When the story opens, Summer's father is dead. Although he was an out of control alcoholic, Summer blames herself for not being able to save him. Likewise, she blames the farm owner, Ned, believing that telling her father he couldn't work with the horses killed him. In the opening scene, Summer's guilt drives her away from Ned and his lovely farm into the arms of Davis Clayton, a charismatic racehorse driver much like her father. Choosing Davis over Ned sets the stage for the near tragedy that follows.
Summer's internal conflict affects everyone in the novel, Ned, Davis, and even her enemy Max Schiller. The major external conflicts in the story revolve around Summer's desire to get her trotter, Meadow, to the Hambletonian Oaks. How Summer and the people around her respond to this conflict is driven, not only by Summer's internal conflict, but by the needs and desires of those around her. How she resolves her issues involves more excitement and romance than most of us experience in the real world, but isn't that what makes a romance novel such a good escape?