Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dystopian Romance.

With the Hunger Games out this weekend, the world is turning toward dystopian fiction. In Jan of 2010, Slipping the Past was released with Liquid Silver Books. This was not only my first novel published, but a dystopian story.  This 3rd place winner in the 2011 RWR’s More Than Magic contest, has a lot it can still offer. I hope you’ll give this story a try.
So in celebration of all things post-apocalyptic, I’m show-casing Slipping the past today.

Blurb:  Some love affairs last a lifetime, others never end.
Fifty years into the future, if you’re one of the damned, you don’t run for your life, you run to save your soul. Jocelyn Miller is wanted for crimes she committed before she was born. Homeless, blind and out in the elements on one of the coldest nights of the year, her desperation results in a bad decision. When Jocelyn and her brother Nate rob a convenience store, Jocelyn comes face to face with her worst nightmare and greatest love, a reaper named Gabriel.

Gabriel Solaris is an Enforcer, a genetically enhanced psychic often referred to as a reaper for his ability to take souls, and he’s charged with collecting Jocelyn’s. When he finds Jocelyn outside the store, he’s sure she’s up to something illegal. Proving it isn’t necessary. He holds a warrant and it’s all he needs. But the closer Gabriel gets to Jocelyn, the more he begins to question his duty and why he believes her claims of innocence. When Jocelyn tells him she loved him once, Gabriel loses control and kisses her. Instead of taking her soul, he gives her a week to prove innocence in her past-life crimes, something he has no authority to grant.
 Buy link:  Slipping the Past

What the Reviewers are saying:
Night Owl Reviews ~ “What a fabulous story. Intriguing and different I had trouble putting it down. The tension between Gabriel and Jocelyn was fantastic and just part of the allure. The story was fast-paced and creative and gave me chills.”

Got Romance Reviews ~ What a wonderful, inventive, and suspenseful read. From the prologue you know that you are reading a book quite different from most anything else out there.”

Happily Ever After Reviews ~ I have to say I was completely fascinated from the first moment of the prologue. I knew I was reading something I’d never even imagined reading before.”

Post Apocalyptic Child’s Jump-Rope Rhyme
A storm’s a coming, it hides the sun.
Here come the reapers,
Run child, run.
Jump once to save your life,
Two to save your soul,
Three to find some rest and four to stay whole.
Five they’re gonna get you,
Six you’ll get away
Seven is for your freedom and eight to live another day.

New Stratus City, NY 2059.

“Stuff this in your jacket.”

Jocelyn’s fingers closed before she realized what Nate crammed into her hand. She shoved the gun back at her brother. “I don’t want that and I’m not going in there to help you do whatever you’re planning to do with that thing.”

“Do you want to eat?”

“We can ask for spare change.”

“Too cold,” Nate said. “Nobody’s out tonight. I’m not planning anything violent, it’s backup. Besides, I don’t have any bullets.”

“Do you know what they’ll do to you if they catch you in possession of that?”

“They won’t.”

Jocelyn swallowed her words before she regretted them. Whatever she said, he’d do the opposite. Leave it to Nate to find the damn thing and hang onto it. She’d told him to leave it. Obviously he listened well.

When legislation made guns illegal to possess, many people dumped their collections for fear of losing their souls. The pistol’s carved grip seemed too fancy for the gun to be anything more than a display piece. It definitely hadn’t been used in a crime as she’d have known the moment she touched it.

She crossed her arms and shivered, pulling her hands back into the sleeves of her jacket. They’d lived on the streets for the last two months, ever since the last Enforcer discovered their location. Jocelyn never imagined it would come to this, hiding between garbage cans, trying to stay warm and alive while her brother committed armed robbery.

“Damn it, Nate. It’s not worth it. I’m not that hungry.” Her stomach contradicted her and rumbled so loud it sounded like an armored division moved down the block.

“You’re a terrible liar.”

