Sports Romance with Sass: THE 90 DAY RULE

I finally bowed to the inevitable… that doggone branding thing caught up with me, wore me down. My alter ego—the “real me” some would say—could not bypass Face Book insistence on using Diane, rather than Nya, so all attempts to talk about books failed because…

Well, the truth?

Everybody *knew* Diane wrote, everybody *talked about* the books Diane wrote, but gloriosky… nobody could FIND the books Diane wrote because… Nya held them in bondage.

*headdesk*  *facepalm* #wailing-gnashing-teeth#

Nya, of course, has her tribe, but that tribe doesn’t care so much about romantic comedies, heartwarming tales of life in the country, YA fantasies with horses and dragons, and sports romances… all M/F. Diane’s tribe loves that stuff, along with the lighter touch for scenes of affection (no linoleum gets melted).

What to do, what to do?

Well, after a bit, it occurred… why not just let Diane have her thing, and Nya have… the other thing?

Sounds simple, but in practice, not so much. It required re-editing and reformatting, new book covers, new approaches to marketing, and decisions on whether or not to stay in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited or to go wide.

And those decisions came with a side of carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, confirmed by nerve induction tests that 1) were a real hoot… not, and 2) cost an arm and… the other arm (jaw-dropping charges!).

I’m slowly working through the catalog, the two sports romances first, then I’ll proceed to the other titles on an as-time-and-nerve-damage-permits basis.

So, without further ado, may I present a Romance with Sass and

a heroine who’s slightly past her use-by-date…

THE 90 DAY RULE

When playing by the rules means stepping over the line…

Sometimes starting over means trying out assault and battery, especially when the object d’ violence is a cheating husband caught in the act. Restraining orders aside, safety comes in numbers and having certain … standards.

For Jessamine chaos and capitulation are facts of life. Giving up dreams to service her husband’s ambitions and enabling the same blind submission in her own daughter ends abruptly, leaving her rootless, homeless and destitute.

For some people, it is the kindness of strangers who make the difference but for Jes it is the unlikely alliance of the mother-in-law-from-hell, a devastatingly handsome basketball coach and a phalanx of determined team members who convince a woman of a certain age that beginning again doesn’t mean giving up or giving in.

The only problem is … there’s that pesky 90 day rule.

EXCERPT:

Jack glared at me, our bodies locked in a rigid stand-off, guns cocked, ready to unleash with both barrels.

He answered my unspoken question with one of his own. “When he pressed you, what did you do?”

Huh?

“Roddie. He was all over you. What. Did. You. Do?” Each word was punctuated with latent aggression.

“I pushed back.”

“Exactly.” Jack leaned in, so close it made me afraid. Terrified. Because I knew what was coming.

“You are a force of nature out there, Jes, a warrior. Nothing on God’s earth can stop you when you go after what you want.”

But that was different. It was a game. Just a game. Wasn’t it?

“It’s not just a game. Not to people like us. We live and breathe the same air, Jessamine Cavanaugh.” He stroked my collar bone, his voice ragged and needy. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”

BUY LINKS:    AMAZON   |   KOBO   |   INKTERA   |   SCRIBD

 

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Two More Down Plus a Box Set #CrowCreek

I’m halfway through re-editing and reformating the Crow Creek Series for ebook and print and… dayyum… I’m falling in love all over again with this epic tale of two men running from their pasts toward an uncertain future.

Tagline: It’s as big as the wilderness, as intimate as a heartbeat.

Bey Deckard did a fabulous job redesigning the book covers.

Book #2 PULLING LEATHER:

AMAZON (Available until 3/15/17 in Kindle Unlimited)

Former rodeo champion Jess Carpenter’s been rode hard and put up lonely. Lucas Santiago has anger management issues and a passion for the livestock in his care. When they meet, the fanboy crush on the older bronc rider turns into a fierce attraction, for both men.

But Jess’ visit to Crow Creek Ranch brings a complication—a history with owner Ash MacBryde that ignites an emotional firestorm. It threatens not only Jess’ budding feelings for the young wrangler Luc, but it also drives a wedge between Ash and his married partner Oak.

