NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Navy SEAL Wyatt Taylor is facing the hardest decision of his life—what the hell to do now he can no longer be a SEAL. Besides his bum arm, he also has a bad attitude, because in his opinion nothing he’ll ever do again will live up to his life as a SEAL. But now his savings are dwindling and his team has deployed without him, he knows he has to move on.
Kinley Green is living her dream. She’s worked with horses for years, training them, caring for them, and riding them. And now with a grant in hand, she’s finally able to put her horses and her expertise with disabled children to use on a working ranch.
When Wyatt Taylor walks in with his killer smile asking for a job, she sees trouble… But he knows horses and has intimate knowledge of what disability is all about. And she does need the help.
But when trouble strikes, threatening her business, her horses and her life… Will he prove to be the right man for the job?
Wyatt’s shoulder injury might have been fixable, except that a messed-up surgery caused additional nerve damage. Now separated from the Navy he’s looking for a job away from his family ranch. His parents while meaning well, are stifling him. A local boarding stable just may be his answer.
Kinsley owns a boarding stable that has a couple of barns. Horses that are boarded for clients and others for therapy and tourist rides. When Wyatt shows up at the stable to apply a mare is in labor. This particular mare has had a previous pregnancy that didn’t end well. One of her workers Gerald shows up and sees the mare sweating and clearly in full labor. However, it’s Wyatt who’s ready and willing to step up and help.
This is a favorite scene.
When a knock came at the door, she set the stack of papers aside with a relieved sigh and rose to answer it. A man stood outside her door, tall and broad-shouldered. She took in his arresting good looks while his attention was focused farther down the barn. His high cheekbones and prominent brow ridge spoke of some Native American heritage, but his sun-tipped light brown hair and heavy brows of the same color watered it down several generations.
“Can I help you?” Kinley asked.
He turned his head to look at her, and his tawny brown eyes seemed to have taken on the same sun-glazed hue so they matched the lighter shades in his hair. He needed a haircut, and his jaw, shadowed by dark brown scruff, was angular and sloped to a chin that could only be described as stubborn. Her attention settled on his mouth. His full bottom lip seemed too lush to be combined with such blatant masculinity. She found it sexy as hell.
“You might want to call the vet. The mare in the stall at the end is foaling.”
“Oh, shit!” Kinley rushed out of the office to the farthest end of the barn. When she reached the stall, she found Tangerine moving restlessly around the enclosure, curling her top lip, shuffling her hind legs, and urinating.
She’d checked on her an hour earlier and hadn’t seen any change in her behavior, but things had obviously progressed since then. Kinley whipped her phone out of her back pocket and texted Hunter, Tangerine’s owner, then called the vet.
After she ended the call, she looked up from her phone to find him watching her.
Despite the situation, an instant attraction sparked a tingle in places she tried to ignore. “I’m Kinley Green. I manage the stables. Can I help you with something?” she asked.
He extended his right hand. “Wyatt Taylor.” He shook her hand with just the right amount of pressure, not too hard, like he wanted to prove his manliness, and not too soft, so he wouldn’t treat her like a frail female. “I saw a posting for a stable manager and decided to drop my application by on the way into town.” He extended an envelope to her.
Dressed in jeans, a long-sleeved cotton shirt of pale green, and cowboy boots, he looked like any other Texan. But there was something about the way he held himself and stood that was different. He’d removed his straw hat and gripped it by the crown like a true Texan, and he’d recognized the mare was laboring, so maybe he knew his way around a horse.
Gerald Hawbecker sauntered into the barn. He eyed Wyatt with brief interest. “I just came in to check on Tangerine.”
“I’ve already called the vet.”
“She’s in labor?” His brows rose and concern tightened his features. “I’ll go check on her.” Gerald went to the stall door but didn’t go in.
Wyatt’s deep voice drew her attention back to him. “You’re about to get very busy, and you have my information there.”
Gerald spoke over his shoulder. “She’s sweating and the placenta’s presenting. I think we need the vet.”
“I’ve already called him, and he said he’d be here as soon as possible.”
“After what happened last time…” Gerald started.
Kinley cut him off. “She’s going to be okay, Gerald.” She couldn’t think about what happened before. Tangerine was inconsolable, and had grieved for the loss of the foal, a colt, as had all the employees who helped care for the horse.
“If you’d like me to, I can stick around until the vet shows up.” Wyatt said.
Her attention snapped back to him. “How much experience do you have?”
“Ten years. I worked on my dad’s spread from the time I could carry a bucket. I was working on a veterinary degree to become a large animal vet when I decided to go into the Navy instead. I’ve been discharged for four months and I’ve been working with my dad’s horses since I moved back. We’ve had four mares foal since I’ve been back.”
“Go get the man some gloves, Gerald.”
“Okay.” He rushed across the barn to a door and disappeared inside.
