By T. D. Courtland
Inspirational Romance, 245 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
Blurb: Casting a shy smile in her direction he confessed, “Well it wasn’t the Smurfs, believe me.”
He noted the firm line of her mouth combined with the resolute glint in her eyes as she asked, “I’m not going to find any pictures of me for sale on the net am I?”
Excerpt: Rolling down the window of the black Ranger pickup, Angel inhaled the warm spring air. She had slipped out the back entrance of Travis’s estate mere minutes ago and for the first time since she had met Adam, she was actually driving by herself! It felt wonderful to be able to be behind the wheel of a pickup again. She remembered driving the one on the ranch back in New Mexico. In fact she had taken her driver’s test in it at only sixteen!
She checked the traffic, and turned into the long graveled drive to the stables where she and Adam kept their horses. She hated doing this, but she desperately needed some time alone, and having it on the back of her new mount was just what the doctor ordered. She needed to step away from the confines of the Austin family, and just be herself. Adam would understand; after all she had left him a note in the guest house.
Parking the pickup by the main office under the shade of a big oak tree, she slipped the keys into her pants pocket before strolling across the well-manicured lawn towards the stables. She smiled to herself, admitting that Sunshine’s Reflection, or—as she called her, ‘Sunny,’ was the most special gift anyone could have given her. The spirited filly was both skilled and intelligent, a beautiful combination in a horse. A ride on her would help her focus on the challenges that lay before her, with planning this wedding. Not to mention giving her a much-needed breather from other people for a while.
~ * ~
Cold dark eyes silently observed the unsuspecting young woman as she made her way across the lawn. It hadn’t been hard to find her at all; one just had to use the Internet to look up her boyfriend’s family name and it was all there. He had planned this carefully, leaving Washington by train, changing flights twice before landing in Dallas, then using a false ID to rent the plain white cargo van. He waited until she entered one of the stables. The instant she was out of sight, he placed the van in gear. He drove the rented vehicle around behind the long structure. It would now be out of sight of the office and staff. Things were going as he had planned. Her father would rue the day he had fired him. Before he was done, his precious daughter would be out of the country and in the hands of one of the most dreaded drug cartels in Central America. He would bring the President to his knees!
~ * ~
Sunny poked her head out of the stall and whinnied in welcome as Angel neared the closed door. The blond woman couldn’t help but chuckle. “So you missed me, huh? It’s not like I spoiled you all last week, out riding you every day with the kids, now was it?” The filly tossed her head as Angel laughed. “You realize that I’m going to be in trouble for sneaking out like this. Shadow will probably rat me out big time.”
As she had been talking, she’d opened the stall door and moved into the straw-strewn enclosure. She found the curry comb and with a soft smile she started working it over the filly’s flanks. She loved this! Sunny stood still as she enjoyed the undivided attention from her owner. It seemed as if the two of them had stepped into a world of their own. Angel never even heard the stealthy footsteps behind her ‘til one arm encircled her neck. She had no time to scream. The hand covered her mouth and nose with the cloth soaked in chloroform. She fought frantically, only to find her body refusing to obey her. She went limp as her vision blurred and went dark. Her last conscious thought—why did I risk everything for a mere horse?