Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cindy McDonald Opens The Unbridled Series with Deadly.Com

Animated sequence of a race horse galloping. P...
Animated sequence of a race horse galloping. Photos taken by Eadweard Muybridge (died 1904), first published in 1887 at Philadelphia (Animal Locomotion). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The heat of a summer night wrapped its arms around Westwood Thoroughbred Farm, a lucrative, bustling horse farm. The farm’s vast one hundred acres was nestled in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania outside the small town of Lanzville. In the mornings, exercise riders would put the horses through their daily workouts. The Mexican stable hands chattering in Spanish would scuttle about the barn while cleaning stalls and filling water buckets. In the afternoon, the farm manager, Punch McMinn, would deliver the horses to the racetrack, where they would dash hell bent for leather toward the finish line. 
Not tonight. Not for Kate West anyway. Kate was only looking for peace and quiet tonight. The soft glimmer of candlelight and the comforting scent of sweet lilac filled the room. She took a long, gratifying sip of her Sleepytime Tea with a drizzle of honey, a tiny indulgence to help her unwind. She ran her fingers through her blonde, silky hair. Dressed in a soft cami and a pair of pajama pants, she was feeling cozy and glad to have the evening off. She often worked late into the evening as a veterinary assistant at the racetrack. Tonight was going to be a hot one. She stretched out on the sofa in her father’s study. The sweat dribbled down her neck to between her breasts. Her cami clung to her like a contestant in a wet T-shirt competition. She propped her feet on the coffee table. Her lips curled devilishly as she thought of how her father would disapprove. Twenty-five-year-old Kate was much too old for scolding, but Eric 
West could be somewhat overbearing. He loved the grandeur of the old Victorian-style farmhouse. He claimed that installing a modern convenience such as central air would compromise the home’s integrity. But he wasn’t home. She wiggled her toes, lifted her laptop from the couch, and logged on to a local networking website. The Wi-Fi delivered the site speedily to announce “My Town” across the screen in bold letters. The blueness from the laptop’s screen illuminated Kate’s face. She arched an eyebrow and bit her lip softly when the picture of Giorgio appeared on the screen. He’s logged on. Oh, yes! There he is a delicacy of pure eye candy. Giorgio had smooth olive skin. His long, dark hair swept across his broad shoulders. His eyes were a cool, inviting green. His jaw was square and strong. It was as if he weren’t real, as if he were one of those erotic-looking characters on the cover of a romance novel. Kate chuckled to herself. She could easily picture this half-naked Adonis, embracing a buxom beauty with her brunette hair cascading over her shimmering bare shoulders with a title like Desire at Dawn scrawled over their heads.


The Unbridled Series
By Cindy McDonald

All he'd had to do was exactly what anybody else could do--a Google search for a dark haired, green-eye male pic...and he had used it to add his new profile to My Town... If only women would flock to him like they did Giorgio... He has glad that Mother didn't understand anything about the computer and what he'd done. She would be all over him, telling him he was just like his father and to keep away from women...

He hadn't even had to approach Kate to connect--she had done that herself! Of course, lots of other beautiful girls had come offering anything and everything, but he was only interested in Kate. Maybe Ava since they were both connected with the farm, but it was Kate that he wanted and it seemed that she was getting ready to agree to meet... 

That would probably be the day I'll have to kill her... I already know she can barely stand to be around me when I'm there. But as an assistant to the Farm's vet, she had no choice--she had to be near whichever horse farm had called for help... But it wasn't logical thinking when he thought of Kate--he was obsessed!

In one way or the other, Eric West and his three children were involved in the horse farm and/or racing. Kate loved working with the animals that she and the vet routinely visited, while both sons were looking to raise thoroughbreds and also race them. They were all strong-headed kids, especially the boys who had always been so competitive. Readers will enjoy the interaction within and among the family, because it adds to the drama--both the danger and interaction with the man who was freely roaming on their farm, at the tracks, and with the jockeys and staff who supported all the activities...

While it won't take long for you to identify the man, it is clear that most of those who interacted with him did not realize he was...a real...maniac...

