Belle Blackwoods was a lovely twenty-something woman with a passion for horses. And genetics. And writing. She had a nice little list of passions, but she especially enjoyed writing about the genetics of horses.
She had been studying books about equine genetics, and logging hours on the computer writing notes and prepping for her first book. Her first loves were the Arabian and the Appaloosa, and of course the majestic combination of the two breeds, known as the Araloosa.
It dawned on her that breeding horses might be a better way to expand her knowledge, so she acquired a mortgage from the bank, and bought some property with a house and stable. This was a very exciting and proud moment in Belle’s life, and she was eager to buy her first horses.
Next, she visited the local equestrian center to see the horses being offered for sale. It was slim pickings, but she managed to find two horses that suited her needs.
The first was a jet-black Arabian stallion. His registered name was Khemandt Bey, and he had been deemed “unmanageable” due to his savage temper. Cranky or not, Khem was healthy, his bloodlines were excellent, and his conformation couldn’t be improved for his breed, so Belle purchased him in the hopes that his temperament could be improved with time and careful handling.
The other was a palomino Appaloosa mare with an eye-catching spotted blanket, incredible movement and balance, and nice registration papers, named Paisley Gunsmoke. The bad news was her age – she would safely deliver one foal before it became too risky to breed her any longer. Belle decided to give her a shot. Desperation and an extremely limited supply of worthwhile equines makes risk-taking seem appealing at times.
The horses appeared to settle in to their new home quite nicely, and even took a liking to one another. Belle took her time with them and made every attempt to bond and become friends with both, but soon came to the conclusion that, although she adored horses and had only the very best of intentions, she might need some help.
Enter Edwin Greene, equestrian trainer, natural horseman, and uber-handsome devil. One of those guys who seems oblivious to the effect his good looks and natural charm have on women.
Belle was impressed with knowledge of horses, and his experience as a trainer. And his pretty green eyes. She hired him on the spot.
Belle was content to leave the horses’ care in his capable hands, and returned to her note-taking. Edwin got right to work.
As the days passed, Belle and Edwin became friends.