Whispers of Heaven

Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor Read Free Book Online

Book: Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Candice Proctor
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical
buck every time he is mounted. Only the first time. He never tries to get rid of you the second time you mount. Never."
    Warrick let out a snort. "That's ridiculous. Either a horse bucks, or it doesn't. It doesn't only buck the first time it's mounted."
    "This one does."
    He tucked his riding crop beneath his left arm and leaned into her. "And you still bought him?"
    Jessie shook her head. "I didn't know. I hunted him twice before I bought him. Only, both times Mr. Finnegan rode Lucky to the meets himself, so I was never the first to mount."
    Warrick spun about to study the big bay stallion, now standing with deceptive docility, its soft lips investigating the lapels of the stableboy's pockets as if looking for a treat.
    "It's probably why he's called Finnegan's Luck," Jessie said wryly. "It seems Mr. Finnegan was in the habit of selling him at least once or twice each year—then buying him back again for a fraction of the original price and hunting him himself the rest of the season. Evidently Mr. Finnegan doesn't mind hitting the dirt first thing in the morning."
    Hot, angry color flushed Warrick's normally pale cheeks. "So why the hell did you keep him?"
    "Because he truly is a marvelous animal." Jessie walked over to rub her fist between the horse's wide, intelligent eyes.
    "He sires fine colts. And I hoped perhaps we could find someone to break him of his habit."
    Warrick came to stand beside her, his eyes on his sister rather than the horse. Suddenly, he grinned. " And because you wanted to pay this Mr. Finnegan back for tricking you. Fess up."
    Jessie laughed. "All right. It's true. In fact, by the time I was ready to leave England, poor Mr. Finnegan was in tears, offering to buy Lucky back for half again what I'd paid for him."
    Warrick grunted. "Wouldn't that have been lesson enough?"
    Jessie shook her head and ran her hand down the stallion's high, arched neck. "I've never ridden a horse like him, Warrick. You'll see."
    Warrick grunted again and twitched the reins from the stableboy's slack grasp. "All right. Let's see."
    Jessie felt all trace of her earlier amusement drain out of her. "What are you doing?"
    "Riding him."
    She grabbed her brother's arm. "But he'll throw you."
    A wild, reckless joy shone in Warrick's handsome face. He shook her off and reached for the stirrup. "So?"
    "So let one of the men mount him the first time. If you get hurt, Mother will—"
    She broke off as Warrick spun to face her, his eyes blazing. "Jessie? Shut up and stand back"
    Jessie closed her mouth and took two steps back.
    Finnegan's Luck stood faultlessly still with quiet, good- natured patience as Warrick slowly, cautiously, thrust his foot into the stirrup. With a triumphant smile to his sister, Warrick swung up into the saddle, his seat descending toward the leather...
    Just as Finnegan's Luck leapt forward, his four splayed feet hitting the earth together with a jolt that brought Warrick down, cockeyed, on the wide expanse of red rump. Warrick's hat went flying as his feet scrambled frantically to regain their hold on the stirrups. The stallion's beautifully formed head went down, his hind quarters rose impressively skyward. Warrick's eyes widened in alarm as he soared up into the air, then came down again, this time near the tail. Once more, Finnegan's Luck bucked, both rear legs flashing up in a dazzling kick that sent Warrick sailing through the air to land on his stomach with a whacking hoooph as the air rushed from his lungs.
    Whinnying in triumph, the red stallion shook its head and kicked its heels in the air one last time before loping in a wide circle around the quadrangle, reins dangling, its magnificent tail streaming behind. Warrick lay where he had fallen, motionless, facedown in the dirt.
    "Warrick!" Her heart jamming up somewhere in the vicinity of her throat, Jessie rushed to fall to her knees beside him. "Are you all right?"
    She touched her hand to his shoulder, her breath coming out in a soft moan of relief

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