continued from previous page 

Our Entries:

(the following entries can be found on the first page)
Deb Meister's Desperate Hunger
Rachel Potter's Irish Eyes
Kyla Arden's A Waltz at Almacks!
Marianne Stillings' Love's Savage Gamble
Heidi Lyn's' Love at First Blight

(the following entries can be found on the second page)
Kathryn Lewison's The Missing Item
Blythe Barnhill's The Humanitarian Hero
Marianne Stillings' Parody in Death
Marcelle McCoy's Lord Leonard's Folly (Scene I)

(the following entries can be found on this page)
Anne Marble's Lady Jane and the Elusive Tome
Andrea Geist's The Introduction
Marcelle McCoy's Heavens Baby!
Doozie MacFloozie's Kitty's Illegitimate Baby Cowboy Twins, One With Amnesia
Violet Rupcich's Honey and Muffins
Andrea Geist's Brothers: The Cowboy

(the following entries can be found on the fourth page)
Susan Brewster's Olovia OR The Woman who Loved Men who Loved a Woman who Loved Men
Nancy Lepano's Murder in Mississippi
Anna C. Bowling's Too Stupid to Live
Victoria McManus' Pure Love

(the following entries can be found on the fifth page)
Lady Pen's Dear Romance Readers & Writers

Purple Prose as written by AAR Reviewer/AARList moderator Anne Marble:

Lady Jane and the Elusive Tome

1812

Clandestinely, stealthily, and surreptitiously, Lady Jane peregrinated into the dim room and fixed her gaze upon the shelves of tomes. She clutched her favorite book, her companion, her already threadbare copy of Peter Mark Roget's "Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases" to her bosom. This beloved volume was always with her. When she failed to think of a word, her dear, cherished, sweet Mr. Roget helped her.

Oh, goodness. Would someone espy her entrance or discover her presence? She passionately and even fervently prayed that she could arrive at a suitable excuse for her appearance in the library. Even more so, she hoped she could think of something to say without having to flip through the pages of her thesaurus. People looked at her so strangely when she did that.

After being expelled from his service, Lord Wordsmyth's greedy and avaricious valet had furnished her with a map of the collection of books. How fortuitous, and yes, lucky, that the valet had been secretly studying the art of collecting rare books in an attempt to make some extra money on the side! Jane thought of the map, recalling it with her extremely helpful photographic memory. The volume she was seeking should be on the third shelf down, near the window.

Jane simultaneously skulked, slithered, and crept to the window - through the pane of glass, she could see the bloodless whitened crescent of the moon outside, illuminating her path. Just then, she observed a tattered and threadbare volume. There it was! Aristotle's "Poetics" with the missing second book on comedies! Only it was no longer...well, missing.

She reached for the tome, but just then, a hand reached out and grabbed her. A disembodied hand?! Oh, it was attached to a body. That was a relief. But wait, it was attached to Lord Wordsmyth's body. And the brooding lord was glaring at her. Oh, no!

"What are you doing in my library?" asked he. Oh my, he was so direct.

Unable to help herself, Jane snapped open her beloved thesaurus. "I am." . flip, flip, flip. "endeavoring to find." .flip, flip, flip. "funding to assist my." . flip, flip, flip. "patriarch, who is." . flip, flip, flip. "recuperating from." . flip, flip, flip."an illness."

He seemed puzzled, bemused, bewildered, amazed. All of them at once. "You need to steal my Aristotle to pay your father's medical bills? Oh, posh! This book is priceless."

"He is very very." . flip, flip, flip.". ill." She sighed. "In fact, he is." She stole another glance at the page. "unwell, afflicted, and enervated."

Suddenly, with a sharp intake of his breath, Lord Wordsmyth gasped. "You know what enervate means!"

. flip, flip, flip. "Yes. Of course. Certainly."

He gazed at her, his gaze amazed. "But most of the women of the ton think that enervated means full of energy. But you know that it means to weaken."

"To lessen the vitality or strength of," she remarked. "My father." . flip, flip, flip. ".taught me well. He ensured that I had a very good ." . flip, flip, flip. ".vocabulary."

