Thursday 13 #21

Thirteen Reasons You Can’t Put Real™©® Kids
Into A Romantic Novel

Okay, now I know this will probably get me in trouble with some people. Before you start, I agree — there have been many compelling and touching romances that include children.

However… nine times out of ten, children, as portrayed in romance, are whack. Churched up, prig-ified, and censored so as not to jar our dear readers with too much reality.

I myself would never do something so unkind, and here’s an example to illustrate why, using the chapter openings of a romance involving a Real®© kid:


July fifteenth was an ominous date in Clear Lake, Minnesota. People died on July fifteenth. Beloved pets went missing. Car accidents were the norm, houses would burn… Last year, the town’s lone stoplight had inexplicably fallen from its wires, narrowly missing the mayor’s wife as she ran across the street.

Most businesses closed down for the day. So it was that at ten a.m. on July fifteenth of that year, Holly Hewson was at home, enjoying the rare day off. She didn’t believe in the July fifteenth curse. Shit happened. It happened everyday around here, not just the one day a year like the town elders would have people believe, and she should know — she was legal secretary to the county prosecutor.

She sighed at the stupidity of it all, threading a thin piece of wire through her front door screen. Only yesterday, her eight-year-old son Timothy had put a golf club through it, leaving an eleven inch tear. She had to get it sewn back together again, lest she spend another night tormented by the sound of a mosquito buzzing her head.

But now, as she crouched uncomfortably on the front steps, another sound assailed her ears. The low, distant growl of an engine that brought her head up to search for the source.

A second later, she yelped, then sucked the side of her injured thumb. She’d pricked it on the needle-sharp edges of the torn screen.

She inspected the tiny red wound, then wagged her hand in the air. How could something that small hurt so bad?

“Something wicked this way comes,” she muttered.

From inside the house, Timothy called, “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! How do you get nail polish off a TV screen?”

She raced inside, never seeing the black Shelby Cobra pull into the drive of the deserted mansion across the street.


He should be more careful what he wished for.

Paul West faced the decaying monstrosity he’d just bought. The real estate agent had warned it needed some work, but from the look of things, there was nothing wrong with the house a couple gallons of lighter fluid and a match couldn’t fix.

He was stuck with it, though. He’d purchased it before he’d seen the pictures of Holly Hewson’s son.

Their son. The son she’d kept a secret from him for eight long years. So there was no turning back. Not for him. He’d deliver what she had coming if it was the last thing he ever did.

“Hey mister!”

There was a kid on a bike at the end of his drive. Young. Dark hair. Dark eyes.

They looked exactly alike.

He returned his son’s greeting. “Hey.”

“Guess what?”


“Chicken butt.”


She couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t possibly be happening. That could not be Paul West out there talking to Timothy.

Stomach churning, heart racing, she calculated the odds she could make it inside without being seen. But it was too late. Paul had spotted her, and the rage in his eyes as he stared at her could have felled her from a thousand feet.

He put a hand between Timothy’s shoulder blades and guided him up the front walk toward her.

“What’s the matter, Mom?” Timothy asked. “You look like you did that one time I padded my bike seat with maxi pads.”


“Why didn’t you tell me?” Paul demanded once more. “Answer me, or I’ll — ”

He’d risen to his feet, but the gesture was robbed of its menace by the thick band of bright orange bubble gum strung between his butt and the chair.


He was still nervous. This was his first night alone with his son, and he wanted everything to go smoothly.

So far, so good. Timothy was making microwave popcorn in the suite’s mini kitchen while he slid the DVD into his laptop. A simple movie and popcorn night. He’d never heard of the movie Timothy had insisted they watch. The Ring. Probably a chick flick, but he supposed that’s what came of being raised by a single mom.


A sharp crackling sound caught his attention. Oh God. Something electrical. He could already smell smoke, and he’d left Timothy alone in the kitchen. He ran at top speed, catching a glimpse of Timothy as the boy ran into the bathroom and slammed the door.

Smart kid, to get himself into a safe place as the crackling and popping grew louder. It was coming from the microwave.

He put a hand up to shield himself and leaned down to have a look inside at the maelstrom of sparks and smoke inside.

“Son of a…”

His Blackberry. The little brat had nuked his Blackberry.


Holly rubbed the center of her forehead, right where the migraine was beginning to form. It was three a.m., and Timothy still wouldn’t close his eyes. He lay sprawled across her, his back to the television.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” she asked. “What is it? If something’s wrong, all you have to do is tell me. I promise I won’t get mad. The only time I get mad is if you lie to me.”

Timothy glanced up at her, his eyes very like his father’s. “He made me watch The Ring. I just know Samara’s comin’ out of that TV the second I close my eyes.”


