Summer Escape
Summer Escape
Perfect Bound Softcover
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Summer’s love of horses sends her on a journey to catch her dreams. She travels to Kentucky, where she helps her aunt Violet run a prestigious riding stable. With a mixture of folk tales and elegant horses, they give their clients a sense of adventure. Summer doesn’t realize, however, that her own adventure is about to take a few unexpected turns.

Milton works alongside his father in the horse racing industry. Their wealth provides many opportunities to help others and serve the community. Milton finds the anxiety of life interrupted when his path collides with that of an intriguing brunette. His fascination with this beauty may be the cause of more trouble than he bargained for.

Chapter 1
April 28th
“I’m going!” Summer nearly screeched with excitement, shoving another bite of the cafeteria food into her mouth, her green eyes sparkling.
“Why do you always look for the unreasonable choices in life? Can’t you just enjoy regular everyday stuff?” Lucie pleaded as she watched Summer roll her eyes and make a funny face in an attempt to lighten the mood.
“Lucie, I get bored with the regular same old stuff. I know you like the routine, but I want more. I want adventure. I want to chase my dreams and catch them.” Her animated body language reflected the excitement on an altogether new level as she flailed her arms and bounced on the bench of the picnic style table, her rich, big, brown curls jiggling to a stop as she settled down to hear Lucie’s response.
“We all have dreams, but what is the likelihood of actually catching them? Really! Most people realize their dreams are just that, dreams.” Lucie said shaking her strawberry blond head from side to side. “The rest of the world knows that dreams are meant for children. Real life is full of work and bills and doing what it takes to make it.” Lucie’s down to earth, logical character stifled the energy pouring out of Summer.
“I am going.” The words came out sounding a bit angry. Summer sighed and tried to explain how she felt about the situation. “Nothing anyone says is going to change my mind. I know if I don’t go I will always wonder what I missed out on.” She looked at her friend with her soft green eyes pleading for understanding.
“Okay, okay. I can see you are not going to hear my reasoning.” Lucie said in a half serious tone while pushing her glasses up on her nose. Not being able to hold her giggle any longer she gave into Summer’s silly plan to find what was missing in her life. “I just want you to know I’m going to miss you.” They stood as the bell rang.
The girls hurried to dump their trash into the big, blue barrel. Depositing their trays in the window, they smiled at the cafeteria lady as she took the trays to wash them. Summer and Lucie turned to leave. They glanced at each other with mischief and raced for the door. The bar slammed and the door flung open as they laughed at nothing in particular. After fumbling with the combinations on their lockers and retrieving the books needed for their next classes, the girls parted. A few feet away, Summer turned. “I will miss you too, Lucie, but I will write to you.”
“I know you will.” Lucie replied as she walked backwards toward her 12th grade English class. “When are you planning to leave?” she shouted while moving her books to the other arm and stumbling over the heel of her own shoe. She strained to hear Summer’s response over the sea of rushing kids around them.
“Aunt Violet has asked me to come after school ends in a few weeks.” Summer said through a giggle she was trying to hold in. Wanting to get to class before the tardy bell she turned and sprinted down the hall. A grin crept its way to her mouth as she thought of how Lucie looked just seconds ago.
Lucie stood in the hall walking backwards while trying to bounce on tip toe. She had shouted two final words. “That soon?”


Milton Peters was sitting at the desk in his father’s office sorting through some papers. One of the ranch men clomped to a stop in the doorway. Milton looked up to see Mike Jones frowning in his direction. “What’s the matter now? You look like someone tossed you in the dirt,” Milton stated as he took in Mikes muddy clothes and crumpled cowboy hat.
“Someone did throw me in the mud, thanks for noticing.” Mike’s clenched jaw and sarcasm, made Milton wish he was still a young boy and not in charge of the men at the family ranch. He placed his thumb and forefinger on his brow and squeezed to relieve the stress of the day. Sighing deeply he told Mike to come in and deliver the bad news. Mike hesitated at the door seeming unsure of the idea.
Milton stood and walked around the big maple desk and two cushioned chairs that stood between himself and Mike. As Milton approached he asked again, “Well, what is it you need to tell me?”
Looking down at the mud drying on his hat Mike mumbled, “I think you’re going to want to come see for yourself.” He rubbed his hand on his thigh and walked toward the front door. Glancing over his shoulder to see if Milton was coming he said, “It’s Jim again.” At this he walked out the door, not stopping until he got to the edge of the porch where he slapped his hat on his head, mud and all. Then he trotted down the steps and across the wide drive toward the corral attached to the back of the closest stable.
Great, please tell me I’m not going to have to fire someone today. Don’t you think I’ve had it hard enough today? Milton thought to himself in a half prayer. The closer he got to the barn the more he realized there was a scuffle going on just out of view. Turning the corner he realized the fight was not between two men but a man and a horse; a very expensive horse at that.
Milton snapped from his troubled mood directly into one of anger as he watched Jim rise from the dirt ready to hit the horse with a piece of two-by-four. Milton slung himself over the fence and sprinted at Jim. Grabbing the wood in mid swing, he twisted it out of Jim’s hand.
Jim stumbled back with a stunned expression plastered on his face and dropped the lead rope. The horse bolted to the far side of the corral and stopped with the rope dangling limply from his chin. Milton took a step toward Jim and shouted, “What is wrong with you! Don’t you have any dignity at all? You’re fired! I will not have anyone working here who cannot respect me enough to treat my property with care.” Milton really didn’t see the horses as just property, but he didn’t feel the need to inform Jim of his personal opinion on the matter.
He threw the board down, making it bounce with the force. Its clattering echo added a finality to the discussion as Milton growled “Leave, and don’t come back!” Mike moved closer to the men standing in audience while watching Jim dig himself deeper into trouble.
“I’m not leaving without my pay.” Jim huffed as he slammed his fists to his hips. Then pointing a finger in Milton’s direction he shouted, “And you can’t make me!”
Mike looked to Milton not knowing what his young boss might do. He knew his boss would not let this go so easily. He was right. Milton charged the man, running full speed at the slim stable hand. Jim jumped, and his face paled all at the same time. He spun, tearing across the field toward the ranch entrance, pausing only to scramble over the fence railing. Milton was fast on his tail. Ten yards or so from the road, Milton stopped and watched as Jim continued his retreat. Skidding to a halt next to his truck, Jim opened the door and jumped in. He revved the engine and sped off down the road, leaving tire marks on the paved drive.
Mike trotted up behind Milton chuckling as he said, “Did you see his face? I would have given anything to get a picture of that.”
“Well I’m not asking him back so you can,” Milton said, still looking in the direction the truck had gone. Milton stood staring with his brow furrowed. “Tell me why men feel the need to beat animals, especially one as splendid as a horse.”

Donneen Bassett lives in New Mexico with her husband and three children. She homeschools, works in the ministry, and volunteers at her local church. Reading and writing are two of her favorite pastimes, along with riding horses and spending time with friends and family.

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