He was right, but she wasn’t about to admit it. Her stomach ached. Most of the credit they made in the last week went to purchase a seat on the solar train, where they could be warm. But that ride only went so far. Eventually security would catch them and insist it was one circuit per ticket. They always did. As for the food ... tomorrow the community kitchen would have hot chow. “I can wait.”

“You haven’t eaten real food in three days.” Nate sighed. “I promised Mom I’d take care of you. I don’t go back on my word.”

“She’s gone. She’ll never know. I’ll be okay.” A rush of dizziness hit and Jocelyn sank to her heels. Nate’s energy flared like a starburst.

“Nate--don’t.” The longer they were on the streets the more chances he took to keep her safe. The Enforcers were already after her. He didn’t need to become a fugitive too. If it weren’t for her, Nate would be home, sleeping in a real bed, not picking food out of the trash or committing crimes.

She should’ve left him before it came to this, but she worried about the trouble he’d get into on his own. At least this way she could try to keep him from doing something stupid. Which at the moment, she seemed to be failing at miserably.

“I’m going in there to take what we need. We can’t help being hungry,” he said

“Sit with me and stay warm. I’ll be fine.” She reached up and grabbed his hand.

“No.” He pulled away. “Stay here, out of sight.”

“Don’t go in there. Something doesn’t feel right.” That wasn’t a lie. Whatever triggered the unease gnawed at the corners of her consciousness. It was there, flashing danger alerts through her brain, waiting for an opportunity to strike and the last person she wanted to be a target, wouldn’t listen to her.

“I’ll be okay. I’m only going to nick some food and credit. Small stuff.” Nate tucked a lo
ose strand of her hair into her hood. “I'll be right back. Nobody’s going to get hurt.” He turned. His boots crunched on the snow as he walked away, stringing her nerves tighter.

Jocelyn leaned against the brick. Idiot. What did he think he’d accomplish? He’d get her one meal and lose his soul over it. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. Why wouldn’t he listen? She’d be okay. She’d come out of worse situations than this.


Bells jangled from across the street as he entered the store. Jocelyn’s stomach twisted into knots. Heat blew up from the grate where she sat on her heels, but it didn’t help the foreboding chill that blanketed her body. She raised her wrist to her mouth and chewed on her jacket’s frozen cuff.

“Be safe. Be safe. Be safe.” She rocked and focused. Nothing. Only that feeling as it grew stronger. “Get out, Nate,” she whispered, mentally reaching for him. No contact.

Nate, listen to me.

The wind whistled between the buildings, but nothing else.

“Damn.” She’d have to do it. She couldn’t let him take the chance. A distant vehicle alarm screeched, but Jocelyn ignored the sound and intensified her focus. This time she directed her push at the store clerk and a less resistant mind. “You won’t see a gun. You’re going to give him the credit as change for a purchase.”

“Come on.” She felt it, the moment she caught its attention. A chill slithered up her spine. Jocelyn bit her lip. A reaper approached. Huddled down by the trash, she should be unobserved, but he’d zero in if she jumped.

She wished she knew how close it was, but it didn’t matter. She’d no choice. There was one way to get Nate out and it meant helping him rob the store. One deep breath and she balled her fists. Energy bloomed around her and her spirit lifted from her body. She shot through the solid wall of the convenience store and rushed inside the clerk.

Using the clerk’s eyes, she studied her brother as he scrolled through digital postcards and waited for the customer at the counter to leave. She opened her mouth to warn him, but the customer before her spoke.

“I had it right here.”

She surveyed the counter and the man in front of her. He had a massive bottle of high-octane rum and a pile of empty credit chips. He rummaged through his pockets, picking out lint, a couple of pinched cigarette butts and a condom. Jocelyn tapped the counter. She glanced at her brother again and her stomach convulsed. No time for this.

“It’s in here somewhere.”

Another alarm wailed. Closer. Her heart jumped, triggering a slip of control, enough to lose her grip. Her energy broke free and lifted toward the ceiling. Not now. Jocelyn pushed, forcing reentry. Blood trickled from the clerk’s nose. She raised her arm and wiped it on his sleeve.

“That’s nasty. Why don’t you use a tissue,” said the man in front of her. Jocelyn shrugged, holding the sleeve to her nose. His lip curled and he took a step back, putting distance between them. “Do you have any idea how dangerous blood exposure is? I don’t want any disease you might have.”

“Sorry,” she mumbled. Her mind drifted away from the man and to the window, where vehicle alarms wailed. From a block away, the street lights snapped off one at a time, sending the already dangerous neighborhood into feral darkness. No, please. Not now. One thing drew that much energy and it was charging up for a fight. She’d been right. They needed to leave.


“What’s out there?” The customer staggered away from the counter and toward the window. With his back to her, Jocelyn seized the moment, grabbed a handful of chips from the register and shoved them into a bag. Outside, more lights died. Closer. No, no, no. Just a little more time. Let me get him out of here.

Nate eyed the man at the window and stepped forward, setting a digital postcard on the counter. A feeling of weightlessness pulled at her and Jocelyn refocused, barely maintaining control. Thirty more seconds.

Static fuzzed across her vision. She shoved the bag across the counter as her brother slipped his hand into his pocket.

“You forgot your change.”

Nate glanced down at the bag and back up. His eyes widened. “Joce?”

“Run,” she croaked.

“Reaper!” The customer lurched away from the window, stumbling back. The lights in the store blinked off with an electric pop, dropping it into darkness. Outside, hundreds of vehicle alarms screeched. The customer raised his hands into the air. “I’m innocent.”

Jocelyn froze, unable to draw a breath. A man in dark silhouette stood on the sidewalk outside, a glowing globe in his hand and blue luminous eyes stared at her.

“Get back in your body and get out of here,” Nate said. “I’ll distract him.” He pulled the gun from his pocket. “He can only take one of us.”

“Put that away. You’re not sacrificing...” Her hair stood on end as the reaper pulled energy from the air. “Shit.” She recognized the sensation, something she’d felt only once before.

“Get down.” She reached over the counter and shoved on Nate’s shoulder. He ducked his head, covered up with his hands and fell to his knees. Jocelyn dropped behind the counter and stared at a baseball bat. Small chance that it would help, but it was nice to know she wasn’t defenseless. “Now he’ll take us both.”

“Reapers can only hold one soul at a time,” Nate snapped back from the other side of the counter.

“Do you think that’s going to stop him?” The window exploded. The fragments pelted Nate’s back and tinkled on the industrial linoleum like chimes. He rose to his feet, spun and lifted the gun, pointing it at the opening. “Now, Joce. Get out!”

“No. You’re not playing the hero.” Cold air poured into the store, fogging the interior. The air charged with static and her hair rose. Again. “Nate!”

The reaper sent another wave blasting through the storefront. Nate flew backward, slamming into a beer case, coming to rest on the floor in a heap. Her vision blurred. “Nate!”

Not now. Her control snapped. Jocelyn ripped free from the clerk and exploded through the wall. Her soul slammed back into her flesh like a runaway train, sending her glasses flying over the curb. She didn’t bother to retrieve them. She’d need them later, but not now. Now she needed to see. She sucked in a breath, opened her eyes and searched the shattered store front. Sharp pains pierced her skull like fragments of slivered metal.

The reaper stepped forward and peered in through the broken glass, soul-cell still in hand. No. Nate was right. He could only take one soul and she’d be damned it was Nate.

“Leave him alone!”

The reaper turned his head and his eyes locked onto her. “You,” a deep voice boomed. He stuffed the egg-sized globe in a pouch on his hip and strode toward her, eating distance between them. His long duster fluttered behind him, giving him the appearance of the mythical reapers, minus the sickle. Except there was nothing mythical about him. He was real and coming for her. “You’re under arrest for past crimes enforced under the Galactic Codex.”

Thanks for visiting today. 
Have a great weekend.D L

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