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Horsing Around

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Book: Horsing Around


Chapter 1

“I appreciate you taking my call. I realize it’s a Sunday.” The Nation’s Top Male Model, Mark Antonious Richfield, ran his hand through his shoulder-length hair nervously as he sat on a bed in the loft apartment above his stable. He had a houseful of guests at the moment. Yesterday they had celebrated his son, Isaac ‘Zak’ Milton Richfield’s first birthday. What had been an enjoyable event with loved ones, turned into a disaster when his ex-fiancée, Sharon Tice-Hill, showed up unannounced and uninvited.
Not only did she crash Isaac’s party, she took Isaac’s new brother home with her before he was scheduled to return. Jacob Bentley Tice-Hill was Mark’s biological son, conceived after an affair with the leggy blonde in a church.
His cell phone to his ear, Mark said, “I know I originally wanted just two weekends a month, Ira,” Mark explained to his attorney, “But what she just did this weekend? Bloody hell, mate. It was over the top, even for her.”
“I understand, Mark. I did advise you to not deal with this matter until we had our day in court.”
“I know. But, things have changed.” Mark had been hanging out in this stable loft for a while, trying to sort through his emotions after the chaos of Sharon’s hasty visit and departure. He also knew he had to get back to his remaining guests in the mansion.
Noise near the loft’s ladder drew his attention. Warren, his manservant, held an armload of linens. He appeared surprised to see Mark there.
“I was coming to straighten up.” Warren waited for Mark’s invitation.
Mark waved him in. Mark’s father-in-law, a New York State Attorney General, Michael Bergman, had slept here, in the barn’s loft, overnight. Mark stood from the bed and continued talking to his lawyer as Warren changed the sheets.
“Right.” Mark tried to focus on the call. He turned his back to Warren and said, “When is our next meeting with her attorney?”
“I don’t think we had one planned. I was under the impression this was going no further in mediation and we were going to court.”
Mark dreaded having to wait months for another visit. “When do you think we can get this before a judge?”
“Why don’t you let me check tomorrow? It’s Monday and I could see what’s on the schedule.”
“Yes. Sorry. Thanks for taking my call on a Sunday.” Mark peered at Warren and he was also replacing the towels in the bathroom.
“No problem, Mark. I know what this child means to you.”
“Thank you, Ira.”
“I’ll be in touch.”
Mark disconnected his phone and held it in his palm, removing his eyeglasses and hanging them on his shirt collar.
Warren finished changing linens and towels and held the items that needed laundering in his arms. “Stan was looking for you.”
“Yes. All right.” Mark figured his absence would be noted. He followed Warren down the ladder. They had four horses housed in the remodeled barn at the moment; his white Arabian gelding, Piccadilly’s Phantom, his best friend Jack Larsen’s black Thoroughbred, Shadow of the Knight, his second husband Stan’s brown Percheron-mix, Bollward’s Tempest or Bull, and now, a small quarter horse mare named Sally, that he had hired for the weekend.
His first husband, Steven Jay Miller had offered to purchase the small mare for his niece Chloe.
Their groom Andrew Wilson volunteered to go with Steve to the stable to buy that mare. At the moment, the four horses were outside, grazing on hay in the paddock.