The Winter of Discontent


J.W. Heart


Disclaimers: This is a work of alternative fiction, so eventually there will be somewhat graphic depictions of women engaged in intimate acts. If this is illegal where you live………it’s really time to move. If you are under age….Move on. I’m not here to further your education.

Language: Yep…bad words. Be warned.

Thanks To: As always, my own dream woman, whose spirit is my inspiration everyday. And my beta readers, Alec Rene and M. Rae Patrick. Wordsmiths in their own right.


This is the 3rd in the Trace and Shannon series. I suggest that to fully comprehend what’s happening here, you might want to read….Summer of Need and Meanwhile Back at the Ranch.

Any comments, questions and concerns for my mental health can be sent to


Chapter 1


Shannon and I made it through our first year on the ranch together. It was a learning experience to say the least. First you should know that little kids…really do believe the sun rises and sets on them. That was hard for me as I had been lead to believe it rose and set on me. My mistake. It’s all right, I got over it. I think the hardest part was finding time away from little prying eyes, if you know what I mean. Lucky for me, the woman of my dreams, is brilliant. Just last week…

I pulled my truck into the drive; I knew my family was home. So really the sight of a trail of clothing leading from the drive to the barn peaked my interest. My curiosity getting the better of me, well that and I’m not totally stupid, I followed the trail.

I stopped occasionally to pick up the articles of clothing. First, a pair of red socks. Much to big for a four year old. Next there was one of my flannel shirts. Not surprising really, the women in my life tended to take my clothes a lot. Which reminds me …….I need to get new shirts. A very feminine pair of panties followed the shirt. God bless VS. A little further up was its matching bra. Well you get the idea right.

I grabbed the remaining article, yes jeans, and walked into the barn. Now you have to understand a couple things here. First being that Shannon and I while we love our daughter more than life. Well, we get very little alone time. And second, its December and damn cold. Thankfully the barn is heated for foaling.

The sight that greeted me was breath taking. All 5’4 inches of gloriously naked Shannon spread across a soft blanket on a bed of sweet hay. We’ve been together now for just over a year and the woman still knocks me senseless. Well, not that senseless, I was out of my clothes faster then you can say go.

We didn’t say a word to each other, knowing time was of the essence. I slid over her body, feeling her wrap around me. Our lips meeting, passionate and hot. There would be no time for preliminaries this time. But it didn’t seem that Shannon needed them anyway, she was more than ready. We spent the next half-hour driving each other insane until we both flew off that edge. God I love that woman.

So you see my little vixen can be very creative about getting us alone together. I know you’re wondering where JT was. Let’s say Mother’s everywhere know the value of naptime.

Now as you may have noticed, I said it was December. Which means snow and most importantly. ……Christmas. I was excited about this holiday. Ok I love Christmas, can blame me? Presents. It’s the one time of the year when I actually don’t mind shopping. And I discovered something last year that made it even better. Little kids like toys. And I love the toy store. Of course Shannon vowed she’d never go in one with me again. Hey, I swear that little boy started the whole thing. It’s not my fault.

This year was going to be great. We were going to get our tree, hang our lights and the best part was that Syd and Dawg were going to come across the pond for the holidays. I hadn’t seen my friends since last summer. This year was going to be special the whole family together. Including the new member, well, the new one on the way. Oh yea, should tell you that Syd’s pregnant. And no matter what Dawg says that’s not my fault either.

My loving wife took the little one to see Santa. I wanted to go but someone needed to hold this couch down. You never know when the furniture will get up and move itself around. That’s a big problem in our house. And the frequency has increased of late. Seems every time I leave the house, when I walk back in everything is changed around. Nothing worse then furniture that can’t make up its mind where it wants to be. Frankly I’m tired of running into it, there’s just so much my shins can take. So I thought I’d keep an eye on it. Shannon just rolled her eyes when I told her that. You should follow her lead with that one. Just let it go.



