I have some really exciting news to share today! Leigh Hutton, author of Jump Girl that was previously featured on VR, has just released a new book titled Race Girl! It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it. Read below for a synopsis, book excerpts, and author info:
(The Go Girls Chronicles #3)
Publication date: April 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance,
Fresh on the heels of Michelle Payne’s historic Melbourne Cup win, comes a blockbuster Australian story about a Queensland girl and the ‘race that stops a nation’ . . .
Tully Athens has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of her hero Michelle Payne. Of living up to the Athens name and becoming the third generation of women from her family to rule the track. But Tully’s never been sure she’s got the nerve, and when her mother is killed in a racing accident, her whole world is shattered.
Six months later, in the heat of a Queensland summer, sixteen-year-old Tully is ready to face her fears. But getting back in the saddle leads to a whole lot more than she bargained for, with an out of control crush on the boy from their rival thoroughbred farm – the gorgeous but cocky larrikin Brandon Weston – and a forgotten filly with stardom in her eyes . . .
When faced with the most difficult decision of her life, will Tully choose to train and race her new filly in Melbourne? Or will she sacrifice it all to fight for love on the land that feeds her soul?
It’s only when tragedy rips everything from her that Tully finds a strength and courage she never knew she had, in this action-packed novel of passion, adventure and determination.
RACE GIRL is the highly anticipated third book in The Go Girls Chronicles – bestselling stories of gutsy girls in action sports, by Leigh Hutton!
*A PORTION OF EVERY #RaceGirl book sold goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and to horse-welfare charity, Equine Action Qld*
Excerpts from Race Girl – divided by scene type (romance/action/suspense)
Tully scanned the shadows as she reached the shimmering water. He didn’t turn up . . . She thought with a stab of panic. He’s playing me!
I’m an idiot!!
She’d spun around, ready to bolt back to the house, when a rustling in the tall, dead grass around the jetty made her heart stop. Bear bounded out, barking and grinning like mad.
‘Shhhh, mate—please!’ Tully whispered, cursing herself for forgetting to pull the wooden back door shut when she’d left the house. Tully scooped up the warm, wriggling body, rushing down the slope to the bank of the wide dam where she prayed they’d be out of sight from the house or the cottage on the far side of the track. She collapsed on the bank, cradling Bear in her lap, her arms wrapped around him.
‘Nice dog,’ a deep, rough voice said from behind her.
‘Holy—sit!’ Tully grabbed the front of Brandon’s T-shirt and pulled him down next to her. Bear leapt up, licking his face.
‘Whoa, whoa!’ He chuckled, leaning down to help Tully contain Bear in her lap. ‘I was hoping for that kind of reception from her—’ he nodded down at Tully.
‘God, shush!’ Tully pushed her face against Bear’s smooth head, her eyes drifting across the sparkling dam to the violet outline of the mountains, and up into the silver diamonds – bright and full across the sky. Tully took a long breath to calm her thumping heart, when suddenly her whole body was swirling like wonderland – her mind lost, struggling to comprehend what that rich-wonderful-earthy-soapy-manly-scent could possibly be. Oh, she realised, opening her mouth so she could block off her nostrils. Him; of course he’s got the best cologne . . .
Just get down to business . . . ‘So,’ Tully said, clutching to Bear’s smooth body. ‘Brandon, did you know your dad’s trying to buy our farm out from under us?’
Tully laughed at the way his drenched hair hung into his eyes. She flipped wet strands of her own away from her face as drops ran freezing cold down her face and neck.
Brandon pulled her down into his lap, her body cradled between his drenched torso and the steering wheel, his arms securing themselves around her body, holding her close.
‘I’ve thought about you constantly,’ Brandon whispered. He ran his thumb down her cheek. Leaned forward, kissing away a stream of water from the nape of her neck, along her jawline, to her lips.
Lightening spliced the sky, lighting up his face, and Tully felt the fireworks all over again, her whole body coursing with the passion and the sensual elation of being wrapped in his warmth. ‘I’m never gonna let you go again,’ he said.