While Ash and Jess struggle to understand and control their still smoldering feelings for each other, the two young men who would love them unite in desperation, making the kinds of bad choices that lead to jealous rage and soul-searing hurt.

To save Oak, Luc will do whatever it takes, including jail time. To save themselves, Jess and Ash must finally confront what they’ve hidden for years.

Four men vie to hold onto the things they hold dear. Riding for the time. Riding for the glory. And it takes only one misstep to disqualify any one of them from the competition … and from love.

Book #3 STRAPPING ASH

AMAZON (Available until 3/15/17 in Kindle Unlimited)

“I think you love that boy so much you’re insane with it — and you don’t have a clue how to show him.”

The reappearance of an old love drives more than a wedge between Ash MacBryde and his partner and husband, Oak Richards. It sends Oak flying back to Vermont and into the employ of a man determined to win a chance to race at the World Endurance Cup in Dubai.

To Oak’s delight and dismay, the man who taught him what it means to be different is there, working for the same man with the same end. They will be partners on horseback and, if Ben Kincaid has any say in it, in other ways as well.

Someone holds a grudge against Oak’s new employer and as the race approaches, the dirty tricks escalate until no one is safe.

Oak and Ben are in danger, and when Ash shows up to bring his man back home, there’s more at stake than just a shot at a million dollar purse. MacBryde’s got his work cut out for him because keeping Oak safe might mean shattering all chances at mending their broken marriage.

Three men set out on a perilous journey through traps set not just by their enemies but by their own tangled emotions. And the only way the domineering possessive man and the gentle reclusive soul can find their way back to Crow Creek Ranch means learning that…

Sometimes it takes two wrongs to make it right.

I’ve bundled the first three in the series into a BOX SET. Love’s never gonna be easy for Oak Richards and Ash MacBryde, and as Ash’s ex-lover says…

“This won’t come as a big shock, but you and me, kiddo… we’re hard men to love.”

The CROW CREEK BOX SET:

ASH & OAK, PULLING LEATHER, STRAPPING ASH

“But he’s still out there ridin’ fences

Still makes his livin’ with his rope

As long as there’s a sunset he’ll keep ridin’ for the brand

You just can’t see him from the road

Well he’s tall in the saddle short on the cash

The last to quit the first to buy the beer

Well he’s a knight in leather armor still livin’ by the code

That’s made him what he’s been a hundred years”

~ From a song by Chris LeDoux

 

 

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Freshening Up Old Favorites: Book Cover Reveal #Ash&Oak #CrowCreek

While I’m laid up with carpal tunnel in both hands/wrists/arms (ouch), I’m re-visiting my beloved Crow Creek Series, freshening up the formatting, re-doing the editing (going from comma-lite to comma-medium, tightening up the dialog and descriptions), and giving them a whole new look, cover-wise.

The amazingly talented Bey Deckard took the helm, providing a uniform “look” and some splendid visuals that tie this series’ stories into a unified whole.

To begin the roll-out, here’s a first look at ASH & OAK, book 1 of the Crow Creek Series:

ash-oak-ebookAsh MacBryde thinks he knows what he wants. When his sister offers him the chance to return to his roots and take over running the ranch, he jumps at the chance. Ranching has always been his first love but it doesn’t fill the long lonely nights.

Oak Richards’ career is skyrocketing, earning him national recognition in his sport of endurance racing. But after an unfortunate riding accident, when his mentor and lover decides Oak is no longer flavor of the month, he’s cast adrift.

Will a little luck, a healthy dose of fate, and a matchmaking sister conspire to bring together two damaged men living two thousand miles apart?

For the shy, reclusive Oak and the domineering, territorial Ash there’s more than distance separating them. When they finally meet, sparks fly; but it will take more than just a powerful attraction to bridge the gap between them.

Susan Mac Nicol (Men of London Series) says:

Beautifully written and with male leads that will just break your heart with their emotional stories, depth of character and sheer sexiness, this is a true love story of two men coming together on the ranch to find in each other what is missing in themselves.

