Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased the book! This has been one of my all-time favorite books to research and write. It’s the story of a British actor in Hollywood who buys a racehorse with some of his friends, then falls for the horse trainer. I was lucky enough to spend a month shadowing a local trainer at nearby Golden Gate Fields for my research. I think it brings a real taste of authenticity to the story.
I’m giving away a few T-shirts sporting the gorgeous cover by super-talented Reese Dante!
Here’s more about the book and an excerpt to whet your appetite:
BLURB: British actor Wesley Tremayne thinks he’s close to hitting the big time—a film career—with his role as a hunky explorer on a popular American TV show. Success should be just around the corner, as long as he keeps his sexual orientation a secret. Wes’s best friend and beard, Julia Compton, forms the other half of a glamorous Hollywood couple that’s merely a façade.
Evan Taylor left his acting career behind five years ago without looking back. He’s always been more comfortable around horses than people—especially Hollywood types. His new life training racehorses is a dream come true, but increasing financial problems and an abusive boyfriend have him doubting himself and his choices.
Then Wes and his friends buy a third-rate racehorse—partially for publicity—and send him to Evan’s stable. Wes’s friendship with Evan soon develops into an overpowering attraction he can’t act on. He’s never met a man like Evan, but if there’s any chance for a future together, Wes must choose between a career he loves and the man he adores.
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“I see exactly what you’re doing.”
Wesley Tremayne put down his binoculars and turned around to see Vanessa Vandermere wagging a long pink-and-black fingernail at him. Best not to reply. He willed his heart—beating like a jackhammer—to slow as he pasted the perfect, innocent grin on his face. Years of acting—onstage and off—had taught him to dissemble.
“Think you can spot the winners before they even get to the ring?” Vanessa continued, her tone teasing, cheerful, not accusatory. “Or were you checking out the shapely blonde leading the third horse?”
He inhaled slowly when he really wanted to gulp in much-needed oxygen. He’d overreacted. No, he’d responded just in time to what could have been a disaster. As much as he was enjoying the day out at the racetrack with his friends, he was restless. He’d been the center of too much attention, and he was fraying at the edges.
“You caught me,” Wes replied, playing up his right dimple.
“Oh, Jules, good thing you’re here.” Vanessa grabbed onto Julia Compton’s arm. “You need to keep Wes on a shorter leash. He’s got a wandering eye.”
Julia gave Wes an appraising look, then turned back to Vanessa. “Vee, I’m not worried Wes will run off with another woman. I trust him completely.” She slid an arm around Wes’s waist and he gave her a suitably adoring look. “Only we’re not a couple. How many times—”
“You can fool some people, but not me. You two are the worst-kept secret in Hollywood, honeybuns.” Vanessa gestured as she spoke, and Wes wondered how she didn’t poke her own eye out with her outrageously long fingernails.
“Think what you like.” Julia let go of Wes and took the binoculars from him. She held them to her face and trained them on the track.
“I’m heading down to watch them saddle the horses so I can decide which one to bet on.” Vanessa gave them a dangerous wave of her talons and left them alone in the private grandstand box.
Julia gave the glasses back to Wes. “He’s gorgeous.” She winked.
“Which one do you like?” Wes asked, again looking through the binoculars.
“I thought we were talking about which one you like?”
“Number four.” Wes glanced down at Julia’s head. She was a good six inches shorter, and it was the view he often had to settle for.
“Oh, really? I thought you’d go for one. Or at least his trainer.” She gave a silvery laugh and put her arm around his waist again.
Wes kept the glasses focused on runner number one’s trainer as he reached up to adjust the horse’s bridle. His navy sport coat rode up, giving Wes—and anyone else looking—a nice view of his arse in well-fitting dark-blue jeans. Wes held in the smile the sight induced and resigned himself to admiring the good-looking man from a distance. His light-brown hair fell in wavy curves and the full-lipped smile made Wes want to lick his own lips. Something about the chiseled chin and the shape of the man’s nose twigged a hazy memory Wes couldn’t quite bring to the surface.
“Let’s go down to the saddling ring so you can get a closer look, Wes.” Julia tugged his hand, then gave an encouraging squeeze.
He didn’t know what he’d do without Julia Compton. She’d gone from costar to friend to lifesaver in the space of a year. He followed her down the steps and into the sunshine as the runners for the third race at Santa Alamita were saddled up. Wes pulled the baseball cap out of his back pocket and settled it onto his head, a moment too late.
“Look, is that Wes Tremayne?”
“Wes! Hi Wes!”
“Go ask him for his autograph.”
“He’s with Julia Compton. I told you they’re dating!”
Wes smiled and waved, but didn’t stop for autographs. By the time they reached the paddock, the hot horse trainer was gone. Probably just as well; someone might have noticed if Wes paid him too much attention. There was a limit to his acting abilities, but so far he’d fooled everyone. Some days he fooled himself, but during lonely nights he wished away the talent and fame he’d achieved.
If he hadn’t upped sticks and made his way from the London stage to Broadway and then to Hollywood, he might be living a boring, settled life with a man he adored. He’d chosen a career he loved over a private life.
But Julia was tiring of her role as Wes’s love interest. When she quit the production, he’d have some tough decisions to make. For now, he replaced his mask and took Julia’s hand and kissed it.
The audience should love that performance.
Giveaway: a T-shirt sporting the cover of Out of the Gate, by Reese Dante. Please leave a comment about the excerpt to be entered. Drawing will be held Tuesday April 29.