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When the Chips are Down, There’s Nobody There

When the chips are down, there’s nobody there.

Daisy-PromoDaisy Matthews grew up on the streets of Chicago, and if she learned anything, it was that she could count on no one to help her, ever. She knows she has to tough it out, protect herself, and when necessary, protect anyone she cares about. All by herself. No one else will do it for her.

Hubs and I have loved writing Daisy and her story. We first introduced her in Cassie’s Hope (Riders Up, Book One) – she’s the teenage waif in the group home where Cassie worked before she went back to training horses. We’ve known so many kids like her across our social service and academic careers. There’s a special kind of resilience that comes from growing up that way; kids who don’t develop it probably don’t make it, and we’ve known some of those, too.

She doesn’t know who her father is. Her mother, who died of an overdose when Daisy was little, was a prostitute. Fortunately for Daisy, her rock-solid grandmother took her in, but that grandmother died when Daisy was eleven. Unadoptable for whatever reason, she ended up in a group home through her early teenage years, until Cassie and Clint Travers became her foster parents.

We’ve dedicated this book to two of our ancestors who faced severe social stigma more than a century ago: my great grandfather, who was born to an unmarried teenage logging camp cook in the Pennsylvania mountains, and hubby’s great grandmother, a quarter-blood Cherokee in an era when the family tried to hide that information out of shame.

Maybe we gave Daisy an extra boost when we paired her with a handsome wealthy hunk in his early forties, but we think she deserves a bang-up happy ending for her determination, grit, and courage in the face of present day social stigma. We hope you’ll agree.

Willow Smoke
Riders Up, Book Three
Release Date September 1, 2014

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B&B Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9907476-0-4
ASIN: B00N0DH13I
Romantic Suspense, 87,000 words
Heat rating: three flames (explicit sex, m/f)

BLURB

When the chips are down, there’s nobody there. Willowy blond Daisy Matthews has survived the Chicago streets with this mantra but is unprepared for the much older Nick Underwood’s urgent pursuit. The wealthy businessman receives a thoroughbred in payment for a bad debt and is thrust into Daisy’s world. She teaches him about horse racing; he teaches her about love. When Daisy’s seamy brother-in-law threatens Nick’s safety, she doggedly tries to stop him by herself, but flees to the familiar streets when he attacks. Can Nick find her in time – and if he does, will she still want him?

 

Stay Sexy ~ Sometimes you have to follow the rules.

Hubs and I write erotic romance together. It goes without saying that we like to bend a lot of rules or sometimes even break them. But I’m learning a lot this week, post eye-surgery, about when to break them and when not to.

It turns out I didn’t receive as many restrictions as I feared – thanks to a very skilled surgeon and catching the condition early, I presume. Some patients have to spend weeks or even a month maintaining a face-down position after retinal surgery, and I was spared that, for which I’m very grateful.

So the rules are few, but rigid:

No lifting over ten pounds for a week. That’s a little more than a gallon of milk (at 8 pounds). Can I guage that? Not so sure. Yesterday evening when we walked down to the lake, I moved a plastic Adirondack chair. I hope it wasn’t too heavy – I was rewarded shortly afterward with the view below.

Lake Sawyer Moon 08 08 14

Confession, ex-post-facto. I just looked up the chair on line – it weighs 7.25 pounds, so I was safe.

No bending at the waist for a week. I’m not sure I ever stopped to think how many simple household tasks automatically involve bending – anything that needs picking up off the floor, for example. I’m trying, I truly am. Step One: Pay Attention!

Exercise. I knew this would be the hardest one and was fearful for my mood and overall attitude if I couldn’t work out at all. No workouts yet, but for the first week, walking is permitted – so we’re taking three nice walks a day, and I only struggled with mood issues the first twenty-four hours. Can’t go dancing yet, but it won’t be long.

Yup, I’m sticking to the rules on this one, as best I can. My reward? A truly miraculous improvement in my vision. Definitely worth it.

 

Stay Sexy ~ You Have to Ask for it

Got your attention? Not what you’re thinking, though I’m all for asking for what you like in the bedroom, as well.

Couple-on-bike-smallIt’s about asking for physical therapy. I’ve been chatting on Facebook with the amazing Emma Lai, who has struggled for years with back pain and joint pain, and finally got referred to a physical therapist, where she learned there is actually something she can do that will be effective. Watch for an upcoming blog from her in these pages, and read her interesting journey thus far in this Interview from last April.

Chatting with Emma got me thinking: How did I learn I had to ask for physical therapy?

It shouldn’t have to happen. Doctors, after all, study anatomy, including all those tendons, muscle groups, and how they’re linked up to each other and to our skeletons. Doctors ought to know. Somehow, though, the links get trained out of them, and they’re taught to think in terms of surgery or drugs.

Here’s the scenario, about fifteen years ago. At that time, hubs and I lived on forty acres of tamarack woods in northern Minnesota, not far from the Boundary waters. There’s a LOT of winter in those lands, and if you want to stay active, you have to be outdoors in it. As soon as the snow was deep enough, we’d follow the deer trails on our snowshoes and tramp out a couple miles of trail for our cross country skis. (in case you’re wondering, yes, humans are much taller than deer, and we worked each summer on keeping the branches trimmed so we could navigate). That way we could ski from mid November till sometime in March or maybe even April, some years.

This probably happened as the weather was beginning to enter the cycle of melt and freeze in late winter. I slipped and slid on my ski, tried too hard not to fall, and pulled a hamstring. F.Y.I., a pulled hamstring is serious enough to take an Olympic athlete out of competition. Just saying. It hurt like the blazes. Hubs helped me hobble back to the house, where I grabbed the crutches left over from a son’s knee injury and managed to get around the first floor okay for a day or two.

It didn’t get any better, so I went to the doctor. I have a vivid memory of standing in front of her as she looked up from whatever it was she’d been doing to examine me. Her diagnosis? “Yup, you’ve pulled something.” She went on to suggest pain control medications, rest, and avoiding stairs. In a two story house.

Tried that for two or three days, with no improvement. Then I remembered the very useful physical therapy hubs had benefited from when he twisted his knee downhill skiing, so I called the clinic back and asked for a referral to PT, which they granted.

Like Emma, I learned what to do to strengthen the muscle groups around the hamstring, and what exercises to avoid, at least until it healed. It took a long time. I still carried a special seat cushion as long as two years after the injury, but have no after effects now.

The best consequence of this saga? A very valuable lesson: If physical therapy isn’t offered, ask for it. Even if the referral isn’t given, there’s a lot of information on line. In the last year, I’ve successfully rehabbed a strained knee joint, based on what hubs and I had already learned from his knee therapy and what I was able to find on line. I can go dancing again with the best of them.

I’m not one to sit around and just accept the fate that’s handed me, if I have any options. Sometimes there’s nothing we can control, but if we can, I want to find it and tackle it with my best effort. If it’s not offered to you, ask for it.

Meanwhile, have fun, and Stay Sexy.

 
© 2014 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.