New Book || June 21, 2016 || Teen Girls & Horses

"The Quarter Horse" by Patricia Gilkerson

The Horse Rescuers #4
(Can be read as a stand alone novel)

The Quarter Horse

by Patricia Gilkerson

Fifteen-year old Piper agrees to help her friend Jeff sell his horses to pay for college, hoping he will then appreciate her more. But a gorgeous new girl, Jackie, comes to town who threatens to attract Jeff’s attention. Piper doesn’t know how to deal with beautiful Jackie and then she finds out that Jeff’s Quarter Horse, Daisy, is prone to colic, a deadly threat in horses. All the responsibility for Daisy is on Piper’s shoulders, but can she find a good owner for Daisy while keeping her healthy? And will Jeff fall for Jackie, forgetting about Piper? Daisy’s life is at stake as the Horse Rescuers must act quickly.


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Chapter One

~ Breakout~

Loud hoof beats in the yard. I put down my lemonade and ran to the window. Three adult horses and a colt milled around in Miss Julie Applegate’s backyard. The six-foot wide aluminum gate hung open.

“Oh, no! Jeff, didn’t you close the gate?”

“I thought I did,” he said, setting down his physics book and standing up.

My mouth went dry. There is nothing scarier to a horse owner than the sound of hoof beats where there aren’t supposed to be any. It means horses are loose and loose horses like to run. And run. A potential disaster if they ran down the long driveway and got onto the highway to town. Disasters like that might show up on the evening news, complete with images of ambulances, cops, and dead horses. If we could just ease them back into their paddock, maybe they wouldn’t start running.

“Hurry! We have to get them back in. You walk toward them by the barn while I go around the other side of the yard. Maybe they’ll head back into the paddock. Just don’t spook them so they start running!”

Hoping beyond hope that the horses would stay calm, I walked past them in the yard of the old white house, trying to head them away from the driveway and back into their pasture. The horses tossed their heads and started trotting around, just now realizing they were free. Jeff waved his arms, but that made them wilder.

“No! Don’t scare them!” I yelled at Jeff as, nostrils wide, the horses began to gallop. Dotty, the smallest and bossiest of the three adult horses, ran right past me up the half-mile dirt driveway toward the main highway. The others followed, gaining speed.

Clattering on the gravel drive, the horses and colt disappeared over the hill, neighing to each other. They sounded like they were having a party, but I had chills, thinking of them running down the busy highway toward Serendipity Springs, the nearest town. My horses might easily be galloping to their death. Could we catch them? We had a chance if they would slow down and graze. I ran into the barn and grabbed three halters. There was one for each adult horse. The colt would follow his mother, if we could only catch her.

Who was around to help us? I ran through the list in my head as I hurried to Jeff. My best friend Addie was out of town. My dad was at work and it would take him too long to get here. Miss Julie was too old to chase horses and she was gone on an errand anyway. It was up to me and Jeff. I handed him a halter and lead, and we ran up the drive after the horses.

“Piper, should I go back and shut the gate or get the truck?” Jeff panted as he ran. He’s thin and tall, but not very athletic.

“No and no,” I said, “We would just have to leave the truck and we’ll need the gate open for when we bring them home. We might need the truck later to find them.” I prayed that wouldn’t happen.

We ran together down the lane that was the long driveway to Miss Julie’s farm. Addie and I kept our horses there and we liked to visit with Miss Julie in her big white farmhouse. Jeff lived there with Miss Julie until his graduation from high school in the spring. The mare and foal belonged to him, but he wasn’t into horses and never really paid enough attention to closing gates and such. It drove me crazy, since I was the one who ended up taking care of them. That’s what happened when I depended on him to do things.

As we ran, Jeff muttered things like, “Can’t believe I did that,” and “So stupid,” really beating himself up.

“Jeff! It’s done!” I said. “Let’s just catch them and you can call yourself names later!”

He sighed and we ran on. As we came over the crest of a small hill, we were met by the four horses trotting back toward us. One POA—Pony of the Americas—that was spotted all over, one gray half-Arabian gelding, and one bay Quarter horse mare with her look-alike colt; all accounted for. This was encouraging. Maybe I could catch them.

