Please Join us in welcoming Molly Ann Wishlade, who has popped into Sinfully today on the Racing Hearts Blog Tour.
Racing Hearts Blog Tour
Molly Ann Wishlade
Writing this story was a very big deal for me because it was important for me to get it right for the anthology and right for Sue. I can even confess to crying as I wrote the story because it mattered so much and because I felt so deeply for Sue and her loss.
Horses have been a very important part of Sue’s life, so it was decided that every story in the anthology should be linked in some way to horses and racing. I used to go horse riding as a child—every weekend—and I absolutely adore horses, but I didn’t have a detailed knowledge of how a working stables is run and what’s involved on a daily basis. This meant that I had to do quite a bit of research, as well as to rely on some pretty rigorous editing, to ensure that the day-to-day details about the running of the stables were correct.
The themes of love and loss were prevalent in my mind as I was writing Horses and Harleys. The majority of us will lose loved ones during our lives and experience the great pain that comes with that loss. In the story, the two main characters have lost loved ones—Alex lost his mother and was hurt by his lover and Henry’s lover died in an accident. Both men are wounded by their pasts and both have tried to forget their pain in different ways.
However, although the story is about loss, I wanted to create a positive outcome for Alex and Henry, because without hope, what do we have? I wanted to show that even when we lose those we love, and when life seems far too dark to carry on, we do. We just do, because it is within our nature to keep going. The path we follow after loss is extremely difficult and at times it seems near impossible, but we trudge forwards for those we love who are still around, and to honour the memory of those we have lost.
Horses are such intuitive creatures and they can offer us humans so much, there are even centres dedicated to equine therapy. In Horses and Harleys, Henry and Alex both heal because of their love of horses and because of one particular horse that brings them together.
The message that I hoped to weave into Horses and Harleys is that life can be tough, it can be painful and there will be times when we don’t feel like we have the strength to carry on. But there will come a point when we will be ready to get back in the saddle—whatever that means to us as individuals—and we will be ready to continue the ride.
About Racing Hearts
Totally Entwined Group editor, Sue Laybourn, sadly lost her husband Peter earlier this year, after a brave battle against cancer. In tribute to Peter and to show their support for Sue, these six Pride Publishing authors got together to write this anthology of short stories called Racing Hearts. These stories surround the world of horseracing, a sport which Peter and Sue passionately followed together.
Pride Publishing will be donating its royalties to charity. Proceeds will be going to Cancer Research UK and Prospect Hospice, where Peter was a patient.
Find out more about these charities here:
Cancer Research UK: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
Prospect Hospice: http://www.prospect-hospice.net/
Racing Hearts Anthology
Publisher ~ Pride Publishing
Published ~ 8th December 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
‘The Lonely Ones’ by Bailey Bradford
Marshall’s all city, and Rex is all cowboy, so it’s no wonder sparks fly when they meet.
Marshall Evans never wanted to inherit his grandfather’s Thoroughbred horse ranch. He doesn’t know much about raising and training racehorses, and he knows even less about the man who left him what he sees as a burden. His grandfather wasn’t a nice man at all, and he left the ranch to Marshall more as a fuck you to the one person who did want the ranch, who had tried to buy it, and had put up with years of verbal and at times, physical abuse, only to have his home yanked out from under his feet. Rex Martinez had only ever had one home, and that was the ranch. Now he was about to lose it.
Marshall arrives in the small town of Erring, NM, only to be confronted by this silently furious man, and together, they’re going to have to work out what to do. The will stipulates that Marshall can’t sell the ranch to Rex, because Allen found out Rex was gay. Rex didn’t know he knew, but the old man had no idea about Marshall since Marshall hadn’t been raised anywhere near him.
It’s not as simple as selling the ranch, either. Marshall thinks it will be, but no. He can’t put Rex out of a home so easily.
‘Racing for Home’ by Morticia Knight
Groom Charlie loves the Piedmont Farms horses—but not nearly as much as the man he can never have, Edward Piedmont.
At the age of twenty-two, Charlie has lived at Piedmont Farms—the largest race horse breeding facility on the east coast—for eight years. For five of those years, he’s been desperately in love with Albert Piedmont’s oldest son, Edward. At one time, he believed Edward’s declarations that they’d be together forever. It was a brutal slap in the face when Edward married a local heiress and moved away to live with her on her family estate. Only his love of the horses, including one in particular, has kept him from complete despair.
Edward knows that horse groom Charlie must hate him after being abandoned when Edward married Alice, but he’d thought he was doing the right thing at the time. After three years of a sham of a marriage, Alice has found someone who she really wants to marry, and Edward is free to divorce her. Edward moves back to Piedmont, desperate to get Charlie back, even if they would still have to hide their love.
Charlie wants to believe that Edward still loves him and that he can believe in him once again. But love between two men in 1912 America is even worse than love between someone of a higher and lower station. Charlie fears that it would never be possible for them to truly have a life together.
Edward’s father, Albert Piedmont, is also hiding. However, his secrets pertain to the possible loss of his once wildly successful horse breeding farm. When everything begins to rapidly crumble, Edward has to make a desperate move to secure a future for him and Charlie before it’s too late.
‘The Secret of Delville Wood’ by Helena Maeve
A handsome, naked man in his bed is the kind of surprise Silas lives for. The dead body hanging outside his window, not so much.
In the shadow of the Great War, three soldiers made a fortune on racetracks either side of the North Sea. Their families thrived with the clandestine passions of youth, wanting for nothing while whole nations suffered the scarcities of peace. By their grace and generosity, Axel, a young man once forced to sell his body, became a champion.
