Ex-cop Kurt MacKinnon resents leaving his training stable to dive back into undercover work. He’s seen enough sordidness to last a lifetime. But when his former partner is murdered, Kurt ships his Thoroughbreds to the backwater track where his partner was last seen alive. He intends to make someone pay, even if the killer turns out to be a talented rider with a smoking hot body and a disarming smile.
Julie West is chasing a big win, struggling to boost her reputation and propel her into the elite jockey ranks. There’s no time for love, but she’d have to be blind and maybe dead not to notice the magnetic new trainer in town. With her talent for handling problem horses, she agrees to work for MacKinnon, never suspecting she’s already a person of interest—and it’s not because of her riding skills.
Kurt never expected his contrary colt to flourish under Julie’s feminine touch nor for his own cynical heart to soften. But when his investigation tightens around the truth, his deceit thrusts them squarely into the killing field.
Letter to Readers:
THANKS for all your letters and support over the past few years. I love writing these books and your feedback is extremely motivating. Ranches and racetracks provide rich background for my settings, but it’s your support that gives me the energy to put the words to paper.
Most of my stories are plotted from the back of a horse. It’s way more enjoyable to find ideas in the saddle than in the office, and trail rides are often spent imagining supicious activity, searching for that realistic thread of mystery to complement the intense romance.
Jockeys and Jewels was my first romantic novel and is close to my heart as it’s based in Alberta where I raced for many years. When it finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart and went on to win Reader’s Choice Best First Book, it inspired me to to continue writing about what I love,
I now have seven romantic mysteries available, Some of the characters pop up in other books but all the novels can be enjoyed as standalones. And many of the animals are based on real life. In fact, your response to the Name My Animal contest left me smiling and wiping my eyes, all at the same time.
Jockeys and Jewels is offered for only $0.99 this week so I hope you can grab a copy while it’s on sale. Enjoy your summer!
Book 1 Jockeys and Jewels
Book 2 Color My Horse
Book 3 Fillies and Females
Book 4 Thoroughbreds and Trailer Trash
Book 5 Horses and Heroin
Book 6 Studs and Stilettos
Book 7 A Scandalous Husband
Read an Excerpt:
Excerpt from Jockeys and Jewels by Bev Pettersen
Julie’s eyes narrowed. “The last time Otto hauled a horse in, someone else died. So weird. Someone should ask him—”
Kurt planted a kiss on the top of her hair, hoping to distract her. “Give it time,” he murmured. But she felt so good in his arms, he lingered. Couldn’t resist dragging his mouth along her jaw and nuzzling her neck.
A second later she stiffened and jerked away. Stared at him, then at the bed, her thoughtful expression turning to disgust. “My God. You’ll use any situation to take advantage of the ladies.”
“No ladies here,” he said jokingly, deciding any topic that took her mind off the murder was probably a good one.
But she winced, clearly insulted. “I didn’t mean it that way,” he said quickly, appalled at his poor choice of words.
“Doesn’t matter. I’m obviously not a lady. You only needed one trail ride.” Her voice cracked, but she gave a dismissive shrug. “Everyone needs a little fun. However, the next time I have sex, I’ll do the choosing.”
“But you did choose the last time. You said ‘yes’, very clearly.” He stretched back on the bed, pretending her words didn’t hurt, but his face felt like it was carved in granite.
She jerked up and jammed her hands on her hips. “That kind of yes doesn’t count. We just ran into a mother grizzly. What happened afterwards was basic relief.”
“Ah, so those little noises you made were sighs of relief?” He watched as color flagged her cheeks. She wasn't a bit pale now.
“You're an unprincipled asshole who’d nail anything that moves.”
“Not lately,” he said.
He propped a pillow behind his head, watching through narrowed lids. She seemed to be moving stiffly but he wasn’t quite sure. “Walk out now and you’re not riding my horse tonight,” he said.
She’d already reached the door, but her hand dropped from the knob and she wheeled to face him. “Even you wouldn’t do that.”
“Sure I would.” But he couldn’t hold her gaze. “Sex is pretty important to unprincipled assholes like me,” he added.
She flushed with temper. Her cheeks were still stained with tears, but the signs of shock had vanished. A little more color, and she’d look completely normal.
“Just one kiss and you can ride Ace,” he said.
She shook her head in disbelief.
“A little more and you can ride Lazer,” he added, reassured by her reaction. If she really thought he was a complete asshole, she wouldn't look so shocked by his ridiculous proposal. His face didn’t feel so tight now. In fact, the side of his lip even started to twitch.
She stared intently, probably guessed he was joking. However, she continued to look beautifully indignant, and her anger was preferable to her helpless sadness that tore at his gut.
“A little more and I can ride Lazer?” She crossed her arms. “What do you mean? How much is a little more?”
“I don’t know. Whatever you feel like. Gotta hurry though.” The sides of his lips quivered, and he knew his stone face was cracking. He was just so damn relieved she was back to normal. Fresh, feisty and refreshingly honest.
“Just a minute,” she said. She swept into the bathroom and closed the door. The tap gurgled. Something clinked. Maybe she was brushing her teeth, always a good sign. The door inched open. “You have to close your eyes,” she said.
He obligingly closed them, listening to her steps as she approached the bed. “It has to be a good kiss, honey.” He'd only been joking, but he wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass. She had him balled in knots, and a kiss from her might keep him going for a week.
“Don’t worry. It’ll be good.” Her sultry voice purred above him. “And wet.”
Splash! A wall of cold water slammed like a gut punch, soaking his face, his shirt, the bed.
“Shit!” He scrambled up, splattering water like a dog, rivulets streaming down his face.
“You don’t look so smug now…honey.” She turned, carried the ice bucket back into the bathroom then tossed him a towel.
He snagged it with one hand and blotted his face, absorbing the water, his disappointment, his shock. “You’re full of surprises,” he said. “How did you know I wasn't serious?”
She gave a smug smile. “That definitely isn’t the way successful trainers pick their jockeys.”
“Depends how badly we want them.” He lunged. One squeal and he had her flat on her back, pinned to the bed. She stared, eyes incredulous, then started thrashing. “Hold still, or you’ll hurt yourself,” he said. “I want that shirt off. Now.”
Her eyes glittered with fury as he unbuttoned her shirt. He shoved it open and softly whistled.
“Ah hell, Julie.” Compassion roughened his voice when he saw why she’d flinched when he’d helped her step down from the truck. Why she’d been walking stiffly. Ugly bruises snaked from the top of her ribs to below the waistband of her jeans.
She understood now and lay still, staring up at him, vulnerable and exposed. “I’m okay to ride though. I’m really okay.”