“Here honey, here sugar,” I called to the pony in a soft voice, and held my hand out, trying to slow Dotty down and maybe get a halter on her. Their taste of freedom made them goofy and they acted like naughty children. Heads high, tails in the air, they snorted and pranced past us as if they were kids running away from school. I imagined them saying “Haha! Can’t catch me!” Way down where the driveway meets the road, Miss Julie had seen that the horses were loose, and blocked their escape by turning her car sideways. They had turned and trotted back the way they came. What an awesomely smart old lady! Now the horses were still loose, but at least they’d be contained in the fenced yard and couldn’t get out on the main road.

“Oh, boy! Thanks, Miss J!” Jeff called to her as we turned and trudged back to the house, breathing heavily. Miss Julie waved back at him, got in her car, and drove slowly behind us to the yard. Reaching it, she parked sideways again, blocking the drive so they couldn’t escape.

My sense of panic was over, but we still needed to get them back in the fenced paddock by the barn. They trotted, snorting, around the yard.

“I’ll take Nickel,” I said, referring to the tall grey Arabian. “He’ll be the easiest to catch. You see if you can get Daisy. The colt will follow her.” I dropped one of my two halters on the ground and walked slowly toward Nickel with the other halter hidden behind my back.

“Hey, Nick. Hey, son.” I sounded like my dad, who called all girl horses Sis and all boy horses Son. Most people I knew who worked with horses did that.

“Come on, it’s okay.” I held my hand out as if I had a carrot in it. I didn’t have a treat this time, but much as I love them, horses really aren’t very smart. You can fake them out easily.

Nickel settled down and nibbled grass with his good eye on me. He was blind in one eye, but was just the sweetest horse ever. His head came up as I approached and his nose lifted to sniff at my hand.

“Good boy!” I whispered, easing the lead rope over his neck and collecting the end. He was now as good as caught, with his head in a loop of rope. That done, it was a simple thing to draw the halter over his nose, up around his ears and buckle it. I rubbed Nickel’s neck for allowing me to catch him. As I held the lead rope, he snorted at me and rubbed his nose on my shoulder. I sighed and looked around to see what Jeff was doing. He walked toward Daisy, halter at his side. Every time he got close, she moved away, staying about two arms’ lengths away from him, her shiny red coat gleaming in the sun. The six-month old colt, Dancer, followed his mom as she led Jeff around the yard. Dotty the pony was sniffing Miss Julie’s petunias by her porch, eyeing us without much interest. Miss Julie had taken up a post by her car, in case any of the horses tried to sneak past it.

“Aargh!” said Jeff, who had more patience with his guitar than his horses.

“See if they’ll follow us,” I called. I turned and led Nickel through the big gate into the small paddock between the barn and house. I walked him all the way in, toward the big oak tree that grew in the center of the field. Slowly, like a parade, my wayward horses followed, the grey gelding with me, with the spotted pony, the bay mare and the colt bringing up the rear. I was thankful that horses were herd animals and wanted to stay together.

Relieved to have everyone where they belonged, I called, “Close the gate, Jeff. And this time, latch it!” It came out a little sharper than I meant.

He pulled the gate shut hard and stalked up to the house. I took off Nickel’s halter and hugged his neck. I walked over to Dotty, the innocent-looking pony, and patted her on her spotted neck. Daisy walked over to us, sniffing for treats, so I rubbed her forehead and kissed her, gazing into her huge brown eyes. None of them looked a bit sorry for their adventure. I smiled and left the runaways happily nibbling clover. The disaster was over—no harm done. I took a huge deep breath in relief and walked out the gate and up to Miss Julie’s house.

 

Jeff and I flung ourselves into our usual places in Miss Julie’s rocking chairs on the wide front porch. I had the half-grown cat, Willie Nelson, on my lap. Miss Julie was inside making some celebration lemonade. Jeff rocked quickly, as if something bothered him. I wondered what he was antsy about. Easter was coming in a few days and we were on our spring break. The excitement was over so why didn’t he relax now? I slumped in my chair, exhausted.

“So Piper…”

“Mmm Hmmm?” My eyes were closed in relief from having stopped a disaster.

