Something in my Facebook newsfeed today made me think of a plot thread in my upcoming novel, Stellarnet Prince, the sequel to the cyberpunk romantic thriller Stellarnet Rebel and book two in the Stellarnet Series, published by Carina Press. It won’t be available until November, but I wanted to go ahead and share this little excerpt with you.
CAUTION: If you haven’t read Stellarnet Rebel yet, there will be spoilers.
I’m not going to say much to set this up. I think it speaks for itself. Readers may recall that Declan O’Riordan is the father of the series heroine, J’ni, and that Duin and Belloc are aliens from a world called Glin. Seth is a human, and J’ni’s former lover. Also, he’s kind of a shithead.
Declan spoke in a low voice, probably intended for Belloc’s ears alone but Duin could hear him. (Uber savvy readers will note that the Glin don’t have “ears” that stick out like humans, they have ear slits. It’s a figure of speech.)
“Do you know why we didn’t go to Asteria for your wedding?”
“It’s very far.”
“No.” Declan shook his head. “I would go to the ends of the universe for my girl.”
Declan’s tone reminded him of Seth. Duin despised jealousy and possessiveness in any form, but it seemed even worse coming from a father than a lover.
“We didn’t go because it wasn’t a wedding. Marriage can only happen between humans.”
Belloc replied in a similarly low tone. “The Asteria Charter—”
“You’re not on Asteria.”
“And you’re not on Glin.”
Belloc stared at the tips of his fingers laced together in his lap. It meant so much to him to finally have a family. And here was J’ni’s father, rejecting him when he should have treated Belloc like a son. Duin expected cruelty from other humans, but not from the ones who raised J’ni and who were as much Duin’s parents as hers.
Duin couldn’t explain the risk he took in overlooking Belloc’s heritage, not without revealing more to Declan than was safe. But if Duin could spare Belloc’s life, as both a child and as an adult, and if Duin swam the precarious river between Belloc’s happiness and the future of Glin, how hard could it be for Declan to love the individual his only descendant loved? And to accept the other individual who shared her soul?
Duin walked to the couch and put his hands on his husband’s shoulders—as much to comfort Belloc as to say to Declan, You want to be a dick, you’ll have to deal with both of us.
“I had five children and two grand-children, Declan. And all of them are gone. I wish every day that I could see them again, embrace them, hear them laugh and sing and swim. I wouldn’t care if any one of them loved a five-legged labbud, so long as they were with me. You have three descendants. Here. Now. You should appreciate your good fortune.”
“I’m very sorry for your loss, Duin. But neither God in Heaven nor any one of these fifty-three United States condone marriage between a human and anything but a human. It’s a matter of not only secular but spiritual and moral law.”
A few months ago, Belloc had ripped Duin’s nagyx from J’ni’s neck and chucked it at him. If Belloc would challenge one of the most sacred relationships on Glin, he wouldn’t back down from an angry father, either. He leaned forward. “An immigration lawyer told me that the United States recognizes marriage between citizens, even if the marriage occurs on another planet.”
“You’re not a citizen.”
“I will be. I’ve applied for a green card.”
“Even if you were human, it could take years to obtain citizenship. As a non-human, the court cases would drag on even longer. In fact, I’ll make sure they do.”
Duin paced behind the couch, wondering what happened to J’ni, Cressa and the tea. The snow fell heavier now, a curtain of white between them and the rest of the city. He did not want to make enemies of his own family. He could at least trust a fellow Glin to let him have a difference of opinion, even a passionate one, without antagonism. Humans—especially these humans—seemed disinclined to tolerance.
Belloc turned his head toward Declan, and Duin could not see his face. But he could hear the strong currents of emotion in Belloc’s voice and they tugged at him. “J’ni is the kindest, most courageous person I know, Elder Declan, but you are a coward. You’re afraid of me, and you’re afraid of your daughter’s freedom to choose anything you don’t like. Worse than fear, you don’t trust her judgment, when it was her judgment that saved my life, and the lives of thousands of others on my planet. It’s not up to you, or your laws, or your government, or your God who we love. It’s up to us. Only we can choose to love each other, or not. And I love her with every drop of water in my body.”
One of the themes in the Stellarnet Series is humanity’s struggle to come to terms with the existence of alien life. The heroine’s relationship to members of that alien life makes her a target for bigots and creates conflict within her family. This is a fiction story, but sadly there are similar conflicts occurring in families all over the world.
– J.L. Hilton