Except for the dreary February weather, life was perfect. Absolutely, fantastically, completely—perfect. Today, my dreams could come true. Today, Selah would show Sweet Dream in the biggest horse show in Texas. And today might be the day she signed the movie contract for her and Dream to make a movie about their life. “You’re going to be a star,” she said to her reflection as she finger-combed her blonde hair and fixed a basic ponytail. “And Dream will be a famous horse star.” She imagined people wanting her autograph. She’d have to guard the horse so no one snipped a wisp of her pink mane. It all started when her instructor, Jordan, made that training DVD of her riding lessons on Sweet Dream. When they posted it on social media, people quickly labeled it Cuteness Overload, and soon, it went viral. Then, after the wife of a movie producer watched Selah and Dream at an exposition, everything got supercharged. “Me—famous. Doesn’t feel real. Pinch me.” On a day like today, she needed the perfect socks. It was a long- standing family conviction that mismatched socks were lucky. She hummed a happy tune as she tugged on one sock embellished with white unicorns and the other stamped with black horse heads. Balancing on the edge of the window seat, she admired her socks. “Sweet.” She tapped her toes, flipped them outward and together again. Out her second-story window, two horses slept in the dormant Texas Bermuda grass with their legs tucked near their bellies, and Sweet Dream’s nose rested on the ground. The morning vapor shrouded the trees in wet mist while the sun gently lifted the night’s shade. When a sure sign of spring, a robin, dropped to the ground near Dream, she jerked awake. The glossy black mare threw her head high and lunged to her feet. A snort accompanied her panic. Dream’s pasture mate, Buddy, rolled to his side and stretched out flat. The brown and white Paint was Grandpa’s old show horse. Less than a year ago, Selah tracked down the gelding and brought him home. She’d hoped Grandpa would ride with her, but he’d gotten remarried instead. It worked out. Selah’s family moved to the farm, and Grandpa and Grandma Katie lived on the farm next door. Selah smiled at the rumble her two little brothers made scrambling down the stairs to breakfast. Living at the farm ballooned her heart with joy. She blew a kiss through the window to her equine pasture treasures. The aroma of bacon drew her downstairs. The kitchen had gotten a fresh coat of paint, and, thank goodness, Mom had replaced Grandpa’s ancient, three-tiered puffed curtains. Eight- year-old Davy and five-year-old Michael crowded together on one chair. Their heads tilted back, they dangled a piece of bacon and chomped like alligators. When Dad frowned at them, they turned into little gentlemen. Mom slid eggs from a frying pan with her back to the comedy. Dad gathered his coat and his keys. “We’ll drive in on Saturday and Sunday to see you show. Have fun, but stay close to Jordan. And please, take it easy on your grandpa.” When the phone rang, he gestured to Selah. “Pick that up, would you?” “Bye, Daddy. Love you.” She waved at him. “Who would call so early?” When she heard the movie producer’s voice, her grin widened, and she wiggled her toes in her lucky socks. She held her hand over the mouthpiece and whispered to Mom. “Miss Cindy.” She air-tapped at the phone like a woodpecker going after a beetle. Her mouth stretched wide in a silent scream. Mom lifted Selah’s chin to close her gaping mouth. “Boys, go find something to watch on TV,” Mom whispered. “For real?” Davy didn’t wait for her to change her mind. Michael grabbed a piece of bacon for each hand before he raced after his brother. Selah punched the button to put Miss Cindy on speaker so Mom could hear. “Contract! Today!” Selah’s fists pumped the air. Without breath, she could hardly push out her words. “It’s so exciting. We’ll be movie stars.” “Are your parents available?” “Yes, ma’am. Mom’s here. She can hear you.” “Very good. When the contract arrives, your parents need to take it to a lawyer.” Selah fanned her hand, imagining a movie star about to faint. “So exciting.” “How did you get along with the script exploratory team?” “We had tons of fun. They were crazy nice. They followed me and Sweet Dream around everywhere. Asked a million questions.” She managed to breathe so she could continue. “Interviewed Grandpa too. He doesn’t want to be in a movie but thought I was a natural. They thought Grandpa was a hoot and told me they got some great ideas.” “You completely charmed them. They said your grandpa was quite the character, but they were enormously leery of the horse.” Cindy’s contagious laugh had a charm of its own. “Sweet Dream and I understand each other. The team wants the movie to open with a scene about how I found Dream tangled in wire with the buzzards after her. I don’t see how that can work because Dream freaks at even the shadow of any bird—even a robin.” Selah rattled on while wishing her voice didn’t sound squeaky. She was a mature thirteen, but she sounded like a five- year-old shopping at the Breyer Model Horse Fest. “They wouldn’t do anything to scare or injure her. They have their ways of getting the scenes they need. A stunt horse, trained to do specific things, will handle many of the scenes, anyway.” She nodded along. “That makes sense.” “They are working hard on final edits and expect to be ready to roll soon. I’m setting up the screen tests for an actress to play you. Especially excited about two young actresses who are excellent riders. Once this last of winter blows through, I’ll bring them to meet Dream before we finalize the selection.” “To play me?” Selah’s spirit crumbled like burnt bacon bits. Her head itched right over her ear. “I thought—I would be me.” Once she started scratching, other spots needed the same treatment. “Not just anybody can ride Dream.” She sounded whiny now—worse than squeaky. “We’re buying your story, but I’ll hire a professional actress for your character. Besides, didn’t you tell me when you made the horse training DVD, your nerves were so bad the camera crew had to keep stopping?” She sagged against the wall. “Well, yeah, but Mr. Cooper scared me before I got to know him. I don’t throw up during filming anymore.” I know I can do it.