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Madeline Baker Chases the Lightning and Finds Gold in her Latest Time Travel!

By Lauren Spielberg

After inheriting a huge house in Arizona and loads of money from her wealthy uncle, Amanda Burkett is thrown for an even greater loop the moment Relampago, a mysterious white stallion, and his sexy owner, Trey Long Walker, wander into her yard needing help. It isnt long before Amanda learns that not only has Trey stumbled 132 years into the future (thanks to Relampagos nose for trouble), hes also been shot during a profitable bank heistone that took place in 1869, no less!

Thats right. Trey, a half-breed Apache bank robber and his ghost horse have time traveled all the way from the rowdy real-life era of cowboys and Indians into the equally dangerous twenty-first century. Bounty hunters still thrive, albeit in smaller numbers, and are now the muscle behind the United States penal system. Amandas fianci is bounty hunter Rob Langely the great-great grandson of Bob Wolf Langely, the man who so aggressively pursued Trey way, way back in the 1800s.

Trey had meant not only to rob J.S. Hollingers bank, the man he holds responsible for his fathers death, but he had also intended to take Hollingers life. However, he was unable to pull the trigger of his Colt handgun and instead wound up with a satchel full of cash, feeling as though hed failed his family, especially his Apache grandfather, Walker on the Wind. Then all hell had broken loose when a bank employee was shot by one of Treys cohorts and because of this, Wolf Langely is hot on Treys trail, holding him liable for the fallen man, and ready to claim the reward money on Treys head.

Trey was such an interesting character to write, award-winning author Madeline Baker (aka Amanda Ashley) says of the hunky hero in CHASE THE LIGHTNING. Gruff, yet sweet Like a hot fudge sundae, really. The life he offers Amanda is an unstable one; its mystical and marvelous and whats more, its exciting! And poor Robtalk about plain vanilla ice cream!just isnt able to match that level of excitement to Amandas liking.

It is Relampago who jumps the fence, so to speak, from time period to time period. It is his destiny as spirit horse to rescue those in perilous situations by transporting them to safer soil. But are such spirit or ghost horses actual mythological figures or a machination
of the authors fanciful imagination?

Well, neither really, laughs Madeline. The idea was given to me by an online friend and fellow author, William Burkett. I told him that I needed an idea and he then told me about the ghost horse, which was purely his invention. That was what sparked the rest of the book for me.

Not only would William supply Madeline with the crux of her story (keen readers will take notice of the heroines last namea subtle homage to her internet muse), he worked with her on making the depiction of
Arizona as authentic as possible as well as providing a male perspective on the story.

For Madelines diehard vampire and paranormal fans, it is no coincidence that Amanda Burkett shares the same first name as Madelines alter ego, Amanda Ashley. Says Madeline, I used the name Amanda for lack of anything better. Then, when the book was completed, it was too late. Amanda was, well, she was an Amanda.

Names of characters aside, the compelling writing style and intricate meshing of the past with the present is 100 percent Madeline. She considers herself a typical romance writer, but especially enjoys writing her time travels and vampire tales as theyre suitable vehicles for her fun-filled, topsy-turvy brand of storytelling.

In January 2002, look for the Signet release, LAKOTA LOVE SONG, about a young woman who finds a wounded Indian on her ranch, and in February 2002, her next Amanda Ashley is due, titled MIDNIGHT EMBRACE, which her editor Alicia Condon has dubbed the perfect vampire romance.

The tentative release date for RECKLESS EMBRACE, the fourth in her Reckless series, is March of 2003. Those fans waiting for Blackies story need not wait any longer (well, after 2003, that is)! And Hannah and Shadow are alive and well also, Madeline reassures her readers.

When I sit down to write, its like watching a movie in my head, Madeline says. I just write what I see.

Fans can write to Madeline at P.O. Box 1703, Whittier, CA 90609-1703 or e-mail her at DarkWritr@aol.com.

Excerpt from Madeline Bakers CHASE THE LIGHTNING

Amanda dropped her handbag and keys on the porch, hardly aware she had done so as she stared at the stranger. Straight black hair fell just past his shoulders. His long-sleeved brown plaid shirt and black pants were covered with alkali dust, as were his boots. He wore a bandanna around his neck; there was a black leather gun belt and holster strapped around his waist. The worn wooden grips of a revolver jutted from the holster.

The stallion whinnied softly, and she noticed that the horse, too, was covered with a fine layer of dust, as if it had made a long, hard journey.

She went down the steps slowly, warily.

The stallion pushed his nose against her shoulder, and she stroked his neck absently while she studied the man. He was dressed like an old time cowboy. She wondered if he was a movie star or an extra, though she hadnt heard of any movie companies on location in the area. His face, neck and hands were very brown; his features were strong and well defined. Bent low over his mounts withers, he seemed to be unconscious.

Lifting one hand, she placed it on his brow. He was burning up. It was then that she noticed the dark stain that spread down the back of his shirt and down his pant leg.

Blood.

She touched his leg gingerly. The material was still damp, the dust clotted into maroon mud where the blood had flowed.

Where on earth had he come from? If he was with a movie company, where was the rest of the crew? And what was she going to do with him?

A low groan escaped his lips, and then, without warning, he started to topple sideways. She threw her arms around him to keep him from falling, grunted softly as she supported his weight.

His eyelids fluttered open and he stared at her from beneath straight black brows. His eyes were a deep, dark brown, glazed with pain.

Whatthehell? he muttered.

Im surprised to see you, too. Here, let me help you down.

He lifted his left leg over the saddle horn and slid to the ground. She staggered back under his weight. His shirt was damp beneath his arm. Lord, he was a big man! She had to get him into the house.

Can you walk?

He sagged against her, his head resting on her shoulder. Sure, sweetheart, he replied, his voice thick.

Good, cause I need to get you to a doctor, and I cant carry you to the car.

He shook his head vigorously. No! No doctor.

But youre bleeding.

He shook his head again. Dont needdoctor. Not hurtthat bad.

She looked at him, at the almost desperate look of pleading in his eyes. Well, I dont know about that. But Im taking you to the hospital.

He pushed away from her, staggered backward, and bumped up against the horse.

What are you doing? she asked.

Going.

Chewing on her lower lip, she stared at the blood on his shirt. She couldnt just let him ride away, not when he was bleeding. The most important thing now was to see how badly he was hurt.

All right, she agreed reluctantly. No doctor.


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