Welcome to my first Charity Sunday for 2019. Today I’m focusing on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. A number of my readers and my author friends are battling MS, a progressive neurological disease whose cause is not yet fully understood and which currently can be managed, but not cured.
The National MS Society is working to change that. Their vision is bold: a world without MS. The Society provides authoritative information, resources and support for people affected by MS, connecting them and helping them to lead more comfortable and more productive lives. In addition, the MS Society funds research - $40 million dollars worth, in 2018 alone - into fundamental causes, treatments and potential cures.
As usual on Charity Sunday, I will donate one dollar to my chosen charity for each person who leaves a comment. To give you something to comment on ;^), I have an excerpt from one of my books. I don’t have any titles featuring people afflicted with MS, but Lydia, the heroine in Dragon Boat Blues, is disabled and knows very well what it’s like to live with diminished physical capacity.
So please read my snippet below and tell me what you think. Then, if anyone you know is living with MS, share the post and get others to do the same. The more comments I receive, the more money will go toward eliminating this disease forever.
Oh, and if you want to do more – you might consider buying a copy of Coming Together Presents Robert Buckley. I edited this collection of tales, part of the Coming Together altruistic erotica project. The author’s daughter has MS, and all sales proceeds go to support the National MS Society.
Take your chances as they come
My lost superhero Josh had jet black hair, movie star cheekbones, clever hands, the devil’s mouth, and an instinct for driving me crazy. Josh believed in his own myths. He was forty miles an hour over the speed limit that day, more powerful than a locomotive, when we smashed into the tractor trailer. He blew out like a candle. I sputtered in a sort of half life, year after year, marked forever by that brief dance with insanity.
I booked the dragon boat cruise on Ha Long Bay to use up a few free days at the end of my business trip, figuring my disability wouldn’t be a problem on the luxurious junk. I wasn’t looking for companionship, just a bit of peace. But when British honeymooners Stan and Phil welcomed me into their circle of love, I discovered how much healing I still needed.
I didn’t have much difficulty getting into the dinghy—just handed my cane to the guide, sat on the pier, and eased myself down to sit with the rest of the tourists. Boarding the wooden junk anchored out in deeper water was another story. A ladder of planks and rope led from the open rowboat to the deck above. To climb, I would have to put all my weight on my bad leg. I knew that wouldn’t work.
I balanced precariously in the dinghy, surveying the situation. Maybe this was a bad idea after all.
“Up you come, love.” The speaker leaned over the rail of the junk, offering a ham-sized paw. “Give us your hand.” He had a ruddy complexion and a curly russet mop threaded with gray.
“Are you sure? I’m not exactly light.” I’d never been petite, and since the accident, I’d put on quite a few pounds.
“No problem,” said his younger, sandy-haired companion. “We’re used to tossing hay bales.” He shot me a friendly grin and extended his arm in parallel with his friend’s. “Just hold on tight. That’s the way.”
I gripped their wrists. They did the same to me. As they began to haul me upward, the dinghy captain clamped me around the waist and lifted me off my feet. My good leg flailed, trying for a foothold on the rungs of the ladder. It was all very awkward and embarrassing, but in a few moments I was standing safe on the deck.
The guide passed me my cane, then scrambled up the ladder like a monkey.
“You alright?” The burly older man shot a wry look at the tangled rope contraption the guide was pulling over the gunwale. “Not exactly accessible, that.”
“Thanks for your help.” My long shirt had bunched up below my breasts. I smoothed it down over my leggings, feeling flustered and sweaty. “Probably I should have thought about that before I booked the cruise.”
“C’mon! And miss this?” My other rescuer made a sweeping gesture, indicating the lavishly appointed ship. “All this carved teak and polished brass?” The crimson sails over our heads snapped in the wind as the junk began to move. “Ha Long Bay’s supposed to be one of the wonders of the world. We’ve been saving to take this trip for three years.”
His enthusiasm made me feel so old. “I’m in Hanoi on business. One of my meetings got canceled, so I had a few free days. My hotel suggested this would be a good way to spend them.”
“You’ve got to take your chances as they come.” The stocky fellow smiled down at me and took my elbow in a gentlemanly fashion. “Why don’t we go up front, so we can see where we’re headed? I’m Stanley, by the way. Stan, folks call me. And this is Phil.”
I nodded, warmed by their friendliness despite my sour mood. “A pleasure. Lydia Sutton. You’re from England, I gather?”
Phil gave an energetic nod. “Dorset. Stan and me run a dairy farm now. Before, though, I worked as an insurance clerk in London. Before we met.”
He flashed a look of pure adoration at his companion.
Oh. I hadn’t pegged them as gay.
Stan saw the light dawn in my face. “We’re on our honeymoon. We always dreamed of traveling in Asia.” He paused, peering at me with a puzzled expression. “You look so familiar. Lydia, you say? Any chance we’ve met? Ever spend any time in London? Or done a Brighton weekend?”
I fought my sudden panic. No one was about to recognize me. I’d changed too much. “I visited London once, but that was long ago, when I was in college. These days most of my trips are here, or to Shenzen.”
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Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BJJTHQF
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BJJTHQF
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/804710
Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-boat-blues-lisabet-sarai/1128233847?ean=2940155178255
Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/en/ebook/dragon-boat-blues-asian-adventures-book-5