Fire and Ice Young Adult and New Adult Books

The Horse Rescuers #2

Nickel-Bred

by Patricia Gilkerson



"Nickel-Bred" by Patricia Gilkerson Piper and Addie, looking for another horse, find the perfect one in Nickel, but discover the owner is part of a gang of criminals. Nickel's life is in danger. Can the girls save him from the slaughterhouse? Will they be able to save their friends and family as the vicious criminals take revenge?


 

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GENRE

Horses
Short
Series

EBOOK

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ePub
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Middle Grade / Teens


Chapter One

~ Dumped ~

I looked up at the morning sky and tried to catch my breath. That wasn’t happening. Since I’d been riding in the middle of a horse pasture, there was no one around to say, “Oh, Piper, are you okay?” Had I been knocked out for a minute or two? Maybe. I lay still until finally I managed a shaky breath. Nothing hurt. I was evidently okay. I had landed in soft grass, and gotten the wind knocked out of me and dirt in my mouth. This had happened to me once before, when I was seven, but not since then. I turned my head and spit the dirt out.

Hoofs clip-clopped nearby, a horse snorted above me somewhere and whiskers tickled my face. A soft muzzle touched the top of my head and large lips pulled at my hair. I swiveled my head to look up at my wayward horse and raised my hand to touch her nose. She made that snorty gurgle that horses make in their throats. It was the best sound in the world.

“Enough, Dotty,” I said to the spotted pony that was now trying to taste my head. “First you throw me off and then you try to eat my hair.” We’d been cantering in Dotty’s paddock, but she was feeling good and got a little bouncy. And then she bucked. I wasn’t expecting it and went flying. She did that a few times before when she was excited. I could only hope she settled down and got used to being ridden again.

Dotty was my horse since earlier in the summer-- mine and my best friend Addie’s. We had rescued her from a cruel owner and now she lived at the farm of Miss Julie Applegate, a friend of my family, but most of all, a special friend of mine. Miss Julie looked old, maybe seventy, but


she didn’t miss a thing. She was just the best. We had an understanding that Addie and I would take care of Dotty while we kept her on Miss Julie’s farm.

Since it was still summer vacation, I had made it a habit to go out to see Dotty every morning. I cleaned her stall, gave her food and water and brushed her really well. Then I started  riding her. It had gone well-- until she began bucking me off. I hadn’t told my dad that she did that, because I was afraid he’d want to get rid of her. Dad was a veterinarian and didn’t trust most horses, especially the ones with bad behavior. He’d gotten kicked and bitten a bunch of times.

After getting bucked off, I got to my feet, collected Dotty’s reins, and walked back to the barn. I liked to ride, but Addie and I couldn’t ride together with just one horse between us. I wondered if we could somehow find another horse for Addie. It didn’t seem likely; horses didn’t grow on trees. I rubbed my side, which was a little sore, and ran my fingers through my straight brown hair. After pulling off Miss Julie’s old pony saddle, I gave Dotty a good brushing and let her loose in the pasture. She wandered off, and then turned her head around to watch me. Was she wondering why I had cut our ride short? Well, I didn’t do it, she did!

I walked home thinking about riding. I lived mainly with my mom since my parents got divorced, although I had a room at Dad’s house. The walk didn’t take long—it was less than a mile, and I didn’t usually bother with my bike. Serendipity Springs, Kentucky is a small town, so even though I lived in town, Miss Julie’s farm was close. That afternoon, I called Addie to tell her about getting bucked off.

“Hey, Adds,” I said when she answered.

“Hey, Pipe. Did you get a new cell phone?” she asked.

“Yeah. I had to spend every penny of my baby-sitting money, but it’s worth it,” I said. Then I told her about getting bucked off.

“Are you hurt?” she asked.

“Nah, just a little stiff,” I said. “The grass was soft. Do you want to ride Dotty tomorrow?”

“I don’t think so,” said Addie. “My mom wants me to go shopping with her for a new bedspread. I don’t want to, but she says it’s for my room, so I have to okay it.

”You’ll just get another purple one.”

“I know, but there are lots of different patterns and stuff.”

“So what about riding?”

“I guess not,” she said.

“You haven’t ever ridden her! Are you planning to someday?”

“Well, I don’t know....I don’t want to get bucked off. You are more used to horses than I am.”

“She doesn’t do it much. Just once in a while. All you do is get some of her energy out before you ride.”

“I don’t know, Piper, I...maybe you should ride her and not me.”

“Addie Davis! Are you scared?”

“Well, maybe a little.”

“But you helped break into Sam Applegate’s office when we had to rescue Dotty! And creepy Jake’s trailer! And you were there when we captured Jake and sent him to jail! How can you be afraid of a little horse?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Piper, we did all those things together, but it was different then. You were a Warrior Princess and we were on a mission to rescue Dotty. I forgot to be scared most of the time, but I don’t know if I would do it again now that I’ve had time to think about it. We actually did break the law. We were really criminals, you know.”

“How can you say we were criminals?” I was amazed that she was talking like that. “We did what we had to do. We saved Dotty and now we have a horse. And she needs someone to ride her.”

“I don’t think I want to.”

“Well, maybe you don’t, but I’m still going to ride our horse. And you will too, if you have any gumption!” And I hung up on the best friend I’ve ever had in my life.