Grant Arrington is back in Kentucky after he inherited a horse farm from his father. The bills are piled high and the farm’s reputation is all but ruined due to his father’s careless and harsh handling of the horses. The farm is not running anywhere near capacity and Grant has a lot of decisions to make. His day takes a downward turn yet again when an angry rancher shows up on his property.
Shawn Carlisle spent his life on his grandfather’s ranch. When he inherited the farm, he stopped breeding racehorses and began rescuing them. He spends his days at auctions with horses in deplorable conditions and then rehabilitates them. It’s at the latest auction that he finds Heart’s Gamble, a mare with serious health issues. Her condition was so severe that Shawn sets out to have a harsh word with the horse’s original owner. Grant can’t even get a word in when Shawn lets him have it, but Grant is moved by the horse’s plight and helplessly attracted to Shawn. Shawn returns the attraction, but trusting people is something that Shawn struggles with and Grant will have to convince him to take a chance.
If I was writing a ten second review of Heart’s Gamble, it would read: the men fight, they fall into bed, they fight again, and then decide to rescue and breed horses together forever. But to expand that, in between there is a lot of information on the care and treatment or mistreatment of horses. While it was both heartbreaking and informative, the relationship with the humans was rushed and took a backseat to the love letter that was being written about the treatment and care of horses.
I can truly get behind a well executed insta-love story. But there was no relationship development at all and the intense feelings that should have gone along with a story like this just didn’t come across. We are told the men are attracted to each, but the intensity of them falling in love and then deciding to spend their life together wasn’t there for me.
What also didn’t work for me was the initial set up and meeting. Shawn has lived on a farm that is 45 minutes away from Grant’s family’s farm his entire life. Shawn is well connected and respected in the industry and Grant’s father had a terrible reputation for mistreating animals. It didn’t make any sense that Shawn not only didn’t know who Grant’s father was, also didn’t hear of his recent death, and then subsequently mistakes Grant for his father.
I’ve read and enjoyed many books by S.J. Frost over the years. Her passion for horses comes through clearly, but it’s unfortunate that the relationship between the men didn’t work out as well for me. If you enjoy this author and are looking for a shorter read with horses as the focal point, you could then look into Heart’s Gamble.