Chapter 2



I wasn’t really sleeping I was just resting my eyes. It’s important to do that now and again, they get tired too. So I didn’t hear the truck pull up the drive. Nor did I hear the door open. I did hear it slam closed however. But I’m not nearly as quick as a four-year-old on a mission. So I wasn’t able to get out of the way of the little body that flung itself across my stomach. As I lay there sucking wind. …

" Hi Trace! I seen Santa!" She was just so cute. Santa is a big deal to a four-year-old.

I pulled the little body closer and whispered. " Did you tell him?"

" Uh huh…A Harley, a black one. Just like you telled me". Hey…don’t look at me like that. So it’s really for me but I thought it best to have all my bases covered. Maybe Santa can pull some strings with the other blonde.

Speaking of the other blonde, she was leaning against the door jam. Looking very annoyed. For those not in a relationship. That’s not a good thing. Usually means someone, me, is in trouble.

" Hi Honey". I smiled hoping that it would charm her into a better mood. It didn’t work.

" Don’t honey me. I can’t believe you had a four year old ask Santa for a Harley". Now I’ve lived with this woman long enough that she should know ……this is exactly something I would do. And she did, so there was something else going on but I didn’t get the chance to ask. She just walked off.

So I did what I always do when I’m left clueless. I asked the kid.

" Why is Momma upset?"

She shrugged her little shoulders. " I dunno, I think its cuz she had a fight with Santa’s elf. I’m gonna go play". And she left me there. Still clueless.

Now my sweet gentle Shannon doesn’t fight. Well not with people in public. That’s something she reserves for me …….at home. Where the making up can be held in some sort of privacy. And so the idea of her getting into it with anyone was disturbing. Not as disturbing as the image I had of my fiery blonde going after one of Santa’s elves. I mean ………it’s an elf. What can they possibly do to piss off a full grow woman.

So with that picture in my mind I went in search of my beloved wife. Hoping to find an answer to the maddening question. I knew when I walked into the kitchen and saw her slamming the cupboard doors; I should have just left it alone. But no one has ever said I had a lot of sense.

" Honey? What’s wrong"? Not an original opener but hey we had a mystery to solve.

She turned to me; jaw clenched tight, green eyes burning. " I want you to go to the mall". She said stalking up to me, wrapping her hands in my shirt. " And kill that elf!" She yelled pulling me down to her face.

Ok so obviously the little Christmas elf had committed some grievous error. But I can’t just go around executing elves. Not without reason. And it must have been really bad because Shannon isn’t one prone to violence. Forget about her holding a gun on me, she didn’t shoot so it doesn’t count. So either the elf in question really screwed up or my wife was in the throws of PMS. Now here’s a tip…never …and I do mean never, ask a woman if she just might be over reacting because it’s that time of the month. Just assume the world is wrong and she’s the only sane one left in it. Trust me, it’s just easier.

" Umm..honey?" I choked. " Let go….you’re cutting off the blood flow to my face".

She did release my shirt, but then buried herself in my arms. Hold tight to my waist. The tell tale sniffing against my shirt told me she was crying. Ok now the evil elf made my Shannon cry; I might just have to kill it anyway.

" Oh Trace she was awful". She sobbed. It’s a pitiful sight really. Her green eyes all watery, nose all red. Still absolutely gorgeous. We have discussed in the past that I’m not well; you should know this by now.

I sat down on the chair pulling her onto my lap. Amazing but both Mother and child seem to feel better when I can hold them like this. She settled down and sat there laying her head on my shoulder.

" What happened?"

" Oh JT was waiting for her turn with Santa and this woman was talking to me". Finally were getting to the reason behind all this.

" The elf woman?". Ok so I needed to clear up some points. Frankly I was still confused.

" Yea. She said it was nice to see all the families coming out this year. And then asked where JT’s father was and why he didn’t come with us". She sniffed. Personally I thought it was kind of nosy, but then its nowhere USA. …….enough said.

