Dana Mentink


Dana Mentink got her start writing cozy mysteries for Barbour Books. Currently, she writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and her books have garnered a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, a Carol Award and a Holt Medallion Merit Award. She also writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and Moody’s River North imprint. Visit her on the web at www.danamentink.com.

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In 1978, the tiny town gold rush town of Honey Creek tucked in California’s Sierra foothills is a throwback to a simpler time.

When former world class pianist Alexi Quinn arrives, he intends to stay no longer than it takes to save up bus fare to escape, taking the only job he can find, writing crossword puzzles for The Mountain Holler newspaper. What’s a five letter word for failure? A-l-e-x-i.

When an earthquake strikes the town, the church’s historic statue, the Hope Angel, falls and loses her head. Inside the statue is a clue to a treasure hidden decades before. The find sets off a treasure hunt with people flocking into Honey Creek to discover where the cache of gold nuggets is hidden. Townspeople come out of the woodwork with their own theories about where to find the stash.

The stage is set for a hilarious, heartwarming adventure that could only take place in the odd little town of Honey Creek, the perfect place for not so simple folk who long for small town life and big time miracles. If you love the Mitford series, you’ll enjoy your time in Honey Creek.  AMAZON



Equine veterinarian Aubrey Jones has put her past with country boy turned NFL star Cooper Rockwell far behind her. When she receives a summons to tend to the rescued animals on Donkey Island, she jumps at the chance. Never in a million years would she imagine that she will run smack into Cooper on the island, just as a storm rolls in which makes it impossible to escape. Donkeys, downpours, and a delectable man who broke her heart long ago? Aubrey is in for one wild rendezvous! AMAZON


Car mechanic Valerie watched her father die in a fiery wreck and she can’t admit to herself that she’s in love with a Nascar race car driver Jackson, especially after he’s also injured in a crash. But when a stranger shows up, terrorizing her about a mysterious delivery from her uncle, Jackson is the only one who can navigate the danger with Valerie. It’s a race for survival, and a high speed adventure in love. AMAZON



Twists. Turns. And a family secret you never saw coming . . .

Nina Truman heads to the bus for a much-deserved furlough from her nursing duties. On the side of the road, a uniformed soldier stands idly, casually holding his gun—of little concern to her; soldiers are not uncommon south of the Mexican border. But he suddenly switches off the safety and opens fire, sending the occupants into chaos. Out of the forest storms Shaw Wilder and his bomb-sniffing dog, Axel. An improbable hero, who thinks being a missionary is like “shoveling sand uphill, useless,” also blames Nina for his sister’s death.

Join Nina and Shaw on an expedition where every turn can mean death and discovering the truth may make life even worse. A page-turner right to the very end. AMAZON


After San Francisco spa owner Corrine endures a spectacularly bad day (involving a painfully public breakup and the destruction of fifteen jars of grocery store pickles), she is assigned to do community service in a national park in the middle of a sweltering desert. Park Ranger Tom Tohono is the only person standing between Corrine and surprises ranging from curious desert foxes to temperatures hotter than lava. He’s strangely protective of his delicate desert plants and she is battling lingering trauma from a childhood loss. In the magic of a moonlit cactus garden, they’ll find that the desert holds surprises for both of them. AMAZON


When Goldie Portman finds out her high school friend Cecelia wants to stage her high profile wedding to a senator’s son at Goldie’s Little Woods Inn, she is sure her prayers have been answered. She doesn’t count on the presence of Cecelia’s brother Justin, Goldie’s high school nemesis, and the proud owner of three rascally dogs nicknamed “the bears.” As the wedding details spiral out of control, the local media does their best to crash the event and another ghost from Goldie’s past arrives to add to the chaos. Sparks fly and there just may be a “happily ever after” if Goldie can manage the mayhem and deliver a wedding that’s just right for everyone. AMAZON


Misty Hart is up to her ears in blueberry pies when the little town of Bang is turned upside down by the murder of longtime mayor Birdie Stone. With suspects galore and Stone’s parrot on the loose, Misty must turn her attention from whipping up pies to hunting down clues, before the killer serves up another murder. This cozy mystery features a Misty Hart recipe. AMAZON




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The Arizona desert is lovely in August. If you’re a cactus.

Throw in a mysterious park tenant and a breathtaking natural discovery and the stage is set for Simone to learn a divine lesson that will rock her world in a big way. AMAZON



The Arizona desert just got a whole lot deadlier.  AMAZON

Other Books by Dana Mentink










Chapter One Desert Desperate

The Arizona desert is lovely in August.

