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Here is a snippet of my upcoming release – The Stud.
Currently in the last round of edits, so go easy on any typo’s you may find 🙂
Copyright ©2018 by Ally Prince
Lifting my cowboy hat I wiped at the sweat on my brow. Texas heat is no joke, you’d expect after living in it for thirty-three years I’d acclimatize, but it took me by surprise every single year. It only contributed to my piss-poor mood.
I worked hard to make my business successful. I built Anderson Stud up to be a recognized brand. Horses I bred have won millions of dollars and are highly sought after. To think an employee, one who’d been here for a mere few weeks, would consider stealing from me infuriated me. I found trusting people became hard once people learned you came from money or suspected you must because you owned a business. What they don’t care to think about is the fact that I too had bills. A fucking mountain of bills so that I could produce high-quality stock.
If I was my father, I would fire their ass. Perhaps call in the police and have them barred from working in the county by making a few calls, but I wasn’t my father and he may not have agreed with my tactics. In the six years since my parents’ death, I’d done things around here my way. I hoped that it was not coming back to bite me in the ass right about now. With a hectic few months ahead, I didn’t have time to check out the surveillance footage of the entire premises every single day. An employer should have some faith in the character of their employees. Over the years sometimes people took small items like lead ropes, blankets, and shovels. They were a consumable resource in this business. Dad had told me of people taking a pail of feed here and there, some tried to take molasses. A guy once trying to steal frozen semen had been the worst occurrence until now. I made my way to my office talk to Mason, my best buddy, and tech guru, to find out who I would fire today.
I stormed into the small office at the front of our mare stables. This is where all the mares foaled, so it needed to be easy access all the time. I lifted my hat off and set it on a hook on the wall, loving the cool air on my overheated skin.
Mason sat at my desk, brow furrowed as he studied at something on a laptop. His black ball cap hid his dark hair, but concern laced his features.
“What did you find?” I sank into the seat opposite him, tempted to swing my legs up on my desk but I lacked the energy.
“Well,” he kind of hummed for a moment before shifting his eyes to me. “You can see the truck clear as day, license plate and all. I’m still not convinced that we have the right person.”
“How can it not be the right person; the truck is a match?”
“Oh yeah. It’s parked out back right now.” He thumbed over his shoulder to where most of the employees parked their vehicles.
“Then, what? Show me what ya found.” I reached for the laptop and Mason let me take it.
“It’s dark, a little hard to see, but it is enough.” I nodded and played the snippet he’d set up.
The time stamp stated, 3:37a.m. on Wednesday, which lined up. The truck is old, the color faded, hard to make that out, but the odd black door and license plate would make it practically impossible to mistake. My blood boiled as the screen displayed the way the men treated the foal. Bound at the legs, bag over its head, the poor thing. Only four weeks old, and they took it away from its mama, who still called for her baby. The two men, both skinny and unkept loaded her none too gently into the bed of the truck. One hopped in with the foal and the other into the passenger seat, the truck sped away, no lights on.
“How did I not hear them?” Sound traveled for miles out here. The place was dead quiet most nights so if a horse sneezed, I heard. The stables sat just 200 yards from the house.
“Don’t know man, but they took the foal. What they did with her, well my hunch is they tried to sell her, but people around here would recognize her,” Mason shrugged his shoulders a little. Being too young to brand, I would be relying on honest, good people to get her back.
My piss-poor mood deepened, people who assumed it was their right to take whatever the hell they wanted is precisely what was wrong with today’s society. The perceived entitlement in people today was shocking, and it made me so fucking angry.
I pushed to my feet. “Where does he work?”
“Um, Logan, have a beer, or something first and then go have a chat.”
I shot Mason a glare.
“Over in the old-timers’, Jack is on leave for his knee reconstruction, so it’s a fill in.” Of course, someone with no loyalty to anyone and no respect for other people’s property.
I slammed my hat back on my head and headed out the door as Mason called my name, but I had a big motherfuckin’ bone to pick with someone and that someone would wish they had never set foot on Anderson Stud.
