Hi! So I'm excited. This is my first time attempting a Phantom Stallion story - I've had the old series on my shelf for years and just a couple days ago I picked one of the books up and decided to re-read it. Thus, inspiring me to write this fanfic. I'm not exactly sure where it's headed, but I have a pretty good idea for the plot. Hope this first chapter gets you interested and wanting to read more. This is more of a prologue than a chapter, so it's a bit short. Hope you enjoy it and, if your heart so desires, leave a review once it's all read.

Chapter One

"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it."

- Danny Kaye

Sam took in a long, deep breath of fresh mountain air. Her deep brown eyes swept proudly over the gorgeous Nevada landscape, taking in the dry, flat desert and the outline of broad mountains that towered high in the distance. The first word that came to her mind as she surveyed the familiar terrain was one that brought a warm smile to her lips.


Six years.

It's been six years since she had last stepped foot on Nevada ground. Six long years in which she had escaped to Montana and fulfilled her four year college experience. Four years hadn't been enough though, and she hadn't been ready to come back. So instead, she had decided to stay two more years and become an intern at a wildlife refuge, spending her days helping abused and debilitated animals. It had been a wonderful and truly rewarding experience, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to get her to stay. Six years of being away from her family and her horses was long enough.

At the thought of her horses, Sam's thoughts began to drift to her stallion. Sam had never stopped thinking about the Phantom – even when she had been a thousand miles away in a totally different state, her beloved Blackie had never strayed too far from her mind. She had always kept the precious stallion near and dear to her heart, but even that couldn't keep her from missing him terribly. She couldn't help wondering if he was still strong and healthy, still a dominant leader of his herd. Just like her he had gotten older, and it worried her that a younger stallion might have challenged him and taken his place within the ranks. What if he was alone out there somewhere, wandering aimlessly across the desert plains? Sam shuddered inwardly at that thought and forced herself to think positive. Her Phantom had always been a strong one and she had no doubt that he was still leading his herd, wild and free out on the open range. If only there was some way…

Sam quickly shook away the ridiculous idea that had begun to form inside her head. No, there was no way she could just hop on a horse and ride around trying to find him and the herd. It's been six years, who is to say they were still hanging around the same place? And besides, she doubted he would still remember her, after all this time. He probably thought she had abandoned him, and in a way she had done exactly that. Six years ago she had abandoned not only her precious stallion, but her family, her friends. Jake.

Grimacing at the thought of her ex-best friend and, yes, lover, Sam glanced down at her worn out cowboy boots that miraculously still fit her after all these years, and let a sigh. Jake had been furious at her for her decision to leave, but more than that, he had been heartbroken. He had just confessed his love to her, the night of her graduation, which was also the same night she had lost her virginity. He had been the one to do it, of course. All along Sam had known that he would be the one. She had adored him ever since they had first met – it hadn't mattered that he had been a couple years older than her, or that the first words that had came out of his mouth was 'Hey brat', thereby branding her with that ridiculous nickname. She had always acted like she hated it, but deep down, she had adored it almost as much as she had adored the one who had called her it.

The night that she had told Jake she was leaving had been one of the worst in all her life. If it wasn't the first, it certainly made the top five. She would never forget the look on Jake's face when she told him she didn't have plans to attend the community college that was located about thirty miles from town, but a four year university in Montana. Hurt, anger, and more than that, betrayal, had seared straight through her soul when she had risked a glance into his eyes, and that was the first time she had felt her heart break. Truly break.

She had never meant to betray Jake. But staying in Nevada wouldn't have made her happy – she would have had Jake, yes, and her horses, but she had been hungry for more. She wanted to see more than just the flat desert landscape she had known mostly all her life. Montana had given her that, and much, much more. It had given her experience, and with it a spurt of happiness. If only Jake had understood her need for that, then maybe they never would have broken up. Maybe they would have remained best friends, even when living a thousand miles apart.

She had broken his heart. She knew that without a doubt, and in return her own heart broke at the realization. She hadn't spoken to him let alone written to him in six whole years, how would he react when she showed her face at the ranch? Was he even working for her father still, after all this time? Sam doubted it. He probably managed his own ranch now, or even moved away somewhere else, most likely far away to avoid seeing the likes of her ever again.

After a moment she rolled her eyes at herself. Don't be so melodramatic, she thought. Now that she was beginning to think rationally, she knew that Jake would never leave this place. Nevada was his home. Letting out another sigh, Sam turned back towards her old dusted-down truck. No matter how much she wished to just stare at the beautiful setting and watch the fading Nevada sun sink well beneath the clouds, she couldn't avoid the inevitable.

It was time to head home.

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