Do I even need to introduce this book when Nacho Figueras’ face is benevolently smoldering right on the cover? We’ve got a deliciously tantalizing excerpt of Nacho Figueras Presents: Ride Free by Jessica Whitman right here! And if you love polo playing Lotharios, you’re in luck! Ride Free is out today!
When Sunny started crow-hopping, Enzo Rivas didn’t worry. The big mare had always been hot, and it wasn’t out of character for her to occasionally get a little bored and try to test her rider.
But when Sunny started to buck, Enzo knew something was seriously wrong.
The pony threw her head down, kicked out her legs, and whinnied fearfully, almost sending Enzo out of the saddle. He pressed his knees against the saddle, grabbed the reins, and battled to pull her head back up. She fought him, flinging her head down again and heaving her back legs into the air.
For a moment, he thought he was going to be thrown, and his body automatically tensed, preparing to hit the ground, hard.
It wouldn’t have been the first time Enzo lost his seat to an unruly horse. It was part of his job, after all. Nobody trained horses and didn’t occasionally get thrown. But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t fight it.
Sunny came back down onto all four legs again, and Enzo, sensing a split second of opportunity, yanked the reins sharply to the right, forcing the pony’s head so far over that her nose touched his knee. She screamed in outrage and spun in a circle, but she was powerless to kick her hind legs from this position.
Enzo kept her in that stance, letting her spin as many times as she wanted, speaking to her softly in Spanish, until he could feel her temper start to ebb and her muscles soften, one by one, under him.
He relaxed the reins and let the pony’s head back up. As they cantered forward, he noticed a large, bald-faced hornet floating away from them.
“Ah. Poor girl,” he said, “you got stung.”
Sunny snorted complacently as if in agreement, then reared up, threw Enzo backward into the grass, and bolted, riderless, down the pitch.
Enzo lay there for a moment, the breath knocked out of him, staring at the cloudless Florida sky. It had not been a bad fall, as falls went, and he knew that once he could breathe again, he’d be fine. But he was also pissed, and he knew it would be better to get his temper under control before he chased down the errant horse. It never helped to be mad when dealing with ponies.
“Rivas?” came a distant voice that made him close his eyes and smile ruefully. Of course she would find him like this.
“Enzo, are you okay?”
She was closer.
He struggled to a sitting position, still a little winded but determined not to be on his back when she reached him.
“I’m fine,” he said, and then almost fell over again, he was so dizzy. Damn that horse. He bent his head to his knees and closed his eyes.
“You don’t look fine. You look like you got knocked on your ass.”