July 28, 2017 by Valerie Ullmer
Book Spotlight and Character Interview – Rock Bound by Rochelle Weber
The future is a dangerous place for dreamers and idealists.
When a dictator takes over the United States, Annie Peterson attends a protest in Washington, DC, with her husband Paul. US troops fire into the crowd killing him, and Jake Johnsrud, a virtual stranger, risks his life to save hers. They are among the survivors who are sentenced to slavery on the Moon for their “crimes”—Jake as a miner; Annie as a sex slave.
Jake fights increasing feelings of anger and jealousy as Annie struggles to perform her job, while she resists her increasing attraction to him. Along with their fellow inmates, they fight to survive on the lunar “rock” that is their prison.
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Moon Base Alpha
Note: The discovery of ice means that the prison colony can more easily become self-sufficient, not having to depend on having water shipped up from Earth.
There was an impromptu party in the rec hall the night they discovered ice. Everyone was in a great mood. At the Captain’s urging, the crew had packed several musical instruments, and some of the crew and inmates were quite talented. Crystal hadn’t been joking when she mentioned karaoke. She turned out to be a wonderful singer. And Annie, who described herself as “a decent back-row alto” added some great harmonies to the mix, until Jake claimed her for a dance.
The song was a slow, romantic ballad and as Jake took Annie in his arms, she felt an electrical force shoot down her spine. They began to sway gently to the music, Annie’s face titled up so that she could look into his eyes. Her skin burned through her tee-shirt where his hand rested at the small of her back. She felt herself beginning to drift closer, snuggling into his embrace, her head almost touching his shoulder when she stiffened, stopped dancing and broke away from him, her mind screaming, What d’ya think you’re doing? He’s not Paul! Oh, God, he’s not Paul!
“Oh, um,” she said nervously, her gaze searching the crowd. “I think Quinn wants to cut in.” She indicated Quinn Donnelly at the edge of the dance floor, watching them. “After all,” Annie continued, “there are so many of you men and so few of us women.”
She fled, leaving Jake on the dance floor looking hurt and confused.
* * * *
After Annie left him on the dance floor, Jake wandered back to the barracks. He climbed up to his bunk and stretched out on his back, hands behind his head, arms akimbo. He lay there staring at the bunk above his, trying to figure out why Annie had run away from him. He was falling in love with Annie. Hell, he’d been in love with her—since the moment she had invited him to share their blanket back on Earth.
I thought she was getting over Paul, he told himself. But I guess she hasn’t. She’s still in love with him and she always will be. I don’t care if she still loves him; as long as there’s a chance she’ll come to love me. Should I tell her I love her? No. Give her time.
* * * *
Back in the rec room, Annie sat down alone at a table as far from the dance floor as she could get. Quinn had, indeed, started to ask her to dance, but she had run past him, trying not to cry.
Paul, I’m so sorry! she thought. It felt so good to be in Jake’s arms. So warm, and safe, and comfortable—as though I belonged there, just like it did with you. But I still love you. I can’t love Jake, too. Can I?
Meet Annie Peterson of Rock Hound
My name is Annie Peterson and I don’t have much time to be on the computer here at Moon Base Alpha. Tom Andrews, the Captain of the Guard up here gave me permission to send this message, but I have to keep it brief. I have some experience with sending messages to Earth by burst since I’m the Captain’s Administrative Assistant. But still, if the Luna Mining Company knew I was talking to you, the Captain and I would both be in trouble. So I’ll answer your questions as fully as I can.
* * * *
Q: Who are you and what’s your story/back-story? Why would someone come up with a story about YOU?
AJ: My name is Annie Peterson, and I have no idea why anyone would write about me. One day I was a normal wife and mother, working for an accounting firm in San Francisco and then the world changed. I was never very fond of President Freezeland but I had no idea he was trying to take over the country. Then when he did and Paul said he wanted to go to the protest in Washington, I said, “Of course you have to go, Honey. I’ll come along.” After all, my father, grandfather and the men in our family as far back as I can remember all served in the Navy. In fact, my great-grandmother served, and that’s how she met my great-Grandfather. On the other side were the protesters. I had a great-great grandmother at the protests in Chicago in 1968, almost a hundred years ago.
And then we were at the protest and we had just met this man Jake Johnsrud, and suddenly there were troops firing at us, and Paul was dead and Jake saved my life. They said we could come up here for ten years and work as… to… to work as prostitutes. And I agreed because my son, Bobby, is two now, and I know he’s alive down there somewhere. And I hoped I could get back to Earth and find him. But now I’ve found out that we’ll probably never be able to go back. Living in one-sixth the gravity of Earth, we won’t be able to tolerate going back to full gravity. So here I am.
I’m not a heroine. I’m not special. I have to put myself in a trance in order to… to… be with… the men. My friend, Crystal Petrie, taught me how to do that.
Q: What are some of your good traits?
AJ: My good traits? I’m good at my day job and I try to be nice to everyone. I was a good mother. And I guess up here just being alive counts.
Q: What are some of your bad qualities?
AJ: I’m not very enthusiastic in the conjugal cubes. Cyrstal really enjoys having sex and she’s friendly with the men. I think that both the Johnson twins really care for her, and they don’t seem jealous of anyone else she’s with or of each other. I guess she has a knack for making men feel so special when she’s with them, they don’t worry that she won’t have time for them or whatever. She’s the most loving person I know. For her the cubes are fun.
I’m not like that. I have a few friends, but I never have sex with them. I can’t seem to face the men I do have as—well, as clients—after we leave the cubes. I still vomit when a man asks me to do oral sex. Funny—it was okay with Paul.
Q: One of the most important of the day: What’s it like to kiss your hero?
AJ: Well, I haven’t kissed Jake yet. Oh God! Did I say Jake? I’d be cheating on Paul if I ever kissed Jake! But he hasn’t ever asked me to… We’ve never been to the cubes. We’re just good friends. That’s all. He’s very sweet and kind of cute with those twinkly blue eyes, slightly oversized ears and that lantern jaw, but he’s just a friend. Really! Just… Just a friend.
Q: Those are all the questions we have for you tonight, Annie. Thank you for speaking to us.
AJ: Thank you for talking to me. Please tell everyone we’re OK up here. And don’t get caught airing this or Freezeland’s liable to send you up here, too. And if you should happen to visit one of the State nurseries in the Bay Area and see a little boy around two with blond hair and big blue eyes, please tell him his Mommy’s alive and I love him.
Rochelle Weber is a Navy veteran with a BA in Writing from Columbia College in Chicago. Her novels Rock Bound and Rock Crazy are available in both e-book and print. Her third book, The Thin Person Inside, is available at MuseItUp Publishing, Inc. Ms. Weber edits for The Author’s Secret, and has edited for Jupiter Gardens Press among others. She publishes the Marketing for Romance Writers Newsletter, winner of the 2013 & 2015 Preditors & Editors Readers’ Polls for Best Writers’ Resource. She also ran Roses & Thorns Reviews for several years.
Ms. Weber battles bi-polar disorder, quipping, “You haven’t lived until you’ve been the only woman on the locked ward at the VA.” Her song, “It’s Not My Fault,” won a gold medal in the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition. She lost over a hundred pounds and kept it off for about three years. She lives in Round Lake Beach, Illinois with a cat who has her very well-trained.
Author Blog: http://rochelleweber.blogspot.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Rochelle.Weber.Author?ref=hl
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/rochelleweber