"I think I'm in love," Lord Wordsmyth whispered, speaking in a low voice. He grasped her hand, clutching it in his. "Would you like to become my bride? I'll make sure your father has the best medical care available. Oh, and we'll play word games all night long."

Jane felt the thesaurus drop to the floor. "Okie dokie!"

She gestured at the thesaurus, pointing at it with her free hand. "Wow! Looks like I don't need that thing anymore."

Author's Note Yes, I realize that Roget's Thesaurus wasn't published until 1852. Poetic license moved me to move the date up publication a teensy bit.

Purple Prose as written by Andrea Geist:
(Andrea has written a second parody, which you can link to here)

The Introduction

Serenity Patience Faith Arbothnot was the 34-year-old virgin, spinster daughter of the wealthy Duke of Forthtamshire.

When Serenity Patience Faith had been a young, nubile, fresh, and inexperienced seventeen-year-old heiress, she had had her season in London. Many suitors had courted her, no less than 3 Dukes, 5 Earls, 2 foreign Counts, and several lowly Viscounts had vied for her hand.

During the season she had danced in her virginal white dresses and sometimes racy, risqué pale pink gowns with many wealthy men. They were all rakes; they had many mistresses and all were badly in need of a rich, virginal heiress in a white or pink ball gown to save their family holdings.

Serenity would find herself growing embarrassingly moist when she danced with them. Her young fleshy globes of pale, full womanhood would yearn to press closer. She was embarrassed that her breasts were yearning mounds of womanhood that always seemed to yearn, and for men so unworthy.

So seventeen years passed, and poor Serenity was still a virgin. Still yearning. Still a embarrassingly moist, dried up prune of a spinster. On the shelf. A virgin. Her yearning melon sized globes of female flesh were about to wither on the vine of her spinster body. She needed to find salvation. Or at the very least find some young, poor, rake take matters in hand and stop this yearning, yearning, yearning.

Our hapless heroine decided she needed to ride her fine horse in the park. So she went riding, with out a chaperone (GASP); in the park. Of course it is a park with private admittance, only the wealthy and titled are allowed frolicking about in this park, so she should be safe from any unsavory elements. She just felt like a little adventure.

Quickly becoming bored with riding, Serenity delicately dismounted her sidesaddle. She considered riding astride but what if someone of the nobility saw her? And since only nobility was allowed in the park, it was a possibility. Oh the constraints placed on maids and spinsters were so unfair. Her lovely spinster lips, never touched even in a chaste kiss by a man, pouted as prettily as they could.

While she was pursing her lips, she sensed that she was not alone. Aside from the horse she was not alone. Aside from the birds and the squirrels in the park she was not alone.

She non-chalantly looked about the park. Her eyes widened like giant pools of spring water with innocent curiosity as she spied a handsome man, a very handsome man, a very, very, handsome man, staring at her. He was tall. He was tall and dark. He was tall and dark and handsome. That spelled dangerous. Well it didn’t actually spell dangerous, but our sweet heroine had been led to believe that Tall, Tall and Dark, Tall and Dark and Handsome meant danger.

“Hello,” she said, her eyes fluttering their lashes, “Are you following me about this exclusive park?”

He opened his perfectly formed mouth with strong looking lips on his rugged jaw, darkened by stubble, and said in the most deep, masculine of voices, “I say dear lady, have you something in your eyes?”

“Why, no sir,” pouting her pretty rose colored lips.

“Oh, well they were fluttering like butterflies wings, I was concerned for your eyesight. If I may be so bold, have you had some type of trouble?”

“Sir, it is not proper to be bold with a stranger.”

“Excuse me, but as a second son of an excessively wealthy and notable member of the nobility, I have chosen not to be proper. I am a disreputable second son, don’t you know?”

“Oh, I see. Are you also a rake? A rake of the first order? As opposed to a rake of the second order, I mean to say. A rake whom perhaps I should not be speaking to in the park? Alone? Unchaperoned?”

“Ah, you’ve heard of me then?”