Yet the lure of fast money hides many dark deeds and Pia Eckdahl’s manor on Lake Sågträsk is no exception. Hired to cleanse the Swedish socialite’s house of evil spirits, Nigerian-born Silas doesn’t care much for horses, racing or the affectations of the nouveau-riche. But he does care for Axel. Caught between peddling his heritage for an extortionate sum and investigating a suspicious suicide, Silas soon finds himself delving into a decade-old family secret that could well destroy his lover’s racing future.
‘Keeping the Luck In’ by L.M. Somerton
Since when was a squirrel crossing your path bad luck?
Like his father before him, Rory Ironstone was born and bred to be a blacksmith. Standing six feet five in his socked feet, he’s built like a barn door. He loves his job at Camworth Racecourse forge, tending to the beautiful racehorses and creating ironwork art in his spare time.
Pip Ryder is a summer stable hand and newly qualified vet who longs for someone to love him as much as they do his four-legged charges. He admires Rory from afar, but is too shy to admit his interest goes beyond the anvil.
When the horseshoe above the forge door is knocked off, Rory believes his luck has fallen out. Pip comes to the rescue but when Rory shows more than a platonic interest, he bolts.
Rory is convinced that the only way to re-fill his horseshoe with luck is to get Pip back and keep him.
‘Just my Luck’ by Ethan Stone
Appearances can be deceiving.
Kieran Jones is as used to short jokes as Sam Shaw is to being teased for his height. When they meet at a nightclub there’s an instant attraction, and not just because of the stark difference in their bodies.
After a passionate night, Sam sneaks out, positive he won’t see the hot guy again. Not because he doesn’t want to, but because he’s in town to do a job and he doesn’t need a distraction. He never imagined that growing up on a farm and knowing all about horses would help with his career, but it has and he can’t let anything get in the way.
However, jockey Kieran is connected to Sam’s mission and Sam has a tough choice to make—use Kieran to get it done or walk away. It could spell the end of the relationship before it’s even begun, but a life or death situation makes Sam realize just exactly how much he cares for Kieran and how much he wants a future with him.
‘Horses and Harleys’ by Molly Ann Wishlade
Life’s not just about horses and Harleys, but sometimes you have to get back in the saddle if you want to go along for the ride.
Henry Lockhart is a rich, successful businessman but life at the top can be lonely, especially as he vowed never to fall in love again after a painful bereavement.
Alex Castillo grew up in a small town where small minds made his life a misery. A disastrous love affair with a married man and the recent death of his mother led him to flee his hometown in search of a better life.
When their worlds collide after Alex takes a job as a groom at Henry’s stables, they both know that life will never be the same again.
But they’ve both been hurt, they’ve both suffered loss, shame and regret.
Can they find a way to be together, or will they both ride off into the sunset alone?
Horses and Harleys
Molly Ann Wishlade
The silence hung in the air between them as Henry shifted from one foot to another. “I don’t think that’s stupid, Alex. It’s just that I’m not in the habit of trusting my instincts anymore. I take what I want from men then I send them on their way. I’m not proud of it but it’s who I’ve become. And I like you. Already. I don’t want to fuck that up.”
Alex swallowed his surprise. That wasn’t what he had expected to hear.
“Look. I’m free this afternoon. Do you want to come for a ride?”
“I’ve just been on one. Felicity might be a bit tired right now.”
“Not on a horse.”
“Don’t you ride, Henry? I thought that Felicity might be your mare.”
Henry’s face darkened, and Alex immediately regretted asking the question.
“I haven’t ridden a horse in two years. And yes…Felicity is mine. I just can’t.”
The horse nudged Alex and he smoothed her neck. He considered asking Henry why he hadn’t ridden her but sensed that now wasn’t the right time.
“So what did you want to ride?”
“Why don’t you get showered and changed and I’ll show you?” Henry smiled and his eyes sparkled.
“Sure.” Alex nodded. He was trying to stay cool and calm but it was difficult. Just then, Felicity brushed past him and approached Henry. Henry’s smile dropped. He quickly opened the door and left the stable.
“Come up to the house when you’re ready!” he called as he disappeared from sight.
Alex stood next to Felicity at the stable door and leaned his head on her muscular shoulder. “What is it, girl?”
The horse shook her head as if in reply and stamped a foot.
“It’s something we need to figure out. I’ll try to get some answers for you.” Alex hoped that he would have the opportunity to speak to Henry about it. He couldn’t imagine not being able to ride anymore. The freedom of being on horseback was exhilarating. It could heal and offer a freedom that not many activities could match. Perhaps it would help Henry to deal with whatever demons he was battling.
About Molly Ann Wishlade
Molly Ann Wishlade has always been an avid reader and writer of stories. Her lifetime of reading has taken her from the magical worlds of The Faraway Tree and The Borrowers, to the Greek myths and legends, to Sweet Valley High and Judy Blume's Forever, to Asimov's science fiction, Jane Eyre's torment and Stephen King's masterpieces. More recently she has wandered through the vivid historicals of Philippa Gregory; the bubbly, gritty delights of Adele Parks and the fast paced thrillers of James Patterson. She loves getting lost in a novel and often regrets finishing one as the characters are usually missed like old friends. She regularly indulges her insatiable hunger for romance and passion in the delicious worlds created by romantic novelists and is working on several of her own!
What precious spare time she has is spent with her family (one gorgeous husband and two bright and beautiful children), taking long walks around the beautiful Welsh countryside (although she's still waiting for the rescue greyhound she wants to accompany her), cooking her own secret recipe curries, drinking Earl Grey (in copious amounts) and discovering delicious wines. Oh, and she also loves to ski and can't wait to go again! And buying shoes!
She wants to take readers on the rollercoaster that is life through the creation of her own characters, relationships and worlds.
She appreciates feedback, recipes and wine recommendations.
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