Sarah Colby believes in fairy tales and wants to find her Prince Charming. Encouraged by her girlfriends and a matchmaking aunt, Sarah sets out to catch eligible bachelor Lane Williams, a guy with an aversion to settling down.
A Bluegrass restaurateur and chef, Lane can’t be bothered with romance. He’s spent his youth taking care of and providing for his younger siblings. Clearly, the sexy, young woman, who wants only marriage and commitment, is trouble for Lane and his new freedom.
As the two work together to pull off a Kentucky Derby party for charity, Lane finds himself susceptible to Sarah’s charms…and much, much more.
Until you go to Kentucky and with your own eyes behold the Derby, you ain’t never been nowheres and you ain’t never seen nothin’. – Irvin S. Cobb
Learn more about the setting of Betting on Love
“A quick and pleasant romantic read.” Delores, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance Rated 3 Cups
BETTING ON LOVE
Downtown Louisville, Kentucky
Sarah Colby raised one eyebrow and gave a glassy stare to her former college roommates Kate and Tracy. She was so tired of it. They were at it again. Arguing. And, as always, about men.
Men are disgusting toads,” Kate announced in a shrill voice, swiveling her barstool back and forth. “You are naïve to believe in fairy tales. Kissing a man won’t turn a toad into a Prince Charming.”
“Lighten up, Kate,” Tracy chided. “You’ll discourage Sarah. She’s finally ready to look for her prince.”
The noise in the Fourth Street Live nightclub practically drowned out all thought, let alone conversation. The place was packed. With the Kentucky Derby almost three weeks away, people associated with the race were starting to arrive in town.
Sarah lifted her wine glass and sipped the smooth liquid. Tracy was right. Kate’s pessimistic remark wasn’t the kind of encouragement she needed, especially tonight when she’d decided to put her plan into action.
Sarah had always believed in fairy tales. And she wanted her own Prince Charming. What was wrong with that?
As a little girl she’d lie awake at night imagining him. He would walk toward her in her dreams with a warm smile on his lips and a tender look in his eyes. Tall. Dark. He’d put his arms around her and kiss her. Slow and easy. The image always faded with the kiss. But Sarah knew, just by that kiss that he was the man she’d marry.
The strange fantasy had stayed with her as she grew up. Maybe it was normal to want to feel cherished. After her mother died when she was only nine, she’d felt lost and alone as if a piece of her life was missing. Her father never made up for that loss, and neither did her business-like aunt who shuffled her away to boarding school.
Maybe a Prince Charming would fill that gap.
Restless, stifling a sigh and shifting on the bar stool, Sarah sized up her barhopping companions—Tracy, single but looking, and Kate, divorced but not looking. They were her best friends in the whole world and sorority sisters at the University of Kentucky.
Sarah ran her fingertip along the edge of her wine glass. She was ready. Hearing Tracy voice her desires made the knowledge settle deeper into her heart just as the wine settled into her head. At twenty-four, it was time to get serious. If she was ever going to find a man of her own, she needed to do something about it.
Kate might think her immature and naïve, but her mom had met her dad at a bar. So what if it had been New Year’s Eve and guys were kissing girls at midnight? Her mom had always told her she’d known she’d marry her father from that very first kiss as Auld Lang Syne was playing and balloons were falling from the ceiling.
“I doubt anything I say will scare Sarah off.” Kate said with a moan. “Women do stupid things where men are concerned. Look at me.”
Tracy turned her head toward Kate and rolled her eyes. “We’re not here for one of your pity-parties. We’re trying to help Sarah find her one-true love.”
“Excuse me.” Kate’s voice dripped with sarcasm.
“Cut out the bickering, both of you.” Sarah ordered, tugging on the skimpy, black dress that hiked up her legs. “We’re here celebrating the anniversary of Kate’s divorce, and I’ve made up my mind, I’m here to learn how to kiss frogs.”
“Toads,” Kate amended under her breath.
Tracy wagged a finger at Kate. “You didn’t think David was a toad when you married him.”
“Well, the jerk fooled me. He morphed from Prince Charming into a toad as soon as the wedding ring was on my finger.” Kate slurped down the rest of her pina colada and glared at them.
Sarah’s chest tightened. Her romantic heart knew there was a guy somewhere just for her. She didn’t want to believe all men were like Kate’s ex. She turned to Tracy for validation. “Tell me again how kissing a lot of guys will help me find the man of my dreams.”
Tracy leaned forward on her barstool. “It’s very simple, Sarah. To make sure you’ve found the right man, you need a point of reference. Because you’ve been so focused on school, you’ve not dated and therefore have no baseline. I guarantee your judgment about men is faulty.”
“There are no guarantees,” Kate grumbled into her empty glass.
“We know that.” Tracy waved Kate’s complaint away. “We’re being proactive.”
“And how many toads have you kissed?” Kate challenged with a glare.
Tracy frowned, her normal optimistic smile fading, and shook her head slightly. “Too many, I’m afraid.”
“And you haven’t found Mr. Right yet,” Kate pointed out.
“You don’t have to remind me.”
Sarah ignored Kate and focused on Tracy. “So, how do I start?”
Tracy swiveled around and surveyed the whole nightclub. “Check out that guy over there hitting on the blonde.”
Sarah studied the man in the low-rider jeans and the biceps-baring tank top. She didn’t think that guy was her type. “Looks rough to me.”
Kate wrinkled her nose in agreement. “By the looks of that guy, I guarantee he’ll be glad to let you practice on him.”
“Or there’s that hunk sitting beside you,” Tracy said, ignoring Kate’s comments.
Sarah turned and eyed the man hunched over his drink beside her. He seemed oblivious to the clamor around him, but she liked his clean-cut, Romeo good looks.
She sipped her wine. What were her options? If Aunt Amelia had her way, she wouldn’t be going back to graduate school this summer. Her former guardian and food critic wanted Sarah to do research for a regional cookbook she was writing. Not much chance of meeting Prince Charming if Sarah was stuck in a dusty library or behind a laptop working for her aunt. It was now or never.\
Besides she’d come dressed for the occasion, prepared to take that critical leap from fantasy world to reality. It was scary. She’d always been shy. Maybe that was the real reason it had taken her so long to look for Mr. Right. Or put off having sex like most college girls.
But now she was anxious to start.
Sarah drew a deep breath and released it. Then eyeing the loud guy who’d just been dumped by the blonde, she said to her friends, “Okay, ladies, time I kiss a toad.”