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Prologue

Mary Lamb was nineteen years old; pretty, and by most peoples' yardstick, well on her way to becoming a hopeless eccentric. The reason for this flaw in her makeup began with her name. Her parents, Charles and Martha Lamb, christened her Mary Allison Lamb. They never once thought about the nursery rhyme. They said they named her after Mary of Nazareth. They said they never thought their only child would grow up to be ridiculed because of her name. Geesh. They hadn’t given the darned nursery rhyme a thought.It would be the nursery rhyme which would take over and control Mary’s life, not the Blessed Virgin.

Mary carefully tended her darlings; the hundreds of lamb and lamb-related objects inside her small one-bedroom apartment, while softly mouthing the hurtful words from long ago:

Mary's Lamb is wooly and smells,

If you pet her head she will yell!

And if you make her very mad,

She'll breathe on you, and it smells bad.

Those malicious words hadn’t hurt Mary for a long, long time. In fact, nothing hurt her these days. Her beloved children's book, Lambs for Peace, was about to be published.

Instead of growing up hating her name, Mary fully embraced it as divine omen, deciding to exploit it instead of sticking her head in the sand whenever someone made unkind remarks about it.

Lost in wonderful thoughts of her future once her book was in the bookstores, she was jarred out of her happy reverie when the doorbell rang. She frowned, and hoped it wasn’t Jake, here to give her another sample of his macho posturing. When he left earlier, he slammed the door so hard some of her precious lambs fell from their perches on the wall. They didn't break, thank goodness. Still, she hadn't expected him to have the audacity to come back so soon. Rolling her eyes heavenward, she peeked through the spy hole and was relieved it wasn’t Jake.

"Numa! What a surprise."

Mary stood back to let her killer enter.

Within seconds, Mary lay flat on her back on the living room floor, staring up into Numa Richard’s face as he knelt over her. His hands clenched tightly around her throat, cutting off her air supply. As she began to lose consciousness, her last thoughts were of the hate she saw in Numa’s eyes.

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