" Well you know JT nothing phases her". Ha! That’s the truth. Kid’s far too honest for my own good. " She tells this bitch that she doesn’t have a Daddy, but she has a Trace and that she was home making sure the furniture didn’t move". See little bit understands too. I knew it wasn’t just me having problems the furniture.

" Uh oh".

" No kidding. The woman glared at me like I was something evil and disgusting. Started talking under her breath about homos and crap. I just lost it Trace". She looked up at me with those big green eyes, horrified. " There I was in the middle of the mall yelling at one of Santa’s elves about intolerance and bigots. And she was screaming at me about family and decent folks. Her stupid bells ringing. It was a terrible scene". She snuggled deeper into my arms.

Now I swear I didn’t mean to but damn………I just couldn’t help myself. I got this vision of Shannon shaking the hell out of the elf, bells jingling, words flying and JT calm as could be sitting on Santa’s lap relating her Christmas list. I had to laugh.

Shannon looked at me totally disbelieving my reaction. And I laughed harder. I tried to hold it in I really did. But the tears burned my eyes. I finally gave up and just went with it.

" Trace it isn’t funny. Her pointed hat flew off. People were standing around staring. Some even took pictures. The candy canes she was holding fell all over the floor. Kids from all over the mall were scrambling to get them. I almost caused a riot. I was so embarrassed". She pouted, jumping off my lap and stalking to the counter.

Which was bad for me because by this time I had lost all control and fell right on the floor. To hell with dignity, that was just too funny. They say laughter is contagious, and it’s a good thing for me its true. Eventually Shannon started chuckling, and then lost her own composure.

It took ten minutes to get ourselves back under control. Both of us with tears streaming down our faces. I wrapped my arms around her sweet body and kissed her blonde head.

" Well….I’m not sure my killing her can top what’s already been done baby".

" I guess you’re right". She giggled.

I was pleased that the situation was diffused. The idea of committing elf homicide just wasn’t very festive. I mean…killing an elf at Christmas time most likely holds some pretty stiff penalties. That’s probably where they got the guy to play Santa. He’s last year’s elf killer.


Chapter 3



Ok I know they’re my friends but Shannon has become close with them as well. So I didn’t see why it was my duty to pick them up at the airport. I did have other things to do. But….here I am because as we know…I like being able to sleep in my own bed at night; JT kicks in her sleep. So I’m waiting in a crowded airport having left the child to the ever-important furniture-sitting job.

Have you ever noticed that people in an airport at holiday time are really not all there? I know that’s quite an observation coming from me. But really, you have young couples standing at the luggage carousel waiting for their bags. And you just know that she’s taking him home for the first time to meet the folks. You can tell that because he’s fidgeting and she’s going over the names of all the relatives he’s going to meet. And the poor guy is becoming increasingly pale. A cold sweat has broken out on his forehead. And his eyes started darting around looking for an escape route.

Then you have other couples, the more established ones, with children in tow. The kids are screaming because they didn’t get any sleep on the flight. Mom looks worn to a frazzle and Dad is carrying 3 bags all filled with gifts and has a carrier strapped to his shoulder dragging another three bags behind him. He is also looking for an escape route. Watching them I decided that we were never flying anywhere, at least until JT was far into her teens. That thought brings home a whole other kind of horror but we aren’t going to think about that right now.

I think my favorite people to watch were the businessmen. You know the guys in rumpled suits carrying a single overnight bad and a briefcase. They dodge the around the crying kids, avoid Mom like the plague and barely scrape by Dad and his luggage train. They duck out of the way of the young man who is a sickly shade of green. These are they guys who find the escape route.

I was pretty lost in my people watching so I didn’t notice my friend’s arrival. Well not until Dawg picked me up from behind and swung me like a child in circles. It’s totally embarrassing that she can do that. She only put me down when Syd smacked her and ordered it. Never argue with a pregnant woman who has been on an airplane for over 20 hours.