She stood on his front porch, hands on hips, spitting homicidal intentions from every pore. “How dare you let him watch a horror movie!”


The quiet sound of low, conspiritorial laughter filtered through Timothy’s bedroom door.

She wasn’t sure she trusted the quality of it, but things had been going so well between them all, she’d hate to spoil it by being the heavy tonight. There were some things a mother shouldn’t intrude upon. Guy things. Father and son things.

Still, curiosity got the better of her and she pressed her ear to the door.

“Okay. My turn,” Timothy said. “Pull my finger.”


“I’ll kill him,” Paul snarled, eyeing the deep gouge down the side of the Cobra’s paintjob.


“He’s a demon!”

She smirked. “What did you expect? He’s your son, after all.”

“That’s not funny!”

“I know. But welcome to parenthood, Mr. West. Glad you could finally make it.”


There was no denying it anymore. An old flame could still burn hot, and all she wanted — all she’d ever want — was to burn with him.

They didn’t see the dark eyes peering at them until it was too late.

Timothy took off down the hallway, screaming, “Bad touch! Bad touch!”


The acceptance letter from a military school six hundred miles away lay on the table at his elbow. Beneath it, the surgical forms for his vasectomy. Champagne was on ice, the engagement ring was in his pocket, and he had a roll of duct tape standing by in case Timothy escaped from the babysitter again.

[blenza_autolink: tt]


25 Responses

  1. sounds perfectly normal to me.

    Then again I raised two boys and lived through it.


  2. oh and btw this is freakin hysterical and i hope you’re really using this.


  3. Oh… my…. gosh… can’t… stop…. laughing… long enough to… BREATHE…

    That was a marvel, Emma!!

    Happy T13, and thanks for visiting mine! 😀

  4. :notwrthy: You freaking rock.

  5. I’ve got just one thing to say… :holybah:
    That was too funny. Happy TT.

  6. My first Thursday 13! Does anyone know the main site? And, your thirteen is great!

  7. Those are AWESOME.

    What book is that from? Cos I wanna buy it!

  8. OMG OMGOMG. That is Sooooooooo perfect. And you really should put the REAL kids in a book. Especially with the HEA you pulled out of it.

    😉 Youda stud.

  9. *roars with laughter*

    *falls over*

    *laughs some more*

  10. I came here because other bloggers I read think you’re amazing.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that they are right: Emma Wayne Porter is amazing, and amazingly hilarious.

  11. I was directed here from Shannon Stacey’s blog. This is a hoot!! I want to buy the book! I raised 2 boys and like Jaci, lived to tell about it. Especially when they burnt the basement carpet playing war with plastic tanks and lighter fluid.

  12. You know, I managed to keep it down to a dull roar until I got to “Bad touch!”. But now I actually have the hiccups, smartass.

    Seriously, I’d buy this book like it was a 4-for-1 Dorito sale. You should write the rest of it. :teehee:

  13. Thanks, everybody.

    Hmmm… If I actually wrote it, do you think they’d shelve it under romance or horror? I figure you know what my vote would be.

    And Bev? How, exactly… Ah, on second thought, maybe I don’t wanna know how that happened.

  14. I didn’t know they had the lighter fluid until a stench arose from the basement. Needless to say, they were grounded until they were 30!

  15. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes.

  16. *LOL* Too funny!

  17. I think you are having just way too much fun,,, now, go sven or else !!!!

  18. Bwwwaaaaaahahahahahahahaha!

    Emma, you’ve probably never heard of me before, but that hasn’t stopped me from tagging you from my “Meme of Four”. WTF, you say? Haven’t I just finished the TT? Yeah, well, how was I to know you’re a TT freak?

    Anyhoo, have a look at my entry to see What Is Expected and, if you’re up for more procastination, go for it!

  19. Oh, too funny. This kid sounds like a hoot…
    I just read a Christine Feehan – and it has a totally UNREALISTIC 6 year old child that made me cringe every time he opened his sweet innocent mouth.
    My 6 year old would have pounded the shit out of him :karate:

  20. lol Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels that way, Wy.

    /high-five Bev. I think, all tallied together, my two (who are 8 and 9) are grounded until roughly age 45. But that’s just from me. My husband could probably add a few more years if asked.

    And Lise, don’t make me cry. Mean girl.

  21. lol- love it!

  22. LMAO! I’m going to remember this the next time I complain about a kid in a romance novel not being realistic. This is great.

  23. Ditto what everyone else said! 🙂

    Will everyone throw rocks if I say my kids are like the ones in the romance novels? :feint:

  24. Um, tell me why you can’t do this again? It reads great to me.

  25. I’m with Jennifer. What’s wrong with this? It’s REAL!

    (It’s also freaking hilarious….)

    So, SO want to read a book of yours with a Real Kid in it…

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