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                                WILLIE, MY LOVE


 NOTE:  Rough-and-tumble tomboy, Wilhelmina Wydcliffe, [the heroine],
                meets sea captain, Jonathan Wain, [the hero], but neither
               identities are revealed upon their first encounter in the forest.

    The big man moved closer, obviously following an instinctive urge to get a
closer look. “Listen, son, my backside is raw from the saddle. I'm tired. I’m
hungry. And my patience is about worn thin.” He paused. “Let’s start with the
truth. I’d hate to have to dust your britches.”
      Willie gasped and pulled herself up to her whole five-feet four-inches.
“Listen up yourself. I appreciate your help, but I don’t make it a habit of
answering questions from strangers, despite the condition of their
backsides.” Lips thinned in irritation, she waved a hand toward the clearing.
“And you'd best hightail it out of here. You're trespassing. This is private
      The big man kicked the ground with the toe of his boot. There was a cold
edge of irony in his voice when he looked up. “Trespassing? If I hadn't
intervened, you wouldn't be sucking in this bug-infested air. I want an
      “And you'll not get one!” The minute the words flew out of her mouth, she
realized she’d made a disastrous mistake.
      Eyes ablaze, the giant stormed toward her.
      “Touch me, mister, and I'll bite your arm, rip your eyeballs out, and
destroy any hope you have for an heir.” She skidded backwards.
      “If you bite me, kid, or touch my eyes, you won't sit down for a week. If
you kick me where I think you’re planning to, you'll never sit down again.” He
closed the gap separating them with long, sure strides.
      Alarmed, she flung the canteen aside. Her mammoth savior now seemed
even more evil at closer range. Whirling sideways, she lunged for the pistol,
but Jonathan was quicker. With one pounce, he sent her flying onto the
ground. Her hat flew off and her hair tumbled out from beneath it. She landed
squarely beneath his broad chest and shoulders.
For one split second, his gray eyes locked with her angry brown ones as he
rolled off her, over her hat, and away. But not before she boxed him beside
his ear.
      “Ouch! Holy hell,” he yelped.
      “Consider yourself lucky I didn't get a swipe at your eyeballs.” Her voice
echoed through the forest. She grabbed at her hat while still prone and
secured it. Peering at it, she flung it aside with disgust. “Now look what
you've done. Bad enough those thugs shot a hole through it, but now you've
completely smashed it to bits. Looks like a flapjack now.”
      Sitting up, she dusted debris from her clothes and stole a quick glance at
the big man, recalling the surprised, yet angry, look on his face as he rolled
over and snatched up her pistol along the way. With catlike grace, he had
maneuvered himself to his feet.
      Her heart fluttered wildly in her chest. This is no clumsy logging hand. He
was too quick and way too light-footed.
     He grabbed the other gun her earlier assailant had dropped and snarled a
few curses.  “You've got a lot of explaining.” He jammed the pistols behind
his belt and strode to the spot where she was still seated.
      Willie scrambled up. The front of her shirt had come undone in the fall
and now exposed a full view of her creamy breasts beneath her transparent
chemise. Glaring at him with rage-filled eyes, more chilling than the gun
barrel he had just touched, she yanked her shirt close.
      “Most gentlemen I know would turn their backs and allow a lady to
properly dress herself.”
      “And let you club me to death?  Don't press your luck, little lady.”
Judy Ann Davis
Author and Writer