" Damn Dawg people are staring here". I never blush just put that thought right out of your minds.

" It’s good to see you too sunshine".

They looked great. Well Dawg looked great, Syd was kind of green…like the kid by the baggage. And huge!….ok even I know you don’t tell a pregnant woman that. Give me some credit.

" Syd you look fantastic". I wasn’t lying she really did, once you got past the green thing.

" Thanks Trace you lie well, Shannon would be proud". She laughed hugging me tight.

" Where is your other and better looking half?" Dawg asked grinning.

" Home, she had some last minute things to take care of".

" Why didn’t you bring the little darling?" Syd questioned. Syd loved JT, fell in love with that little blonde tornado on day one and it was a mutual affection. It was also why Dawg blamed me for Syd’s current condition. She reasoned that if I had never met Shannon and Shannon had never had a kid. Then of course Syd would never have fallen in love with the little beast and hence ……she wouldn’t have wanted one of her own. I didn’t say it was a logical reason.

" She’s at home watching the furniture". Ok so yes they too looked at me like I had suddenly sprouted a second head. " You’ll see what I mean. Just pay attention when you walk back into the house for any reason". I warned.

We made quick work of getting the bags and getting out of the congested airport. I had been paying close attention to the businessmen, just followed their lead. The ride home was smooth. Well…if you don’t count the 5 times we had to stop so Syd could use a restroom.

" Does this happen all the time?" I questioned Dawg who was sitting in the back seat as we waited yet again for Syd to do her thing.

" Yea…more lately. I actually was concerned until the Doc told me it was normal. Didn’t seem normal to me. A grown woman shouldn’t have a bladder the size of a walnut". She sighed.

I just agreed, what else could I do. I wasn’t there for Shannon’s pregnancy, something that still hurt to think about. So really I knew nothing about the phenomenon.

We finally managed to make it home. JT was out the door like a shot, racing out to the truck to see the other woman she worshipped. Besides Shannon and me. No matter what we tried she was still leery of Dawg. She skidded to a halt when she saw Syd.

" Whoa….Syd you got fat!" Ok so no one told the kid the rule about that.

Shannon luckily came up behind. " No honey Syd’s going to have a baby, remember?" She explained to our bewildered child.

" How’d it get inside?" She question looking at Syd’s protruding tummy.

Shannon gave me a beseeching look. Yea right!

" No way…I’ll teach her to drive. This ones all yours". I picked up the bags and headed for the house, Dawg right on my heels. Neither of us willing to venture into that one.




Chapter 4



Now I’m not prone to sudden bouts of sentiment or anything like that. But that evening after we had tucked our little one into bed and it was just the four of us sitting in the living room. The scene struck me. Dawg was leaning back against the arm of the sofa; Syd was settled back against her chest. My big, butch friend had her arms around the rounded belly of her lover. Softly stroking, circling. Like she was comforting the baby within.

The room was lit with just the glow of the fire and few candles. The light flickered in Syd’s gentle hazel eyes. It cast a warm shadow over her features. They say that pregnant women glow. I thought they really meant sweat but that’s not it. Syd had this look of absolute serenity about her. There was something in her eyes, in her smile, something beyond what us mere mortals have. I found myself wondering if she knew a secret that the rest of us could only guess at. She looked at peace. For the first time in our friendship…I envied Dawg. I would have given anything to see that same look on Shannon’s face. I missed that part; I wasn’t there for the miracle of bringing JT into the world. There are just some things you can never get back.

Dawg was a study in contrasts. See on the outside, the part that she showed the world, all you saw was this butch woman. No fear, no insecurities, all dry wit and sarcasm. Her demeanor made you think that Syd’s pregnancy was just another event in life. But sitting there watching the two, I saw something in her as well. Her soft brown eyes had a spark that was never there before. She looked at Syd with adoration and awe. Holding her partner like she was the most precious thing in the universe. The unconscious stroking of Syd’s tummy, well…I took it as a sort of silent communication. Her connection to the life growing there. No matter what Dawg said. This baby meant as much to her as it did to Syd, if not more.