The old-timers’ barn only comprised of ten stalls, a baby considering the main housed twenty-two. The barn was the original barn first built on the property many years ago by my grandfather. The faded red siding needed to be repainted, but the structure still sound enough to home my horses. It only took one person to maintain and we let Jack come and go as he pleased as long as the horses were clean and fed. Most of the broodmares had reached the age where foaling became associated with greater risk, hence the term old-timers. The girls had done their duty and now rested in retirement. They spend their days doing as they pleased and ordering us around. There were only seven horses last time I checked. With my days blending together I figured that number was not likely to change any time soon.
If I had been thinking right, I would have hopped on the buggy and been there in a minute. Instead, I trekked half a mile in the heat to be face to face with this low life scum that was on my property. As the stable came into view, I tried to calm my racing heart. I would say something I shouldn’t, and I considered myself impulsive, but I had every right to be fucking pissed right now. The doors were wide open and on a brief glance around the place nothing looked out of place. Jack liked to run a tight ship, he had a brilliant work ethic and had worked for my father since he quit high school 25 years ago, I hoped he would be here until he contemplated retiring.
The first sound that caught my attention was the scraping of a shovel on the flooring as a stall was being mucked out.
I stalked toward the noise, fists balled at my sides, a million thoughts and words racing through my head.
But not one of those prepared for the sight that greeted me.
I stopped at the stall entry.
My jaw may have hit the ground.
There in front of me was my thief.
In tiny cut-off shorts, cowboy boots and from behind I was guessing a fucking bikini top.
You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.
My cock took a liking to her tight ass as she lifted up another shovel full of crap and placed it in the cart.
“Who are you?” I asked, confused. I expected a tall thin man and not someone who set my blood on fire.
The girl didn’t answer, didn’t seem to acknowledge me at all and that had my anger boiling to the surface.
I stalked into the stall and gripped her small upper arm before she scooped more shit and tensed those ass muscles. I needed to be thinking with the right head.
She made the girliest sound ever, dropped the shovel and jumped into the pile of shit she was scooping just moments before.
When those jade green eyes landed on mine, I should have turned around and left. Maybe sent Mason to do my dirty work or called in the cops but I didn’t. Little did I know this might just be the best mistake I had yet to ever make.
I inhaled the pungent scent of horse shit. It coated my nostrils long after I knocked off, I figured there’s no way on this earth I could stand it, but here I stood mucking out horse stalls on a 102-degree day.
Jack Santos, a great guy, offered me the opportunity for some extra cash over the summer. His mom owned a small diner I worked in three days a week, I considered her nice but stern and Mae always treated me with respect. When he asked about my summer plans, I could have laughed in his face but that would have been rude.
I never made plans. Plans were for people who had friends and money, so they could go places and do things. Those people were not me. I worked hard at three jobs and tried to make every single dollar count. I had to. There was no other option.
A summer job would be a great extra for me, I couldn’t afford to turn it down and I am certain Jack realized how desperate I was. The story of my life.
I placed my ear-buds in when I started work. Shit seemed less shitty when good music pumped in your ears and everyone loved country music. The old girls in the barn were calm and gentle in nature, and as someone who didn’t have much to do with horses, these huge creatures never made me doubt my decision to step into their stall. At the moment the girls were in the day paddock attached to the side of the barn. They liked to lounge in the shade of the huge live oak trees and do whatever they liked and snub their noses at me. Anderson Stud was a beautiful place, it oozed quality. The grounds were kept in pristine condition and yet the place was a fully functional and working business. The stables that were visible from the road in, looked impressive in an older grandeur kind of way. It was only once you rounded the back of the stables that you could see the clinical side of the stud operation.
With two more stalls to muck, my schedule a little tight today. I needed to be at Mae’s by 10:30 a.m., it was already a quarter til’ and the drive took ten minutes, I needed to hustle.
The hand that landed on my arm threw me for a loop. Unexpected and unwanted. I launched forward not caring where I would land, my heart hammered in my chest as I turned around to glance at my attacker.
I’d seen Logan Anderson from a distance, he always looked confident, in control and sexy. The way he wore that cowboy hat and those jeans, yeah, pretty much every female drooled when he walked by. But the man standing in front of me didn’t appear thrilled to be in my presence.