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EXCERPT:

After quickly brushing his teeth, Ash plopped on top of the down quilt, not minding the cool air on his skin. He left the nightstand light on and stared at the ceiling, still marveling at the giddy wash of excitement when Oakley Richard’s face had appeared on the monitor via the wonder of technology and Skype…

“Sir.”

Unlike Ash, who had flopped like a rag doll in his leather desk chair, Richards sat rigidly upright, his hands folded on the table. The only indication of nervousness was his unconscious stroking of one thumb over the over. Ash concentrated on that thumb, couldn’t take his eyes off it, because if he did, he’d have to look at the kid’s face. Not just his face, but into those eyes, and what he might see there scared him half to death.

Ash was righteously tongue-tied. He tried getting out a ‘howdy’, then a ‘hi’, but nothing moved past his suddenly parched throat. Light-headed, he feared he might pass out. He’d eaten, he’d hydrated. He had no excuses.

I came. I saw. I swooned.

Fuck.

After an interminable pause, he finally managed, “You’re Oakley Richards.”

“Oak, sir. Yes sir.”

Amy was making googly faces at him behind the kid’s shoulder. Normally she’d have him howling in laughter with that kind of distraction, but something inside him overrode her antics and had him peering intently at a spot just to the left of the kid’s strong hands and a thumb he imagined stroking his cock…

No, no, no, no…

“Oak. Yeah, okay. I guess Amy explained…”

“Yes, sir and I think, if you look at my record, that I can…”

“…help me train and…”

“…condition, yes, but I can also…”

Amy’s head bobbed like she was watching a tennis match, her grin growing broader as they’d fleshed out an understanding. Finally, Ash waved the contract at the screen and read the more pertinent details to his rapt audience.

“If that will suit, I’d like for you to come out as soon as you can make arrangements.”

“Sir.”

Christ, the kid was big on ‘sirs’. He’d bet the ranch his sister was up the whazoo in ma’ams from that one. It was the kind of polite from the bone marrow out that he’d gotten used to from spending so many years in the deep south.

It was no wonder Amy liked the kid.

His problem wasn’t going to be whether or not he ‘liked’ Oakley Richards, finger-quotes and all. No, he was going to have other issues that only a cold shower and some alone time were going to address.

He was looking down the gullet of the three ‘Ls’: like, lust and love. Without having met Richards, he’d already ticked off two of the three. He was going to have to work damn hard to tamp down the lust because that never worked out well with business partners. As for love? He’d tried that when he was twenty.

Look how well that worked out, MacBryde.

No, love was completely off the table. But like? Yeah, he’d be willing to give that one a shot.

Ash missed most of what the kid had been saying while his cock and his brain switched positions. He tried refocusing on the thumb but Richards had moved his hands, forcing Ash to finally look at his face.

What he saw almost made him come.

The kid was rubbing a hand through his hair, his eyes focusing on a spot, probably on a wall, while he worked out logistics. The words, “I don’t have much…” were over-ridden by a buzzing in Ash’s ears, then, “…probably as soon as you need…”

Then he stared at Ash, his expression so open, so honest, so … so fucking sexy, if he’d been in the same room, Ash would have cave-manned him into his bedroom and spent the next twenty years making love to him.

God damn, I have it bad.

Going on automatic pilot, he mumbled something about making arrangements and letting his sister know and she could tell him and blah, blah, blah. Finally Amy had shushed the kid off the chair, taking his place.

She mouthed, “Love you,” and the screen went to his wallpaper. Unfortunately his wallpaper was the photo of Oakley Richards riding Tuck, the pinto Saddlebred cross.

The thought crossed his mind that he’d have to change that. He didn’t need the kid thinking he was some kind of randy perv, no matter that it came pretty close to what he was feeling.

He was caught in that hard place, between the rock, his cock, and the higher functions that suggested he was letting himself in for some monumental hurt.

“What the hell are you doing, MacBryde?”

AVAILABLE AT AMAZON FOR ONLY 99c AND KINDLE UNLIMITED (FREE READ)

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The Reluctant Alpha Trilogy Now Complete in Audiobook #Giveaway

The final episode in the Reluctant Alpha Trilogy

The Reluctant Alpha, Alpha Framed, Alpha’s Last Stand

is now available in audiobook,

narrated by David Leland Horton.