‘You’d better not,’ Tully said, her hands running up the back of his neck, reaching into his coarse hair, pulling him closer.
‘Be my girlfriend, Tully,’ Brandon said. ‘Sorry if that sounds lame, but I just want it to be clear. I’m not gonna to stuff anything up this time.’
‘Well, I’m sure you’ll try your best.’ She pulled free, nipping him playfully on the ear. Brandon’s whole body tensed, his arms locking around her. Tully reached her face to his, slowly, painfully slowly – after all, she had promised herself she’d be doing some teasing tonight. She took his bottom lip between her teeth and held him there, ran her tongue over his and fixed him with a lingering kiss she hoped he wouldn’t forget in a hurry.
Tully curled into his warm lap, reaching her lips up to his when they both jumped at a commotion down at the entrance to the barn. Pearce and his head strapper, followed by a steady stream of men Tully didn’t recognise, had burst into the stable, now charging towards them. ‘Brandon!’ Pearce hollered, sending slumbering horses scampering to their feet. ‘Where the hell’s Princeton?’
‘The yearling?’ Brandon said as Tully unwrapped herself from his arms and he helped her up. ‘How the hell should I know?’
‘Don’t play games with me, mate,’ Pearce said. ‘He’s missing—look!’ He pointed into the first stall in the row. ‘And some sick bugger just left a note at the front door, some guy in a hoodie Priscilla didn’t recognise . . .’ Tully was sure Pearce shuddered as he held up the folded note in his hand. ‘Do you know anything about this?’
‘Of course not, Dad!’ Brandon said.
‘Should I be questioning your old man about this, Athens?’
‘Oy!’ Brandon said, his voice gruff and deep, his height more than matching his father’s as he approached. ‘You don’t get to speak to Tully like that.’
‘I don’t have time for your little love tryst, Brandon.’ Pearce shook his head, then turned towards the office, the men following suit. ‘It was one thing when the tyres got slashed—’ he called back over his shoulder— ‘but that yearling cost me over a million. Now his stall’s empty, and some creep’s leaving death threats on our doorstep!’
Fia had warned that Xena wasn’t a huge fan of the barriers. They were starting out in a chute, unlike the longer races which started on the course proper, and it took two attendants to pull Xena in, then push her powerful chestnut hindquarters into the heritage green gate. Tully didn’t have time for nerves out here – the other jockeys, many who were Birdsville veterans, called out to her and chatted like bar patrons as they waited for the lights to turn and the gates to open.
Tully stifled a cry as Xena jumped backwards, then slammed her into the right side with a sharp clang of metal. Xena reared, then dropped her head, bringing all four legs up into a cow hop. Jesus, Tully thought, yanking the mare up, doing her best to keep her feet shielded from any further assaults. Aunt Fia, what have you gotten me into!
Xena reared again at the sound of a foghorn in the roiling, several-thousand strong crowd – a rowdier, more colourful bunch than Tully, and Xena, apparently, was used to. Xena pulled for her head and arched her back like she was going to buck, sending Tully’s heart up through the top of the barrier—‘Holy—’
The gate flung open and Tully was sure she heard a jockey holler: ‘Welcome to Birdsville, darlin’!’ before the horses tore off across the dry clay surface, vying for the rail.
Leigh Hutton is a former Courier-Mail journalist, dirt bike racer and horse show jumper. Leigh was born in Canada and lives on rural property in southeast Queensland, Australia, with her husband and three young children. When she isn’t writing, managing the relocation and restoration of historic ‘Queenslander’ homes, wrangling the kids or swilling coffee, she loves to read, watch smart TV and movies, ride her motorbike and daydream about gorgeous horses. Her family spell racehorses at their property and making friends with each one is also a favourite pastime of Leigh and her children. Leigh is especially passionate about promoting the growing number of girls and women in all action and equestrian sports, and is thrilled to be drawing on her experiences to bring you the exciting novels of The Go Girls Chronicles . . .
Book one, REV GIRL, OUT NOW!
Book two, JUMP GIRL, OUT NOW!
Book three, RACE GIRL, out April 3rd, 2016!
PLUS, enter the giveaway below!