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Sophia Campanari has grown up in a very strict life. Growing up in country clubs, strung pearls, and champagne. She longs for a life outside of the strict orders of having to look a certain way. The only way she can escape is on the back of a horse, easy since her father is a well known breeder in the horse racing world, and her mother is a well known jockey.

When she sneaks off one night for a night of fun with her best friend Juliana she meets Boe Bauer. A tall, dark, dangerous singer for a band named Eclipse. She instantly feels drawn to him. Only one thing stands in the way of them being together. Her clean, sculpted, and perfect reputation to uphold. But maybe she doesn't want that anymore?

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1. Southern Belle

~~I walked into the barn, my horse Mouse trailing behind me. I had just taken him for a two hour long ride, going over jumps made by nature, and smelling the clean air of Kentucky.


"Oh good, Sophia, your back." My mom came up to me in her jockey gear. Helmet and goggles in hand. "I need you to ride one of my horses for me tonight. Your father and I are going on a dinner date and I need to get ready."

My mom, Karlotta, was a famous female jockey in the horseracing world. My father was a very well known breeder in the same world. I was the product of these two. Any only child. My mom's mom and dad were both from Paris, France. My mom had the perfect French accent, she was complete French after all. My dad was a complete Italian. Hence the last name Campanari.

"Sounds good. What horse do you need me to ride?" I asked and fixed the braid my long brown hair was in. Mouse was still following behind me.

"Southern Belle." My mom simply answered me. We had arrived at Mouse's stall.

Mouse was a chocolate brown thoroughbred. After he didn't do too well in his first race my dad had immediately handed him down to me. I loved the horse. He was my baby.

"Mom," I sighed, "That horse is crazy." Mouse started to lip at my flannel shirt , and my riding boots were starting to itch to get in the stirrups again.

"She is not that bad." My mom patted my shoulder and turned to walk out of twenty stall barn.

"She has a hernia whenever she gets near a gate!" I yelled after Karlotta as I got my English saddle off of Mouse and put it on the saddle stand my Mouse's stall.

My mom never answered me back.

I put Mouse in his stall and gave a flake of hay, along with a bucket of premium grain. After brushing Mouse off and french fish tail braiding his mane and tail I grabbed my riding helmet off it's hook.

Southern Belle was one of my dad's new fillies. Evil fillies may I add. She was a light bay thoroughbred with a hot temper. Especially when it came to gates.

When my mom said she wants me to ride Southern Belle for her she means run a couple warm up laps before taking her at break-neck speeds around the track.

I clipped my helmet on before grabbing Southern Belle from the barn hand who had Belle already saddled up for me.

"You ready Belle?" I spoke to her as I rubbed her neck in soft strokes.

Being only 5'3 I needed a boost from one of the barn hands to get onto the tall horse, Belle was after all 17 hands tall.

"Need help Soph?" Marty asked. I sheepishly nodded my head once.

Marty had been working at my dads barn for as long as it had been up and running. He was an ex-jockey himself. After an incident that left him never being able to race again, he found his peace working with his gentle giants, thoroughbreds.

"Thanks, Marty." I said once I was up on the horses back. She smelt like oats.

"No problem, Soph. I remember when I was riding, it was always such a pain in the butt getting up on the horses, especially if you didn't have a boost." I laughed and waved before riding off to the practice track we had at our stables. Marty was only an inch taller than me, so he felt the shortness I felt.

It looked like a normal race track, just no grand stands. When you got out of the barn, there was a little path that was surrounded by trees. As soon as you got off the path you were on a dirt race track. If you went left you went to the gates, right lead you to more dirt track. If you went straight ahead you came to another gate that lead to a grass track. In the middle of all this was a plain grass field that we used as another pasture for feeding the thirty some horses we had.

As Belle got antsy, I could feel her anticipation quiver beneath my thighs as I hung on tight. Belle was prancing sideways, wanting to feel the freedom of galloping on the dirt track. I took  her right. I need to get a few warm up laps in.

I urged Belle into a soft canter.

I could feel Belle's power as she cantered. She was fighting me at the bit, wanting to run. She was warm. Her muscles were bunching, and un-bunching with every stride she took. Her breathes coming in short, anticipated bursts as I held her back from flying.

After three soft, warm up laps I pulled her into a walk and let her catch her breathe. She had her ears up, her breathing was in short, shallow pants, and her body was warm under mine.

"Lookin' good!" I lifted my goggles from my eyes, and looked over my shoulder to see my friend Juliana leaning against the track rail. Her long blonde hair was up in a messy bun atop her head.

"Thanks." I tuned Belle around and trotted her over to Juliana. "What are you doing here?" I asked as I started to trot Belle in short figure eights so she kept her muscles warm. I didn't want her to pull something when I raced her in a few minutes. If that happened my dad would have my ass.

"Well after a long day atop a horse, I figured that you would need a night to unwind, cool off, and get a little tipsy." Juliana held up her thumb and forefinger, indicating a small amount of space. Which happened to show just how tipsy I would get tonight.

"Well your in luck, Miss. Smith." I pulled my goggles over my eyes. "My parents happen to have a date night, tonight."

Before I heard her reply I trotted Belle over to 'Starting Gate'. I gestured Marty over. He was always watching me ride the horses, especially when I was on the track.

"What do you need Soph?" Marty asked as soon as he got to me.

"Can you do the start sound?" He knew what I was talking about.

"Sure, just gesture when your ready." I nodded to him.

I fixed my goggles over my eyes, circled Belle out of the gate before bringing her back in. My stomach was in knots. Belle's muscles were pulsating, quivering, and shaking underneath me. She stomped her hooves and as she waited. I took a deep breathe, got into my perch, and readied myself.

I nodded. That was the signal.

Belle snorted, stomped her hooves once more, shook her mane out, her nostrils flaired.

I waited, shaky hands, breathing deep, and looked ahead at the looming track ahead.

It was deathly silent before the ring sounded.

Belle immediately sprung forward, into her galloping stride. I kept my hands at her mane and held her back. My mom wanted her to be trained this way. Save energy in the beginning of the race, then bust with a bam near the middle of the race when everyone else started to tire.

I fed off Belle's muscles bunching, and un-bunching. The anticipation, the awakening of my soul connecting with hers as we soared above the dirt.

When we finally crossed over the 'finish line' I slowed her down. Her breathing matched mine.

Short.

Shallow.

Quick.

As I held on with one hand holding the reins, I pulled my goggles off my eyes, and finally circled back to where Marty was waiting for me. A huge smile on his face. I knew he would time that lap.

"How'd we do, Marty?" I asked. Marty walked next to Belle. His hand resting on my right thigh, I was now sitting on Belle. My knee's high in the air.

"The best time ol' Belle has ever ran." Marty said.

"No way." I rode her, on her best practice time...ever. I rode Belle off the track, onto the path that lead to the barn. Marty next to me the whole time.

"I'm not lying." He stopped and I stopped. We were at the entrance to the stables.

"Well, that's good." I smiled down at Marty. "Care to help me off?"

He was soon at my side, I was off the horse with my feet planted firmly on the ground.

"Thank you."

"No problem. Now why don't you run off with your friend. I'll get Belle taken care of." Marty was already walking into the barn, petting Belle on the neck and whispering things to her.

 

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