If you’re a cactus.

If you’re not green and prickly it’s like standing in the bottom of a volcano hoping your SPF 15 will do the trick. You can run, you can hide, but there’s no escape from the vast, unforgiving sandbox. As I hung up the phone with my Aunt Stella, I wondered again what would possess her to settle in such an inhospitable location. Probably the same thought process that prompted her to call me every year on precisely the same date, August nineteenth — National Potato Day. I didn’t even know spuds had their own holiday, but it seemed to impress my aunt. Every nineteenth day of August she and my uncle had a baked potato feast and called me to fill me in on the action. She’s an odd sort of spud, Aunt Stella, but I love her anyway. Sometimes I’d call her up and we’d pray together, even if it wasn’t a vegetable holiday.

It was hard to wrap my mind around my aunt’s potato details as I clicked off the cell phone. My thoughts were steeped in a much cooler climate; the foggy world of San Francisco. I was planning a wedding: my wedding. Well not just mine, it included my soul mate Doug too, of course.

It was going to be a lovely outdoor affair at a winery in the Napa Valley. The flowers: white roses and lily of the valley. The music: a tasteful combination of harp and string quartet. The food: smoked salmon pate and lobster in puff pastry among other items. And those little square sandwich thingies. What are they called? Canapes, with brie and basil. The dress: a Vera Wang; fitted bodice inset with pearls and a flared shantung silk skirt that was a perfect compliment to my olive skin and black hair.

I could practically feel the soft swish of the fabric around my body as I twirled gracefully. The buzz of an office phone cut through my reverie. I pulled my mind away from these glorious details to focus on the matter at hand.

I was ushered into a tidy office and the editor of Rock Your World read from my resume. She clasped my hand in a bone crushing grip. “Well Miss Greevey, I’m glad to meet you.”

“Please call me Simone.”

She regarded me over the rims of her electric blue reading glasses. “Simone then. You’re coming in on the ground floor of something special. We are an E-zine unlike any other, the first in the San Francisco area. Real cutting edge stuff. We’ve got readers as far away as New York and Montreal.” Audrey wrenched the cap off her sparkling water. “Where did you get that bag?”

The conversational segue nearly gave me whiplash. “My bag? Nordstrom’s Sigrid Olsen.”

“Cute, it goes well with the shoes. Anyway, we’re a Christian medium, but we want to appeal to twenty somethings, not the white haired old ladies who still wear hats and gloves to church.”

Audrey, I surmised, hovered somewhere in the middle part of her fifties but old didn’t seem to be part of her personal mental picture. She was whip thin, with a helmet of close cut black hair. I bet she ate vegetable protein patties and wheatgrass for breakfast. She looked fit enough to snap me like a toothpick.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” she said.

“What? Uh, yes, a fiancé actually.”

“What’s he like?”

“He’s great. He’s a chiropractor.”

“Too bad.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“My nephew is looking for a girl, but he’s a shoe salesman. No contest for a chiropractor.” She gulped some water.


“I introduced him to Donna but she’s already got a structural engineer.”

I wasn’t sure whether to offer condolences or the number of a dating service.

Audrey scribbled a note on a steno pad, crossing the t’s with vigor. “Like I was saying, the market is ready to recognize that Christian people can be hip too. The younger generation is not the placid, hymn singing fogies their parents were. They wear thong underwear and listen to rock music, just like their non-Christian counterparts.”

I tried to picture Audrey in a thong. It caused distress to my synapses so I let it drop. “What exactly will I be responsible for?”

She flipped her bob of hair and slammed back the remainder of the water. “That’s it, a to-the- point gal. That’s what we need. A young person who isn’t afraid to ask questions. You’ll start as copy editor in the Leisure Life section. There’s some blogging involved too. Alfie runs the department now but he’s retiring. Prostate trouble.”

“Oh, how sad.”

“By the end of summer I want you on board and running things in that section. What do you think? Can you handle it?”

I tried not to leap out of the chair and do a happy dance. Six years of college and two degrees later and I was finally going to be an editor. I took a cleansing breath. Be professional, Simone. Professional. “Definitely.”


She whisked me down the hall to show me my office.

Okay, the gloomy space did look an awful lot like a room used for hanging meat or developing film, but it was mine. I felt around for a chair and put down my bag. “Thank you, Ms. Stanner. I really appreciate this opportunity.”

