Texas is my home. Louisiana is close to my heart and where I was born, but Texas is in my blood. You can drive up to my house and there are big wrought iron signs on my front porch proclaiming the superiority of the Lone Star State and the Longhorn football team. Texas has a lot to brag about. And today, I’m going to share with you some of the things that make the state more than a geographical location to me – like the commercial says – Texas is a state of mind.
First off – Texas is big. Now, I know it’s not the biggest state in the union – but its still a wide expanse of property. You can fit 220 Rhode Islands in Texas, in fast the King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. There is an old saying about driving across Texas – of course now in the days of fast cars, it might not be strictly true – but its not far off, it depicts a poor couple in a car driving into the sunset and goes something like this: ‘The sun has riz and the sun has set and here we is in Texas, yet.’
I can understand that sentiment. I sing semi-professionally and had an engagement in El Paso where I was to sing the National Anthem and a couple of other songs at this event. Well, at the time – I was staying at our lake house and I took off for El Paso in plenty of time. And I made it – in 12 hours and 12 minutes, but by the time I got there I couldn’t remember the words to the national anthem and although I made it through the song, by the time I got through with it - it wasn’t our national anthem. I was so tired from my journey, I just made up words. The crowd was a bit confused. Anyway, - Texas stretches 800 miles from side to side – both ways – and that’s a fer piece, in anybody’s book.
Second – Texas has some strange laws. It’s illegal to carry wire-cutters in your pick-up truck. This goes back to the Range Wars when cattle roamed free and their owners protested those who were audacious enough to fence up their property. I carry a pair in my car just for meanness. Another strange law in Texas is that it’s illegal to draw graffiti on someone else’s cow. I wish they had told me this! I just recently snuck into my neighbor’s pasture and painted the letters ALOTA on their big Angus bull.
Third – Texas is full of bull – in more ways than one: no, seriously - I raise bulls. Big bulls. I sell them for breeding purposes. They are full-blood registered Beefmasters – some weigh a ton or more. They’re my babies. I begin working with them at birth and by the time they are grown, I can lay underneath them and they wouldn’t step on me. I brush them. They eat out of my hand and when I walk out to the pasture they come running at me like a freight train. Now most people would hightail it and run. But I know he’s gonna stop – sometimes nose to nose – but what he’s come after is a nugget or a scratch between the ears.
I’ve had some strange bulls in my time. I had one who would play hide and seek with me. He had a bad habit of standing at the fence and bellowing at another bull across the street. I don’t know what he was bellowing about, maybe he thought the other fellow’s cows were better looking. Who knows? But he even broke out a couple of times and sauntered over to fight the other bull. I would come along and find him standing at the fence saying dirty things to the fellow in the neighboring pasture and I would fuss at him. Now – his name was Mr. T and he didn’t like for me to fuss at him. So, he would hide from me when he saw me coming - now get this – he would stand behind a tree. The problem was that the tree in question was a good size pine but it was only about a foot wide. When Mr. T would stand behind it, the only thing he was hiding was his eyes – the rest of him stuck out about a foot on each side of the tree. Alotta bull.
I had another bull one time that had his preference of pastures. We rotate the cattle around to various locations to take advantage of grass plantings and water availability – but Red Warrior didn’t like to move. He would get homesick, lay on the fence till he pushed it over and walk home. Now, he never did this during the day and I would have given anything to see that two ton bull walking down the highway in the middle of the night on his way back to his favorite stomping grounds. I’m just glad he didn’t get flattened by a semi-truck.
My favorite bull story concerns Hannibal. Hannibal was blessed with extra long male parts. In fact, once or twice Hannibal stepped on his own good time. I think about this every time I hear a man say that he wished he was hung like a bull - - they don’t know what they’re asking for.
I’ve always loved animals. When my mother married my step-dad we left Louisiana and moved to his ranch in Texas. He raised cattle for slaughter and I couldn’t stand that. I worried him and worried him – incessantly. He would tell me every tale in the world to convince me that my friends weren’t being made into hamburger, but I was nobody’s fool. So, he changed to registered cattle and now nobody gets eaten. In fact we have cattle sales where the buyers arrive in helicopters and are met at the gate by a wet bar so they can have sustenance to make the long drive to the sale barn (a half mile) and when the cattle come into the auction barn, they walk on a red carpet – no kidding. I have often wondered about that because I was always the official pooper scooper and that is a bad job when you have poop as big as those rascals do. So our world changed.
