Coldwater Creek South

The secluded farm had started life as Winter Park Stables, a secluded 120-acre plot of ground nestled under the cool blue skies of Ocala.  The Westbrook family had purchased the land in 1976, adding an additional 230 acres and renaming it The Manor.  It later did business as Spindletop Hall, but after the operation folded in 2005, the farm had slipped into quiet slumber, resting, waiting.  Dreaming of horses, too, I figured.  And oh, I could tell it had been grand in these past lives.  When Liz stopped the car near the racing barn, I stepped out onto the soft dirt of overgrown walking paths and gazed across endless, rolling expanses of lush green paddocks, overgrown with clover and wildflowers that leaned thick and casual against weathered black fences.  The main barn stood empty, its still air thick with dust and cobwebs.  My eyes were drawn to the cupolas that graced its high roof, and I saw the morning sun catching twinkles of bright stained glass still fixed there; reflections of past glory.  I grinned when the glass flashed cobalt blue.

Coldwater blue.

“You’re crazy,” Elizabeth said, but I didn’t favor my sister with a glance.  Those blue twinkles were filling my eyes, filling my dreams.  “You know this, right?”

“What’s crazy about starting a new farm?”  I stepped forward into the tall grass, breathing deeply of its sweetness.  “Shanthi’s got an incredible operation here.  She’s invited us to be a part of it before, you know.  We should have taken her up on it.  There’s a lot of opportunity.  I’ve always wanted a place in Florida, anyway… and geez, just look at this farm!”

“I’m looking at it,” Liz muttered, and followed me towards the pasture fence.  “Jen, listen.  You’ve put years and years into Coldwater Creek, and it’s one of the strongest operations in Web Runners.  Falling Star is going great up there, too.  Besides, Kentucky’s home.  Why on earth do you want to start all over again?”

I wrapped my hands around the fence post.  The wood was warm and inviting in my grip.  “The challenge, I guess.  The excitement.  You know as well as I do, there’s nothing like horse racing.”

She smiled, just a little.  “You do know what you’re getting into?”

“I do,” I grinned back.  “So, what do you think of Coldwater Creek South?”

“I think we’re lucky there won’t be any horses here for a couple of months,” she laughed.  “Come on, nut.  We’ve got a farm to fix up.”