Anyway it was one of those moments you put away and pull out to look at later, when you need to find a peaceful minute or a reason to push harder. However, later I discovered I should have been paying closer attention to Shannon. I would have been prepared for the conversation then. ….Maybe.

I lay there wrapped around my lover, slowly drifting off to sleep. The room was dark and the house quiet. Snow falling gently outside. A true Hallmark moment.

" Trace?"

" Huh?" I tried to economize my words hoping this would be short and I could go back to sleep.

" Syd looked beautiful tonight huh?"

" Uh huh". Sleep……….sleep. ……sleep.

" What do you think about having another baby?"

" What?!" Ok wide-awake now.

She turned her body over in my arms, still snuggled against me. " Another baby Trace. You know like JT only smaller".

" What’s wrong with the one we have?" Smaller? Geezz the kids a shrimp do they get smaller?

" There’s nothing wrong with her". She stated.

" Well then why replace her? We just got this model broken in". For those out there who have never dealt with the ticking of a woman’s biological clock. This argument does not work.

She rose up and smacked me in the shoulder. " Not replacing her you duffus. Having another baby, a little brother or sister for her to play with".

" Ummm….. And when, where, how?" I wondered if this wasn’t just a by productive of having Syd around. Or if maybe she really was in the throws of PMS. In either case I felt it best to indulge her for the moment.

" Well." She began, moving over to her back facing up to the ceiling. Something she does when in thought. " I had the last one…" She let the statement hang.

No Fucking way! " No fucking way!" At least my mind and mouth were in sync this time.

" I was kidding honey". She laughed. Thank the Goddess. " Having a little Trace would be great but ….I don’t think the world is ready for two of you. But I wouldn’t mind having another". Her voice hopeful.

Now I really wasn’t ready for this conversation. And while the idea of a pregnant Shannon appealed to me in some ways. The thought of a tiny little life, all new and helpless………well………that terrified me.

" Lets get through the holidays Shan. Then maybe we can think about it. But I’m not sure I really want to have another".

" Promise you’ll think about it Trace." She pleaded.

" Sure babe". Like I had a choice. You never spring something like that on a person who is laying in the dark, with hours to just contemplate things. Needless to say ….I didn’t get much sleep. And for some reason had an over whelming urge to wake Dawg and tell her this …….was her fault.



Chapter 5


" Trace the trees not straight". My ever so observant wife offered. Of course she did that from over in the corner, while Dawg and I wrestled the huge pine into the stand.

" Honey, neither are we. It fits right in".

" Trace it needs to be straight or it won’t look right". Ok …I’ve had it with holiday stuff. I just wanted toys, but did I get that…no. Here I am fighting with a tree, a tree mind you.

" JT! Get the secret weapon". I sent the child after the one thing that would fix this problem quickly and allow me to have dinner before I starve to death. See we had already cut, folded, spindled and mutilated…it still didn’t fit right in the stand.

JT came barreling back into the living room narrowly missing the coffee table, which had move across the room once again while we were out getting the stupid tree to begin with.

" Here Trace". She said handing me ………the duct tape. Hey…it has many uses.

" Aright!" Dawg shouted. See…she knows the many uses as well.

We just went about our tree fixing, ignoring the concerned looks our wives were giving us. I was right; in record time we had that puppy up sitting there as pretty as you please. Never mind that the back was taped to the wall. Hey at least that way I was assured it wouldn’t be getting up and wandering around.

" Well…what do you think little bit?" I asked my buddy, picking her up so she could get the full effect. She wrapped her slender arms around my neck and laid her golden head on my shoulder.

" It’ll be better with presents".

Hey you can’t argue that logic. And with that all settled we went off to raid the kitchen. Of course would we be allowed to eat in peace? Hell no…we have el Prego and her side kick…she demon…the hormone twins, to deal with.