But I had good memories of my dad and his cattle. When I was a little scamp, he would go out to help calves be born and he wouldn’t let me go with him. I guess he didn’t want to have to explain the birds and the bees so early in my childhood and watching a cow birth a calf would certainly have dispelled some of the mystery. Anyway, when he would start out, I would ask him where he was going and he said he was going to ‘dig up’ a calf. This fascinated me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I imagined calves being out in the pasture like buried treasure. So one day, I took my trusty little shovel and headed out. After a while, they began looking for me. My Pop found me in the pasture digging holes. He fussed and fussed, said the horses would step in them and break their legs. He asked me what in all-fired tarnation did I think I was doing? I told him the simple truth – I was digging up a calf. He didn’t know what to say.
Another thing about Texas is that men have different priorities here. It’s hard to be a woman who loves a Texas man because you have to complete with so many other things for his affection. Let me name a few of the things you have to compete with so you’ll know where I’m coming from: his mama, his pick-up truck, his tractor, his dog, his gun and his hat. Now, that’s a lot of competition. And if you can get by all of those things – there is one more huge obstacle – hunting season. Hunting season is sacred in Texas – its right up there with Christmas. Deer hunting is the main attraction – and it’s not a simple sport. Men have to have hunting gear. A lot of gear. They have to have special clothes and heated socks and deer pee to make them smell right and they have to have places to hunt. I’ve seen some deer stands in Texas that could be classified as man-caves. They have recliners and refrigerators and all the comforts of home. And the deer camps are equipped with cabins that rival the homes they build for their wives. My husband’s deer camp had granite countertops and recessed ceiling with track lighting. There was a wet bar and a satellite - - oh well, if you ever read Trouble – you’d get a glimpse of Ky’s place and I patterned it after ours. In “My Aliyah” - Ty and Aliyah made love in their deer stand – so deer stands see a lot of action in Texas. – But I want to share something funny with you. It’s an excerpt from BADASS – and the funny thing about it – its true – all of it happened to me – just the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
BADASS is a book full of everything Texas has to offer and a lotta sex – hot lovin – and hunky men to boot.
Here’s the blurb – followed by the excerpt
Isaac McCoy is every woman’s dream. He’s a cowboy, one of the Texas McCoy’s of Tebow Ranch – tall, dark, handsome and sexy as hell. To add to the mystery, he’s a biker – clad in black leather, riding a big Harley – he makes the girls swoon. To put it simply, Isaac is the black sheep of the family. And what his family doesn’t know is that he’s also a Dom. Always a little different from his brothers –Isaac has been into fast cars, fast women – and the kinkier side of sex. Until Avery. That’s right’s the Texas Badass has fallen for the angel of Kerrville County – the Baptist Preacher’s daughter – Miss Prim and Proper. And that will never do. As much as he wants her, Isaac pushes her away – sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Avery has been in love with Isaac for years and she’s ready to make her move. But Isaac makes it clear that they come from different worlds, there’s no way she can fit in to his life. She’s not the kind of woman he needs. So, Avery decides to take matters into her own hands. What she intends to do is take lessons in how to be a bad girl. Avery is determined to learn what it takes to please Isaac in every way. She’s seriously after her Badass – and soon, he’s not going to know what hit him
“I can’t believe you’re gonna try and pull that old trick on Skye.” Noah shook his head at Isaac’s tomfoolery.
“Loosen up, little brother. She’s a city-girl. It’ll be fun.” It was deer season and all of the McCoy brothers had taken time in the past week for a hunting trip. Archery-only season began in early October and the tradition merited a festival-like atmosphere. The brothers hunted from horseback and harvested enough deer meat to keep the kitchen in sausage and venison for the next twelve months. This year their foreman, Lance, had invited his sister down from Oklahoma City for a few weeks. “Watch this. I pulled it on Jessie when she first got here and I thought she was going to deliver that baby right then and there.”
“Yea, and Jacob almost de-balled you for doing it, too.” Noah watched as Isaac took a pair of buck-eyes out of his pocket and tossed them in the air. “Skye sure is a beautiful woman – are you interested in her?”
