Hero Material

 Historical Romance 101 would tell you that every hero needs a horse. In my case, the heroine needed the horse. And against all odds, my hero just came through. Big Time.

I grew up with horses, and as a girl I was never so happy as when I was riding hell-bent and bareback across the pasture on my pony. There was a time I couldn’t imagine living without a horse. But then I grew up and life took over. While I certainly found a hero in my wonderful husband, horses haven’t exactly been part of our Happily Ever After. I took lessons for a while just to breathe that horsey smell, but when kids came and life got complicated, horses were the first thing to go. I promised my husband that I would not burden our family with the enormous responsibility of an animal that more or less qualified as a third child. But I never stopped dreaming.

And then I got backup. My two little girls have turned out as horse-crazy as I had once been.

And so I asked my hero, “What would it take to get a pony?”

“A million dollars,” came his answer. Which was hard to refute, because horses are ridiculously expensive to keep in Atlanta.

“What about a book deal?” I asked, tossing out the one crumb that *might* be more likely to come true than winning the lottery.

“It would have to be one hell of a book deal,” he said emphatically. Because after a year of solid rejections, I had finally been rather honest with my husband about my little hobby: chances were I would never recoup the money I had already spent on writing contest entries and business cards. But he agreed on an amount (which I suspect seemed unlikely at the time), and we more or less shook hands on the dream.

And then my fairy godmothers (a.k.a. Esi Sogah at Harper Collins Avon and my agent Kevan Lyon) came to the rescue, whipping out the book deal we had been dreaming of. My girls were thrilled, my husband wide-eyed. Holy crap. The McQuistons were getting a pony. My husband had promised. And he didn’t balk, though I suspect the idea terrified him a little.

Our new horse arrived today in a torrential downpour, looking bedraggled and confused but happy to be fawned over. Beaux Regard is an 8 year old registered paint pony (although he is a solid color, his parents were both paints). He is officially a pony, coming in at a sharp 14.2 hands. I pretend he’s for the girls, but I don’t deny I am as excited as they are. And my hero was there snapping pictures, every step of the way. My husband commented a moment ago about how smiley I looked in the pictures. Happier than even the kids, perhaps the happiest he’s seen me in a long time. And I just smiled some more.

Thank you honey. Now it’s a Happily Ever After.

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