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Sometimes the end of your quest is only the beginning…

Trust is a strange commodity. It can’t be bought, but it can be sold. And sometimes it’s not the highest bidder you want when the going gets tough. Faced with losing control over all he cares about, Coy sets in motion a string of events that puts his own sanity on the line.

Coy’s got a choice. It’s not a good one, but it’s all he has.

With bravery and foolhardiness two sides of the same coin, it doesn’t take long for the odds to stack against the reluctant alpha and those who still believe in him.

Question is… can he believe in himself?

The Reluctant Alpha Trilogy is paranormal gay fiction, utilizing adult language and adult situations, and is intended solely for adult audiences.

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“If you’re looking for a typical, formulaic shifter romance with one true mate and an HEA, this might not be for you, but if you’re looking for great writing, a complex (and flawed) main character, an interesting cast of supporting characters, a new take on shifters/weres, a plot with real conflict (as opposed to trite misunderstandings), and some hot sex with BDSM themes, buy this book right away!” ~~Karoon, Amazon Review

AMAZON: available in audiobook and Kindle Unlimited

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Leave a comment and receive an AUDIOBOOK CODE for a FREE COPY of THE RELUCTANT ALPHA, Book One in the Ranch to Market Chronicles.

That’s it: no hoops, no newsletters flooding your inbox.

OFFER IS OPEN THROUGH FEBRUARY 28, 2017

Y’ALL HAVE A GREAT DAY!

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At the Bird Feeders This Morning #peanutwars

While fending off colds, both myself and Firstborn did the lazy thing and slept in. By the time I awoke, it was already 40 degrees and sunny under a hazy-blue sky. A perfectly lovely beginning to the day. Best yet, the deck had become the arena for a skirmish between Mr. Squirrel and two Blue Jays, male and female, vying for access to unshelled (and unsalted) peanuts in the flat pan feeder.

I hid behind the drapes and managed to snap quite a few pics through the window in the French door. Most turned out surprisingly well (guess I can forego grabbing the Windex until later).

Mr. Squirrel is up first. He’s on the thin side compared to some of his compatriots. We have seven of them raiding the deck at any one time, including a red squirrel and possibly a flying squirrel, though I can’t confirm with a photograph as he is quite the elusive fellow.

Ms. Jay was willing to pose, whereas the mister proved too “squirrelly” and kept flying off right as I was ready to click the shutter.

And, in case you were wondering, Herself is on the job, keeping track of all the comings and goings…

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Peace to you. Make today one filled with happy memories!

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A Rage Against Self-Doubt #rant

goring-300x204I feel a mini-rant/rage creeping up on me. All because I allowed self-doubt to wedge a space between what I knew to be true and real for the characters, their histories, their current circumstances, and the uncertain futures facing them all… and reader prejudices, expectations and entitlements.

I chose to edit the last book in the series through to the first, carefully parsing the overarching plot and the individual, self-contained dramas enacted on a more intimate scale.

I was working up to altering significantly the plotlines and outcomes for at least two of the books, until I got to book #2 today, and realized how wrong, how inauthentic, how downright obscene it would be for me to cave to readers with nothing more than self-indulgent triggers and little understanding of the human condition, of what makes us unique, frail and ultimately worthy of forgiveness… and love.

images (2)During the edit, I did change wording, along with punctuation and the usual adjustments that come with a fresh eye on old material, but those words were forged to strengthen, not emasculate, the emotional core of men struggling with those most intimate of feelings. Men for whom emotional detachment was a modus operandi, until circumstances drove them to confront the consequences of their actions, to make choices, and to fully own their own feelings.

Book 2 ends on a bittersweet note, and a ray of hope, but there’s no fantasy ending here where love conquers all, forever and ever and ever. Rather, it ends in the bosom of reality.

I’m heading into book 1 now, feeling better about my writing than I have in a very long time.

self-doubtI know this thing, but it required reaffirmation—that I must write to please myself, to be true to my worldview, to respect my characters, their circumstances, their uniqueness, and to be the conduit for their voices and their stories.