Isaac stopped for a moment and looked at his brother. “She’s beautiful, but I’m not interested. So if you are, go for it, man. What about Harper?” Isaac knew Noah had had his heart set on Harper for years. But something had happened – something that Noah refused to talk about. Isaac knew what it was, and he hoped to high heaven that knowledge didn’t blow up in his face.
A funny look passed over Noah’s countenance, “Harper and I just aren’t meant to be.” That was the truth if Isaac ever heard it – Harper was nothing but trouble.
“You’ll find someone else, Noah. Someone that will make you smile. I have no doubt about that.”
Noah wasn’t arguing with him. “Skye is something else, Isaac. Hell, she’s just about fuckin’ perfect. I don’t know if it’s that Indian blood or what – but she makes my heart beat like a war drum.”
“So – paleface – is it okay if I tease your little Indian princess?” He was enjoying this, probably, too much, But, that was one of the perks of being the big brother.
“I’ll be watching you,” Noah joked with his brother, but Isaac could tell he was half-way serious. Figures. He was damn sure gonna quit drinking the water at Tebow. There were weddings and babies popping up all over the place. He’d be rich if he had bought stock in garter belts and diapers.
Isaac held the door for Noah and they walked in right as Aron threw a full beer can at Jacob. It whizzed right by Isaac and he caught it, neatly. “Thanks, I needed that. What are ya ‘ll throwing cold ones around for?”
The eldest McCoy sat in his big leather chair, feet propped upon the ottoman. His boots were dusty and his black Stetson was pushed back on his head. “Because we’re hot, tired and dusty, Hotrod. Hand your brother that beer, he’s spent the day trying to convince Mrs. Trahan that Red Warrior wasn’t trying to run her down and gore her to death.”
Isaac handed the can of Shiner beer to Jacob, who was sitting on the couch opposite the big screen TV watching a reality show featuring shooting competitions. “Thanks, bud. Have you seen this program? These guys have all kinds of target practice – wild stuff. I think we ought to have war-games like that at our next party. What do you think?”
“Well, since the next two parties we have are Joseph’s engagement party this weekend and your and Aron’s weddings the next - I don’t think that idea will fly very high with the womenfolk.” Noah answered with his usual logical thought process.
“He’s right.” Aron took a swig of beer. “I can’t see the girls going for target practice at their love festivals. We’ll have our gun shooting competition for Isaac’s birthday at Halloween. That’ll reward up for all the tedious romantic celebrations we’ve got to get through this month.” Isaac could see over Aron’s shoulder and what he saw made him want to snort. Aron hadn’t meant anything anti-wedding by his comment; after all he was desperately in love with Libby. But at the moment - Libby was right behind him, and she didn’t look happy. Isaac started to stop him from putting his foot any deeper in his mouth, but it was just too much fun. Aron started talking again, and he just made it worse. “I mean how much lovey-dovey stuff are we supposed to endure before we get to do some manly shit. Life at Tebow has become like one of them chick flicks on Lifetime Movie network. All we need is to hook you two up with a woman each, get Nathan a little girlfriend – bring Kane and Lilibet into the fold - and we could be the cast of that stupid Seven Brides for Seven Brothers movie from the fifties. Next thing you know, all us men will be lined up like chorus girls singing them corny songs like ‘Goin Courtin’ or ‘Lonesome Polecat’.”
At Libby’s face, the brothers who could see her – drew back as far as they could. She was about to let it fly. And here it came, “I don’t think you need to worry about going courtin, Mr. Aron McCoy - but ‘lonesome polecat’ will definitely describe your sleeping arrangements for the foreseeable future.” Libby was beautiful, pregnant and not amused. And the expression on Aron’s face when he realized she had overheard his joking diatribe was priceless. Isaac had never seen his brother crawfish so fast before.
He got up quickly and even though he was a foot taller and over a hundred pounds heavier than his fiance’ – she clearly had the upper hand. Isaac could tell she wasn’t really mad – peeved maybe. But she wanted Aron to think she was mad. In fact, when Aron looked around for moral support from his brothers, Libby gave them all a soft wink to diffuse the situation. It wasn’t often they got the best of Aron, and when they did – the family needed to take advantage. “Now Libilicious, you know I want to marry you more than anything else in the world.” He was reaching for her, but she kept backing up – staying just out of reach.