“No sir, I just assumed you were a rake since you identified yourself as an improper second son of an excessively wealthy and notable member of the nobility. One can draw the logical conclusion that you are rebelling against the strictures of society since society places no value on your person. Due to your birth order in an excessively wealthy and notably noble family.”

“Did you just draw a logical conclusion?” He cocked one perfectly arched eyebrow on his forehead.

Her head down in shame she replied with a breathy whisper, “Yes, my sincere apologies, sir. I was indeed articulating a conclusion to a known outcome by following the vector of logic down the path of the standard regency romance formula.”

“Well stop it immediately! And don’t use so many big words either!” His hands were on his narrow hips below his broad chest. A riding crop was jutting out from one of his hands. Serenity hadn’t noticed the riding crop before; it added a debonair flare to his overall countenance.

“I asked if you had heard of me?”

“I am just a sheltered daughter of an overly protective Duke, of course I haven’t heard of you.”

“Well, I am notorious. You shouldn’t be speaking to me, it could ruin your reputation!” He smiled, his teeth gleaming white and perfectly straight. They were beautiful teeth.

“Well, you started this conversation, sir. I was just taking an innocent walk in the park.” His smile was causing Serenity’s breasts to start to yearn. Darn those unpredictable and uncontrollable breasts, they were smitten by his disarming smile and white, straight teeth.

Slade Rafe Falcon Parker, the disreputable second son of the Duke of SubWales, Count of Periodhamshire, and Earl of Leavenworth, found this spinster intriguing. She was also acting like a proper hoyden, out without a chaperon, drawing logical conclusions, and speaking with a man alone in the park. He found her beguiling.

This woman was different than any he had met before. She had purple eyes for one thing. He’d never seen purple eyes before, one would think purple eyes might be frightening, but on her they were rather lovely. Her eyes looked like a cornflower or a dark blue poppy.

She was dressed in a smart riding habit with an even smarter hat on her head. The hat had a purple feather to match her eyes and it curled down to her jaw line. She was the daughter of an over protective father who was a duke. That could only be one person. She must be the spinster daughter, only child of the wealthy Duke of Forthtamshire.

The Duke of Forthtamshire was his family’s mortal enemy. He would only be doing his duty to his family if he were to court her, seduce her, and then ruin her. What a delicious idea and a delightful way to past the time. His only regret was that she was a virgin. He really didn’t care for virgins preferring more skillful and experienced women. Oh well, the things one does for ones family.

“My dear lady, allow me to introduce myself.”

Purple Prose as written by Marcelle McCoy:
(Marcelle's earlier parody for this year can be linked to here

Heavens Baby!

"Oh Josie, I wish I had a big bouncing beautiful baby to love and cherish," Susie-Lizzie hobbled over to the sofa, pushed her spectacles back up her overly large yet dainty nose and sank her spaghetti thin frame down next to her best and dearest friend, Josie.

"Why, Susie-Lizzie what with your gammy leg, huge concord like nose and pancake flat chest, you'd have no trouble gettin' laid." Josie emphasised the last point with a determined nod of her head that sent turnip coloured ringlets cascading like a waterfall around her butt-ugly, yet strangely beautiful face.

"And not forgetting my pockmarked cheeks, Josie," Susie-Lizzie added, warming to the idea of actually getting laid.

"Yup. In fact, if you dress up like a stripper and go down to the locker-rooms of the Dallas Cowboys, you could be pregnant tonight Susie-Lizzie."

The music pumping rhythmically through the speakers had a thrumming, throbbing, pulsing (heck! orgasmic) quality to it as Susie-Lizzie gyrated her bony hips to the sensuous, sinuous, carnal beat.

Jockie 'Long Schlong' O'Leery heaved a long, drawn out sigh and shifted uncomfortably on the cold hard locker-room bench. Uncomfortable because the bench was hard and cold, or uncomfortable because his jockstrap had yet another case of grey mould. He couldn't tell. Maybe it was jock-rot. He had had a nasty shock when the woman and her friend had turned up. The two were so ugly they should have been drowned at birth to spare the human race from their collective ugly face. Eh, poetry in motion, Jockie chuckled to himself as he watched the one called Susie-Lizzie slide her panties down her chopstick shaped thigh, and over an incredibly sharp and bony knee that he bet could take an eye out if it had a notion.

