Underdog (In Vino Veritas #0) Read Online L.A. Witt

Categories Genre: M-M Romance, Romance Tags Authors: Series: In Vino Veritas Series by L.A. Witt
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Total pages in book: 138
Estimated words: 130272 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 651(@200wpm)___ 521(@250wpm)___ 434(@300wpm)
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Life in foster care wasn’t easy. Life after prison? Unforgiving. But I’m determined to stay out of trouble, and I’m gaining a foothold on the closest I’ve ever known to normal.
Then, thanks to a pair of escape artist dogs from the sanctuary where I’ve found work, I cross paths with my boss’s neighbor, Ty Adams. He’s a horse trainer, and winter is his quiet season. It’s also the season when he gets restless and lonely—two things I know all about. He’s not interested in love or romance. I’m just happy someone’s interested in me at all, even if emotions are strictly forbidden.
When we’re not together, I’m thinking about him. When we are together… Well, I’m definitely thinking about what he does to me and what I want to do with him.
As we keep each other warm through the Vermont winter, this feels a lot more than physical. Somehow he soothes my pain, and I wonder if I’m touching something deep inside him too. But Ty won’t let himself love anyone. I never had a chance. And now, with my past closing in, I could lose the one man I hoped I could count on. The one I thought might be different.
When his present and my history collide, is it too much to hope he’ll choose me?
CW: Sick horse and a minor accident involving a horse—no animal deaths or serious injuries/illnesses.

FULL BOOK START HERE:

1

TY

“I think that’s enough for the day.” I leaned forward in the saddle and scratched Prince’s sweaty neck. “Let’s cool you down, and then you can go roll in the mud.”

Prince probably didn’t understand a word I was saying, but he understood scritches, and he leaned into them. In the mirror above the arena wall, I caught sight of him contorting his upper lip as he bobbed his head, and I chuckled. The kids at the barn all adored him, both because he was a giant puppy and because no other horse made faces like he did when he was getting scritches.

I chuckled, patted the spot I’d been scratching, and steered him with my legs toward the arena gate. He plodded along with his head down, same way he always did when we were done and he was stretching his neck. Not that I’d worked him very hard. It was, after all, the off season. Prince had come back from the Morgan Grand National and World Championship a week ago with a whole stack of titles in dressage, carriage driving, and sport horse in-hand—he’d earned himself some downtime. So right now, I wasn’t working him hard, just enough to keep him conditioned. We’d mostly been trail-riding since we’d come home; today was the first time he’d seen the inside of an arena since his last victory pass at Nationals.

At the gate, I leaned down to open the latch. We stepped through, and Prince waited patiently while I secured the gate again. Then we headed out to wander the property while he cooled down from his workout.

As he strolled along the dirt road beside the parking lot, I let the reins rest in front of the saddle. I reached up to rub some stiffness out of my neck as I exhaled a cloud into the crisp late October afternoon. I should’ve been relaxing as much as I relaxed my horses this time of year, but I was restless and twitchy.

I’d never been fond of those weeks when fall started leaning into winter. The cold didn’t bother me, but late October and early November meant my whole world went quiet. The afternoon was brisk in that way that meant winter wasn’t far off. The brightly colored leaves that drew leaf peepers in early autumn had long since dulled and dropped to the feet of bare-branched trees, giving the landscape a bleak, skeletal appearance. The competition season was over, ending in a flurry of colorful ribbons and rose blankets and spotlights around the same time the Vermont leaves went brown. The year’s frenetic pace came to a head at Nationals, and when that was over, the lights went down and didn’t come back up until spring.

Riding between the leafless trees that lined my muddy driveway, I itched for the arrival of spring. I longed for the excitement of new babies—I had six mares in foal this season—and the anticipation of week after week of competitions. It was all stress and chaos and noise, and I loved it, especially after the dark, dull months of winter.

Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t such an abrupt shift. If the show season faded out instead of being over the instant the last world champion of the year exited the coliseum after their victory pass. It was like leaving after a rock concert, except the concert lasted most of the year and there was nothing left to do but slog home from Oklahoma City and wait for the next show that was months away.


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