“You didn’t have to snap at me.”

“When?” I sat up and stared.

“When you told me to shut the gate. I mean, I know I was an idiot to leave it open, and I feel terrible about it, but I didn’t do it on purpose.”

“I didn’t snap at you!”

“Well, yes, you did. And you didn’t have to.”

“I did not snap at you. I only told you to shut the gate and latch it.”

“It was the way you said it.” Why was he being so sensitive? Jeff was a senior, while I was only a sophomore. We went out together sometimes. Well, we had twice. Okay, he was my first real date. The Homecoming Dance was fun and we had a good time. We were friends, but it felt like he was always telling me how to say things. Since the dance, we had gone to one movie and that was it. I wasn’t sure how he felt about me…or how I felt about him. Didn’t he want to go out with me anymore? I definitely wanted to go out with him again, but always got cold feet when I thought about doing the asking myself. “Hey, I’m sorry if I said it wrong. I just don’t want the horses to get out. What if they ran out onto the highway and got hit by a car? Or lost? Or stolen? Not good, Jeff, not good. You know if you don’t want Daisy you should sell her.”

“Yeah, well, I am going to sell her.”

“What?”

“I need the money for college.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Look, I know you love those horses, all of them. Even mine. But I’m going to need some money and the horses are all I have to sell. I didn’t tell you sooner because I knew you’d be upset.”

“Both of them? Seriously? Even if you get a scholarship?”

“Even if. There are all kinds of expenses that a scholarship won’t cover. I can’t sell the truck—I’ll need it for getting around. And I have to buy insurance for it and a bunch of other expenses. So I have to sell the horses.”

That was bad news, having to sell that beautiful mare and her colt, but maybe they were worth a lot of money.

“Here we go! Nice cold lemonade for the Horse Rescuers. You just rescued them all over again.” Miss Julie was probably the most cheerful woman I’d ever known. She was the one who helped Addie and me rescue our two horses, and let us keep them in her barn. Holding three large glasses, she came out of the kitchen trailed by Honey, her sheltie.

“Miss Julie,” I said, “you were the one who rescued them when you pulled your car into the driveway so they couldn’t run down the highway. Jeff and I just caught them and got them in the paddock. You’re a Horse Rescuer, too.”

We dropped the subject of selling the horses. Jeff didn’t seem like he wanted to talk about paying for college in front of Miss Julie. I still wanted to make sure he wasn’t so careless anymore, but decided to let it go for now. We both took a tall glass of lemonade and drank.

“Piper,” said Miss Julie, sitting down on her porch swing. “What do you hear from Addie?”

“She’s having a fun time in Wisconsin. Her dad took her to visit some of his friends and she met a cute guy that she’s drooling over. She’ll be home Sunday, late.”

“Drooling?” asked Jeff, with his eyebrows raised.

“Well, every other text is about Joe. Joe, Joe, Joe.”

“I heard your dad is hiring another veterinarian to work in his clinic,” said Miss Julie.

My jaw dropped and the lemonade glass nearly did.

“Where did you hear that?” Nothing, I mean nothing happens with my dad’s vet clinic without me knowing about it. He tells me everything and even asks my opinion sometimes. I used to go on farm calls with him. I don’t go so much anymore since I have school and the horses and all, but I still help him order medicine, and magazines for the waiting room. When I was little, I liked to take old copies of Horse and Rider and cut out pictures of the horses I liked best.

Miss Julie looked innocent. “I overheard it at the clinic this morning when I took Honey in for her rabies shot. But maybe it was just gossip.”

Hmmm. I needed to talk to Dad and find out what was going on. Dad was too busy and actually did need to hire another vet to take some hours. I just wanted to be sure it was someone we all liked and got along with. Serendipity Springs, Kentucky is a small town.

“Well, gotta bounce,” I said, standing and stretching. I had my bike with me, so it wouldn’t take long to get to Dad’s clinic.

“Let us know what you find out,” said Jeff with a grin. He knows me—I couldn’t pass up a chance to find out more. He smiled, so maybe he wasn’t still mad at me. I patted Honey and Willie Nelson, waved goodbye and left.

New Books || March 29, 2016 || Pirates & Werewolves & Elves & Horses & Snow!