Although she reminded him of the cruel nun at the orphanage he had fled from as a child, it was only natural for him to become turned on.

As she hobbled closer, her warm, lusty womanly scent greeted his nostrils. A smell that reminded him of Mother Superior's unwashed bloomers on a hot July afternoon. A smile spread slowly across his granite chiselled features as he felt his manly shaft harden and bulge out the top of his jockstrap.

Wow! He really likes me thought Susie-Lizzie as she reached down between Jockie 'Long Schlong' O'Leery's sweaty muscular thighs and ripped off his jockstrap. The rich, thick odour of sweat mixed with mould, mildew and urine drifted up and teased her senses. Mmmmm. The smell bought back fond memories of long, lazy summer days cleaning out Grammy Larkin's over crowded chicken coop.

Quickly, as quickly as her gammy leg would allow, Susie-Lizzie straddled him, taking him into her slick love tunnel, extracting every drop of the precious milky dew like an electric orange juicer.

"Touchdown!" Yelled Jockie as he found his release.

"Oh baby!" Yelled Susie-Lizzie.

Purple Prose as written by Doozie MacFloozie:

Kitty's Illegitimate Baby Cowboy Twins, One With Amnesia

Dear Editrix,

I have been a writer all my life and would really like you to give me money for my hard work. Here is a quick summary of my romance novel, Kitty's Illegitimate Baby Cowboy Twins, One With Amnesia.

It starts out with Kitty, who is a six-foot tall, size two model who has beautiful bone structure and big green eyes who thinks her breasts are too big and her hips too small. Kitty has to go out West for a photo shoot for Buttilicous Jeans, but her charter plane crashes and she is stranded in the Wyoming desert with only her makeup case. The pilot, Biff, a former stockbroker who made a million and then lost it, also survives, though his shirt is so horribly ripped up that he has to throw it away. Kitty can't help herself from staring at his chest, so finally she uses a Desert Peach lipstick to draw a smiley face around each of his nipples (the nipples are the noses). He is so aroused by the touch of her makeup that he immediately snatches the tube from her and applies it to his own lips.

Then they kiss, of course, and an incredibly sexy sex scene ensues in the grass, with a herd of wild Arabian horses galloping by on their way to drink at the beautiful waterfall.

Afterwards, unfortunately, Biff realizes that not only is he a crossdresser, but he is gay. It took Kitty's understanding conversation to make this clear to him, and now he knows he can be rich again because all of his problems are solved. So, sharing her makeup, they travel across the mountainous terrain back to civilization. Kitty almost dies of hypothermia and frostbite three times, but Biff manages to save her.

At last, they are rescued by a dark and handsome Park Ranger who eventually ends up with Biff. Kitty goes on to her jeans shoot and finds out she has lost her job. She is also pregnant, and has put on twenty pounds in all the wrong places.

Kitty's only solution is to bear Biff's children and then train them to support her in her infirmity. She hides in the empty bunkhouse of a giant cattle ranch in Oklahoma, where she is discovered by the Hero, Willy, who it turns out is a Cattle Baron and the owner of Buttilicious Jeans who she met at the beginning of the book and who she fell in love with, and her disappointment on being spurned is why she had a fling with Biff, the crossdressing gay man with amusing mannerisms.

Willy takes Kitty in to be his housekeeper, but he eyes her lecherously. One day, Kitty can't stand it anymore and flees. She gives birth to twins, Rod and Shaft, in the shade of a saguaro cactus and raises them to be teenage rodeo stars. Sadly, Shaft is thrown from a maddened bull and hits his head, forgetting his beloved mother and brother! He wanders the desert until he is taken in by Willy, who recognizes Shaft's resemblance to his mother and realizes his eighteen-year search is over. But Shaft has amnesia, so cannot tell Willy where Kitty is.

There is some plot, and then with the help of Biff and his Park Ranger, Willy and Kitty are happily reunited. They have bubbling sex near the geysers of Yellowstone while the happy twins, one amnesiac and one not, feed the bears. Afterwards, we know that Kitty is pregnant again! This time with triplets!

