A Date for the Derby Read online Heidi McLaughlin (The Dating #5)

Categories Genre: Romance, Sports Tags Authors: Series: The Dating Series by Heidi McLaughlin
Total pages in book: 29
Estimated words: 26938 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 135(@200wpm)___ 108(@250wpm)___ 90(@300wpm)
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Read Online Books/Novels:

A Date for the Derby (The Dating #5)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Heidi McLaughlin

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
B086WPMWS4
Book Information:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Heidi McLaughlin and L.P. Dover come together for a sexy new series that delivers romance for every season!
For Brielle Armstrong the pomp and circumstance of the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby are truly the most thrilling time of the year. Press junkets, designer gowns, everyone schmoozing her in hopes of getting in her daddy’s good graces. What’s not to love?
But this year, her heart is racing with anticipation to see Colby Hensley. As a former trainer of her family’s champion horses, his rugged sex appeal has always filled Brielle’s mind with naughty thoughts of a little barebacked fun.
Even though Colby walked away from their farm, her father Butch, would never approve of him. But what daddy doesn’t know can’t hurt him. If their secret comes out, it could cost Brielle everything. Still, what fun is life if you don’t ride it at a gallop?
Grab your riding crop, and place your bets. It’s Derby Day!
Books in Series:

The Dating Series by Heidi McLaughlin

Books by Author:

Heidi McLaughlin



1

Colby

The time has come.

I guide Maximus into the trailer and once he’s secured, I hop into the truck. I use the hem of my shirt to wipe the sweat off my forehead. Taking a deep breath, I let it out slow and turn to my reflection in the side view mirror. I run my hands through my short, dark hair and use my shirt to wipe away the dirt on my cheek. I’m not exactly racing royalty, and I could care less if I am or not, but I’m determined to win either way.

In two weeks, twenty of the finest horses in the world will compete in the most exciting two minutes in sports; the Run for the Roses and the first chance to compete for the Triple Crown, the most elusive prize in all of horse racing. Only thirteen horses have won, and when I look at Maximus Monday, I know he’s the next winner.

It’s shortly after midnight when I pull into Churchill Downs. There are a few other trainers with the same thought as me. Right now, it’s an opportune time to get our horses acclimated and settled because the next fourteen days are going to be crazy. Reporters will barge into the stables where we board our horses, taking their pictures, asking the trainers and jockeys for interviews. Every day from here on out, will be a constant interruption.

As soon as I park my truck, I’m at the back of the trailer, opening it up so I can get to Maximus. Even in the dark, I can see the majestic beauty of his black coat. The moonlight gleams through the windows of the trailer and makes his coat shine. He neighs when he sees me. In return, I rest my head against his soft muzzle. He’s the most beautiful animal I have ever worked with. He’s my pride and joy, and after this racing season is over, I’ll have to move on from him and to another colt. That’s the job of a trainer. However, with Maximus, I don’t want to leave him. It’s the first time I’ve ever really gotten attached. Every trainer bonds with their horse differently. With Maximus and I, it’s like we were meant to cross paths on that snowy February day three years ago.

Trainers and jockeys are born into racing. It’s rare that someone wakes up one day and says, “Oh, I’m going to go train a colt” or “I think I’m going to become a jockey.” We are generational—born and raised on ranches, riding at very early ages. We know everything there is to know about a horse, but more so when you’re tasked with turning one into a champion. For as long as I can remember, my family has worked for Armstrong Acres, one of the winningest horse breeders in all of Kentucky. It only made sense for me to follow in my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather’s footsteps. The Armstrong’s are like a second family to the Hensley’s. We live on their land, and we work for them, we train winners. Working for them was an expectation—to some, a gift—and up until three years ago, they were my employer. That’s when I defied my family and found my own path.

Another rarity, especially in Kentucky, is snow. It had started on a Saturday and much to our surprise, it stuck. The inches turned into feet with no end in sight. By Monday, the weather reports referred to the freak storm as a snowmageddon and warned everyone to stay home. I didn’t listen because I have a truck and sometimes, I think I’m invincible. That Monday, I was out driving, and I came across a young kid in the road, trying to flag down anyone he could. He told me his mare was in labor and that the vet couldn’t get to them, so I ventured over to his stables to see what I could do to help.

While the mare worked through her delivery, I learned she used to be a racehorse, which is another rarity. Fillies don’t normally race because of their size. Colts and geldings are usually a much bigger animal. But this mare, she was a thoroughbred. She had once been a champion. When Maximus was born, I took one look into his eyes and knew he’d be the next Derby winner. I went to Mr. Armstrong the next day, suggested a deal where he would rent Maximus from the owner.

The shady older man went behind my back and tried to buy the horse outright, taking him away from his mother. For the first time in my life, I had lost respect for someone. So, in complete defiance, I went to the Armstrong’s main competitor, the Lucky Seven Ranch owned by Baker Kelly and, on behalf of Maximus’s owner, brokered a deal. I would train Maximus and other horses on the property, for a room, board, and a stipend. In return, we win races. It was a gamble but paid off in dividends.

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