“That’s not what I just heard, Aron.” She pooched her little mouth out sexily, and Isaac realized that he and the others were getting a first hand look at feminine wiles in action. “You dread our wedding don’t you?”
“No, no – hell no,” Aron was stalking her, slowly. “You know that making you mine is my highest priority.”
“Are you sure? I mean, we could postpone it, and the ceremony won’t even go to waste. Jacob can’t wait to marry Jessie.” Libby looked over at Jacob for confirmation. “Isn’t that right, Jacob?”
Jacob jumped right in. “Sure can’t– the sooner I get my ring on her finger, the better. I intend to tie the knot before little Bowie Travis makes an appearance.”
Libby moved around Aron to talk to Jacob. “All we would have to do is cancel one of the cakes and order a few less flowers. The guest list wouldn’t even have to be changed. We’ll call the Reverend . . . . .” She didn’t get to finish the sentence before Aron had swept her off her feet and up into his arms in the traditional ‘over the threshold’ position.
“Now wait a goldarn minute – both of you.” He stared at his brothers like it was all their fault, then he looked back at the woman in his arms. “It doesn’t matter how frou-frou the ceremony or how many monkey-suits I have to wear, I wouldn’t trade marrying you for the deed to the whole damn universe.” And he kissed her hard in front of God and everybody and marched out of the room with his precious burden.
The other three sat there and then looked at one another – Jacob laughed first. “Maybe the ole polecat won’t be as lonesome as we first feared.”
“No, I think he made amends for his macho carry-on,” Isaac couldn’t help but be jealous of what Aron and Libby shared. He needed his brand of sex, but it kept him from having the woman of his heart – and that reality was eating him alive. He would change if he could, but he didn’t know if that was possible. Frankly, he was sick and tired of trying to be something other than what he was.
“Where’s Skye?” Noah asked out of the blue.
“She’s upstairs with Jessie, they’ll be down in a minute. Jessie’s showing her the nursery you put together for her.” Isaac watched Noah’s face and knew he was remembering the trouble he had caused Jessie and Jacob. His interference had almost cost Jessie her life and the nursery had been his way to try and make amends.
“What was Aron talking about when he said Ms. Trahan was afraid of the Warrior?” Isaac knew the big bull was as gentle as a lamb.
Jacob sat up, drained his beer bottle and smiled. “It was funny. Now – ya’ll know that bull. We’ve hand-fed and brushed him since he was knee-high to a grasshopper.”
“He loves to be brushed with a curry comb. We’ve spoiled that old monster, but he sure does sire damn fine calves. As far as Beefmaster bulls go, he’s top-notch.” Noah commented, but Isaac was amused to see that he kept one eye on the staircase. The boy was besotted!
“I love to watch him when he sees Jessie or Libby come to the gate with some nuggets in their hand. He runs at them like a freight train. When we have visitors, they can’t be still when he comes a runnin, they dance in their shoes, thinking that big ole’ bull is gonna run ‘em down. But he always skids to a stop – nose to nose – with those sweet little girls. Why, I’d trust him to let Jessie ride on his back, if she was a mind to.” Jacob took the remote and turned the sound down on the TV.
“So where does Ms. Trahan come into play?” Isaac knew Jacob could spend hours telling a story if you didn’t aim him in the right direction.
“She came to buy a few straws of War’s semen and she wanted to take a look at him. So I took her over to his pasture, and told her to walk down to the pond where he was standing underneath one of the big oaks. He looked like a king surveying his domain. She was impressed, but decided to get up close and personal with him.”
Isaac started laughing; he could see where this was going. “What did he do, decide to come and meet her and give her a proper escort?”
“Yea, I guess she was expecting him to just stand there like some statue, but he’s polite – he didn’t want to make her walk all that way by herself. Besides, she might be packing a few nuggets for all he knew. He was willing to give her a chance.”
“Lord, what happened next? Are we in jeopardy of a lawsuit?”
Isaac slapped Noah on the back of the head. “Down Donald Trump, this is just a funny story. Nobody’s suing anybody.”
