Author ~ S.J. Frost
Publisher ~ MLR Press
Published ~ 21st October 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Shawn Carlisle has dedicated his life to rescuing horses. Having grown up around the Thoroughbred racing industry, he knows for every champion racehorse, there are thousands more who end up broken and forgotten. When he rescues a mare named Heart’s Gamble, he’s heartbroken over her poor condition and he sets out to find her former owner to hold him accountable.
Grant Arrington inherited a horse farm that’s deep in debt from his father. He left years ago, not in agreement with his father’s harsh training methods, and is now trying to decide how to move forward. When he’s confronted by Shawn, he wants nothing more than to do right by Heart’s Gamble, and in the process, get closer to the passionate horse rescuer. The only problem is, he has to convince Shawn to take a gamble on what they could have together.
Freya’s Book Brief
Ohhh, horses and men, what’s not to like. But, what a tragic start to the story. Reading about any animals that have been abused turns my insides.
I’ll start by saying that the subject matter of this story must be close to the heart of the author. It raises the awareness of what happens to horses after their life in racing has finished. It gets unpleasant and is a topic that I defy anyone not to get emotional about. Sadly, it is also something that happens to all animals in sport.
The first time Shawn and Grant meet there are lustful thoughts on one side, and a bitch of a tongue lashing on the other. I loved it and did a mental fist-punch of the air. Shawn rescues horses; Grant races them. I hasten to add; Grant is not the perpetrator of any abuse. As for their relationship, it’s a physical and emotional bronco. Grant shows Shawn the beauty in racing while Shawn expands Grant’s knowledge of the horse after-racing-life. While attempting to find balance and understanding between their two worlds - there are heated words, mistrust, apologies and some riding of the human kind.
Occasionally, the author states what needs to be said then drums home the point in detail that isn’t always necessary. Nevertheless, given the evident passion of the author on the subject, a little going off the rails can be excused. But, if you’re not horsey, you may find there’s a bit too much technical horse babble.
I would say the author chose to bring home the plight of horses by highlighting them in a story laced with some M/M loving. And why not, advertising is advertising. While recognizing the fairer side of horse racing, the concentration of text is on those in need of rescue and the delights that can happen with rehabilitation.
If you pick this book up believing it is primarily a love story with the backdrop of horses, you will be disappointed. It’s a story of horses with M/M loving coming second. I am sure, though; lovers of the equine species will devour Heart’s Gamble.