Audrey was speaking into a cell phone. “Yes, I want to arrange a mud bath. Is that mud filtered everyday?” She covered the mouthpiece. “I’ll send Donna in to get you started.” Before she cleared the threshold she called to me. “By the way, you are a Christian, aren’t you?”


Donna was also a twenty something with good skin. She had hair the color of apricots and all the subtlety of a buzz saw. I liked her immediately.

“Hey there. I’m Donna. Praise God we’ve got you on board. I’m developing a squint from doing all this extra work. Men think I’m winking at them.” She flopped down on top of my purse, then extracted the flattened bag. “Oops, sorry about that. Hope I didn’t squish anything.”

I didn’t mention my new pair of sunglasses which had probably been reduced to a fetching set of monocles. “I’m Simone, good to meet you. I heard Alfie is having health problems. Have you been helping him out?”

“Helping Alfie?” She snorted. “Alfie phones in from the golf course once in a while with directions. Other than that, I am Alfie.”

“I thought he had a prostate problem.”

Donna laughed, setting her freckles dancing. “He doesn’t seem to think it’s as much a problem as his doctors do. It gets him out of the weekly staff meetings though. I’m so glad to have another gal my age around here. Finally someone to hang out with. Do you like the theater? I’ve got an extra ticket to see My Fair Lady next week.”

“That sounds perfect. Count me in.”

“Good.” She looked at my left hand. “Are you married?”

“Engaged. His name is Doug.”

She grinned. “That’s great. I’m still just cruising the singles scene but my boyfriend is really tops. Maybe we can double date or something. What does your fiancé do?”

“He’s a chiropractor.”

“Oh man. I could use a good back cracker after scrunching over the computer all day. I look like Quasimodo by quitting time. Does Doug like the Forty Niners?”

“With a passion.”

“Excellent. Our men will get along famously.”

A tiny beep sounded on Donna’s watch. “Is it eleven-thirty already? I’ve got to go. We can chat some more this afternoon. Anyway, here’s a computer you can use for the Bloggin’ With Brandi deal. We’ve got a laptop around here somewhere for you to use.”

“Who is Brandi?”

She blinked at me. “Didn’t Audrey tell you? You are.”

“I am?”

“Well, I have been for the past six months but I’m passing the keyboard to you. Congratulations. I never really got into the whole dual identity thing. I keep signing the thing Donna instead of Brandi. Anyway, just update the blog weekly, you can introduce a new topic then if you want. Have you blogged before?”

“Sure, but just with friends.” The phrase sounded ridiculous once it passed my lips.

Donna smiled. “Then you’re well qualified to do this. Basically, you’re just an ear to listen and a spiritual guide when necessary. It’s not usually anything too taxing. We average about two hundred hits a week but we’re hoping to increase those numbers. Ask me or Audrey if you get anything you can’t handle.”

I wondered if I was qualified for the spiritual guide part. Fashion tips yes, counseling, not so much. I’d have to call up Aunt Stella if I ran into anything too sticky. She always seemed to have the right soul soothing verse right at her finger tips. Donna’s last sentence sunk in. “Did you say Audrey gives people advice?”

“Actually, she’s only chimed in once. She told someone to put on their big girl pants and deal with it. Come to think of it, maybe just ask me if you need help.” She consulted her watch again. “I gotta go. I have a lunch date with a friend. Do you want to come? There’s a place down the street with unbelievable falafels. I’ll buy.”

I looked around at the small space, cluttered with files and papers. Even in the gloom it was hard to miss the overflowing trashcan and the spilled container of paperclips on the desk. “No thanks. I really should get settled in here.”

I was Simone Greevey, professional editor type person and soon to be chiropracter’s wife.

It was time to get cracking.


Three months and six days later, my life was turned upside-down in Sunday school. Isn’t that just the way things go? Who would think you could experience catastrophe in a church room filled with by miniature chairs and dozens of safety scissors?

That particular Sunday I was in good spirits in spite of my teaching assignment. I’m not in tune with the natural vibrations of children, so I avoided Sunday school duty like people skirt mysterious fluids on a bathroom floor. But desperation is apparently visited on the clergy as well as civilian people and the pastor’s wife pleaded with me until I agreed to one day of service in the preschool room.

She beamed at me, tucking a flyaway strand of hair back into her braid. “Don’t worry about a thing. All you have to do is sing a song, read a story and serve snack. It will be an hour, tops. If worse comes to worse, get out the Play-doh. The kids are dolls; you’ll love them to pieces.”

