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Adrianna loved the feel of the wind in her hair as they raced along the interstate and she thought how similar it was to the freedom she felt when she rode Thunder. She leaned back in the comfortable leather seat and closed her eyes. In her mind’s eye, she saw herself and the beautiful black stallion as they flew across the fields and through the trees. Her long, silky chestnut brown hair matched the flowing movements of Thunder’s lustrous black mane and long, thick tail as they raced along the familiar paths of her father's Florida estate. She could hardly wait to get back. The sleek, powerful Jaguar convertible wove through traffic on the busy interstate, her father expertly handling the toy he’d only recently bought himself. Adrianna opened her eyes turned and smiled at Paul. Now that she was in her twenties she no longer called him "Daddykins.” Distaining the restraints of the seatbelt her father insisted she wear, she relaxed further into her seat. "It will be wonderful riding Thunder again! I bet he has missed me almost as much as I have missed him," she exclaimed exuberantly. She ran her fingers through her long, wind-tangled hair and sighed. "I just don't know what I'd do if anything happened to Thunder! Take whatever you want, but don't take my Thunder from me!" Paul smiled at his daughter. "I called ahead to let Steve know we're coming. I'm sure he’ll have Thunder waiting for you." "We were so lucky to steal Steve away from that horse farm in Kentucky. Imagine! He actually trained a Kentucky Derby winner!" Adrianna's enthusiasm was contagious, as always. "Yes, Steve was quite a find. Hiring him was a bit expensive, but he’s well worth his salt. He told me this morning that the foal born last week is the finest he's seen in a long time. Looks like all his efforts have begun to pay off." "That’s wonderful, Paul. Steve is so smart about those things. He'll make the Lindsey name famous in the racing circles one day." Paul chortled, glancing at Adrianna and reaching over to pat her knee. Then a serious look crossed his face as he remembered what he had to discuss with her. With furrowed brow, he thought deeply, trying to find exactly the words with which to broach the subject. "Adrianna, I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a long time about something, and I’m not quite sure how you’ll take it," he finally blurted, unable to find a subtler approach. Adrianna fidgeted in her seat, not sure she liked the suddenly serious tone of Paul’s voice. Taking his eyes off the road, Paul stared into Adrianna's face, trying to gage her reaction to his words. Suddenly, a semi pulled into his lane just in front of his bumper. He slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid the imminent collision. The Jaguar careened onto the shoulder of the highway, and he jerked the wheel, his reflexes taking over as he tried to corral the powerful machine. Adrianna's scream rent the air as the Jaguar slid sideways into the oncoming traffic. Horns blared as it collided with a van, and the horrendous screeching of metal on metal was deafening. A huge chain reaction sent cars in all directions. "OH GOD!" Paul screamed as the Jag careened down the steep slope from the highway, finally coming to rest several hundred feet off the road against a huge oak. All was silent.
Adrianna awakened to the deafening scream of her own voice. Shaking with the force of her emotions, she threw back the covers and attempted to escape from the bed. With a muffled thud she crashed to the richly carpeted floor. With a strangled cry, Adrianna's maid rushed into the room. "What have you done to yourself, Mees Lindsey? Oh Dios Mio!" Renata cried, kneeling beside Adrianna. "Daddykins! Oh god! Daddykins!" Adrianna cried, rolling from side to side to erase the horror raging in her head. Terrified by the sight of her mistress sprawled indelicately on the floor, Renata wrung her hands. "Dios Mio! Que puedo hacer?" she muttered, her eyes wide with fear. Hearing the loud thud and Renata’s cries from where he stood on the unfinished upper deck that stretched across the back of beach house, Coy Jamison rushed over, snatching open the newly installed French doors to Adrianna’s sitting room. He strode rapidly through the sitting room into Adrianna's bedroom. Aghast, he stopped and stared at the two women on the floor. After a mere few seconds, the instincts instilled by his earlier years as a street cop kicked in. Gently, he took Renata by the shoulders and moved her to one side. "Oh, Meester Jamison! I don't know what happen. I hear an escreem!" the overwrought maid moaned. "Calm down, Rennie," Coy ordered in a firm, quiet voice. "Let me see to your lady."
Reginald, the butler, rushed into the room. "Bloody hell!” he whispered under his breath when he saw Adrianna sprawled indelicately on the floor. “What have you done to her?" he exclaimed, forgetting himself for a moment as he stared at the scene.
Kneeling beside Adrianna on the floor, Coy gently soothed her, talking calmly as he carefully checked her for injuries. Certain that no real damage had been done, he lifted her from the floor and laid her gently on the bed. Adrianna's luminous blue eyes locked with Coy's as he released her and stepped back.
