’s face, but she knew he’d overheard the exchange with her friend. He saluted her with a tap of his whip to the brim of his hat as he rode past. Excitement capered over her, and she smiled. The horse’s muscled, blood bay rump glistened. The stallion was sixteen-two hands, fit and impeccably groomed.
“Nice buns. That one’s good-looking enough for me.” She elbowed her friend. “Who is it?”
Meg shaded her eyes. “Gambler’s Choice and Austen Heath. Both horse and rider satisfy your criteria, my dear girl.”
“The horse is handsome.” She wished she had gotten a better look at the bay, but he was a russet blaze in the morning sun. “Are you telling me the rider is?”
“That’s the general consensus, but Austen hides in that rambling, dark mansion of his.” Meg studied the pair picking up a trot along the arena. “Fierce competitors. Hard to beat at Intermediate. We’ll see how they handle Advanced.”
“An Advanced horse?” Becca wriggled her shoulders. “I’m in the market.”
“Look elsewhere.” Meg’s finger jutted at Becca’s nose. “Austen won’t sell Gambler for love or money. Guaranteed. Not even for the kind of money you’re willing to spend.”
“Meggie,” she linked arms with her friend, “everything has a price.”
Meg balked like a donkey. “You’re in a different world, princess.”
Yesterday, Becca’s flight from Dulles landed late afternoon in London. The train to Somerset deposited her at the station past ten in the evening. By midnight, she was comfortably settled on Meg’s sofa in their quaint thatched roof cottage on a mega-spread of two whole acres—the size of one of the paddocks back home in Virginia.
Enjoy your weekend! Linda