Title: By Chance
Author: Sasha Kay Riley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 148 pages
Rating: C List
Blurb: Vincent Anderson has everything he thinks he wants: a job he loves, a girlfriend he feels comfortable with, and a horse that never lets him down. He successfully trains off-track Thoroughbreds at his dad’s stable, teaching them to do things other than race. When he’s not working at the stable, he trains with Xander, a rescued former racehorse turned talented show jumper—not that Vince takes him to many shows.
Everything changes when he hires a homeless drifter as a stable hand. Seeing the young man’s passion for working with horses, Vince takes him under his wing. But his passion for horses isn’t the only thing Vince notices about Dustin. This revelation leads to him to question his relationship with his girlfriend of two years.
As Vince learns to accept himself, he and Dustin grow closer. At the urging of his family, he agrees to try to make the United States Olympic show jumping team with Xander, and he hopes Dustin will travel with him as his groom. But first, Vince must confess his feelings before Dustin decides there’s no hope for romance between them and moves on.
Review: By Chance is a sweet love story, it’s a little short and the story is slow to start, but it is only book one. Nevertheless I enjoyed this tale; the characters are good and likeable. A somewhat interesting plot, if you’re a lover of horses you’ll enjoy this story all the more.
For me Vince comes across as being a little selfish, and doesn’t appear to take note of those close to him. He prefers to keep his feelings and fears to himself, in spite of his girlfriend knowing the man more than he does. I did feel a little sorry for Vince’s girlfriend, she has the patience of an angel. Now he’s not a bad man, not arrogant or rude, just a little slow at seeing the obvious until he meets Dustin. With Dustin, he notices much more than his good manner around the horses and keen workmanship. They form a bond as Vince takes Dustin on as a stable hand and trains him up. Vince loves working with the horses on his family’s farm, Anderson Stables, where they specialise in retraining and re-homing thoroughbreds – former racehorses. Vince has one special love, and that is Xander, who once was a failed racehorse that’s a now promising show jumper.
Dustin is a lonely teen, abandoned by his family when he comes out to them. He spends his winter living in the forest, when the spring comes around he decides to ask a local stable owner for some work; the owner Mark refuses to take him on. Vince and his father happen to be there, and that’s when Vince notices the young man and takes pity on him. Vince offers Dustin a job and a home, finally some hope for the teenager.
Vince has some decisions to make, and someone could get hurt whatever the outcome. He’s much better at being a boss than he is on an intimate level in personal relationships.
I felt a bit like I had been short changed here, just as the story was picking up some speed; it ended. I hoped that this was due to a sequel, which I now know to be the case. I am looking forward to the next installment of Vince and Dustin’s story.
Reviewed by Teddy