Today we welcome Cassandra Hawke with
Blood Ties A Broken Heart
When Ashford St. Clair takes the rap for his sister’s horse doping, he loses his true love, Rylee O’Shaunessy. Is it too late for love when he finally admits his mistake?When Rylee returns to Adelaide to take over her godmother’s stables, seeing Ashford St. Clair brings back memories of past events—when he sacrificed a promising equestrian career and alienated Rylee in the process.
Ash is determined to win Rylee back and they reach an uneasy compromise when their passion for each other is reignited. But the deeds of the past still haunt the present, threatening their relationship. An old enemy returns to cause trouble for Rylee—Ash’s sister, Arden—the one who brought about Ash’s downfall in the first place. She makes it clear that there’s no room for Rylee in Ash’s life and she’ll do anything she can to make sure that the lovers remain apart.
Will Rylee come to terms with the mistakes she and Ash made in the past and learn to love and trust each other again?
Reader Advisory: This book contains references to past violence for one of the main characters.
A bark of chilling laughter shattered the quiet moment between readiness and starting. Rylee didn’t need to turn around to identify the owner. A burning rage burst into flames and swept through her like wildfire. Damn Arden. She turned around to find her towering over her, astride a tall, muscular horse. It snorted and threw its head around, a wild light in the deep depths of its brown eyes. Rylee stepped back. She read the tightness in the horse’s stance and the resentment in its expression.
“So, Rylee, you decided you could compete with me, now you have a decent nag? I thought you would have had more sense.”
In a deliberate attempt to frustrate her nemesis, she ignored the jibe and attempted to be more than civil. “Good morning, Arden. Is this one of your new horses?”
“It is. Shamal of the Desert. Ash bought him for me just for endurance. He’s much better quality than Reg’s old nag.”
Rylee studied the animal. “He appears edgy,” she said.
Arden waved one gloved hand in the air and smiled. “He’s keen. That’s all.”
“Mmmmm. Very nice conformation. He should be well suited to the task,” Rylee commented politely. With a different rider perhaps and before he was ruined.
“My brother always makes sure I have the best,” Arden crowed from her perch.
“Of course. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to prepare the girls for their start.”
“So, you’re riding?” Arden asked, looking around at the gathered equipment and the tethered horses.
“Yes, I am, but you will still have a clear run to the winner’s trophy today because I’m entered in the intermediate section,” Rylee snapped, unable to maintain the false civility a moment longer.
Arden’s laughter barked out again. Bystanders ogled her, curiosity on their faces. “You would never be in my way to the winner’s ring. You never were,” Arden snarled.
“Damn it, don’t be such a bitch,” Ash growled as he walked up.
Rylee started at the harshness of his words as Ash come up behind the restive horse with a deep frown furrowing his brow.
“Well, it’s true,” Arden replied waspishly.
“Regardless, it’s not necessary to make such comments,” Ash snapped. Arden pouted sulkily at her brother’s rebuke.
Ash surveyed the fidgeting horse. “Go walk him around. He’s jumpy.”
With a sharp jerk on the reins, Arden turned her horse and trotted off. After a few more hints and suggestions, Rylee sent her girls on their way.
As she prepared to mount Boomerang, Ash came to stand beside her. “I won’t stay because I know it’s not good for your reputation, but I just wanted to wish you luck today.
Boomerang should do you proud. You two look good together—like us,” he said. “Thanks for the support, but you know we’ll never officially be together.” “Never say never. We can work it out,” he replied.
She’d heard the bitterness in his voice and the sadness, but already people were staring. She expected there would be some extra scrutiny of her horses when they crossed the finish line because she had spoken to Ash and Arden. Probably Arden’s whole reason for approaching her was to bring Rylee down, even if only by criminal association.
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From the author:
In my newest release, Blood Ties a Broken Heart, the book centres around horse trials. After catching her best friend cheating during the horse trials, our heroine, Rylee becomes disillusioned and gives up elite eventing. However, on her return to Adelaide, she felt the urge to do something competitive again. When a new horse joins her stables, she decides to give endurance riding another go. Unfortunately she has to deal with her boyfriend’s sister’s fierce and nasty competitive streak, she had not bargained for Arden.
To write about the endurance riding in Blood Ties a Broken Heart, I drew from my own experience. In the past, my daughter and I have tried endurance riding. As part of our training we went camping overnight in the Kypo forest with our horses and a group of friends. The weekend would allow us to have two long rides and a shorter harder one.
The first day was spent cantering and walking around the flat areas. It was so nice being out in the bush with the fresh air, open spaces and the wind blowing in our faces. That night we settled the horses in makeshift yards and made ourselves comfortable by the campfire. As the fire died to embers we retreated to out beds. Georgie and I were sleeping in the horse float while the others were in tents.
With temperatures dropping to almost zero here in the hills we had come prepared with thermal underwear and sleeping bags. As we lay inside the float we could hear the horses snuffling around outside. All was quiet on this cold and starry night.
The sound of thundering hooves and neighing of horse ripped me from my deep sleep. I jumped up, the bottom half of my body still encased in my sleeping bag, no glasses on and barely awake. I peered through the back door of the float.
Horses galloped towards me, silver shadows in the moonlight filtering between the trees. Through my bad vision, my sleep addled brain and the suffused moonlight, I would have sworn it was a herd of brumbies thundering out of the forest to round up our mares and steal them away. “Wild horses are stealing the mares. Get up, Georgie, wild horses are stealing Girlie,” I screamed, shaking my daughter awake.
She staggered to her feet and peered out across the clearing. “That’s not wild horses, it’s our horses. They’re loose. They’ve been spooked by kangaroos. Come on Mum, we have to catch them.”
Barefooted except for thermal socks, we scrambled out of the float. Our friends were already up and making attempt to round up the horses, but the six horses stampeded across the clearing between the tents and off down the hill with a mob of kangaroos bounding after them.
There wasn’t much we could do, but watch them go and pray there were no broken legs or other injuries. We waited for dawn and then tramped off after them. About a mile from camp Georgie whistled her mare and got an answering neigh. All six horses were together, grazing contentedly on the lush grass with their new found friends, eight grey kangaroos.
For many months my daughter and my friends ribbed me about my wild horses stealing the mares and even today it gives me a chuckle, but for that brief sleep-addled moment, I had truly believed some wild stallion had come to take our mares to join his harem.
More about Cassandra Hawke:
Cassandra was a closet writer for several years before she got brave enough to share her work with anyone until she joined Eyre Writers Inc, a creative writing group in the seaside town of Port Lincoln and really began to improve.
Her first book was a 100,000 words family saga novel, but after a workshop on 'How to write a Mills and Boon', she embarked on a new direction—writing the romance novel.
After being made redundant from the job she loved in 2011 she became a carer for her frail, vision-impaired mother and turned to fulfilling her dream of becoming a writer.
When Cassandra's not writing she enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially her mother, and her three wonderful adult children and two adorable grandchildren.
She also enjoys egg decorating and carving, reading of course, painting and cooking.