Jacob snorted – “Actually, we’re lucky Ms. Mabel didn’t have a heart attack. She loves to play the rancher’s wife, but she don’t know a hill-a-beans about animals. Anyway, when she saw Red Warrior begin to mosey toward her – she got nervous and turned to come back to the gate. She picked up her pace a little and so did War, after all – he thought they might be playing a game.”
“I just love the way you read this bull’s mind. But, then again, you are the Bull Whisperer of central Texas. When do you think Skye and Jessie are gonna come down? Do you think I ought to go up and check on them?”
“Why don’t you do that, Romeo?” Isaac watched Noah struggle with staying or going – he decided to stay. “Do you want to play the ‘ball’ game with Skye?” He held the buckeyes out to tempt him.”
“Hell no,” Noah groused. “I can’t lie with a straight face like you can.”
“Can I get back to my story?” Jacob patiently waiting, and when they settled down he resumed. “Anyway, when little Ms. Trahan realized that War was moving toward her, she panicked and started to run. Well, War figured if she was running – maybe something was after them both – so he might oughta run too. So the faster she ran, the faster the bull ran and when I heard her screaming, she was tearing across the pasture waving her arms in the air, saying “Save me! Save me!” Jacob was waving his arms mimicking Ms. Trahan and Noah and Isaac were cracking up.
“What happened next, or should I guess?” Isaac could just see War running with that big dick of his swaying in the breeze.
“I wish I had had a camera, it would have won us a million dollars on one of them funny video shows. War never caught up with her, plus he kept looking back over his shoulder to see what booger-man was after him. And by the time Ms Trahan had reached the safety of the gate – and Lord, in heaven – don’t repeat this at the bar. But she had tinkled on herself, I looked down and there were drops of pee falling in the dirt and running down her leg.” They were all laughing, Jacob hardest of all. “And do you know what War did? He let it fly, too. I guess you could say they scared the piss out of each other.”
“What did you do?” Isaac couldn’t begin to imagine – Jacob had more couth than he did.
“What do you think I did? I pretended not to see a thing.” There was movement on the stairs, so Jacob winded his tale up. “I finally got her to pet him and see that he’s just a big old baby and she bought twenty thousand dollars’ worth of little swimmers.”
“Here they come,” Noah announced his mind clearly not on War’s pee party.
Jessie came first and Jacob lit up like a Christmas tree. Isaac felt a tug at his heart, seeing his brothers so happy meant a lot. Jessie was gorgeous and her tummy was as round as a basketball. His older brother pulled her down in his lap and started rubbing the place where their baby lay. The child wasn’t Jacob’s biological child – but neither he nor any of the family cared one iota. She had come to Jacob – pregnant, thinking that the surrogate baby she carried was his. A mix-up at the sperm bank had been the best thing that ever happened to Jacob. But the baby would be a McCoy – a well loved McCoy – through and through.
Then Isaac saw Skye, and he saw Noah watching Skye, and it was a sight to behold. She was slender and elegant with long dark hair and the biggest doe eyes he had ever seen. He didn’t really blame his brother, Skye was beautiful. It was a good thing he didn’t have feelings for her or a new family feud might be in the offing. All right, show-time. “Sky, you sure did get a good deer yesterday. That buck dressed out at a hundred and a quarter. I saved the antlers for you – and I saved something else, if you want them.” He held his hand out – palm up – with those two round buck-eyes lying in the center.
She looked at him, suspiciously, her bright black eyes shining with banked amusement. Perhaps, Miss Skye wasn’t a typical city girl. She held out her hand. “May I hold them?” He gave them to her and she rolled them between thumb and forefingers. “These are very nice, but they don’t belong to my deer. I dressed him myself and put the aforementioned delicacy in the stew I’m preparing for your supper. These balls are a little small for my deer. Have you felt between your legs to see if you’re missing anything?”
Well, hell. Noah and Jacob literally bellowed their laughter and Isaac bowed his head, hiding his own smirk. Skye was nobody’s fool. Jessie jumped up and took Skye by the hand and they began planning dessert for the evening meal. All of a sudden, Isaac didn’t feel that hungry for stew.
“I’m in love,” Noah whispered under his breath. “Yep, I’m in love.” Isaac was glad, because the farther Noah stayed away from Harper – the better they all would be.
THANKS FOR READING