As I know you will want to buy my story immediately, rather than just a sample chapter I have enclosed all 27! The layout is already done in a very romantic font and I will ship the oil paintings for the cover and illustrations separately. When they arrive, you'll be all ready to send my book to the printer immediately!

Congratulations on purchasing my novel.

Sincerely and romantically yours,
Doozie MacFloozie

Purple Prose as written by Violet Rupcich:

Honey and Muffins

Honey Sweetheart saw him from across the room. She doubted there was anyone there who had not made note of the broad-shouldered fellow. He stood out like a turkey amongst peacocks. His brown hair was unpowdered, his clothes were too big (as though they had been borrowed from a heftier person and one with atrocious taste in clothing at that) and his face was weathered, scarred and chiseled.

There was a certain appeal to him, though. Was it the stories his face hinted at: the hard life, adventures. Was it his sherry brown eyes that had her suddenly harboring the urge for a drink? Or perhaps even the primal attraction that oozed from him as he shifted his position, the kind that promised sexual fantasies and fulfilled them?

No. It was his nose! His nose was-big! Wasn’t it supposed to be relative to the size of his-no, no, wait-it was the hands that were used to measure a man’s manly potential. Darn! His hands were in his pockets. Feet should probably follow the same rule, shouldn’t they?

Honey attempted to catch a glimpse of his feet through the crushing crowd. She moved closer. She noticed that Mary Easylay was attempting to peek into his pockets. The slut!

Honey picked up speed-she had to move fast. Suddenly, like the parting of the Red Sea (or Mary Easylay’s legs) there they were, his feet. They were veritable skiffs! Hot damn!

Honey’s training in lady’s school came in handy as she accidentally tripped and fell against the man. The hard-bodied, muscle- rippling, swift- reacting and well- endowed fellow with the large, strong and capable hands. They were callused, too. Did that have any bearing on the rest of his anatomy? Honey felt goose bumps jostling for space on her skin. A delicious heat swirled in her nether regions. She was becoming quite giddy. She practically swooned in his arms, vaguely registering Mary’s pout of frustration.

“Are you all right?” He asked as he attempted to put her back on her own two feet. Her feet were not the problem, it was her knees-they were boneless jelly. She kept toppling back into his arms.

Manly Studmuffin was becoming annoyed at the floppy female in his arms until he got a whiff of her womanly aroma, the scent of her aroused passion. A smell so heady that his manly manhood sprang to attention with an abrupt swiftness which brought him pain-he dropped the woman and she lay stunned on the floor. He could take her now, he was so hot and hard, he could start and finish before anyone knew what had transpired. Including her.

Too late! She sat up, her eyes reeling and crossing yet managing to convey her annoyance. He looked into those rolling, green eyes and found himself enchanted with her quaint flirtatious ways. Manly picked her up, knowing how much women liked to be swept off their feet, and carried her out into the moonlit gardens for their passionate romp. He was more than able and willing to accommodate this hot, passionate vixen with her wily ways and red hair. His need to imbed himself within her hot, moist, welcoming sheath was becoming very painful. He started to limp. He tripped and fell atop her.

Ooommph! Honey’s eyes almost popped out of her head as the air was momentarily expelled from her body. The result, however, was that her body was tingling and she was seeing stars! Was this what she had been waiting for? They were very pretty stars and the feeling of breathlessness and the lightheaded, weightless buzz in her head was definitely unique. Somehow it just didn’t come close to what she had been expecting. She was vaguely (very vaguely) aware of him - what was his name? - between her legs. When she was able to think and breathe again, she realized that he had accomplished the act of sexual gratification without any participation from herself. He had been in and out before she had time to enjoy or dislike or comment on what had passed. This was most unfair!

She lay there, floundering, her mouth agape, her legs still splayed wide as she tried to understand how this could happen. He was grinning smugly as though he had just bestowed her with a wondrous gift. Honey thought it safe to assume that, whatever it was, she had never received it. Or, at least, she didn’t think she had but then she had been witless but a few moments ago. She was still waiting for it-whatever it was.