Jack assured me that Mr. Anderson would let me work here, as long as I did the job there would not be an issue. But by his expression, Logan Anderson had an issue, and I think the issue was me.
I glanced down at what I was wearing, my face heating as I took in the bikini top, of all the days to be feeling the heat. My eyes then scanned the stall, except for the pile I stood in, the place was close to spotless. I didn’t see what the problem could be.
My eyes came back to Logan. The man could brood with the best of them.
Those pink lips twitched before flattening out.
“Oh,” I pulled the buds from my ears, face heating. “Sorry, you were saying,” I smiled, well tried to, pretty sure it looked like a grimace.
Logan sighed, dark eyes scanning my face, his hands now on his hips. Never a good sign.
“I asked who you were?” His voice came out deep, rough and sexy. Making my toes curl in my boots.
“Lucy,” I swallowed, eyes wide, heart hammering. Curious as to what the hell I did to deserve the fury behind his eyes.
“Are you filling in for Jack Santos?” I nodded at his question, unable to speak. He shook his head and mumbled under his breath a little before he pulled his hat from his head and swiped at his messy dark brown hair. The force with which he shoved the hat back on provided enough evidence to suggest, Logan was having a bad day and I somehow made it worse.
“Is there a problem?” I finally found my ability to speak intelligent words. He glared at me, perhaps those were not the right words.
“Yeah, you could say that.” He lifted a hand to wipe at his mouth, a heavy sigh leaving him. “You own that faded red piece of shit with the black door?”
Oh, crap. I nodded. Even I knew my truck looked like the biggest piece of shit, but the truck was the only thing I owned that Robert left alone. If I bought anything of value it disappeared, and Robert used the money to get high. I learned the hard way when I tried so many times to buy brand name clothing after saving every single dime so I wouldn’t seem like such a reject at school. The day after I noticed something missing I would find him and my mother passed out on the floor. Didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what transpired there. The truck ran. I cleaned Sam’s front office and garage floor space twice a month and in return he kept her running. The old thing had no air, no heat, sounded like a freight train but got me where I needed to go, and it wasn’t worth a dime. Because of those reasons, Robert left it alone.
“I’d say we have a big fuckin’ problem then, honey.” The way he growled ‘honey’ made me shiver a little. I tried to step back without falling over and landing on my ass in the shit which was ankle deep. Not knowing what to do with myself. I tried to fold my arms over my chest but when his dark eyes followed and narrowed in on my breasts, I shuddered and let my arms fall to my sides. Logan made me tingle in places I shouldn’t be. Nothing about this situation screamed sexy, yet my mind went there. I would kill for a glimpse of what those arms looked like without those long-sleeved shirts he always wore.
“Oh,” what could I say? My car was an issue, maybe it made the place look cheap. Anderson Stud was a high-class place, people paid big money for Logan’s stock.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t find out?” his voice rose a little and with absolute certainty, I realized that I did not have a clue what he was talking about. I had worked here for just two weeks, never conversed with the man and I think only talked to two other people since I started. I had nothing to hide, nothing for him to find out other than my car being shit and I lived in a trailer park.
“You goin’ to play dumb?” His brow scrunched, and his frown deepened. His dark eyes piercing holes in me as he took a step forward, his boots now at the edge of the shit pile. Logan took my silence as guilt. Because there was no way to not be blindsided by what he threw at me next. “Get your shit and get off my property, you have ten minutes. If I see you or that truck back here I will call the cops. You should be thankful that I don’t call them right now.” I kind of wanted him to because then I would find out what he was accusing me of doing wrong. “You have some nerve coming on to my property and stealing from right under my nose.” My stomach sank. Heat flooded my face as realization sank in. An unhealthy dose of embarrassment coursed through my veins. A feeling I was used to after being a victim of it way too many times and somehow, this one right now was possibly the worst.
“Yes, sir,” I said as I dropped my head not wanting to meet his eyes. I stepped carefully out of the shit and walked past him and headed straight to my truck. Time to head to Mae’s which would give me time to settle before heading home to find my piece of shit mother and demand answers as to why I had been accused of stealing yet again.
Damn it, I needed that job, and so did Sophie.
Here is the stunning cover of The Stud. Release date 12th September.