Wyatt unbuttoned his shirt and shook free of it. Then handed it off to Kinley.
His sleeveless T-shirt molded to his chest and abdomen, outlining the sculpted musculature beneath. The red scar on his shoulder seemed obscene against the perfection of the rest of his skin. He put the obstetric glove on his left hand and arm, but it took him longer to do the right. She was moved to help him, but decided not to.
“There’s one last thing you should know. Tangerine doesn’t trust easily. Her owner moved her to another stable right after her colt died. She flinches away when you try to touch her, and she’ll nip.”
“I’ll be careful.”
He could do this. He might not have been around horses much since joining the Navy, but he hadn’t forgotten how to care for them. In the past month he’d assisted four horses birthing their foals. One had been a tricky birth, where he ended up having to reach inside the mare and reposition a front leg and the head.
Wyatt opened the stall door and cautiously approached the mare standing in the corner. He was a stranger, and she was laboring to give birth. And now he knew she also had trust issues. He kept his voice to a hushed rumble as he said, “It’s alright, Mama. I’m just here to help if you need me.”
Milk dripped from her teats, and her body was covered in a fine film of sweat. Her tail had already been wrapped in preparation for the birth. As he approached, her water broke, and the placental sac protruding from the horse’s vulva bulged as the shape of one hoof inside became visible.
The horse went to her knees and lay on her side. She kicked and kept raising her head to look at her stomach while she labored. He waited for the next hoof to appear. If it didn’t, he’d have to reach in and get things going in the right direction.
Fifteen long, slow minutes later and still no hoof. He eased closer and stroked her contracting belly. “It’s okay, Mama, I’m just going to check on that other hoof.” He eased his hand inside the birth canal. Every time a contraction hit, his arm was squeezed. He felt the edge of a hoof, grabbed it, and straightened the limb. He eased inside once more to find out how the head was positioned. Now the other leg had been straightened, the head fell forward between.
He pulled his arm out. “The head will appear in a few minutes.” Ten more minutes, and the foal’s head shoved forward from the mare’s body. This was when it was most difficult not to help, and time seemed to drag. When the rest of the foal’s body slid free, Wyatt breathed a sigh of relief. He moved quickly to grip the placenta with his numb hand, and with his right, quickly tore it open, freeing the foal’s front legs and head. The foal spontaneously took several breaths and lay on its side, recovering from the birth.
“Hey, Wyatt. How’s she doing?”
Recognizing Dr. Culver’s voice, he glanced up. “She’s doing fine. The foal is breathing.”
Even as he spoke, the mare turned to look at her baby and shifted around in the straw to lick the foal.
Wyatt peeled more of the placenta away. “It’s a filly.”
He stood from his crouched position and moved to the stall door. “I was just lending moral support more than anything.” He peeled the wet gloves off his arms, folding them inside each other, and dropped them into a waste receptacle nearby.
Doctor Culver raised a brow at that, his eyes on the gloves. “I’m glad you were here. Her last foal was born breech and didn’t make it.”
“That’s a shame.” Wyatt was just relieved things went right this time.
Dr. Carter nodded. “I’ll give her a few minutes to bond, then I’ll go in and knot the placenta so she won’t step on it when she gets up.”
Wyatt turned his attention back to Kinley Green. Her pale eyes looked as blue as the Texas sky and her wide, expressive mouth gave him a hard-on. Or it might just be the high he got from a successful mission.
She offered him his shirt. And he turned to slide his damaged arm into the sleave first.
“Why don’t you come into the office and let’s talk about the job,” she said.
He smiled. “Sure.”
Teresa Reasor. Hot SEAL,Open Arms (Kindle Locations 251-317). Teresa J. Reasor.
Wyatt had more than secured the job with his actions and after witnessing the scene with the mare’s owner Wyatt has a few things to say to the man. Wyatt knows Hunter Wagner from school, and it doesn’t appear he’s changed at all. Still the bully and using his money to do push his way around.
There’s far more than meets the eye here though. Between Gerald who didn’t want the manager job to Hunter whose mare is exhibiting new aggressive behaviors this book gets better with every page.
I love the suspense and intrigue as well as the romance and sizzle even as Wyatt and Kinley try not to take that fall.
5 Contented Purrs for Teresa!
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Teresa Reasor was born in Southeastern Kentucky, but grew up a Marine Corps brat. The love of reading instilled in her in Kindergarten at Parris Island, South Carolina made books her friends during the many transfers her father’s military career entailed. The transition from reader to writer came easily and she was a closet novelist for many years until 2007 when her first book was published.
After twenty-one years as an Art Teacher and ten years as a part time College Instructor, she’s now retired and living her dream as a full time Writer.
Her body of work includes both full-length novels and shorter pieces in many different genres, Military Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Children’s Books.