"Oh god! It was horrible! I was in the car. We were so happy! Then . . . then . . .” Fresh tears filled her eyes.
"It’s okay, Miss Lindsey. It was just a bad dream," Coy soothed her best he could. He was at a loss for words, knowing how deeply the beautiful young paraplegic felt the loss of her father, feeling her anguish to the depths of his heart. Her beauty and her horrible loss had overwhelmed him the day he had first met her, when he came to arrange for the construction work that was needed to make the huge beach house wheelchair accessible. The job was a boon for his small construction business, but he had taken it on for more than the money. Jamison Construction had earned a reputation for honesty in the five years since Coy had founded the business on a shoestring and a prayer. It hadn’t hurt that Coy was a friend of the Lindsey Estate’s attorney, Anton Gerard, either. In an area rife with crooks and fly by night construction people, Gerard had hired Coy’s company partly because of their friendship, but more because of the company’s fair bid and its pristine reputation. The room became crowded as more of the household staff rushed in. Pushing past the butler, Johanna de Hoog, Adrianna’s physical therapist, approached the bed, her eyes wide with concern. "What has happened here?" she inquired in her cool, professional voice, her almost inaudible Dutch accent becoming more pronounced as she noted the pale, frightened face of her charge. Adrianna stared up at the concerned faces around her. Shaking her head to clear it, she attempted to sit up. "Lie still, Miss Lindsey," Coy instructed softly, trying to keep his voice low and calm. Turning to the physical therapist, he explained what had happened and voiced his opinion that nothing was broken. "Tsk, tsk," muttered Reginald. "What would a mere construction worker know about that?"
Cutting his eyes around, Coy started to return the butler’s sarcastic remark but thought better of it. "I'll go now, and let you see to your patient, Miss de Hoog. I know she's in capable hands." With one last scathing look toward the obnoxious butler, he strode from the room. Reginald followed him out.
Calmer now, Adrianna reached for Johanna's hand. "I had a horrible dream, Johanna. I was in the car, and then…and then..." "There, there Miss Lindsey, it is over now. You are okay.” Johanna said in her slightly gruff fashion. "I'm okay? How can you say that? My father is dead. My legs are dead! I will never be okay!" Rushing to the bedside, Renata stroked Adrianna's arm. "Poor poor Mees Lindsey." "Stop that, Renata," Johanna ordered. "The last thing Miss Lindsey needs is pity, you foolish child." Tears rushed once again to the petite young maid's eyes, and she covered her face as she hurried from the room. Releasing Adrianna's hand, Johanna pulled a chair up next to the bed and sat down. "You are overwrought. Miss Lindsey. You’ve had a terrible shock. Are you hurting anywhere?”
"Who cares if I’m hurting? Of course I’m hurting! I ache all over!"
Adrianna stopped short. Suddenly, she realized what she had just said. Yes, she could feel pain all over; even her legs hurt. "My God, Johanna, I can feel pain in my legs!" Johanna smiled slightly, her usual stern expression altered somewhat by Adrianna's statement. "Dr. van Hink told you that you would be getting sensations, and he’s right." Johanna regained her composure as she studied Adrianna's face, recognizing the dawning of new hope. "Your legs aren’t dead, Adrianna. Your spinal cord is bruised, not severed. It has been barely a month since the accident, and we don't really know what is possible yet. No one does, but with hard work and a lot of faith, you may walk again. Dr. van Hink told you that." Adrianna took a deep breath, willing herself to calm down. "I know, Johanna, and I won't give up. I will walk again. Paul would want that." Tears rose once again and spilled onto her pale cheeks. "He’ll never see me walk again. He’ll never see me ride Thunder again." Leaning to the bed, Johanna took Adrianna awkwardly into her strong arms. She wasn't accustomed to being gentle, but somehow this tragic young woman reached inside and touched the tenderness she had learned long ago to keep hidden. She would do whatever it took to see Adrianna on her feet again, on her beloved stallion again, riding with the wind in her hair. Johanna willed it so. She would make it happen, somehow. "You will walk again, Adrianna," she vowed silently, fervently.
to read other excerpts from
Adrianna, a beautiful young heiress, faces many challenges after her billionaire father is
killed in a horrendous
automobile accident that
leaves her paraplegic.
By far her biggest challenge is surviving the machinations of someone who wants her dead before she turns twenty-five.
to read about the characters and gain a bit of insight into the diabolical scheme
to destroy Adrianna.
is available at Amazon.com
for hardcover or paperback.
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5-star Review on B&N Nook Website:
"I read it in one day. It was so hard to put down. The story captured me from the very beginning where Adrianna and her horse were introduced. Its a fun read, full of mystery, love and romance. I'm looking forward to more from this fabulous, creative author."