As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Fight in Progress!

Disclaimer: This fight is a work in progress.

Quinn rode closer to the camp, dismounting at the firelight's ring. "Smells right inviting." He nodded at the woman and the plate of beans in her hand.

"When she ain't burnin' it or dumpin' it on ya." The old timer turned his attention to the woman. "Get the man the rest of 'em vittles."

Quinn watched her. She glanced longingly at the beans and then handed him the plate. As he took the plate he noticed that her hands were tethered. A length of rope kept her within the ring of firelight.

"Have a sit. Move woman or ya'll get no blanket tonight."

The woman eyed her captor, an inkling of hunger mixing with the loathing glare. She moved away from him as far as her tether would allow.

Quinn nodded his thanks and grudgingly took her seat on a comfortable rock. He spooned a healthy bite into his mouth. They tasted awful. What had she done to them? The old timer took his place on a ratty stool and resumed his meal, seemingly unaware of the offensive taste.

"Bet cha'r wondrun' 'bout this." The old man traced the tether in the air with his spoon.

Quinn nodded in a nonchalant manner taking a smaller bite of beans.

"Ungrateful wretch. Saved 'er life, I did. An' this 'eres the result."

"She volunteered to be your slave, did she?" Quinn knew better, but wanted to hear the old timers version of the story. Nothing made it right to tether a woman like this, especially one that seemed rather unhappy about it. If she were a cattle wrestler than it might be different.

"Jus' opposite. Old Curly saves her life an' she weren't even appreciable. Ya ever heard of that?"

"I said 'thanks'," the woman said.

Curly yanked hard on the rope causing her to fall. Quinn considered the rope, following it with his eyes to find it anchored to a large rock near Curly.

Anger boiled in Quinn's throat. You couldn't force someone to be thankful and if anything Curly had heaped the wrath of a woman on himself. He managed to hide his feelings. Could Curly be reasoned with? Was Curly the type of man to seek revenge if Quinn stepped in to ruin his plans? Would he have to outright kill Curly to set the woman free? At best, Curly had warped motives for keeping her within his grasp.

"Women," Quinn drawled. "Seems they're more trouble than they're worth. Are you a gambling man, Curly?"

"Thinking of takin' 'er off my hands, are ya?" Curly shook his head. "Not 'fore I get my poke."

"Tough time getting that poke?"

"Ain't been the time."

"So what's stopping you?" Quinn measured the man across the campfire from him, disgust growing with his every word.

"Nothun now. My belly's full. I ain't a greedy feller. Ya can 'ave a go, jus' as well. Then we know what stakes we're playin' fer."

Quinn looked around to see the woman grasping a stout branch in her hands, obviously planning to stand her ground.

"No way. Over my dead body. You want a go? I'll take your manhood first," she hissed.


Quinn stood turning to face her, the plate of beans forgotten. He spread his hands, his fingers extended. He tried to reassure her, mouthing the words, "It's okay. I won't hurt you."

Curly's shadow grew, then distorted as he skirted the fire. "Ya go fer 'er hands. I'll hog tie 'er."

Quinn's hand recoiled at the same time he spun. His knife flashed once before sinking into Old Curly's shoulder. The stout branch caught him off guard. The second swipe hit him and all went black.

Okay, I'm being mean, but you'll have to read the book when it's released next spring to fine out who won the fight.
Talisman Series
Criss Cross for Love
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