CAROL MCPHEE'S LOVE, LAUGHTER AND ADVENTURE NOVELS

Strong, smart, sensuous heroines; heroes to die for.

NATURAL PERSUASION

 

Ever wonder about the stories behind the personal ads? Here is one of them.

The 'best before' date on Julia Reagan’s biological clock is rapidly approaching. In desperation, she responds to a personal column ad from a rancher wanting a partner to produce an heir.

Jordan McIntyre needs an heir. A liaison with someone local is not in the cards, hence he advertises for a woman to co-parent with him. When Julie, who has been researching artificial insemination, applies, he finds himself physically drawn to her. A normal male, he wants intimacy. He invites her to his ranch, his intention being to convince her their goals could be mutually achieved.

Resisting her attraction to Jordan, since he not interested in a deep emotional attachment, she clings to her idea of artificial insemination, but sees a visit to his ranch as a way to persuade him to donate sperm to her cause. The question becomes: which one will succumb to the other’s persuasion?

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EXCERPT: "Hello, Dana? Can you come down? I really need to see you!" Julie Reagan hand trembled while holding the receiver. "I've done something so stupid I can't believe it."

"I'm on my way!"

Two minutes later, her heart beating ridiculously fast, Julie paced the hall in front of her apartment threshold.

Dana, dark ponytail bobbing, breezed down the stairs and stepped inside. "What this about being stupid? You're too methodical to do anything dumb."

Julie flipped back her coppery bangs and closed the door. Leaning against the foyer wall she folded her arms. "Dana, did you see yesterday personal column in the newspaper?"

When she nodded, Julie pointed to the edition spread wide on the kitchen chrome table.

"I always read that column after I scan the front page. Some of the letters are real dorky. Why do you ask?" Dana yanked out a chair and plopped down. "Well? C'mon; out with it."

"I want you to read an interesting letter that in today." Julie slid onto the chair opposite her friend.

"There usually are a few intriguing ones; that why I read them." Dana raised an eyebrow. "Just be glad we're not so desperate we have to advertise for a mate."

"Speak for yourself; you're engaged. No one rings my bell." Julie hesitated, then stared straight into Dana questioning eyes. "One letter was so compelling, I answered it."

"Tell me you're kidding." Dana sat up straight, her blue eyes widening with disbelief. "You're not kidding. Which one did you answer? No, let me guess." She hunched over the paper with keen interest, her finger
slowly guiding her through each block of letters.

Julie watched Dana concentration, then noticed her friend finger pause and slide back up the column, landing on the very ad Julie had answered.

"That one!" Dana eyes sparkled with certainty.

"You're right. How did you know?"

Dana tamped down her enthusiasm and looked thoughtful. "Because you've been talking about having a baby." She shifted her glance from the paper to Julie face. "Did you give the guy your real name when you
wrote to him?"

"No. I signed it LFC."

"Good. What does that stand for?"

"Longing for children, which is what I am. I didn't want to give my name."

"At least this guy doesn't beat around the bush. He lays out what he wants, and he not gross about it. You're direct by nature, too, Julie. That why you picked this letter." Triumph shone in Dana eyes. "He says
he wants children. You're shy. Could you go to bed with a guy you haven't known for a long time?"

"Dana, he doesn't say it has to be through intimacy. I can't imagine sleeping with a stranger; I'm interested in Artificial Insemination. Maybe he'd be willing to settle for being a sperm donor. He appears to
be straightforward, but there no way of telling what he has in mind unless I meet him."

EXCERPT 2: Jordan decided his best vantage point to survey his next personal ad applicant for producing his heir was from the front seat of his rented black Cherokee. He parked it opposite the motel restaurant entrance. The women he had previously interviewed had not impressed him. Two shocked him with their blatant flaunting of sexual expertise, one reeked of alcohol, one chattered incessantly, and the other two lacked any sign of a pleasing personality. It was downright discouraging to come all this way for nothing. I just want someone easy to look at who would be compatible and cooperative. Ah... this whole idea is absurd. What was I thinking when I let Cam talk me into it? It nothing but a colossal waste of time.

Jordan thoughts ground to a halt as a taxi drew up to the restaurant door and a tall woman leaped from the back seat. As soon as her feet hit the ground, she screamed at the driver and flailed her arms in the air.

The furious female slammed the door, giving it a swift kick. The vehicle lunged forward, spinning its tires. Jordan didn't think he wanted to hear her words, judging by the explosiveness of her tantrum. The wrinkled navy trench coat, dragging down to her ankle, projected a scruffy appearance. A ridiculous floppy knit hat, pulled over her ears, hid all but her reddish bangs and a few straggly ends of hair.The largest sunglasses he had ever seen perched precariously on thetip of her nose. Her slender finger quickly shoved them in place.

The thought crossed his mind that perhaps she was a bag lady, one of those hapless creatures that roamed Vancouver streets with all of their belongings crammed tightly into whatever they could find. The large, beige cloth bag hanging over her shoulder swung wide as she opened the door and entered the establishment.

Jordan waited, expecting to see the woman tossed out on her ear. Scowling when it didn't happen, he glanced at his watch. Ten-twenty; his lady was a no-show.

Disgruntled and tired, yet curious about the outlandishly dressed patron, his parched throat called for a drink. Resigned to not meeting with his prospect, he ambled across the parking lot and walked inside.

His eyes skimmed the cheery, crowded dining area to see what had happened to his "bag lady." There she was--the only female present--slouched in a booth facing the door. She had carelessly flung the god-awful hat on the seat beside her. A mass of copper curls tumbled in complete disarray onto her shoulders. With her head hung low, Jordan couldn't see her face. Suddenly, a startling thought crossed his mind. He inhaled sharply and walked in determined strides to her table on the hunch she might be the woman he had scheduled to meet.

"Excuse me. LFC?" Hands clenched by his sides, he stared down at the woman scrunched almost into a ball. She peered over the top of her sunglasses and gasped. Her lips pursed into an inviting little "O" of
surprise.

"Y-Yes," she croaked. She coughed to clear the scratchy sound and whispered, "Are you, Mr. McIntyre?"

"I'm Jordan McIntyre." He tossed his Stetson onto the empty bench and immediately squeezed in opposite her, trying to penetrate the reflection from her dark glasses. "And you're real name is...?"

"Er... Julia... R-Reagan."

He tilted his head toward her. "Do you suppose you could remove those?"

She hesitated, looking around the room first, then pushed the sunglasses to the top of her head. Stunned by the sea-green depth of her almond-shaped eyes, he couldn't speak for a moment. He couldn't even remember the initials he had just uttered. When he realized he'd lost himself in her gaze, he came to his senses and leaned back, running his forefinger around the neck of his blue pinstriped buttoned-up shirt. This is the woman who wouldn't enclose a photograph of herself? Unbelievable!

"This is a nicely decorated restaurant; have you been interviewing other applicants here?" she asked with an eye-to-eye stare.

"No. I met the others downtown. I figured you for an introvert because you didn't talk much on the phone. It seemed more suitable to pick someplace quiet, yet not isolated. Anyway, I needed a change myself."

Jordan was glad he had chosen this pleasant setting as opposed to the bland coffee shop where he had spent the last few hours. The green-papered walls bursting with small pink and white flowers offered a homespun atmosphere here. Just what he needed to rest his shattered nerves. By the look of this woman fiddling with her purse strap, she could stand to relax as well.

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Carol McPhee: Strong, smart, sensuous heroines, heroes to die for.

 

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