by Ryan Jo Summers
Set against the exciting backdrop in the chase for the Triple Crown and filled with mystical surprises. Season is not a witch, but she can make a horse run and Ty’s heart race.
Season Moriarty is part fey and part druid. She can see the future and alter it. She welds control over the natural elements of earth, wind, fire, and water as well as manipulating life and death. She is an accomplished racehorse trainer, able to get any horse to run like the wind. Now Season has landed the dream job that will test all of her skills and abilities.
Ty Masters runs his horse racing business with an iron fist. No one dares to question him. He hires Season based on her reputation. Then they meet. Immediately, she questions him, challenges him, infuriates him, intrigues him, captivates him, and even intimidates him. Then she spellbinds him. But can she make a Triple Crown winner out of his willful colt?
Mysterious threats to Ty’s racehorses bring him and Season together in a race against the clock. As the stakes for the Triple Crown rise, and the mystery of who wants to destroy Ty deepens, so does the undeniable interest and fiery sparks between them.
The house was empty, a few lamps lit along the hallways. Ty dropped his coat in the foyer, ignoring the hook on the wall, wordlessly heading for the kitchen, his back straight and tension radiating from him like steam from a radiator.
Season quietly pulled out two coffee mugs and reheated leftover coffee. Pouring it, she tried to think how best to explain. Clearly, he was still thinking the worse and after what he had just witnessed, she couldn’t blame him. Would he even go so far as to fire her for what he witnessed? She kind of doubted it. But if he did not particularly trust her before, this wasn’t going to help. Okay, here goes nothing.
Setting the mugs on the table, she sat down opposite him, hair behind her, arms folded in front of her. Ty cradled the warm mug in his palms, steam rising from the top, the fragrant scent filling the air between them. He eyed her warily. Waiting. She searched for the best answer.
“Are you a witch?” he finally asked, breaking the ice.
“No, again.” she said. “I’m more of a druid.”
He blinked. “A who?”
“Druid. An ancient Celtic religion. I'm kind of like a fae or faerie.”
He shook his head. “What?”
She sighed. She really was terrible at these explanations. Another good reason not to tell anyone about her skills. “Okay, I inherited it from my folks, who inherited it from their folks and so on down their respective lines. Mom was a seer, she could see into the future, she'd have images or visions. Like a fae. And Dad communicated with animals and other things. It was almost magical how he could know what they were thinking or feeling. It sure helped his and Granddaddy's successes as trainers. They were druids in that they could give life. Just like you saw now.” She gave him with a shrug. “So I inherited the Sight from my mom and the Gift from my Dad. Lucky me,” she finished with a lop-sided smile.
He never moved or blinked. He just stared at her, hands curled around the mug, not drinking, as if it offered some protection between him and her. “So you aren’t a witch?” he finally asked.
Shaking her head, she stilled a laugh at the comparison. It was so typical she supposed. “No. Witches are more into black arts and stuff, learning their craft from anywhere. Faes and druids inherit it from their family, learning how to hone it from their parents. Plus I can't use my Gifts for personal gain. Only for good services.” She gave him another tentative smile. “Otherwise, if I were a witch, I would have turned you into a toad last night.”
That made him blink. “Pardon me?”
“When you broke into the bathroom and tried that little stunt of yours, I really wanted to turn you into a toad. But I decided not to. A witch probably would have anyway.”
He shook his head, baffled. “Guess I’m glad for that,” he said slowly. “Why didn’t you ... er ... do that?”
She shrugged, amused at his faltering question. “Misuse of the Gift. Unpardonable sin.” She grinned.
“Why? Would thunderbolts from heaven strike you dead if you had?”
“No.” She laughed outright at his suggestion. “No, it's just I learned it's not acceptable to do that kind of stuff. No real harm would come to me, but I know it's not right.”
“Again, glad to know that. I think,” he said, uncurling his hands from the mug and pushing it away. “So I thank you that I’m not a toad now. Could you warn me if you ever decided to do that? Turn me into something?” He grimaced at the request.
“Sure, what do you prefer? A toad or maybe a mammal?” she asked lightly.
“I prefer to be a man.” He jabbed a finger to his chest. “This man. Me.”
“Oh, okay. I'll keep that in mind.”
He stared at her, questions burning in his eyes. “So what else can you do?
Other than turn men into toads and bring dead foals to life?” He paused, inhaling a sharp breath. “You made that foal come out, didn’t you?” He paled at her silent nod, swallowing hard. “What else can you do?”
“Oh, lots of stuff.” Thinking, she pushed her mug away and started listing items on her fingers. “I am attuned to nature so I’m one with the animals. How do you really think I won the mastiffs over so easily? And Sky Hunter? With the Sight of the fae, I can sometimes get visions of things about to happen or images of things that are happening now. Even from a distance. It's kind of cool, actually.
“And with the Gift of the druids, I can cure, heal, and weld powers over the elements and nature. I can make the sun shine for a little while or maybe work up a small thunderstorm. Light a campfire with two snaps of the fingers,” she added, winking, snapping two fingers. A flame sparked to life from her fingertips.
Ty blinked, astonished. “So you can see Sky Hunter winning the Triple Crown? Is that how you are so sure he can? Or will you just snap your fingers and make him win? Or burst into flames?”
“No, I can't just make him win. I can only train him to run and win like any other trainer and horse. But I sense he has the potential to go that far. The day he jumped the fence he told me he was ready for an all-out run. I sensed there was no danger and saw no danger ahead so I let him go.”
“Uh huh.” He frowned at her words. Casting his eyes around the room he searched for answers, as if they were written on the walls. Finding none, he returned his gaze to Season. “So now what?”
“What do you mean?” she asked, finally taking a sip of the tepid coffee, then pushing it away with a grimace.
“Where do we go from here?”
“Where do you want to go?”
Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who pens romances with a twist. They may contain any number of elements: Christian, humor, mystery, paranormal, sweet, shape-shifting, or time travel. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so writing must be in the family genes.
She makes her home in a century-old mountain cottage, with a menagerie of adopted pets. In her spare time, she likes to gather with family and friends, paint ceramics or canvas, potter in the yard, bird-watching, or read, play chess, Mahjongg or work word-find puzzles. She might take her dog and head deep into the forests and rivers near her home to plot the next big scene or story. Like her dad's aunt, she writes poetry as a means to cope with life's pains.
She collects lighthouses, shells, driftwood, and anything to remind her of the shore.