Nov 24 2013 12:00pm
Racing Savannah: Exclusive Excerpt
They're from two different worlds.
He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.
With her dream of becoming a jockey, Savannah isn't exactly one to follow the rules either. She's not going to let someone tell her a girl isn't tough enough to race. Sure, it's dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack...
Get a sneak peek of Miranda Kenneally's Racing Savannah (available December 3, 2013) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
I hustle over to the Whitfields’ barn, my heels getting stuck in muddy divots. I follow the sounds of crying and barking, which I can barely hear over the band’s music ringing across the countryside.
I find the dogs in a nest behind a toolbox, and when I see them nursing from the mama dog, I let out a low squeal. “Oh my gosh, you’re so cute.”
Not even a minute later, Jack appears in the barn doorway. He stops to light a lantern and carries it toward me. I instinctively take a step back then stop.
I swallow. “You actually came.”
“All you had to say was puppies,” he replies with a soft smile, kneeling to the ground.
“They aren’t even twenty-four hours old yet,” I say, squatting next to Ash’s little nest she dug out. A puppy chirps, and the mama dog moves to lick it. Seeing how much she loves her babies makes my chest hurt. Love is so simple, but so complicated sometimes.
I pet the brown and white dog’s ears. “You did such a good job, Ash.” The exhausted dog looks up into my eyes.
“She did, didn’t she?” Jack says. “What are there? Twelve babies there?”
The nursing puppies are all tangled together, wriggling and whining. “I think so.”
A slow rock song blares from the wedding tent. I must have a wistful look on my face when I gaze in the direction of the band, because Jack takes my elbow and gently lifts me to my feet.
“Dance with me.” He pulls me up against his chest, close enough that I can hear the rapid beat of his heart through his cotton button-down shirt. This dance is decidedly not chaste. Burying his face in my neck, he runs fingertips up and down my arms, melting my skin, making my toes curl.
“The wedding was beautiful,” I say. “I liked dancing in the tent with all the candles and sparkling lights.”
“Oh yeah?” Jack murmurs, swaying slowly. “I prefer this. It’s quiet and private. Not to mention puppies are present.”
He lifts my chin with two fingers and softly presses a kiss to my lips, and it feels so right it’s wrong, so wrong it’s right. I pull back, touching my mouth.
“What if someone’s watching?” I say, my eyes darting around.
“Who’s gonna see us?” He looks around the barn. “Charlie the mule? George Washington the duck? Ash the dog? I doubt Ash will notice us. She’s got twelve babies to deal with. And ducks and mules are generally stupid. But you’re right, James the pig will probably say something.”
That makes me laugh.
“I want to show you a secret,” he murmurs, slipping a hand onto my lower back. The heat from his skin burns through my dress.
“Show me,” I demand, and he grabs my hand and pulls me out of the barn toward Cedar Hill. We jog together under the moonlight, laughing. Well, it’s not so much jogging as it is him pulling me across the grass. I stop for a sec to take my strappy heels off.
We end up about a hundred yards from the manor house where Jack approaches an ancient oak tree and shows me the trap door beside it. “Wait till you see where it goes.”
He lifts opens the door, we descend a ladder, and soon I find myself in a long tunnel. Thank God Jack lights a lantern, because otherwise I’d be spooked the hell out.
“My ancestors used this as part of the Underground Railroad.” The pride in his voice is sure.
“And now you’re using it to sneak a girl into the house and into your room?”
“How do you know that’s where I’m taking you?”
“Because if you aren’t, I’ll be really pissed.” My voice comes out squeaky and excited. It’s dark in the tunnel, but there’s enough light that I can see Jack’s lips part slightly. He sets a hand on my waist and yanks me to his chest.
“I wouldn’t want to make you angry,” he says quietly, giving me another kiss. And then another.
He slowly kisses my neck, teasing a gasp from my lips. “Hmm?”
“Get me out of this tunnel.”
“Yes, ma’am.” I can hear the grin in his voice.
We walk briskly and end up in a cellar with a door that leads to another cellar, which is full of rotting wooden crates. Jack takes my elbow and leads me to a narrow staircase. The paint is peeling off the walls and the stairs need polishing.
When we reach the third floor, a floor I’ve never been to, Jack pushes a door open and I find myself in his bedroom. Jack’s three hounds hop to their feet when they see him, their claws scraping the hardwood floor, but when he snaps and points at their doggie beds along the far wall, they lie back down.
The bay window is wide open, letting fresh September air and moonlight into the spacious room. Jesus Lord, it’s so big, you could probably fit, like, a bowling alley in here. His queen-sized bed is made—the plaid duvet is perfectly pressed. Little horse figurines sit on his shelves and his backpack is slung over the desk chair. A pair of dirty socks is strewn across the hardwood floor, but otherwise the room is spotless. Unlike any other boy’s room ever. The maids do their jobs.
“Does Yvonne know you have dirty laundry on the floor?” I tease, gesturing at his socks.
“Shhh,” he says, placing a finger over my lips. “She’ll hear you and want to clean up. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be disturbed right now.”
We slowly make out and it hits me how right this feels, how there’s no place I’d rather be.
And suddenly things speed up in a very good way. He cups my face with both hands, watching me unbutton his shirt. He twirls me around and unzips my dress, letting it drop to the floor, leaving me in just a bra and panties. Thank God I wore my matching set today. He brushes my curls out of the way so he can kiss my neck from behind, and I wrap an arm around the back of his head, weaving my fingers in his long hair. His chest presses against my back, his heart pounding hard and wild. His hands are everywhere, softly stroking my stomach, my hips, my breasts.
He yanks his boots off, hopping on one foot to do so, then he’s kissing me again. I pull him to the bed. He falls on top of me. Our lips find each other hungrily. He holds both of my hands above my head as we kiss, trapping me.
“How am I supposed to unbutton your pants if you won’t let my hands go?” I ask with a tiny voice, shaking all over.
“Not until I’m finished with you.” He kisses a trail from my neck down to my stomach. “So that’s where it is,” he says, kissing the horseshoe tattoo on my hip before smiling up at me.
“Are you wearing a belt buckle that says cocky?” I peer down at his waistband.
I roll my eyes, smiling like crazy. “Would you get back to kissing me already?”
Copyright © by Miranda Kenneally.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally before its December 3, 2013 release:
Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband. Visit www.mirandakenneally.com.