To all who have supported that vision, who have given Story the respect it deserves… to you all, thank you.

 

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A #FREE Valentine Confection and More

First off, I want to say thank you to everyone who participated in the audiobook giveaway for JERKING IRON (Bad Boyfriends). The Winners are:

GRAND PRIZE (complete set of the Bad Boyfriends audiobooks): Brian C.

JERKING IRON audiobook: Sheryl H. and Jodi C.

BAD BOYFRIENDS BOX SET (eBook): Sophia P. and Jennie R.

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Now… to celebrate Valentine’s Day tomorrow:

FREE on Amazon through Feb. 15th:

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THE VALENTINE TOAST

When a lonesome foodie meets the chef of his dreams, more than the scallops are flambéed.

Alan’s the numbers guys, the VP’s golden boy until a corporate shuffle leaves him downsized and at loose ends. It’s a hit to the wallet and his ego. When Alan turns to the kitchen for solace, no vegetable is safe.

With money tight and their options dwindling, Alan jumps at the offer from Jack’s brother-in-law, Ted, to run an audit on the QT. The dealership’s in trouble and Ted needs fresh eyes.

For his cooking class, Jack is faced with making comfort food sexy, not as easy a task as it sounds. Alan floats the idea of a contest, pitting the culinary arts students against the senior ladies. When the media find out, it makes a feeding frenzy look tame.

Dealerships and contests leave them little time to plan for their first Valentine’s Day, but when it rolls around, they make a toast that will change everything.

Contains bonus recipes: bon appétit

AMAZON

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And last, but not least…

COMING SOON TO EARPHONES NEAR YOU (AUDIBLE!)

ALPHA’S LAST STAND (Ranch to Market Chronicles)

Narrated by DAVID HORTON

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As always, PEACE to all in these troubling times.

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The Eagle & the Fox now in #KU and #Audiobook

The Eagle and the Fox (A Snowy Range Mystery)

Now in KINDLE UNLIMITED and AUDIOBOOK for your reading and listening pleasure.

Nick J. Russo narrates, bringing to life characters you will fall in love with.

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WOUNDS WE CAN’T SEE

Centurion lies in the shadow of the Snowy Range in south central Wyoming, a town of 206 souls, where ranching is and always will be a way of life for those strong enough to handle what nature and outside forces throw their way.

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Insular, remote, and rugged, the land breeds a special kind of outlook—where everyone is a friend or no one is. There are good people in Centurion and environs: good men like Marcus Colton who spent twenty years keeping company with his distant cousin and business partner Tommy Henderson. But when Tommy passed, Marcus was left to grieve alone…

It was the mirror that was his danger zone. That and the receding hairline and advancing gut and knowing he was fast-forwarding when all he wanted was to apply the brakes. Kind of an oxymoron when he thought about it. With Tommy gone, he’d done nothing but pine for what had been, drowning himself in memories, yet at the same time trying to wipe them out so he wouldn’t have to hurt so much.

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Josiah Foxglove wanted nothing more than to serve and protect, but as a young man, watching his family struggle to make ends meet on their small ranch, his options were limited. Like so many before him, he joined the military and became a career MP. Josiah was close to retiring, but an IUD with his name on it turned his world upside down. Returning home, it was his family and the people in Centurion who rallied around him. Now, a few years later, he still suffers the fallout from that instant of time…

On his face the scars were raised and ridged, too whitish smooth to be natural. Inside it was even worse, because you didn’t get to see it, and if you couldn’t see it with your eyes then you saw it in your imagination. That made it a mystery and it took away some choices. Choices like him growing a beard to hide the scars, though he’d been coming around to the idea that it was maybe drawing attention rather than distracting from the disfigurement.

Why he cared was a puzzle he’d yet to solve. It wasn’t like he was anything to look at. But the thigh bone, the hip and the fake knee… Now those made the real difference, because seeing to his family meant he needed to be strong, to take on more than his share of the load. To give back for them stepping up and taking charge of his recovery, going the extra mile every single time, even when it cost them damn near everything.