Having seen some of the little darlings running around the church sanctuary, I was not confident in this assessment, but I figured they couldn’t get too crazy in the space of sixty minutes. All I had to do was watch them play and try to slip in a little Biblical gem in between snack and story. No problem.

When the fateful day arrived, I showed up full of God’s grace and a bucket of Play-doh under each arm. All seven children filed in and sat in a circle on the carpet. I had to admit, they did exude certain cuteness, especially the girl with the pink pinafore and the fancy hair dealie bobbers. My confidence swelled. Simone Greevey, preschool teacher extraordinaire.

“Hello boys and girls.” I consulted my notes. “Today we are going to talk about David and Goliath. Does anyone know that story?”

Ralph Sarnecky, the boy with plump cheeks and a missing front tooth spoke up. “Oh yeah. Everyone knows that story. We heard it a zillion times. It’s the one about David, this wimpy kid who kills this big ugly giant with a rock.” He pantomimed smashing a skull with his fist.

“Yes, that’s right.” I read the script from my booklet. “David was a young boy who was called by God to do great things.”

Jon Jon shouted, “Yeah, yeah. But what if he didn’t use a rock? What if he used a light saber?” He leaped to his feet, wielding an imaginary weapon around the circle.

Two boys and a girl jumped up to join him. “Cool!” a curly haired kid shrieked. “I want a Lifesaver too.”

“Not Lifesaver, light saber, dummy,” Jon Jon said.

“Hold on there kids,” I began. I was pretty sure the people in charge wouldn’t condone the use of light sabers in church. My eyes landed on a helpful poster on the wall. “We should use our inside voices and gentle hands.”

A tiny blonde girl stuck three fingers in her mouth and began to cry. I gave her a pat on the head. “It’s okay. Don’t cry, honey.”

“I want my Mommy,” she wailed in a range that made the windows vibrate.

Jon Jon whirled to slay another hapless classmate. One of his elbows caught me in the ribs. “Jon Jon, that’s enough. Everyone sit on the carpet.” I might as well have had a cone of silence on my head for all the good it did me. The class was attempting mutiny. If I didn’t act quickly, I’d be tied up and forced to walk the plank.

“How about a song?” I scrabbled through the annals of my mind to come up with some sort of happy tune. Mac the Knife? No. The one about the ants and the rubber tree plant? I couldn’t remember the words. Ah ha. Brainstorm.

“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip.”

Their little mouths fell open.

“That started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship.”

“I never heard that one before,” Ralph said.

“I have,” said pinafore girl. “It’s about a shipwreck.”

“Cool! A shipwreck!” Jon Jon shouted. He began to make loud storm noises and careen his ship from side to side.

“The mate was a mighty sailing man, the skipper brave and sure,” I hollered.

Ralph jumped up and down. “I love ships. I’ll be the pirate. Look out. I’m going to chop you with my sword.”

I stopped singing. “Hold on. There were no pirates on Gilligan’s island.”

“What did they have there?” a chubby girl asked.

“Uh, well, coconuts, little grass huts and the odd visitor.”

Jon Jon crashed his vessel into my chair. “Well if they had visitors, how come no one rescued ’em?”

“I, uh, I don’t know.”

They resumed their mayhem.

Kids crawled under the tables, seeking cover from Ralph’s cannon fire. One kicked over a tower of blocks sending them flying. A bunch of girls began to tickle each other until there was a pile of giggling small people in front of my feet. Even pink pinafore girl joined in the brouhaha. She didn’t look so angelic when she put her classmate in a headlock, yelling “arrggghh!” all the while.

“Boys and girls, let’s sit on our bottoms and listen to the story. Look at this great picture of David.” I thrust the book out for them to see.

They were under whelmed.

“I’ve got a wedgie,” Jon Jon said, pulling at the seat of his pants.

“We’ll you’re going to have to take care of that yourself,” I told him firmly.

The chaos continued.

After several useless verbal corrections I gave up. I announced in as loud a shout as I could manage, “Snack time!”

As if by magic, the children lay down their invisible weaponry and put away their tickly fingers. The pile of children untangled itself and stood up. Then the pirates materialized at the snack table and folded their hands. It was nothing short of a miracle.

“Heavenly Father…” I began until I noticed Jon Jon kick Eddie under the table. “Thanks for the snack, Amen.”

“That was short.” Eddie rubbed his shin.

“God appreciates brevity.” I handed out the napkins.

“What’s for snack?”

I held up the bag of fishy crackers.

