A Taste of Escapee
All week, we’ve been looking at various aspects of my new science fiction romance, Escapee — from the genesis of the doomed moon, Banff, to how its structure mirrors that of the movie African Queen. Today, on the last day of release week, you’ll get a taste of the book itself.
The following excerpt appears early in the book. It’s analogous to the scene in The African Queen in which Humphrey Bogart rescues Kathryn Hepburn by bringing his ship to the mission after the Germans destroyed it.
In Escapee, however, the genders are reversed. Rough-and-ready Catt Sayer comes to Castle Mountain Fortress and finds only one survivor, upper-class Captain Hector Dukelsky, who returned from leave to find all his soldiers dead. She’s suspicious of him, partly because he had once jokingly referred to her as a prostitute, and partly because she figures a commander should not be the only survivor of a massacre. Hector speaks first.
“You see no bodies, Miss Sayer, because I buried them over the past seven days.”
Catt waited for him to continue, but he didn’t. “Oh yeah?” she scoffed. She knew he was lying, because she’d crawled over the twisted remains of the fortress’s backhoe, whose micro-explosives enabled it to burrow into Banff’s rocky ground. “You dug graves by hand in solid rock. Yeah, right.”
“Enemy bombs blasted the graves. I just filled the holes with bodies and rubble.”
For one body, that was believable. For more than a hundred, though? Catt bit back a retort. From anyone else she’d suspect sarcasm. From him, she didn’t know what to expect.
Then she noticed how red his skin was, as though exposed far too long to the moon’s corrosive atmosphere. Lighter patches marked where he’d worn goggles and a respirator. “You did all that without a bio-suit?” Like most people, she didn’t trust respirators for more than a few minutes at a time. The man was either suicidal or insanely devoted to duty.
“I’d left my bio suit here while I went on leave, and it was destroyed in the attack. As for leaving before the Proximanian army returns, I thought of that long before you did, which was why I hastened to finish my reports.”
The entire moon had fallen into enemy hands and yet this officer wrote reports? Her opinion must’ve shown on her face, because his flinty expression slipped, revealing exhaustion, despair, and a plea for understanding.
“I know I’ll never be able to send them, but…” He ran a hand over his eyes, and the unfeeling martinet was back. “The reports are letters to my men’s families, explaining how they died at their posts, defending New Ontario’s interests.”
Catt opened her mouth. Closed it. Felt her face flame. Facing Dukelsky was like staring into a furnace. She lowered her gaze. “I didn’t know…”
“Yet you assumed the worst of me.”
Without thinking, she had slumped into the submissive, hunched posture of a peasant being scolded by a patroon. Now, though, she straightened. Embarrassment warred with anger, yet she wouldn’t let him or any other patroon humble her, ever again. “Turnabout’s a bitch, eh?”
She expected him to ask what she meant. He didn’t, though a narrowing of his eyes told her he remembered his cheap prostitute comment. Their eyes locked. She refused to back down first.
Escapee — The African Queen in Outer Space
Catt Sayer just wants to survive. The working-class fugitive delivers military supplies on her decrepit airship, but her hard-won livelihood vanishes when invaders overrun her harsh moon. And now an idealistic, upper-class officer wants her to risk her life on a hopeless voyage to attack enemy headquarters – manned by 10,000 soldiers.
Edward Hoornaert’s romantic space opera, Escapee, continues the saga of the Dukelsky family (begun in The Guardian Angel of Farflung Station). If you like The African Queen and the thrill of underdogs finding love while battling a hostile environment, you’ll love Escapee.
Don’t let this rousing tale escape from you.
Here’s Your Chance to WIN
To celebrate the release of Escape: Repelling the Invasion, you can enter a Rafflecopter giveaway until midnight on April 26, 2016. Click to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
You can win:
- A $10 Amazon gift certificate
- One of two electronic copies of the prequel to Escapee — The Guardian Angel of Farflung Station.
Enter now and enter often!