Published by The Writers Coffee Shop on 21st May 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Hundreds of years after an asteroid slammed into Earth and sent it into a new ice age, what remains of the human race lives on in underground sanctuaries. Now, as the bicentennial anniversary of the impact approaches, a new leader prepares to take her place at the head of the government. At least, that’s what she thinks.
Bethanie Greene’s life has been planned out for her since the age of thirteen. Beautiful and intelligent, she’s spent the last twelve years training to become the next Matron of the underground nation of Oceania. But when Bethanie is kidnapped by rogue extremists just six weeks shy of taking office, her world is turned upside down by the handsome stranger who rescues her.
Howard James’ life has been the polar opposite of Bethanie’s. Struggling to survive in a world where those in power wished he didn’t exist, he harbors a deep-seated resentment of the government and all its representatives. Together with his unconventional family, he shows Bethanie a life she never knew was possible, while at the same time, opening her eyes to the injustices of the government she is meant to lead.
But can she trust a stranger? And can a few days change everything she believes and desires? Against all odds, Bethanie must decide if her heart and her duties can coexist.
yet again. I’ve heard
stories about the slums, and I have to take a few deep breaths to calm myself.
running away, I get it. I just couldn’t stay in your
home any longer.”
my parents raised us with traditionalist values doesn’t mean we
are anything like the Trads. You accused us of being a drain on society, but
you don’t even know
don’t. But you don’t know me
either. If you did, you would understand why it’s hard for
me to understand your way of life. It goes against every law, moral, and
convention I’ve been
taught. So I can’t be sorry
for what I said, even if I’m sorry I
ran out of the house.”
expression on his face looks a bit like pity but with a dash of guilt mixed in.
“Look, maybe I’ve judged
you unfairly based on preconceived notions, but—”
look on his face, and then pulls me off the crate onto the floor behind. I sit
up, and turn to yell at him, but male voices outside keep my mouth closed. I
instead huddle closer to Howard as he puts his hand around my shoulders. He pulls
me in until I’m tucked
where she went?” a man’s voice asks.
just vanished.” The voice of
this one sounds young.
boss isn’t going to
be pleased about this.”
move again. The sounds trail off until they’re no longer
audible. I sigh in relief, all the tension fleeing my body.
rubbing my shoulder.
His blue eyes have flecks of grey in them, and there’s a
smattering of freckles covering his nose and cheeks. His warm breath tickles my
cheek almost like a caress, and his jaw has the barest hint of a five o’clock
shadow. He really is captivating.
licks his lips as they turn up ever so slightly in a smile.
sigh that slips past my own lips. Howard leans forward a little, then moves
closer still until his mouth is pressed against mine. I don’t dare move.
A zing of something, I’m not sure
whether it’s pleasure
or fear, shoots through me. His lips are soft and wet, and the sensation is
unlike anything I’ve felt
before. I can’t even
decide if I want him to continue or stop. When he pulls away though, a feeling
of disappointment bubbles up inside me.
move to my lips. Glancing at Howard, he stares at me for a minute, then moves
to sit further away.
shouldn’t have done
relationships. It doesn’t mean it
never happens. I’ve heard the
odd story here and there from the other women, and I realise that’s probably
what Gail was trying to tell me at breakfast the other day. But in all honesty,
I can’t remember the last time I had
real physical contact with anyone, above all with a man.
off Howard in waves.
Come on,” Howard
whispers. “We need to
get to the house before those guys come back.”
~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~
Perth, Western Australia, the second-most isolated capital city in the world.
Predominantly a stay-at-home mum, she works a few hours a week as a software
support consultant. She has always loved to read and write, and spent most of
her teens writing poetry and short stories. Over the years, daily life got in
the way and she lost the passion for it, but after the birth of her first
child, Melissa discovered e-books and her interest in writing rekindled. She is
now the author of two published short stories. Matronly Duties is her
first full-length novel.