Her eyes drifted down to his flaccid-tool of pleasure? Immediately, as though she had the power to conjure life, it rose and stood to attention.

Coming to a sudden decision, so suddenly that Honey had no idea where it had come from, she grabbed his partly undone shirt front and pulled him to her, nose to nose.

“This time,” she ground out, her eyes flashing magnificently, “you will see to it that I enjoy the act as much as or more than yourself, do you understand? And,” she continued forcefully, forestalling his attempt to interrupt, “if you do not ensure this, I shall rip your manhood from your body and feed it to the dogs. Do I make myself clear?”

Manly simply nodded, his passion rising with her aggressiveness, and set about fulfilling this new and challenging task.

Two hours later, they entered the ballroom separately, each with a flushed and contented countenance.

Honey sought out the hostess, Virginia Love, and asked her to introduce her to the fashionably illiterate but oddly appealing fellow in the ill-fitting apparel.

“Honey Sweetheart,” Virginia began, pretending she didn’t notice the odd grass stain on their clothing or the whisker burn on Honey’s face, “may I introduce you to Manly Studmuffin.” Virginia tried not to be too obvious as she peered at his neck. There were purplish hickeys on his neck, Honey must have been sucking quite passionately-perhaps, she had been trying to draw blood. Virginia had heard of Manly’s less than satisfactory ways in gratifying a woman’s needs.

At last, Honey thought, I know his name. She smiled. The rest was a piece of cake. Or a muffin.

Her muffin.

The End

Purple Prose as written by Andrea Geist:
(Andrea's earlier parody for this year can be linked to here)

Brothers: The Cowboy

Mamie Jones pulled her mini-van to a stop and opened her door. Checking herself in the mirror, she pinched her cheeks for color. With a deep breath for courage, she walked to the front door and knocked. Getting no answer, she followed the sounds around to the back.

There he was. Her one true love, Max Martin. He was dressed in worn blue jeans sporting several holes and a dirty white T-shirt. She watched as he removed his cowboy hat and finger combed his beautiful ebony hair away from his beard stubbled face. His eyes glowed a crystalline blue. His nose was a sharp blade down the center of his face, his lips so full and kissable.

Turning and seeing Mamie, Max reached her side in two very long strides.

“Never thought to see you again,” he said in a throaty, sexy, masculine voice.

“Well, here I am.”

Grabbing her arm, he pulled her away from the corral where he had been taming the un-breakable horse. As he was about to speak, an Arab sheik rode by in gleaming, clean white robes, on a white Arabian horse.

“Who was that?”

“Oh, my half-brother, Shah.”

“I didn’t know you had a half-brother.”

“Several, as a matter of fact. Cougar is around here someplace, he’s a Navy Seal.”

Mamie raised her eyebrows, “Really, where is he?”

Scratching his firm jaw line Max said, “Who knows? He’s so good at war and underwater demolition, and camouflage, we could be standing on him.”

Mamie looked down at her feet, searching for the illusive navy seal brother.

“You won’t see him. And he wouldn’t even let you know if you were standing on him. Seals are good at dealing with pain. Kind of like the cowboy you’re talking to.”

Eyes welling with glistening drops of tears, like dew in the morning, Mamie said, “Why would you be in pain? Who hurt you, Max?”

“You did, Mamie. You did.”

“I did?”

“Heck fire, yes! What do you expect? After a night of the most incredible sex in my life you just up and leave.” Max looked out to the distance remembering. It had been the best sex of his life. Slow and gentle, fast and hard, rough and ready. It had been slow and fast, gentle and hard, and ready and slow. It had been pretty damn good.

“You just left. I heard you sneaking out of the ranch house. How could you leave me like that? I was so hard I couldn’t stand it! I could have made love to you at least six more times that night.”

“Well, I was sore, Max.”

“That’s no excuse, Mamie. So why are you here?”

Max’s brother Shah ran back by on his horse toward a gleaming white tent?

“Where is he going?”

