This was my entry into the Iron Pen Challenge. We were given half an hour to write, and a secret ingredient which must be included—in this case, it was a ranch. Needless to say, I lost. Still, it was fun to spread my wings and pop my fic contest cherry. And if you've ever wondered what my stuff looks like without editing or being beta'd, here you go.


The day before my birthday, I have an epiphany. I'm about to be thirty years old, and I'm exactly where I always wanted to be. The start-up I founded is about to sell for enough money to set me up for life, I own a great apartment on Riverside, and my girlfriend is hot and horny as fuck. I have it all—or at least, it appears as if I do. The truth is I put in so many hours building my company from the ground up, I barely remember my twenties. My place has spectacular views, but I'm not home enough to enjoy them. As for my girlfriend, Tanya, well... She's vacuous, self-centered, and lately I've begun to think she's only with me for my money. I now have what I always wanted, and I don't like it a bit. It's time to make a change of scenery.

Not sure where to start, I open my laptop and Google vacation packages. At first, nothing I find appeals to me. Then I see it—Twilight Ranch. "There's nothing for the inside of a man like the outside of a horse," it read.

It's perfect. I book the next available flight and make a reservation. It's just what I need to figure out what I want. An hour after I arrive at the ranch, I see her, and I know—she's who I want.

Dark-haired and pale-skinned, she's a natural beauty. I imagine she wakes up looking as lovely as she does now. I vow to discover this for myself.

"Hello, Edward," she says, extending her hand to me. "I'm Bella, and I'll be giving you your first lesson. Have you ever ridden?"

I give her my best panty-dropping smile. "Usually, I'm the one being ridden."

"Right." She doesn't appear amused. "In that case, we'll start you off on a mare."

Eventually, I'm saddled and riding side by side with her. She's good company—a fabulous conversationalist. She's lived on this ranch her entire life. As she speaks about the horses, her job, her family, there's a glow to her.

"How does it feel?" I ask.


"To be happy."

"You've never felt it?"

"No," I admit.

"I'll tell you what. After a week here, you will. I promise."

Something tells me she means it.