SFR Brigade Showcase: Escapee

SFR Brigade showcase

Once a month the Science Fiction Romance Brigade authors showcase snippets from new releases, works in progress, cover reveals or other fun things. Check out all of this month’s participants.

The African Queen in Outer Space?

It was t.s. elliott who said, “Good writers borrow, great writers steal.” I’m not sure if I borrowed or stole — probably borrowed, because I’m not a great writer — but my upcoming release is unabashedly based on the 1951 movie, The African Queen.

African QueenThe movie is a classic that stills draws raves.  On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an astonishing 100% positive rating.  If you haven’t seen it, you should treat yourself.

Since I was young, I’ve always admired the movie’s blend of adventure, romance, and heroism in the face of overwhelming odds.  So I decided to retell the story, setting it on an inhospitable moon, rather than the African Jungle.

I reversed the sexes of the romantic leads and added some secondary characters. If I didn’t tell you my book was based on the African Queen, you’d probably never notice.

But I don’t care if you know my little secret. Just don’t tell anyone, okay?

“This is really good!”

Lately I’ve been working with one of the fine developmental editors at MuseItUp Publishing on Escapee, which is what I call my African Queen. One of her comments chuffed me up something fierce. At the end of the build-up to the book’s first love scene, she commented, “This is really good!”  With an exclamation point, like the cherry atop a hot fudge sundae.

Here’s the passage between Catt, my lower-class heroine who was abused as a youngster, and Hank, my wealthy career soldier.

What she needed, deserved, was love. And, in order to banish forever the nightmares haunted by the hoary Sir Orlinder, she needed to be in control.

She pulled away from the kiss. Stepped back. He reached for her.

“Take off your clothes,” she said breathlessly.

Passion ruled his eyes. Maybe no other words might have stopped him from embracing her right then. But those words did.

He complied, with haste. If he looked wonderful in a ratty old uniform, he looked far better out of it. Her mouth went dry. He reached for her.

“No,” she said. “Sit on the couch.”

He cocked his head to one side, studying her face. Whatever he read there convinced him to sit, but he sighed. “One of us is naked.”

“Believe it or not, I noticed that.”

“My point is only one of us is naked.”

“Why, I do believe you’re right. How did that happen?”

“And when is it going to unhappen? Catt, you’re torturing me.” His face sobered, which was the last thing she wanted. “Or it that all that you’re trying to do? Tease and torture because you still think I’m a patroon and share the responsibility for your father’s death?”

She swallowed hard. His words struck too close to a truth that lurked in the bowels of her mind. Sir Orlinder—and, perhaps more important, a lifetime of class-consciousness—still lived in the shadowed recesses of her mind. She hesitated.

“You’re playing with a live grenade,” he warned.

She glanced at his midsection, where the grenade—with an enticingly large pin—resided. Yes, very much alive, and as dangerous as a grenade.

“You like looking?” he asked.

Her lips were dry. She licked them.

“What else do you like, Catt?”

Sir Orlinder had always told her what to do. Use your mouth like this. Lie there and spread your legs. Always, he was in charge. She wanted to change that, but even if Hank was patient enough to let her try, she had no idea what to do.

“What do you need me to do?” he asked.

“I need…” With small but deliberate steps, she edged toward him and then stopped an arm’s distance away. “I need you to teach me what I like.”

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20 comments

  1. I see why your editor liked the passage, exclamation point and all! You had me at “Take your clothes off,” she said breathlessly.

    Well done, Mr. Valentine!

    1. But…but… it took that long? I didn’t get you at ‘hello’? (Bit of old movie humor; sorry.)

  2. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Whoa! Very hot. I love African Queen, watch it every time it comes on plus I have the DVD. One of my all-time favorite movies. I’m going to have to read your book now.

    1. I’m hoping to find out the release date pretty soon.

  3. Extremely hot!

    1. Burned my typing fingers, it did.

  4. Amusingly intense – teach me!

    1. Thanks, Aurora!

  5. I love the African Queen, one of my favourite classic old films. I like that he’s letting her find her own way in this.

    1. I think that was the editor’s point — he’s handling this sexually abused woman in just the right way.

  6. I don’t remember *that* scene in The African Queen, LOL.

    1. That’s because that one got left on the cutting room floor, back in the PG days.

  7. jaynefury · · Reply

    Woof! Love the spiciness! Book concept is brilliant, too.

    1. Even though I stole it?

      1. No, Jayne–there’s no getting around it with long words. I stole it!

  8. I can see why the Editor was pleased, very spicy and hot. A smooth excerpt!

    1. Thanks, Veronica.

  9. I love that she steps out of her comfort zone and bares her soul to him. Beautiful.

    1. In this scene, Catt takes a major step toward overcoming the sexual abuse of her teen years. She’s waaay out of her comfort zone.

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