Well, this is so damn cool. BLUE YONDER has won an SFR Galaxy Award, my second book from Decadent Publishing to do so. The previous winner was Mako’s Bounty. The specific award given was for the Best Scene Stealer, and my lovely plot moppet, Baby Jack, was the one who stole all his scenes. Read on to meet him.
I’m so happy about the award I think I’ll give away a few copies of BLUE YONDER. If you’d like to get to know Jack and the other characters better, please contact me to request a complimentary e-copy.
He shook off his thoughts, strolling around the corner and then through the back door, pausing to enter the lock combo from memory. Yannis’s wife, Dora, sat at a table in the back room, packing small, dry oranges into bags, her face as miserable as always. She looked up as he entered. “That bastard Vangelis is still charging us for protection?”
Daniel pulled down his mask. “You’ve got a guard on your door, don’t you? Pay up. And watch your fucking mouth.”
Dora stood, then grumbled her way to a desk in the corner of the room. She pulled an envelope out of the top drawer, before turning and tossing it onto the table in front of Daniel. He opened it, spilled out the multicolored creds and started counting. Halfway through he heard an impossible noise. Dora crying? He glanced up into the stony face. Nope. He doubted a tear had ever dropped from those grim eyes. He turned toward the sound. In another corner was a cage with a mattress inside. Holding on to the bars and sobbing piteously was a small child. “A baby? I haven’t seen one of those in forever.” He rose and went over, crouching down and gazing into the limpid brown eyes of a half-naked little boy. “How old is he?”
Dora shrugged. “Eighteen months, maybe. Something like that.”
The boy reached a hand through the bars and clutched one of Daniel’s fingers. He stared down at it. Such a small hand. His fingers were thin, but he held on with an impressive grip. A fat tear slid down the child’s face, leaving a clear track through the dirt. Daniel turned back to Dora. “Is he your grandson?”
An amused snort exploded from Dora, the closest he’d ever seen her to happy. “My grandkids are grown and working for a warlord on Greenpath. I’ll be joining them soon enough. And that useless daughter of mine will take care of me in my old age. Whether she likes it or not.” She stabbed a bony finger in the direction of the child. “That right there is our ticket off this fucking planet. I’m gonna be retiring in style.”
Daniel looked back at the boy. “He’s for sale? Who the hell is gonna buy an extra mouth to feed?”
“Some Blue bastard. But he won’t be feeding the kid for long. His own brat needs a new set of kidneys, and the family can’t leave until then. I negotiated an excellent price. ” Dora smirked at her own cleverness. “The Blues are abandoning the city, the whole planet. You know what that means? It’s time to get the fuck out of here.”
The little finger clutched harder and the boy let out a sob. Poor kid. It was almost as if he’d understood the old bat. Daniel reluctantly disengaged his finger from the child’s grasp and went back to the table. He started recounting the creds. “Where’s his mother?
Dora shrugged again. “Who cares? What kind of stupid bitch would bring a baby into this world? He was being experimented on up at the hospital, so I’m doing him a favor.”
Daniel paused. “A favor that’ll kill him.”
“Whatever. The Blue is paying me enough for a ticket off this shithole. Me and Yannis both. Tell Vangelis this is his last payment. We’ll be gone this time next week.”
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Earth is drowning, but Isabel Visconti won’t be going down with the planet. Her earnings as a factory drone and prostitute will soon fund her escape to the stars. All she’ll leave behind is her late husband’s best friend, Daniel Morneau, who has disappeared into the underbelly of the city’s criminal gangs. Until he shows up, pleading for Isabel’s help.
It’s the old Daniel, the kind, gentle one. The man who bought medicine for her dying husband then helped her through the grief. It’s the Daniel she couldn’t possibly refuse to help. But Isabel has already been given a choice by Daniel’s psychopath boss. Betray Daniel—or spend months traveling to a far-off colony, servicing a violent criminal gang along the way.
When Daniel is abducted, Isabel is his only hope. He may die without her, but is there time enough for love on the eve of the end of the world?