“Goldfish again?” Ralph wrinkled his nose. “I’m sick of goldfish.”

“Me too,” Sarah, the sniffly girl, said. “They taste yucky. I want something else.”

The scent of rebellion swirled in the air and made my stomach muscles tighten. I could see the plans forming for another pirate sortie. “What do you like for snack?”

There was a moment of silence while they considered the question. I eyeballed the cubbies in search of better grub.

Jon Jon screwed up his face in thought. “Twinkies and ice cream. And Skittles. That would be good.”

There was a loud chorus of agreement.

The thought of these children hopped up on Skittles sent a shiver down my spine. “Goldfish crackers are the only thing I can find.”

Seven pairs of eyes looked mournfully up at me from their tiny chairs. In desperation, I rummaged through my purse. The search yielded just enough to satisfy my charges. When they were all settled in with a handful of goldfish, one cherry Lifesaver and a minty breath strip apiece, I looked up to find Doug in the doorway.

“Doug.” I hugged him like a dieting woman holds onto her last chocolate bar. “Thank goodness you’re here. They’re almost done with the Lifesavers. Do you know any good preschool songs? What about that one with the ant and the plant?” Doug used to play cello in his college days so I was hopeful he could come up with something. He was a sporadic church goer and definitely not a frequent visitor to the early service but I was too frazzled to wonder why he was there.

“Hey, Sisi.” He ran a hand through his sandy hair and surveyed the munching children. “I never pictured you teaching Sunday school.”

“Me neither.” I consulted the wall clock. “But I’ve only got thirty minutes to go. So far there hasn’t been any bloodshed so I’m doing great.”

“I can see that.” He took a deep breath. “Uh, Sisi…I wanted to come by and talk to you. I thought I’d catch you after the service.”

“We’re going to see each other this afternoon, remember?”

“I really can’t make that appointment.” He smiled, but there was a hint of hesitation on his thin face.

“I’m out of juice.” Ralph waved his cup in the air. “Hello? Can I get a refill here?”

I poured him another Dixie cup full. “Doug,” I said, handing my fiancé a bag of goldfish to distribute, “the wedding is in two months. We have to choose a disk jockey now or it will be too late. You don’t want to wind up with your uncle’s banjo band, do you? It was enough listening to them at your last family reunion.” Doug had a tendency to try to wiggle out of wedding planning. I had to bribe him with Giants tickets to get him to commit to Raspberry Swirl for a wedding cake flavor.

“Yeah, I know. That’s sort of what I need to talk to you about.”

I practiced some relaxation breathing. “Can we talk about this after Sunday school is over?”

He poured more goldfish into Sarah’s open palm. “I think I’d better tell you while I have the nerve. The problem is, I actually have this other thing going on.”

I tried to smother my irritation. “Come on Doug. What other thing? What other thing is more important than our wedding?”

“Before I tell you, I just want to say I’ll always love you, Simone.”

I experienced a momentary flutter of concern. “What is it? Are you sick? Did you get bad news from the doctor or something?”

He paused for a long moment, twiddled with his glasses and scratched his eyebrow. “No, nothing like that. It’s sort of …another girl.”

The room fell silent. Even the chewing stopped.

I felt my eyes grow to ping pong ball size. “What? What did you just say?”

Doug didn’t answer. His mouth opened and closed but nothing came out. He crinkled the goldfish bag between his fingers.

Blood stampeded through my temples. I was sure I hadn’t heard him properly. “For a minute there I thought you said something about another girl.”

Jon Jon nodded soberly. “That’s what he said all right.”

“Here kids.” My voice hissed out between clenched jaws. “Play with the Play-doh.” I dumped the bucket and accompanying accoutrement on the table. Goldfish scattered everywhere. The kids made no move to touch the colorful clay.

“May I see you over here, Doug?” I grabbed his sleeve and pulled him to the farthest corner which was a mere three feet away. “This isn’t a great time to joke around. Especially not in front of a bunch of kids. It’s not funny.”

“Sisi, I’m not joking.” His eyes gleamed with moisture. “I don’t want to hurt you, really I don’t. I will always love and respect you, but I can’t marry you. Not anymore. I’m doing us both a favor.”

I waited for the part when he would make sense of his crazy utterance. No doubt he had just been to the dentist and his system was still offline due to the effects of Novocain. Or he had eaten too many doughnuts and the carbs had pickled his brain. “What do you mean you can’t marry me?”

He spoke to his shoes. “I sort of met someone. She came to my office for an adjustment. She’s a teacher for the hearing impaired and she loves backpacking, too.” He looked up. “Isn’t that great?”

