Will love set them free—or seal their fate?
In the 67th century, Trev, a master thief and computer hacker, and Khim, a vat-grown human android, reluctantly share a cell in a floating space prison called Steering Star. Trev is there as part of an arrangement that might finally free him from his father's control. Khim, formerly a combat android, snaps when he is sold into the pleasure trade and murders the man who sexually assaults him. At first they are at odds, but despite secrets and their dark pasts, they form a pact—first to survive the prison, and then to escape it.
But independence remains elusive, and falling in love comes with its own challenges. Trev’s father, Dante, a powerful underworld figure with sweeping influence throughout the galaxy, maintains control over their lives that seems stronger than any prison security system, and he seeks to keep them apart. Trev and Khim must plan another, more complex escape, and this time make sure they are well beyond the law as well as Dante’s reach.
Guest Posts with Author Wendy Rathbone...
My Favorite Character Traits
My new novel, “The Android and the Thief,” is just out from Dreamspinner. It takes place in the far future in a human colonized galaxy. In this story there are cloud cities, space prisons and flying cars. The book is a romance with some dark elements but has a lot of heart and two main characters who really came to life for me as I wrote.
I have always loved the idea, in romance, of two characters who might not ordinarily get along being forced to work together and gradually forming a bond.
My two main characters, Khim and Trev, are two such people forced to bunk together in a prison floating in space. Slowly, they begin to rely on each other for safety, security and plain old companionship during times of lockdown boredom. Each has his own dark past to deal with on top of lurking dangers everywhere.
Khim is an indentured, created human who has broken his internal, subservient programming and killed another human. Trevor Damico is the son of a powerful, underworld crime lord with influence across dozens of planetary systems. Trev is in prison because his father is teaching him a lesson. Khim is actually owned by one of Trev’s father’s corporations, but Trev doesn’t know this. So of course Khim hates Trev at first for the Damico name alone.
When the two are thrown together, they eventually find they make a great team. Neither is really a bad man; they have simply been born into unfortunate circumstances.
I write what I love to read, so when creating these two characters, I made a list of my favorite themes and character traits. Some things on that list include: strong fighter, leadership, charisma, sense of wonder, super smart, indentured, bleak transition from human to other, depression, crushed faith, haunted by secrets no one can understand, trust issues, betrayed.
On the physical side of things: Trev is a lithe brunet with an acrobat’s body whose ancestral lineage harkens back to Earth-Italian culture. Khim is created from designer DNA, a golden human who does not get sick and is naturally strong and smart, but who has no rights, no freedom. When a book is a romance, I design my characters to be handsome as well. For me, that is no hardship. (smile)
As the characters of Khim and Trev began to grow, they started talking in my head, telling me their side of things. When I am in the middle of a book, I make it a habit to write every day, so when my main characters start talking, it is quite wonderful. It makes writing not a chore, but enjoyable and entertaining, so much so that when I get up in the mornings I can’t wait to get to my writing.
Khim and Trev’s love story comes about quite naturally. When they finally realize they are in love, it is very exciting for them. Two guys who have had the worst, finally get a bit of reward.
Thank you for reading!
Here is an excerpt:
The flier had brought him to a large city, a floating city that overlooked a world like a blue jewel. Khim had never seen anything like it and knew none of the names for where he was—city, planet, or even system. He only saw that the city was huge. Set down in the middle of it, he was told to hurry from the door of the flier to a side door of a tall silver building topped with three dark spires that pointed to the stars.
Once inside, he had expected to go up. Instead the people who ordered him to follow them took him downward into the underbelly of the city where, through hard, rocky walls, he could hear the chugging and churning of unseen alien machinery, probably part of the vast engine that kept the huge city afloat in the clouds.
His journey ended in a dark room with no windows and only one door, the walls lined with pipes and grills. A single fan chattered from the ceiling. Along the far wall he could see, through the dimness, a row of five cages with vertical gold bars. Two were occupied. Three were not.
His handlers led him to one cage. Inside he saw a single cot, a toilet, and a sink. They opened the cage door and pushed him inside.
Immediately he turned, though his body was sluggish, and without thinking tried to push his way out, but the barred door slammed against his side. One of the men yelled at him. “Step back!”
His body obeyed as his left foot slid along the smooth flooring of his prison so that the door could close all the way. His mind reeled.
“You’ll have food brought to you three times a day,” one of the handlers said.
Nothing else was said. They turned and left.
Khim stood looking toward the shadowed entrance imploringly, as if that action alone might bring them back. He felt as if he hadn’t taken a breath since he’d been drawn off the stage, bought and sold, and placed into the flier.
Now he filled his lungs. The place smelled of old dampness, gritty and sharp and sad.
He blinked quickly against a sudden warmth. Swallowed hard. He never cried. Not even when the blood of battles sprayed through the air and ran thick into his eyes.
But now. This.
Wendy Rathbone has been writing for years, but since 2012 her focus is mostly on m/m romance. She writes all genres but seems to prefer fantasy and sci fi. She is also an award-winning poet. She lives in
. Yucca Valley, California, USA
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2oKmR44
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