" Trace!"

" Dawg!" Oh simultaneous screeching.

" Yes" We answered in unison. Neither of us brave enough to actually go out there and see what they wanted. We’re not stupid…..that most likely will lead to more work. And I already smell like a car air freshener.

You know when they yell like that you should just go out there, because if you don’t..they come and get you. We were making our sandwiches when JT looked up.

"Uh oh…Momma I just did like Trace ask me to". The little traitor. You know if I were 3 feet tall and had those dimples I could get away with murder too.

" Its all right baby, Momma knows you were just influenced by the big dumb barbarians". My once sweet wife cooed as she picked our child up off the counter. " Why don’t you go play in your room".

"Oh sure, she gets sent to play and I get to hear about the evils of duct tape. Life’s not fair." Ok whining probably isn’t going to help but it was worth a try.

" Trace she’s four".

" Ha! She might only be four but who do you think gave us the idea to tape the tree to the wall in the first place?"

" Oh no". She whimpered. " You’ve turned her into one of you". She moaned, burying herself in my arms. Guess I’m not in that much trouble.

" Well…at least its straight now". Dawg offered shrugging her broad shoulders. Ever so helpful she is. Syd smacked her in the head.

" Hey, honey don’t do that, you might give me brain damage". She complained rubbing her head.

" To late" Her wife shot back at her. Then reached over and took her sandwich.

I laughed at the shocked look on Dawg’s face, until Shannon snatched mine as well and took off with it.

" Fine! I’m going to take a shower." I had enough of hormonal, sandwich stealing women. Ok so I was cranky, I had pine pitch in places it shouldn’t be and there was an obvious lack of appreciation for my fix it skills.

You know, truth be told, I’m being unreasonable. I know shocked me too. But its true, I think I still have the baby conversation stuck in my tiny mind. Well, and when I had finally fallen asleep last night. I was awakened by a nightmare of a thirty-foot infant chasing me around the ranch. And it needed a diaper change.

So that’s what led me to the shower. And standing there I realized that…hot water is good for many things. Like washing away pine pitch and bad dreams. Of course the compact, tight body naked and pressed against my back was helpful as well. She washed away all my worries with her small hands. Caressing my breasts, teasing nipples to stiff peaks. Slick and wet sliding over my hips and down my thighs. She ran her tongue down my spine and chased away all other forms of thought.

Her tongue continued its torturous path. Down the back of my thighs and then retracing its journey adding a tender bite to my cheek. The lower one. I had to place my hands on the wall, I only have two legs and neither was working well. She gently nudged my legs apart and slid, without a word, to her knees. I felt the sharp nip to my hip and gasped, looking down to see her blond head poised at my sex. She ran that sweet tongue through the slick folds, a shock ripping through my body forcing my eyes closed and a long moan to escape me.

Her hungry mouth tasted, explored, devoured. She was relentless and I was helpless against her. Like I was going to make her stop. Ha! She drove her tongue deeper, stroking me harder, as she slipped her hands up over my taut stomach finally resting on my breasts. Fingers used to torture hardened nipples as she sucked me into her mouth and I felt myself throb against her tongue. It could have been an eternity or just a second, time had lost meaning. I moved against her begging her to take me higher.

My knees grew weaker, breath harsher, I knew I wouldn’t last much longer and I pleaded with her to take me over. I heard her moan, my words exciting her as well. And she gently bit down on my swollen nub. I screamed her name as the world shattered. Shards of light speeding through the darkness behind my eyes. I felt her release me and help me slide to the floor unable to stand on my own anymore. We lay there with the water beating down on us. Wrapped in each other’s arms.

" I love you Trace". She whispered against my chest. If I could have spoken I would have, but I couldn’t so I kissed her instead. And damned if I could remember why I had been so upset in the first place.

Continued in part 2...

Return to the Academy