Wild Horses

By: Claire McEwen

This wild stallion can’t be tamed


Todd Williams is still the naive idealist he was in college. Only now he’s endangering lives—Nora Hoffman’s to be exact. Nora hasn’t seen Todd since he decided that saving the rain forest was more important than their relationship. Until the night she’s nearly crushed by the stampede he causes. Now Todd is determined to make amends, for everything.

She may not agree with his methods, but even Nora can’t deny the importance of his fight to save the wild horses. With the attraction between them still sizzling and the fate of the horses in the balance, Nora must decide just how much she’s willing to risk.





Nora stood up, feeling shaky and sick.


“I need to go, Todd. I’ve got to work early. Thanks for the drink.”

“Nora, hang on.” He stood up, too, leaned a little across the table with his hand out, palm open.

“No.” She took a deep breath and looked right at him. “I know it’s a strange coincidence that we ran into each other in the dark, and that we’re in the same town. But that doesn’t mean we have to be friends. Let’s just agree to be polite and we’ll both be fine. I won’t be in Benson forever anyway.”

“But...”

“See you around, Todd.” There was old pain in her, burning deep and low—pain she didn’t want to feel and most of all, didn’t want him to see.

Nora pushed through the double doors of the bar, inhaling the cool night air with relief. She jumped into her SUV and gunned the engine out of the parking lot, not stopping until she was outside town and she could see every star, horizon to horizon.

She parked her car and stepped out. Leaning against the driver’s side door, she looked up at the glittering sky. How did Todd have the power to make her crazy after all these years? Nora took a deep breath of the clean air and let it out slowly. She just wanted all her feelings about him to be gone.

To live life without the burden of her old, dusty love for him.





Dear Reader,

Welcome to the first book in my Sierra Legacy series. Like my previous books, it’s set in the fictional town of Benson, CA. I wasn’t ready to leave my beloved Eastern Sierra yet!

Let me introduce you to the Hoffman family—or at least those not on the run from the law. Siblings, Nora and Wade Hoffman, raised in a notorious criminal family and grappling with that legacy.

Wild Horses is Nora’s story—but she shares it with the wild horses that roam the high desert.

While researching the east side of the Sierra Nevada for my previous books, I learned of the issues facing our nation’s wild horses. The more I read, the more I was drawn to the intense conflict that surrounds them. Are these beautiful animals an important part of our history or just a feral pest that should be eradicated?

The country’s past and present collide around the lives of wild horses and I wanted this romance to mirror that. So I created wild and restless Todd Williams, who, armed with a strong sense of justice, has made saving the wild horses his cause. And I imagined cautious and practical plant biologist Nora Hoffman, who’s documenting the negative effects the wild horses have on the native plants.

Then I gave Nora and Todd a past with a wild love. A first love so great neither of them could forget.

Wishing you joy,

Claire McEwen

A portion of my income from this book will go to charities working to ensure humane treatment and responsible, compassionate management of America’s wild horse and burro herds. For more information, please visit my website, clairemcewen.com.






CHAPTER ONE


THE ODOR OF sagebrush rose spicy and rich as Nora wove between the low bushes. The crunch of the dry soil beneath her hiking boots fragmented the evening silence. All the scents and sounds of the high desert were magnified after dusk.

She shrugged her pack up higher, the tools, notebook and water bottles she carried heavy on her shoulders. The glamorous life of a plant biologist. There was nothing like the freedom and beauty of the Eastern Sierra landscape. But at moments like these, her muscles wobbly after fourteen hours on the trail, she wondered what it would be like to have a regular job. Maybe one that left her with some energy to go out with friends after work.

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