Him still limping, still getting his sea legs and figuring out how to work around the stock without putting himself or anyone else at risk… that was the challenge. The pain didn’t help either. It wore a man down some days, made it less easy when his brain short-circuited without notice, or he failed to recognize triggers he’d already identified as putting him at risk.

Two damaged men, hiding wounds that never seem to heal, covering their scars, and keeping their secrets close, discover that not everyone in Centurion is good and that protecting their way of life will require sacrifices they may not be prepared to face.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

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And Jerking Iron (Bad Boyfriends) Makes Three! #Audiobooks #Giveaway #GrandPrize

The final entry in the Bad Boyfriends series, Jerking Iron, is now available in audiobook and, as usual, Michael Ferraiuolo does a fantastic job narrating and bringing the characters to life.

To celebrate, I’m giving away:

GRAND PRIZE: the complete set of the Bad Boyfriends Series audiobooks

3 copies of the audiobook: JERKING IRON (BAD BOYFRIENDS)

1 eBook copy of the Bad Boyfriends Box Set (Curling Iron, Pumping Iron, Jerking Iron)

(RAFFLECOPTER, SEE LINK BELOW, runs 2/7-2/12)

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JERKING IRON

Genre: Crime, suspense, contemporary gay fiction

jerking-iron-audiobookJerking Iron is a hard-hitting tale of suspense when a damaged ex-cop from Miami and a burned out undercover NYPD vice cop pair up for a simple sting operation. Nick and Jace soon discover that under the layers of betrayal and lies runs the threat of an unexpected operation—one that takes the skin trade to new levels of perversion. Neither man is prepared for the mutual attraction that simmers to a rolling boil as it becomes clear that the only way they can cut to the truth is to allow Jace to sink once more into the dangerous underbelly of the city.

They’re about to find out why a man you can’t break is a man worth breaking…

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Carly’s Book Reviews says:

“Well written, with a dramatic edge and dark plot line, JERKING IRON explores the underbelly of extreme BDSM practices and the human sex trade. With emotional characters, unexpected twists and steamy sensuality, this is one book you’ll want to read with the lights on!”

Multitaskingmammas says:

“This has me a twitching in my seat, from the erotic scenes, to the violence that I love, and the bullet filled air that hits and misses the targets. It was a Whoa! moment for me. Totally did not expect this.”

AUDIOBOOK   |     AMAZON

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To celebrate the launch of the final book in the audiobook series, I’m offering:

THREE free audiobooks of JERKING IRON,

ONE eBook copy of the Bad Boyfriends Box Set,

and tah-day!

The GRAND PRIZE: the complete Bad Boyfriends Series audiobook collection

narrated by the fabulous voice talent of Michael Ferraiuolo:

CURLING IRON

Kane runs a fitness center by day. By night he services a different clientele. David is out of work and out of options. Kane’s offer of a position with the escort service is as attractive as the man himself. David agrees to a trial period with conditions but quickly finds he’s out of his depth. Confronted with unanticipated roadblocks, one thing is clear, neither man will take no for an answer.

PUMPING IRON

Mike Douglas is the silent partner, the man who prefers his solitude, out of the public eye.

Sean Rourke is the very high profile, in-demand star of Bad Boyfriends escort service.

A joint project brings them together and ignites a long simmering attraction.

It takes threats to both the business and Sean to convince the reclusive Douglas to put aside his past and stake his claim to what he wants most.

JERKING IRON

Nick Lopez is an ex-cop wounded in the line of duty. Jace McClune works vice. Both have seen and done too much. When Thomas Kane puts out a call for help, Nick and Jace join forces for a simple sting operation. They’re about to find out why a man you can’t break is a man worth breaking…

TO ENTER JUST CLICK HERE: 

GIVEAWAY RUNS UNTIL FEBRUARY 12, 2017.

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When you self-diagnose #dontdothisathomekids

I’m an old fart. I gots me some troubles, I does.

Aches ‘n pains ‘n miseries.

What I didn’t have were red spots appearing like ghost spasms on my finger tips, first the middle finger on the left hand, then the index finger on the right. Thumb. Another finger. They were tiny dots, as if I’d been sprayed with red ink, though not so vibrant. Pale splotches followed, each bit growing and spreading. And no, they didn’t wash off.