Great was not the adjective I would have applied to the situation. Disbelief clouded my mind. The scene was right out of a bad movie. Doug had met someone else? That was just not possible. We were supposed to be choosing wedding music.”You met someone?” I echoed.

He smiled wistfully, blue eyes sparkling. “I tried to ignore the feelings for a long time, Sisi, I really did. I kept it strictly professional, but then I happened to notice on her chart it was her birthday so I took her out for lunch. Just a friendly lunch, but one thing kind of led to the next and now we’re a couple. She’s a lot like you Simone: funny, intelligent, good looking.”

Lunch? Backpacking? Couple? All I needed was a pinch to snap out of this nightmare. With extreme effort, I kept my Sunday school smile plastered over my gritted teeth. “We have been busy planning a wedding, Doug. You know, matrimony? ‘Til death do us part? Cake and presents? Does any of this ring a bell with you?”

“No, you’ve been busy planning a wedding. I hardly had anything to do with it. I should have said something earlier, but you were so into the whole thing, I didn’t think you’d even hear me.”

I felt as though he’d slapped me. “You sure as shootin’ didn’t pipe up with this information earlier. You could have mentioned another girl say, before we chose the cake or the lobster in puff pastry. I’m pretty sure I would have heard you then.” My whisper edged closer to a bellow.

He looked at the floor again. “You’re right. I meant to, Sisi, but I didn’t want to hurt you. Rachel insisted that I tell you before we hired a disk jockey.”

Rachel, huh? Well wasn’t she a thoughtful little maid?

“Thank you for being so considerate of my feelings, and don’t call me Sisi anymore.” I tried to reduce my volume a few octaves. It was pointless as the whole group of children hung on our every word. To my dismay, my voice faltered. “I thought we were soul mates. I was ready to share my life with you. I thought …I thought God brought us together.”

His mouth opened and then closed. “I don’t know what to say except I’m really sorry.”

The sight of his puppy dog expression made me furious. “How could you be such an…” I eyed my rapt pupils, “a-s-s…” I spelled.

“I know what that says!” Jon Jon shrieked with glee.

“A-s-s-t-e-r-o-i-d,” I finished in a rush.

Jon Jon chewed a goldfish thoughtfully. “Why did you call him an asteroid, Miss Greevey? That only has one “s” anyway,” he added, helpfully.

Just my luck to have a child prodigy in class. I clasped my hands together so tightly my nails dug into the palms.

Doug gave me a worried look. “What are you doing?”

I fixed venomous eyes on him. “I am praying that I don’t kill you in front of these children.” The words came out loud enough to be heard down the hall. I considered grabbing the Play-doh cutter and gutting him like a fish. It might take a while, but it would be satisfying.

“Are you gonna kill him?” Ralph squealed. “Cool! Just like David did to Goliath. Maybe we can find a rock.” He began to search under the tables.

“Look, Sisi, I know that right now you think I’m a…” Doug looked furtively at the little snackers, “b-a-s…”

Jon Jon’s eyes rolled upwards as he sounded out the letters. I pointed savagely at the boy.

“k-e-t-b-a-l-l,” he covered, ” but I think that ultimately this is the best thing for both of us.”

“What did he spell?” Sarah whispered to Jon Jon.


“Why does she think he’s a basketball?” Sarah asked.

“Doug,” I said, sweet as Splenda, “I think you’re right. This has got to be the best thing that has happened to me because I have been saved from marrying the biggest asteroid I have ever met. I don’t want to lay eyes on you, hear your name, see your car, run across your phone number or even smell that wretched excuse for cologne you wear ever again.”

“Hey now.” Doug frowned. “What’s wrong with my cologne? Rachel says it’s earthy.”

“It smells like Pine Sol,” I hissed.

I don’t remember exactly how the Play-doh got into my hand, but the parents arrived to find their children sitting open-mouthed, watching the Sunday school teacher pelt her ex fiancé with purple clay. I believe I was shouting at the time, words which should probably not be uttered in a Sunday school classroom.

I do recall the phrase, “You are a first class basketball!” leaving my lips at a totally inappropriate volume.

Seven sets of parents hurriedly ushered their tots out the door. The pastor suggested that there was an opening in the coffee and doughnut ministry.

As Jon Jon passed by, he stopped. “Are you going to teach next week? That was the best time I ever had in Sunday school.”

I gave him the last Lifesaver and walked out of the church.

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