Christine Meunier has recently released a horse focused romance for the adult reader! You can read an excerpt below.
Ben sighed, suddenly wishing for his previous conversation with Jake to continue. Anything but this.
The group of ten had a couple of capable riders, but the majority were shaky at the trot and definitely weren’t up to cantering too much. This meant more conversation. Normally Ben could put up with this – Jake had given him a couple of great questions that he used to keep their clients talking about themselves.
Unfortunately there was one chatty brunette who seemed insistent on getting Ben to talk. He was surprised by her apparent interest in him – the young women usually were drawn to Jake’s dark curls and blue eyes, as well as his easy laugh and ability to talk with anyone comfortably. More often than not when Ben watched the clients interact with his co-worker he either felt amused, or old.
Today he would have settled for old. This woman – Jane or Jan or Janine, he couldn’t remember – appeared a little young and her energy was quickly tiring him. Didn’t some people know how to stop talking?
He was glad when the group drew close to a hill they used for cantering. The ride slowed to a stop as Jake outlined what they were going to do. Then one by one, the riders cantered up the hill to wait at the top. Jake lead the way and thankfully Ben’s sudden fan realised he needed to keep watch over the riders, as they made their way between him and Jake waiting up top.
Ben purposely held back when he saw the young woman make her ascent at a lazy canter. He smiled to himself when halfway up the hill the older mare she was on, decided a trot would suffice. The young brunette gave a hearty kick with her heels and the mare snorted and broke into a canter again – for three strides – before abruptly coming to a walk. Ben chuckled outright as he headed up the hill after her, noting with satisfaction that although she was surprised by the mare’s sudden change of pace, she stayed in the saddle.
The rest of the ride was made up mainly of brisk trotting – a pace that caused some to focus on their seat, rather than the joys of conversation – and Ben was able to get a few moments to himself. He kept an eye on the riders, but was also able to enjoy the scenery of tall eucalypts, some acacias and the odd pine.
The smell of the bush was both a familiar comfort, and refreshing. At times Ben wondered if there was a job that paid where he could just ride all day – without the clients.
As the ride came to a close, the riders were allowed to spread out on an open hillside and push their mounts into a canter. It was an exhilarating feeling – the twelve of them racing up the hillside. Ben let out an uncharacteristic whoop as they reached the top. The riders appeared a little breathless, but were all smiling. It was a nice way to finish the ride.
The group made their way at a steady walk down the hillside and toward the tie up yards. The brunette whose name Ben really wasn’t sure on continued her chatter, asking Ben questions about himself. He muttered some answers, glaring at Jake who was grinning cheerfully back at him.
The pair worked quickly to help their clients dismount. Some part-time staff members were on hand to take the horses away and cool them down and brush them off before the afternoon feeding.
Ben turned away from handing over his mount to one of the staff and nearly jumped when he found the young woman still in the yard.
“Did you forget something?” he asked automatically, looking to see if the horse she had ridden was still handy.
“Oh, no! I’ve got everything, thank you. We’re all going into town for a drink before we head back home and I thought you might like to join us,” she invited cheerfully.
Ben questioned if he really did need to work on his people skills. He couldn’t for the life of him think of anything he’d said or done to give her the impression he would gladly join them for a little more socialising. He scratched the back of his head, unsure what to say.
“Oh… thanks for the invitation…” Ben started.
“But we’ve got quite a bit of work to do with these horses before we’re finished for the day,” Jake cut in smoothly, saving Ben.
The young woman nodded in understanding.
“The horses definitely need to come first. They were great today and we had a lot of fun riding. Thank you two again, we’ll be back!” she stated cheerfully, turning on her heel to join her friends.
Ben let out a breath he didn’t realise he’d been holding. Jake slapped him on the back before walking off to tend to his horse. Ben didn’t miss his laugh as he said, “You’re welcome, my friend!”
For those interested in finding out more about B and B by Christine Meunier, head on over to http://www.horsecountrybook.com
Christine Meunier is an equine author and educator in Australia. She loves all things horses and dedicates her time to writing educational novels, horse courses and educational resources. Her greatest passion is Equus Education, a blog about 170+ horse careers around the world.
For more details about Christine’s work, check her out on our guest author list.