He watched Shane play a game of pool with that track tramp, Travis Cutler, who worked for Dan Quaide. He watched and rather enjoyed the two of them beat on each like maniacs. Maniac. Now there’s an interesting word. George played with the white plastic band on his right wrist that read, George A. Smuts, Rosemount Psychiatric Institution. Her wicked chortle grew inside of his head. Oh, yes! Mother was always there.

Kate could feel the sweet comfort of quiet beginning to soothe her frazzled nerves. The past two weeks had been a drain, but all was quiet. The warmth of the water and the fragrance that swirled through the room energized her senses. The moonlight cascaded through the linen blinds. She sang an old Aretha Franklin song about feeling like a natural woman. With the sensual tune running through her mind, she imagined peeling away Giorgio’s shirt to unveil his firm, beautiful torso. He kissed her neck while she caressed the firm, tight muscles on his chest. Entranced by her lovely nirvana, her voice had shrunk to a whisper as she sang the verse where he makes her feel so alive. But the house phone interrupted her fantasy. Her eyes opened. She cocked her head to one side and listened. The phone continued ringing. She sat up. The bubbles dripped from her breasts and shoulders down into the soapy water. “Damnit,” she moaned. Just as things were getting interesting. 
She quickly grabbed a towel, pitched it around her wet body, and tiptoed down the hall toward her father’s bedroom. She snatched the phone from the receiver. “Hello.” The phone clicked. Kate returned the phone to the receiver and looked around. The lamp on the nightstand next to Eric’s bed cast the room in a subtle glow. The heat lightning lit up the darkness for an instant. The curtains billowed...
The back porch looked over a moonlit pond. The breeze formed sparkling ripples in the water. The white wicker furniture was placed so the gracious view could be savored. The porch light was off. [He] was glad the furniture was white. It made it easy to find his way to the door without tripping or making a ruckus. He fumbled in the darkness with the first key on the chain. He twisted and turned it in the keyhole, but it didn’t fit. The next key looked like a truck key, so he moved on to the third. He peered through the pressed white eyelet curtains hanging in the door’s window. The kitchen was dark and still. The lock clicked, and the door eased open. A soft sliver of light drifted in from the foyer. Breathing heavily, he shuffled through the kitchen. He rubbed his hands up and down his outer thighs before spying the knives in the block on the counter. He ran his fingers over them before remembering the gun in his pocket. Smiling, he made his way into the next room. The grandfather clock chimed its dainty little tune, announcing the ten o’clock hour. He anticipated her, so his breathing quickened. The staircase swooped upward. He began to climb it stealthily. His hand left a trail of sweat behind as it slid along the banister. He was at the top now. The sweet flowery fragrances she had been burning filled him with an ache. Her towel lay outside the slightly open bathroom door. The candlelight glittered into the softly lit hallway. He could hear her moving about the room. She was singing. Imagining what her divine naked body must look like, he closed his eyes and listened to her angelic voice. Bit by bit, he inched his way to the door. He picked up the towel and pressed it to his face. Her scent was all over it. He inhaled as if to breathe her in before stealing a look into the room. Kate’s back was to the doorway. Her pajama pants clung to her buttocks. Her bare back was beautiful...

This was my first time reading McDonald; this is also her debut novel of the Unbridled Series. She does an excellent job of intertwining the farm and racing activities, including the underbelly, within the overall story, which proved to be suspenseful and edgy. The climax will have readers holding their breaths at the location in the pool house where everybody seemed to be headed, but then didn't make their shot, or lost their gun...Was this maniac really going to win?!

Which, BTW, reminds me of a scary portion when the man is caught once and instead of being placed in prison is placed in a psychiatric hospital...you will not believe what takes place there! OMG!

Finally, I wanted to comment on the author's portrayal of the two main female characters--Ava and Kate.  They were both playing some dangerous games with online people, including Giorgio who did not really exist... That is often done! And the author did a fine job in having Kate realize that she had made some major mistakes that had placed her into the position of being stalked! Kudos for this fine ending having the character spotlight these dangers...

Highly recommended!


Cindy McDonald was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pa area. For 26 years she was a professional choreographer,she taught ballet, jazz, and tap. During that time she choregraphed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. Most recently she has retired to write her novels. She resides with her husband on their Thoroughbred farm know as Fly By Night Stables near Pittsburgh.To learn more about her book series and to read excerpts from her upcoming books, please visit her website: www.cindymcwriter.com

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