 

"No Horse Left Behind" by Shannon KennedyShamrock Stable #4

No Horse Left Behind

by Shannon Kennedy

 

Champion show rider, Dani Wilkerson, loves her Quarter Horse mare, Lady, and wants to ride Western or ‘cowgirl’ style with her friends at Shamrock Stable. However, her glory-seeking parents have other plans for Dani that include three-day eventing and an eventual career in Olympic competition. They think all her riding activities should support this goal. While she wishes they understood her need to express her individuality, she also hates to disappoint them.

Then she discovers their plans to enroll her in an elite boarding school, sell Lady, and buy her an award-winning, event horse. Stunned by the betrayal, Dani knows she must stop them somehow. She isn’t a mere extension of their egos. When she fights back, she learns just how far they will go to achieve their ends, but how can she possibly defeat them?

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"Elena Kane" by Elena KaneA Land Without Snow

by Elena Kane

 

In a world of snow and ice, Cara is alone.

Different from the people in her life, Cara longs to find somewhere she can belong. Knowing that her ancestors came from a warmer place, Cara embarks on journey that leads her across the frozen world of Arc in search of the land without snow.

Along the way, she finds love, and a new respect for herself; something she’d never had before. With danger lurking in every direction, Cara must make a decision: stay with the man of her dreams, or to find the place that she can truly belong.

 


"Wisteria and the Pirate Werewolf" by April MarcomWisteria and the Pirate Werewolf

by April Marcom

 

While the tale of Little Red Riding Hood has been told in lands across the earth for centuries, the enchanting tale of danger, darkness, and romance between her elder sister of a sapphire cloak and a forbidden werewolf has been forgotten… until now.

Wisteria couldn’t have known her simple act of kindness to a lost witch would lead to the possession of a magical blue cloak.

She couldn’t have known that the greatest tragedy of her life would lead to her first kiss with a carnivorous werewolf.

And there was certainly no way she could have expected chasing a man, hidden by a cloak of darkness, would lead her and her ‘red riding hood’ sister to join a pack of pirate werewolves on an impossible quest to find a potion that would make them human, or that it would reunite her with the were-man who took her first kiss, and with it her heart, over a decade before.

Luckily, it’s exactly the sort of adventure Wisteria’s always dreamt of.

 

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"In The Camp" by Margeaux NallThe Noralez Trilogy #1

In The Camp

by Margeaux Nall

 

Humanity has fallen.

Matt Noralez’s life sucks. After the war with the elves (who unfortunately don’t make toys or throw evil rings into volcanos), most of humanity is dead. The few remaining humans either live in hiding or end up as slaves in work camps.

Matt has been stuck in a camp in South Carolina for about three years, and though everyone else there seems to have lost hope, he still dreams of escape.

 

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New Books || March 11, 2015 || Pirates, Soulmates & Thunderstorms

2015-03-11If you entered our big giveaway that recently ended, all winners have been contacted. (Be sure to check your spam!) Everyone has a week to respond to my emails, then I redraw. Keep checking the giveaway page to see if the prizes you entered to win have been claimed.

We’ve also got a brand new Melange Books Read & Review Panel – We send you a free book, you post a review, repeat! It’s just about that easy. Check out the details and sign up here.


"Hourglass" by Pauline C. HarrisHourglass

by Pauline C. Harris

Jude Sprocket has been a pirate her whole life. Taken in by a man who found her alone on a distant planet at the age of seven, all she has to remember of her past life is the loss of her hand – the vague memory of a race through the woods and a bloody aftermath.

Now, her father recently dead, seventeen-year old Jude has inherited his spaceship – Hourglass. Determined to get off Earth and continue her father’s legacy of piracy, she assembles a crew and takes to the stars.

But more than abandoned ships and hidden treasure await Jude in the vast void of space. She’s haunted by dreams of a distant land, children hiding in the shadows, and a little girl she somehow feels the need to find.

When Jude and her crew stumble across an uncharted planet, curiosity gets the better of them and they land, unaware of the dangers that wait. Suddenly, Jude’s worst nightmares are coming true. The monsters she feared in the dark, the children that haunt her mind, the little girl from her dreams – and the planet she was never meant to leave.

