by Diane Burton
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Length: 370 Pages
Length: 370 Pages
It's finally here! After nine months, my "baby" is ready to meet the public. Of all the books I've written, The Protector was the hardest, the most emotional for me as a mother. I had to dig deep to image how a mother would feel upon losing her child. Not to miscarriage, which is difficult enough, but to kidnappers. Even years later, how would that mother feel? What would she have to do in order to cope? Although only a mother who has experienced this tragedy would know, I hope I've conveyed her emotions well.
After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from raiding the frontier colony. She’s met with apathy and disbelief. Because she lost her own baby to traffickers, she’s determined that no other mother will suffer the same heartache. Industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran aids her in rescuing more children. Little do they know they’re about to tangle with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger. Dillan’s loved her for years despite her claim she’s too old for him. As they fight the traffickers, will she finally see him in a new light?
Fortuna hurried into the kitchen. “To what do I owe this honor?” The pleasure house owner laughed. “Finally going to take me up on my offer to sample my newest provider? He’s absolutely delish. And what stamina.”
Though her cheeks flamed, Rissa brushed aside the offer then quickly explained her need for small clothing.
“Slavers?” Fortuna screwed up her face in disgust. “I heard rumors of disappearances in cities like Rhadaman but not in the colonies.”
“About the clothes?” Rissa needed to return before the girls decided to explore. Or, worse, leave.
Fortuna led her up the back stairs to the sleeping quarters. “SeeMee isn’t working right now. She’s the smallest.”
A few mins later, Rissa had a bundle of clothing from the generous SeeMee who was only too happy to help the escapees. “I chose this life,” the tiny pleasure worker explained. “Nobody should be forced into it.”
And that, Rissa thought, made the difference between pleasure houses and prostis. Choice. She had to make sure those girls bathing in her sanitary could make their own choices.
“The other girl is taller than you,” Rissa said to Fortuna. “About this high.” She leveled her hand near her own shoulder.
Fortuna nodded. “Wait here. Don’t want to interrupt anything.” She grinned.
When she returned to the tavern with the clothes, Rissa found the girls wearing what she’d left them. Her shirt hung almost to Anaris’ ankles. On Pela, it reached her knees. They’d been sitting on her settee, Pela brushing Anaris’ hair. They jumped up when Rissa came in.
Both eyed her warily.
Pela broke the silence. “What are you going to do with us?”
Rissa sat on the end of her bed across from them. “I can find transport so you can return home.”
“No.” Pela’s sharp response surprised her. “I won’t go back.”
Anaris looked even more frightened. “Please don’t,” she whimpered.
With delicate probing, Rissa got their stories. Both girls had been sold by their fathers to the traffickers. Her heart twisted for them. How could a parent not appreciate the gift of life given to them? To sell their flesh and blood was unconscionable.
Rissa reined in her anger. “You have a choice where to go, what to do. Nobody will force you. Now try on these clothes, and when you’re ready come down to the kitchen.”
Pela stood in front of Rissa. “Why are you helping us? What’s in it for you?”
This week, I'll be at other blogs with different excerpts. I hope you'll stop by.
Today (Monday): Jessica Subject
Wednesday: Linda Carroll-Brad
Thursday: Liza O'Connor