“Probably home. See that tent,” he pointed. “It’s where he prefers to stay, says the ranch house doesn’t give him enough freedom. He’s a nomad.”

Mamie nodded and followed his arm to see the next tent.

“That tent holds all his loyal retainers and servants,” pointing to a blue tent.

“What’s the tent done up in primary colors?”

“Ah, well that’s Shah’s harem and nursery. All his wives and concubines, children and bastards lived there.”

“Didn’t they want to live in the house?”

“Of course they did. But you know how I hate children!” Max looked at her pointedly.

“That’s why I had to leave you, Max. Do you think there will ever be a chance you’ll want children?”

“Not in this lifetime, Mamie. I’m just not father material.”

Mamie thought she would break down and sob. She’d come all this way with Max’s surprise triplets, a dog, and a pregnant cat, to tell him something important. She needed to tell him he was a father and ask for his help. Getting Max to help protect her from the fiends who wanted to kidnap her was going to be hard enough, but she also had three unwanted children in the mini van.

“Max, I need your help. Some fiends have been trying to kidnap me.”

“I’ll protect you, Mamie. I’m a cowboy. With my brother the sheik and my other brother, the navy seal, why you’ll be as safe as a tick on a coon dog.” He patted her back reassuringly. Just the touch of her back made him so hard his zipper broke on his jeans. Damn, he was hard on jeans. “But there is a price.”

“There is?”

“Yep. And you’ll have to pay it, sweetheart.”

“But I don’t have any money Max. I think I’m going to start sobbing now. Please hold me in the safe haven of your strong, muscular arms,” she cried.

Max clutched her to him, chest to chest. He could feel her heart beating like a quarter horse. “What is it Mamie? There is something else you’re not telling me.”

“You may not want to help me, after you see what I have in the mini-van parked in front of the ranch house.” She sobbed all over his dirty white T-shirt, getting it wet with her tears.

“Well, let me be the judge of that Mamie. Let’s go check the mini-van.”

Walking away from the corral with his price stud horse and the unbreakable tamed horse, Max went around to the front of the house. He saw a purple mini van with a bumper sticker that said ‘soccer mom’ on the back. His heart pounding with dread or excitement, he wasn’t sure which but it was pounding, he strode over and looked in the open window.

Three pairs of glowing crystalline blue eyes stared back at him. Three faces that looked just like his, three bodies dressed in little cowboy outfits with hats and cap guns in holsters sat in the car.

“These are your children, Max. I knew I had gotten pregnant that night. That’s why I left you. I knew you didn’t want children.” Mamie’s face still was fresh as a daisy on a sunny day as she cried, “But I was hoping you’d change your mind.”

“My children? Oh, Mamie, I love you!” He wrapped his long arms around her and picked her up, twirling her around in his joy. “Thank you for giving me this gift.”

“I thought you didn’t want children?”

“I’ve changed my mind, seen the error of my ways. I’ve been a fool, Mamie.” He gave her a hard long lingering kiss. “Now introduce me to my kids.”

Mamie pointed through the window. “That’s Donny, he’s four. That’s Joey, he’s four and that’s Max Junior,” she sobbed tears of relief and joy. “Max Junior is three.”

“Donny and Joey are four and Max Junior is three?”

“It was a long hard labor.”

“I wish I could’ve been there for you, Mamie.” He cupped her face in the palm of his work-roughened hand.

There was a movement in the dirt at their feet. A handsome man who looked a lot like Max moved with grace of a predator, like the Cougar he was nicknamed after.

“Mamie, this is my brother, Cougar.”

“Congrats, brother,” he said slapping him on the back. “I just wanted to give you my best. I’ve got to go, I was just called up to rescue some Ambassador’s daughter from terrorists.”

A helicopter flew overhead and dropped a rope. Cougar grabbed the rope and jumped, starting to climb. He yelled down, “Take care of Shah, I think he’s in love with your housekeeper.”

Max and Mamie, holding Donny and Joey and Max Junior in their arms, waved farewell. Max turned and looked at his new family. “I love you, and now we’ve set up the next two books in the series.” He grinned his devilish smile and lead his family into their ranch house, their home.

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