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"Bind Our Loving Souls" by April MarcomBind Our Loving Souls

by April Marcom

 An otherworldly man, an unexpected romance, and a deadly twist of fate will change Sarafina’s life forever…

There’s only one word to describe Sarafina’s life—ordinary—until a man from another world falls right out of the sky and changes everything, because it’s love at first sight.

Fresh out of high school, Sarafina has no idea what she wants to do with her life. So when she’s offered a well-paying job as a pianist in a grand manor, it seems like everything is finally falling into place.

But there’s a catch—it’s in Norway, and it’s for the seemingly dangerous family of this unworldly man called Enock. It’s crazy and completely out of character, but she makes the decision to leave her very ordinary life behind and chase an extraordinary love halfway around the world.

Unfortunately when she arrives, nothing is as it seems. And after uncovering the grisly fate of a human and alien who once fell in love, Sarafina is left to question everything. Ultimately she must decide: Does she walk away and live the rest of her life full of regret, or does she risk it all for an eternal love humans can only dream of finding?

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"Speak of the Tiger" by Martha DeeringerSpeak of the Tiger

by Martha Deeringer

Justin MacArthur hopes to impress his ninth grade classmates with his outdoor skills on a long-anticipated school field trip to the famous YO Ranch in south Texas. Reserved and self-conscious at school, Justin’s expert horsemanship and knowledge of the outdoors—skills he learned from his father, a Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden—provide an opportunity to improve his status as a fringe member of the cool group. But a secretive Korean boy with a chip on his shoulder and a terrifying thunderstorm during a trail ride undermine Justin’s well-laid plans and change his life in ways he never imagined.

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New Books || June 26, 2014

 

2014-06-26

I am so excited to announce this months releases!

“Twell and the Army of Powers” is a fantastic story set in a dystopian future. There’s a little bit of action and a little bit of romance, complete with super powers.

“Mira’s View” is the first in The Sword of Lumina series. If you like fantasy quests and elves then you are in for a treat.

“Good Vs. Evil High” is exactly what it sounds like. A high school for “good” kids rivaling a high school for “evil” kids. Throw in some Romeo & Juliet romance and you’ve got entertainment galore.

And finally, “Emma and the Cutting Horse” is a keeper for the horse lovers out there. Will Emma’s horse become a champion cutting horse? Read on to find out!


 

Twell and the Army of Powers by Kate O'LearyTwell and the Army of Powers

The Como Chronicles #1

by Kate O’Leary

Twell lives in the new world of Como, and has always neglected her telekinetic gifts, desiring to be ‘normal.’ Her biggest drama in life is having to be genetically partnered with a boy she doesn’t know or love by her next birthday. Unfortunately she loves her best friend, who loves the girl she hates most, and Twell is left frustrated & heartbroken.

 When Twell is requested alongside several other teens to develop her skills for the protection of Como, she reluctantly agrees to the training, and finds herself thrown into all sorts of mental and physical challenges.

 Handsome, charismatic Jonaz, is gifted with the power of healing. According to Twell he’s an infuriating prat who delights in provoking her. But first impressions have always been her downfall.

 When Como is attacked, life as Twell knows it is changed forever, with devastating consequences. With no choice but to fight, Twell risks her life to protect those who have survived, coming up against unexpected dangers she could never anticipate. Will she survive, and if so will she be matched to a stranger when the one she is growing to love is destined to another?


Mira's View by Erin ElliottMira’s View

The Sword of Lumina #1

by Erin Elliott

In a world ruled by the dark, what would you do to see the light again?

Galena is just like every other elf, enslaved by the powerful Rau. Once a beautiful and powerful race, the elves have been reduced to slave labor in the mines of Rau. Galena grew up hearing the stories of old about a sword, when wielded by the right elf, ending Rau’s tyranny. Unsure if she believes these stories, she finds herself plunged into a world unfamiliar to her, hunted by Rau for her unnatural magical abilities. Will she find the sword promised to her people? Or will she fall prey to the idea of a sword that doesn’t exist?


Good Vs. Evil High by April MarcomGood Vs. Evil High

by April Marcom

Deadly disaster strikes when Good falls in love with Evil.