My fingers were cold, though that’s nothing new… cold hands, warm heart dontcha know. Nope, I’m talking chill that’s spreading.

Oh yeah, then there were the two nights prior when I awoke with debilitating numbness in my fingers. Not that owie stiffness. Nope, this hurt and it didn’t go away after squeezing, shaking and otherwise doing a St Vitus dance to get my blood pumping.

When you get to be my age, it’s easy to overlook the accumulated signs of aging, not so easy when your blood vessels look to be running amuk and no amount of fleece is warming your bones.

What’s a gal to do?

Well, you Google, like you do. I typed in “red spots on fingertips” and up popped an array of possible causes, including “scleraderma”—an autoimmune disease. Starting at the top and working my way down through the links, I discovered that I hit virtually every bullet point for symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic explained: Red spots or lines on skin. These small red spots or lines (telangiectasias) are caused by the swelling of tiny blood vessels near the skin’s surface. They are not painful and occur primarily on the hands and face.

WebMD provided a handy source guide for symptoms, complications, and treatment (mostly of the it’s incurable but here are some meds that will make you wish you were dead OR will actually kill you… thanks, but no thanks).

Scleraderma even has a Foundation… never an encouraging thing as it underscores the seriousness of the disease. Under “How Serious is Scleraderma?”: Any chronic disease can be serious. The symptoms of scleroderma vary greatly for each person, and the effects of scleroderma can range from very mild to life threatening. The seriousness will depend on the parts of the body, which are affected, and the extent to which they are affected. A mild case can become more serious if not properly treated. Prompt and proper diagnosis and treatment by qualified physicians may minimize the symptoms of scleroderma and lessen the chance for irreversible damage.

Two bouts of Lymes. A history of arthritis and its complications. Joint swelling and pain from horse-related injuries. Now numbness and red dots oh my! This is it, I’m doomed! (There’s more, but trust me… I had every reason to be spooked. Firstborn agreed.)

Convinced I was about to suffer a painful, debilitating death… and with, by my estimate, only a week to live, I emailed the doctor (this all went down on Sunday morning) for an appointment, listing EVERY symptom and offered up any day of the upcoming week in the ‘when are you available’ calendar. I didn’t go beyond that week, because.. you know, one week left to live.

Monday morning, first thing, I got a call from the nurse inquiring about the shortness of breath, the numbness and the red dots. She was concerned and fit me in after determining calling 911 wasn’t necessary.

With a Wednesday morning appointment secured, my symptoms went into immediate remission—no dots, minimal numbness, and a newfound acceptance of my lot in life.

To make a long story short: after jumping through a series of neurological hoops/tests, the doc suggested we look into carpal tunnel syndrome. That includes wearing braces on my wrists, having a nerve conduction test, and seeing a specialist.

Bing bada BOOM! my calendar is now a series of scheduled medical visits, including a by-the-way you need a bone density scan, so that’s today to start the festivities. The other appointments are spaced through March, so I guess I under-estimated my time left on this planet, because they obviously wouldn’t schedule me that far out if I was going to renege on helping health insurance company execs live in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed.

I have the braces, amusingly called Cockup Volar splints, and they are quite something. I can now officially be called #bondagegirl. And after two nights usage, I’m here to tell you they work a treat: no numbness, no red dots, and no pain/swelling/limited joint flexibility.

Huh, fancy that.

I’m not keen on the nerve conduction test. Lots of folks have chimed in, using terms like “legal torture” which isn’t giving me a warm fuzzy.

Of course, I still ache, still suffer from the bucket list of major and minor aggravations from having lived a long life. But that’s okay, because what I now have is peace of mind on the medical front, which is better than the piece(s) of mind I get every morning looking at the latest news.

For someone who has to be hauled, kicking and screaming, to the emergency room (last time: burst appendix), I’m showing amazing personal growth.

Thanks WebMD!

Have yourselves a good day! (And go see your doctor, trust me on this one.)

 

Posted in When you self-diagnose #dontdothisathomekids | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments