Hot, Wild & Crazy:Loving in Silver 8(8)

By: Lynn Stark

It didn’t take long to get the ponies ready for inspection. They chose those that were the gentlest and the most cooperative. Those that failed to meet those standards were left in the pasture. He and his partners had a thing for ponies. They were so darned cute. Ornery, too, but they overlooked those lesser qualities to give the animals a good, permanent home. The ponies wouldn’t be sold to anyone who couldn’t give them a quality life.

By the time Maggie arrived with her children they were ready for them. The ponies were now groomed and waiting in a white-board pen under three huge trees. The animals weren’t even disturbed when there were shouts and squeals of excitement from the three kids tumbling out of the SUV and heading for them.

It was an exciting hour, watching ponies and kids interact. Maggie’s children were very confident, and did have some knowledge of how to behave around the animals. Once they had gotten to the fence they had quieted down and the ponies had come over to investigate. It wasn’t long before saddles and bridles were on the ponies and Emily, Samuel, and Brant were riding around the inside of the paddock.

Max was impressed with their skill. They were very good riders for their age.

“Mommy, look at me!”

Maggie praised each child as they rode past her. There were moments she would have to remind them to pay attention, but overall they had the makings of eventually being very good riders. It just came with the territory. They lived in an area covered by ranches and farms, cattle, horses, and sheep outnumbering people by a thousand to one.

“You did a good job choosing which ponies to show them,” Maggie told Max as she stood beside him. “These three seem agreeable to be ridden. You’ve got yourself a deal. I’ll start on the mural in the morning. They have preschool tomorrow, so it’ll work out great.”

As Maggie and Max spoke, Sean and Ethan helped the triplets off the ponies. They handed over reins and each child led their pony into the barn where they would be unsaddled and groomed. He thought they were damned cute in their jeans, small Western boots, and hats.

Max was glad his lovers had taken the children away. It gave him a chance to get to know Maggie a little on his own. He moved closer to where she was still leaning on the fence. Inhaling, he thought he could smell raspberries. It was probably her shampoo. He could imagine burying his face in her thick curls and taking in the scent, as well as the one that was uniquely hers.

“We have a lot of stock coming in tomorrow. We’ll be there early, around seven.”

Maggie smiled and nodded. “That’ll work out just right. I’ll see you then.”

Ignoring the urge to bend down and kiss her, Max walked with her to the barn where Sean and Ethan were just coming out with the kids. They were still excited, full of energy, and he wondered how Maggie dealt with them all by herself. It had to be a rough job at times. Her parents were still alive and she did have good friends in Bambi and Amanda. They had been tight since grade school and nothing about their relationship had changed much, other than Bambi had married Eli James and Slade Jessop.

“Mommy, we have ponies!” The three swarmed her, hugging her legs as she bent over to give them a group hug and to place kisses on the top of each head. He saw that Ethan and Sean had taken charge of small straw hats. “Can we take them home now?” Emily asked eagerly, looking up at Maggie with eyes the same shade of green.

“Not today. We have to go home and start cleaning out the stalls. We have to put fresh straw down and we have to go buy buckets, brushes, and other things they’ll need. We’ll go shopping right now, okay?”

As he watched the three run off toward the SUV, Max turned to Maggie. “We’ll bring enough hay, straw, and feed over to keep them for a while.” Feeling emboldened by her friendly smile, he said as silkily as he could, “I’m looking forward to our date, Maggie.”

The bright smile grew wider, though she did blush a bit. “I’m looking forward to it, too, whenever it may be.”

Max winked, hoping he was being charming. “We’ll get back to you about that,” he said with what he thought was incredible smoothness. It would be embarrassing if he appeared to be just another big doofus.

Maggie chuckled and headed for the SUV. “You do that.”

Sean and Ethan were waiting for their turn. “It was nice to see you, Maggie,” Ethan told her, leaning close and giving her a look that made Max wince. Had he appeared that idiotic?

“It was nice to see you, too, Ethan. Thank you for helping my kids choose their ponies.”

She leaned into the SUV and began fastening in her children. They were still excited and chattering happily. When she straightened and closed the sliding door, she looked up at Ethan, her full lips twitching.