Kristine’s just been adopted into North Haven High, an ice castle hidden in the farthest reaches of the north for orphaned teenagers who possess an unfailing disposition for good. And she’s just in time for their Winter Competitions, a rivalry held each year between NHHS and Southland Cinder High, a school made up of the exact opposite sort of teens. Here she finds Knight, a Cinder she grew up with but lost contact with years ago. And even though it’s forbidden, she begins to fall for him. Of course, her North Haven boyfriend’s got a thing or two to say about that. But Kristine doesn’t care. She’s happier than she’s been in years as she gets closer and closer to the man she’s falling completely in love with and having crazy fun with her new roommates.

Unfortunately it’s short lived, because everything begins going wrong.


Emma and the Cutting Horse by Martha DeeringerEmma and the Cutting Horse

by Martha Deeringer

When Emma Dean’s parents buy a plain sorrel mare with slightly crooked knees at a prestigious horse sale, Emma isn’t sure whether to be elated or disappointed. Cranky and irascible, the mare refuses to warm up to people or other horses. After she dumps Emma in the dirt on her first ride, Emma’s dad loads the mare in a trailer and takes her to a trainer to protect his daughter from the bumps, bruises and broken bones that can result from riding a cantankerous 2 year-old.

At first the mare seems like an outlaw, but beneath her plain red coat and independent attitude, the trainer slowly uncovers a surprising streak of hidden talent and an unexpected natural balance and athletic ability. When a well-known cutting horse trainer approaches Emma’s parents about training the mare for the NCHA Futurity, the family must make a difficult decision. Should they stretch their already strained budget to pay for training and futurity nomination fees? Could such a hardheaded little mare become a champion cutting horse?

 

New Books || Feb 24, 2014

Welcome to the brand new Fire and Ice blog. This has been a long time coming and we hope that you’ll enjoy it and subscribe.

Watch out for brand new author interviews complete with giveaways.

For now, let’s kick things off with this weeks releases!

~ * ~ * ~

"Cry of the Sea" by D. G. Driver

Cry of the Sea by D. G. Driver

Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average seventeen-year-old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so “out there?”

Her feelings on the subject are changed when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she finds out that these aren’t humans at all. They’re mermaids!

Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.

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Stealing Time by Nancy Pennick
(Waiting for Dusk ~ Book 3)

Drew from the past… 
Kate from the present…

Two worlds collided.

As senior year comes to a close, a promise of new beginnings is on the horizon. Kate longs to head to Arizona and college until her former friend, Tyson, does the unimaginable forcing her to stay in Ohio. Her family has to pull together to keep their secrets safe. Anna wishes to return to the canyon in 1927 once more and Kate’s determined to make that a reality. Summer’s filled with wonderful memories and little warning of things to come. Kate’s world grows darker and she must be the one to conquer the demons and save the world that is most precious to her.

~ * ~ * ~

"The Cat That Went to Homecoming" by Julie OtzelbergerThe Cat That Went to Homecoming by Julie Otzelberger

The Cat That Went To Homecoming is the coming of age story of Ellen Jones, an overweight teenage girl from a single family home. She is under constant attack by her peers, bullied because of her weight and her family’s poverty. Through volunteer work with her cat, Hershey, Ellen finds her self esteem and the courage to stand up to her bullies. Along the way, she discovers what true friendship and forgiveness are and tells us how Hershey became The Cat That Went To Homecoming.

“The Cat That Went To Homecoming addresses many serious social issues including family separation, bullying, homophobia, social isolation, and depression. The compelling story is also about fun, friendship, and forgiveness.”

—Paula Scott-Ginn, Pet Partners Marketing Coordinator

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Scarecrow on Horseback by C. S. Adler

Humiliated by an experience with her stepsister’s horse Mel refuses to become a rider, but she loves horses. When her mother gets an office job on a dude ranch, Mel is happy to scoop poop and do other scut work just to be near her favorite animals.

The trouble is every time she bonds with a horse something bad happens. It seems she is jinxed, that is until she develops a relationship with a mustang that rich Mr. Jefferies has bought. Then Mel risks everything to make that wild horse her own.