Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Even Space Girls Can Give
Love that this month's Romancing the Genre posts are about charitable giving. I feel strongly that I need to give back to my community. School and public libraries, food share warehouses, domestic violence shelters, the Wounded Warrior project ... no shortage of worthy causes.
On a smaller level, I can take a meal to new parents, shop for a shut-in, take care of a neighbor's pet. Even recycling and shopping local and green help my world.
Am I really good at giving? Ah, no. Working on that. I tend to spend too much time in my own head and not enough out in the community.
What does this have to do with romance, and especially sci fi romance?
This. I recently found a new author, with a whole raft of fun, sexy, high-emotion stories. Woo-hoo! Until I got to heroine X in the series. The chick was gorgeous, hawt, funny and all the men in the story wanted her.
I settled in for the fun, but I slowly became more and more dissatisfied with my vicarious experience. Throughout her adventure, this heroine never thought about anyone but herself and her own reactions to the hero. Gah! I'll re-read the rest of the series, but don't care to re-enter that chapter of the series.
When I read, I want to empathize with the heroine. I want her to be imperfect, sure - to have problems she must work through to achieve her heart's desire, but I want to like and respect her too. If she's a selfish b^^^^ when her story opens, she better change and grow, or she's off my Kindle for good.
Let's take a peek ...
"Logan Stark waited with keen anticipation for his guest to return to the main cabin of his cruiser. Kiri Te Nawa might not be polished, perfumed and physically enhanced as the women he usually took, but she was beautiful as a wild doe. No, a wild cat, he corrected himself, amused. With those tilted eyes spitting golden fire, and her slender hands clawed to attack the sleazy gambler, she resembled the Tyger females he'd met on the planet Bryght. She must have Tygean blood in her ancestry.
Her husky voice added to the illusion. Perhaps she'd suffered damage to her larynx at some point, but he found the slight roughness in her voice, the way it cracked under emotion, unexpectedly alluring.
Her slim, taut body had felt very good in his arms, too. She had a curvy ass below her small waist, and in her snug uniform, her breasts were high and round. Not as large as he usually preferred, but then that was what made women so fascinating—their endless variety, the mystery of discovering what made each one of them unique.
This one had a spirit as wild as the cats she reminded him of, and she shone like a sleek purebred in a pack of alley-bred mongrels.
He'd found her by accident. With time on his hands after a meeting with space port authorities, he'd been walking. Out of curiosity, he'd ended up in the oldest section of the space port. He passed loading bays for discount cruise lines and smaller private bays that he guessed shrewdly were used by those who preferred to avoid the brightness of the new concourses, their trade better conducted in the shadows.
There were families and business travelers just like on the new main concourses, but these folk were shabbier. A few toughs cast him avaricious looks, as if wondering whether he could be dragged into a dark alcove and robbed. Stark watched them decide against aggression and move on, realizing he was no easy mark despite his grooming. Wise choice on their parts.
His brother Joran would say he was slumming. Because he'd been here before, many times.
Once this shabby area had seemed palatial to youths looking for a safe place to get in out of the cold rain and scavenge something to eat and drink. And while he'd never mugged innocent travelers as these toughs would, in the darkest times he and Joran had rolled a few druggers in the dark streets outside the port. With bellies so empty they hurt, and Creed to feed as well, it had been one of the choices between survival and death.
Stark had shaken off the dark memories and was about to turn away when lights caught his eye. The holomarquee of a coffee bar glowed cheerily ahead, contrasting with the garish bar sign across the way and the dark, barred-up space alongside. That valiant little sign drew him.
As he neared the stand, he saw that it was clean and bright, with neat racks of snacks and souvenirs. Then he saw the barista. A slim, vibrant figure in her fitted black, she moved with the grace of a dancer as she scrubbed the small countertop of her stand.
He stopped for a moment, simply appreciating. A bent old man stumped up to her window, and laid one gnarled hand on the counter. He said something that made her smile—a glowing smile, with a flash of white teeth and flirtatious sweep of dark lashes. In one smooth motion she turned, grabbed a disposable cup and filled it from the coffee machine steaming at her side. Then she handed the cup to him, holding on until he had a grip on it. The old man nodded his thanks.
She watched him walk away, then returned to her scrubbing. No credit had changed hands.
Stark stood for a sec and then decided he wanted one of those smiles and that he'd gladly pay the price of a coffee for it."
So Stark is attracted to Kiri on a physical level, but there's much more to it. Had he not witnessed her act of kindness, he would have walked on, having simply paused to admire a pretty woman. In the midst of his dark memories of the past, she is a shining example that there is good to be had.
Is she perfect? Oh-hh, no. She's impulsive, reckless and still determined to believe in miracles, despite the harsh realities of life in the slums of New Seattle. But she has a big heart. She helps friends and even an alien woman who is unkind to her. Just the kind of girl I want to read about. Someone with whom I can identify, and like and respect, even as she struggles with her imperfections.
Charity may begin at home, but it can traverse the galaxies.
To learn more about Kiri and Stark, visit my website. Thanks for stopping by!
See you in a great romance,
Best-selling author of sci fi romance
... it's hot in space, red hot!
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