Christian Roberts, lanky, blond, and twenty-five-years-old, rents out small sailboats on Sarasota Bay. His peaceful life is shattered when he accepts a Thoroughbred colt from his estranged, dying father, an Ocala horse trainer. When Christian promises his father that he’ll race the colt, he’s plunged into the underworld of horse racing. To navigate his way he naively hires Ed Price, a heartless Miami trainer. And when his colt shows potential—and a surprising resemblance to Secretariat—a dubious, wealthy sheik wants to buy him, but Christian vows to keep his promise to his father. With a sizable debt still owed on the horse, Christian is forced to take out a loan, his only recourse, Vince, a New York mobster. If the money is not repaid on time, Christian’s life and that of Allie, his colt’s trainer, are threatened. To add to his roller-coaster of troubles, he also faces fraud charges since his father illegally registered the colt, and he is being stalked by a psychotic ex-girlfriend.
Klaus crams a lot into her debut thriller, which combines thoroughbred horse breeding, mob skullduggery, and a love-crazed stalker. When hunky Christian Roberts returns to the horse farm in rural Florida where he grew up, he finds his estranged father, Hank, dying. While he still has time, Hank entrusts Chris with an illegal clone of the all-time greatest race horse, Secretariat, hoping that his son will fulfill his dreams of racing glory. Chris begins uncertainly exploring the high-stakes world of thoroughbred racing, encountering the predatory trainer Ed Price in the process, while also trying to disengage from his violently unstable girlfriend, Kate. To finance his venture, Chris must borrow cash from gangster Vince Florio, but that soon has him piloting a speedboat out into the Gulf to pick up drug shipments. All these difficulties are worked out, perhaps too neatly; the story works much better than it has a right to thanks to Klaus's infectious love of the Florida setting, the horse-breeding milieu, and her handsome protagonist.