Thursday, December 10, 2015

Racing Hearts Anthology Blog Tour featuring Helena Maeve

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?

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
Prospect Hospice

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Pride Publishing

Writing The Secret of Delville Wood by Helena Maeve

Very few of stories have ever sprung fully formed from my brain. This was one of them.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know much about horses beyond what was captured in Seabiscuit, that great documentary, so taking part in the
Racing Hearts anthology wasn’t entirely within my comfort zone. But I love a challenge and the thought of carving a romantic mystery out of the horse racing world tickled me. Once I could see the opening scene—and hear the creaking of the steps, of the door opening to reveal a crime scene—I knew I just had to write it out.

Who hasn’t found themselves in a secluded, opulent house with a colourful cast of characters, and promptly wondered what they’d do if a murder were to occur? No? Just me? Fair enough. The sad reality is that whenever I imagine myself as the sleuth in a murder-mystery novel, I never seem been able to get past one question: would I turn in the culprit, assuming I somehow winnowed his or her identity? Genre convention suggests that the assassin or assassins are almost always wicked for crossing the line into bloody murder—but what if the victim is worse?

The Secret of Delville Wood grew out of that query and became the story of a tight-knit group of people who are all justified in disposing of a dangerous, malevolent fellow. As the newest addition to the bunch, Silas alone lacks a reason to wish the victim harm. So far so noble, but Silas’s motives in joining the party aren’t entirely pure, either. His dogged determination to get to the bottom of the mystery soon leads him to unearth secrets that could injure everyone around him—starting with the only person he cares for.

At the beginning of the story, Silas’s feelings for Axel are ambiguous. There is no ‘will they or won’t they’, no doubt about their mutual attraction. Silas is certainly drawn to the young jokey and concerned for his well-being, but it’s difficult to empathize with a champion at the height of his success. Born in the colonies and forced to trade on his so-called mystical heritage to get by, Silas is convinced their paths couldn’t be more different. Discovering that Axel’s past is neither charmed nor unsullied turns that conviction on its head. And it may lead to one or two other complications along the way…

Writing The Secret of Delville Wood was a lot of twisty fun. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this anthology and have my story featured along such amazingly talented writers. Sue Meadows has all my admiration and respect.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a rather delicious collection of MM stories with a leaning towards horse racing. Set in various time periods, but all snapshots of a forbidden romance, and yet the heart wants what it wants!

The Lonely Ones by Bailey Bradford
As ever Ms. Bradford writes beautiful prose, which also strikes at the heart and steams up the room. Lovely story about interesting characters – and even if only brief, a whole story is created.

Racing for Home by Morticia Knight
This historical romance between a gentleman and his groom reminds us of the perils of both class and gender, which possibly haven't changed all that much even now. It is both sweet and also pretty steamy, and for a short story manages to give a good rounded tale.

The Secret of Delville Wood by Helena Maeve
There is a distinct sense of mystery in this Swedish Country House and an unexplained death too. The romance is of a fleeting, almost fatal nature, but is a fascinating glimpse into another time and culture. Intriguing read.

Keeping the Luck In by L.M. Somerton
This introduces a more creative man to the mix, even if he is a giant. Can he reassure Pip that his interest is genuine and serious, we soon find out. Hot, cute and smoothly delivered, thank you Ms. Somerton.

Just my Luck by Ethan Stone
This story of dirty dealings within the horse racing world is possibly a little trite, the shortness of the format not allowing the plot to unfold in a more realistic manner. However the romance is cute, and holds promise for the future.

Horses and Harleys by Molly Ann Wishlade
This contemporary short story whets the appetite for more. Two guys who know what can go wrong, may just realise that it's worth finding out whether it can in fact work. This is a good, easy read.

Overall an entertaining set of stories, with plenty of variety, and a taste of each author's style.

The Lonely Ones by Bailey Bradford – 4 stars
I am a huge Bradford fan and was excited for the chance to read a novella that is unrelated to any of the several series of her books I read. Even though The Lonely Ones is a much shorter novella than I’m accustomed to, I liked that while there was some initial physical attraction on both Rex and Marshall’s parts even as they were glaring at one another during their first meeting, there was a reasonable explanation for why both men’s attitude could take a 180 within a day or two. Even though they gave into their lust rather quickly – thank goodness, because it was hot – Bradford avoided the insta-love vibe by having the men acknowledge that there might be something between them that could lead to more eventually. While the circumstances that brought them together were not ideal … scratch that, considering what Marshall reveals about his childhood, the precipitating event that brings him back to the ranch might not have been such a bad thing after all, especially as it led him to Rex. I liked the inclusion of the epilogue and as much as I would have loved to have read about the intervening years, it does a nice job of wrapping up the story.

Keeping the Luck In by L.M. Somerton – 4 stars
This is a cute story of unrequited attraction. Well, it’s unrequited until Rory gets his first look at Pip. As a summer laborer at the local racetrack, there has been no reason for Pip’s path to cross Rory’s, the blacksmith & farrier whose business abuts the racetrack. While Pip doubts that Rory knows he exists, it doesn’t keep him from wanting to climb all six foot five inches of that hunk of man. While Pip is apprehensive about having to take the most ill-tempered horse to the forge for new shoes, he was excited for the opportunity to spend some time in Rory’s presence. While I found Rory’s self-talk to be a bit laughable when he first lays eyes on Pip (who is a foot shorter than him at five foot four), I thought his reaction to Pip was both adorable and sexy as heck as he imagined Pip playing jockey with him. After a series of mishaps – some amusing, some not – Pip finds himself right where he and Rory both wanted him…saddled up and ready to ride. Having read Somerton’s romantic suspense before, I wasn’t prepared for how light-hearted Keeping the Luck In would be, but I enjoyed it immensely and appreciated the chance to chuckle at this mismatched pair.

While I only read two of the stories within the Racing Hearts Anthology, I hope to read the others at a later date as I quite enjoyed Bradford and Somerton’s contributions.

Helena Maeve has always been globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she's collected in her excursions. When she isn't writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.

Connect with Helena

Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Hosted by

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Racing Heart Anthology to read and review for this tour.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are reviewed by a blog admin before being published. We thank you for visiting our blog & leaving a comment.