Hi there! My name is Melissa West, and I am the author of RACING HEARTS, book 1 in the Hamilton Stables series, featuring horseracing and a second chance at love.

When I set out to write RACING HEARTS, I knew I wanted to focus on a small, Southern town, and to do it, I needed to really think through the dynamics of a small town. I wanted the town to be clear as day in the reader’s mind. But as I started the story, I realized that something wasn’t right. I had my characters, but the voice wasn’t right, the interactions weren’t quite right.

And that was when I turned to country music.

See, I am a Southern girl through and through, but I’ve never been a country music fan. Something about the songs didn’t resonate with me, but writing isn’t always about what we, the author, likes. It’s about our characters, and my characters needed a solid country song…or a full playlist, as it turned out.

Here are the songs that helped me create RACING HEARTS and the town of Triple Run. Hopefully you’ll find yourself smiling and eager to dive into your next read, maybe even RACING HEARTS. 🙂


  1. Do You Think About Me? by Carrie Underwood
  2. Cowboy Take Me Away by The Dixie Chicks
  3. I See You by Luke Bryan
  4. Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift
  5. Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars
  6. Little Red Wagon by Miranda Lambert
  7. Automatic by Miranda Lambert
  8. Good Girl by Carrie Underwood
  9. Make You Mine by High Valley
  10. This is How We Roll by Florida Georgia Line

Racing Hearts5Racing Hearts

In the lush heart of Kentucky, the Hamiltons are horse racing royalty, born to produce champions. To win takes heart and soul—and to love takes the wild spirit of the land itself…

The oldest of three headstrong brothers, Trip Hamilton is considered the best horse trainer in the world. But he learned long ago to keep his focus on the horses and away from the riders. He’s seen the way heartbreak can waylay a career, and he’s determined not to risk it—until a stubborn, sexy rider thunders into his life, breaks his resolve, along with several of his rules, and takes his heart right out of the gate…

Emery Carlisle has a point to prove. She’ll be the first woman to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby, if only Trip will hire her, and let her ride the spirited colt she fell for at first sight. He won’t—unless she agrees to train with the horse at Hamilton Stables, under his guidance. It’s supposed to be strictly business, but as the race approaches, and their undeniable chemistry builds, Trip and Emery may be headed for the greatest win of all—as long as the losses of the past don’t gain on them…


MelissaWest.headshotAbout Melissa

Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and YA sci-fi romance, all with lots of kissing. Because who doesn’t like kissing? She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

Connect with Melissa at www.melissawestauthor.com or on Twitter @MB_West. And for sneak peeks at upcoming titles, prizes, and more, join Mel’s Madhouse: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MelsMadhouse