Maya was flushed with anger and her long red hair blew wild in the breeze as she marched up towards him.
She had always known that today would be a difficult one but it had gone from bad to worse. She had been dreading saying farewell to Turn On A Dime—a stunning white thoroughbred Arabian stallion who had been in her care since the day he was born.
In a careless bet, Sheikh Kedah had lost the stallion to Matteo Di Sione, and Maya had flown with the horse from Dubai. It had all gone beautifully until the horse had cleared quarantine.
The transport vehicle that had arrived, though adequate, wasn’t anywhere near the luxury that Turn On A Dime was used to, and the driver was impatient as he had another job to get to. Maya had expected a luxury float and for the receiving yard to have its own drivers.
It had gone downhill from then on and now Maya let the new owner have it. ‘When you bet on an actual horse, as opposed to a race, at least have some understanding of what it is that you’re taking on.’
He was older than her twenty-four years, she guessed mid-thirties, and almost a foot taller than Maya but that did not stop her speaking her mind. ‘You are the most inconsiderate…’ She rushed each pent-up insult just to get to the next. ‘Who the hell would place a thoroughbred stallion at the local pony club? Of all the thoughtless, imbecilic…’ her mouth twisted ‘…spoiled, irresponsible, rich…’
‘Correct on the last one.’ Luka had heard enough and calmly interrupted her. ‘But I am neither spoiled nor irresponsible. You, madam, should check your facts before you release a tirade.’ He certainly didn’t volunteer any information; instead he turned as a frail-looking man came to the door.
‘What is going on?’ the old man asked.
‘It would seem this lady is looking for your grandson.’
Maya heard the rather questionable note over the word lady, and as his dark eyes drifted over her she was suddenly aware of the fright she must look. Her jodhpurs and boots were filthy thanks to the muddy conditions at the pony club. Her hair…well, she couldn’t remember if she’d brushed it after her shower this morning. And as for make-up—Maya didn’t even own so much as a lipstick.
He, on the other hand, was as immaculate as his gaze was scathing.
‘You’re not Matteo?’ Maya checked.
‘No.’ It was the old man who answered. ‘This is Luka, my guest.’
And Maya felt even less of a lady because, from the way Luka was looking at her, he considered her likely to have let loose her temper on this elderly man.
‘I can explain,’ Maya started, but didn’t finish. It would seem this Luka didn’t need to hear whatever she had to say. Instead he walked towards the trailer and ignored the impatient driver who told him he had another job to get to.
She followed Luka as he walked around the side and opened the slider on one of the windows and peered inside. Turn On A Dime was frothing at the nostrils and stamping his feet.
Maya stood, not knowing what to do, or how to explain the issue—how this horse was used to the best of everything, how there was no way she could leave him in a muddy stable with staff who did not have the expertise for such a highly trained, temperamental animal.
It would seem though that she didn’t need to explain herself to him.
With one look this Luka got it.
‘Giovanni.’ He turned his head and spoke to the elderly man and the housekeeper as they approached the vehicle. ‘We have a problem.’
‘Oh dear’ came Giovanni’s tired response.
‘Don’t worry,’ the young man said, and Maya heard that austere voice dim to kindness. ‘I’ll sort it.’
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