Their lips met in a titillating kiss, hearts throbbing, hands exploring. “Darling,” she whispered—the tender embrace ushering the eternity, her sweet breath on his, their lips locked. “My darling…”

Wait a minute. Apart from the clichés in abundance… Ah, trash! That won’t do.

Too bad.

The Writer only had to wrap it up now, just the ending, just the riding into the sunset part. But the well was dry. Up to that point, everything was going so well with this romance novel number ten. Nine love stories done, published and gobbled up by the tenderly disposed ladies. Oh, how much they loved it! The sexuality, the tension, the anticipation. Then, finally, love-making—oh, that sweet tenderness, that moist sensuality, that raw, throbbing reality of the sublime. Delicious carnival of erotic bliss.

Assembled pakati-pakati-pak, this novel number ten was not an exception. Two lonely people find each other in this cold and overwhelming world. He, Lance Sterling, a handsome brute, a bit over-muscled yet exquisitely sensitive and irresistibly vulnerable after his four tours of duty in Afghanistan with the Special Forces, a loner and a hero favoring comfy armchairs, works by Washington Irving and Ralph Waldo Emerson, chamomile tea, earth tones, soft loafers and wool cardigans. She, Jane, a free spirited 5’8” beauty with wavy auburn hair, 130 pounds, size DD bra and sparks of mischief in her large green eyes. The only heir to the Lockshman’s Kosher Dill Pickles fame, Jane is erudite and witty and longing deeply for the love she never knew.

A chance encounter. A stroke of fate. His attempted suicide is fortuitously interrupted by her inadvertent yet timely appearance. Their first desperate love making scene—he was, of course, almost too big for her—the passion, the moaning, the upturned furniture… and twenty eight earth-shuttering, spectacular and breathtaking orgasms later, she is his forever. Then their getting-to-know-each-other stage, more out-of-this-world lovemaking, and lots and lots of intimacy and understanding—ultimate in tenderness, the true love. Then, the tragedy. Some fingers pointed, some chins raised in defiance, some words spoken, perhaps ill-intentioned but most probably not, message arrived the wrong way, and—bam! Lovers driven apart, the love slashed and seared as if by a sharp knife (or, perhaps, a dagger—a more interesting word—or a scalpel?), the sensitive souls anguished beyond the tolerance threshold of mere mortals. Oh, the sweet agony of heartbreak!

Several million dollars of Daddy’s money later, having overcome incredible odds, with an army of private detectives, Jane finds Lance as a Jehovah Witness missioner on the island of Borneo. Ecstatic reunion, they are finally together again in each other’s arms, blissful and complete, riding into the sunset.

Thus, we arrive to the riding-into-the-sunset part.

Yes, mush by the truckload was the only answer, the Writer reasoned, as mush had already placed a sizeable chunk of butter on his daily bread. Well, let’s see…

Jane’s deliciously supple breast peeked most temptingly through the strands of her auburn hair. He would have loved to kiss it, if he hadn’t feared waking her. He didn’t want that, relishing the moment. Once she was awake, the magic spell would have been broken and this moment gone forever. A part of him had been waiting for this, while the other part feared it and deep inside, in his heart of hearts, he knew with every fiber of that other, secret part of his heart—yes indeed, he always knew…

Wait, how many parts was that? Three? And where was he going with this anyway? Nowhere.

What about a honeymoon on Bahamas? White sand, azure ocean, shady cabanas, pyrotechnical orgasms, a little reggae in the background, happy natives with very bad teeth? No thanks, the set-up was beaten to death. This was exactly the literary approach that gave “banal” a bad name. And the faint overtone of racism wasn’t exactly… no, no, something better, something true…

The Writer wondered to the fridge listlessly and made himself a ham and cheese sandwich. With pickles. Then, brightened up, he marched back to his computer in long, decisive strides of a man struck by inspiration.

Ravishing in her low-cut red mini-dress and red high heels, her hair in steamy disarray, with her gorgeous breasts and slightly-chilled by the morning crispness erect nipples pressing against the tight garb, Jane whispered with tears in her voice, “I am sorry, darling, I am so very sorry, I love you so-o-o much!”

“How could you?” he breathed out, barely audible, numb. “How could you… have sex with the desk clerk last night when we made love till after two and it is not even 6 a.m. now?”

“I just stepped out for a quick drink of water, darling, after you fell asleep and he… that clerk! He—!”

Lance was startled by the feel of his favorite Ruger in his hand now, taken almost despite himself by the Hogue rubber grips of his trusty P944TH 40-caliber manual safety center-fire pistol, double action, ten in the clip, one in the barrel. He looked deep into Jane’s beautiful green eyes begging for forgiveness. A loud crack sealed the eternity. Bright red splatter suddenly appeared on Jane’s chest, right above the edge of her red dress… 

No, fool! Happily ever after! Happily! Focus! Nice gun, though, Ruger… no, the Writer needed something else now, something honest and true.

Whereas, passive and residual income derived from property of any type owned by the party of the first part, Mr. Lance Sterling, hereafter referred to as the “Husband”, shall have the same character for purposes of this agreement…

Well, that is honest, but…

What about a gig as meteorologists on the North Pole for honeymoon? A touch of socially responsible environmental sensibilities, cute Polar bear cubs, throw in a seal or two, lots of snow sparkling in the sunlight? Stupid. Under water? Trivial. While skydiving? Brainless. Oh, here, here! They travel to a developing country together and start an orphanage! Yeah, and get kidnapped, and then the State Department… no, that’s not a happy ending. Sounds a lot like an unhappy mid-point, at best.

The sound of his wife’s car brought the Writer out of his revere. The working day was over. The creative carnival in his mind was quickly winding down. The leisurely evening had arrived ushered in by his wife’s cheerful “hi, honey!” and then urgent “Dancing with the Stars is already on! I’ll be right there, hon, just got to pee!”

Oh, yeah, the Dancing with the Stars night!

“Hi, sweetie!” In the living room the Writer clicked the remote, grinning happily. Some people he seemed to have remembered vaguely from some TV show or something—or maybe not—were already dancing on the gaudy stage. His wife trotted in barefoot, quickly pecked him on the cheek and jumped on her favorite sofa, squealing with excitement. Adorable as usual. She loved that show. Writer stroked his wife’s hair fondly on his way to the kitchen for some snacks and a couple of beers. Then he settled next to her to watch the show. She immediately plopped her feet on his knee, and he cradled them in his arms. He knew she’d feel warm and cozy that way. Together they watched people dancing; together, a bit maudlin after a few beers, later they sang karaoke; together they discussed the day’s events; together they munched on things that they probably shouldn’t have, together they retired after the satisfying evening and together they made love comfortably. His wife fell asleep, snuggled pleasantly against his body. The Writer basked in her warmth, smiling agreeably, all tucked in for the night by the familiar smells and darkness of their bedroom.

What about a ceremony on a space shuttle with a NASA minister? Wait, what NASA minister? Do they even have ministers at NASA? No, that won’t fly.

Well, maybe tomorrow. Something honest, something true for his Jane’s Happily Ever After.