Hello, my lovely baker’s dozen (backer’s dozen?). You may have noticed I sent you Chapter 3. I also updated Chapter 1, but didn’t want to inundate you, especially since I’m also sending this update.
Hello, my little gang of 12. My not-so-dirty dozen. Thank you for being the pioneers of interest in this nascent story.
I have been working on it quite a bit, switching between it and Disintegration, which will be published this year.
If you’ve forgotten all about this next book in the series, I don’t blame you, but I’d like to recapture your interest. And to entreat you to share both this, and Disintegration with everyone you know.
Integration follows events that take place about 250 years before Disintegration, but the narratives of both books are very closely tied, despite each book being drastically different.
While Disintegration takes place in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, Integration unfolds during the waning moments of Earth as the paradise that it is, albeit an ailing one. And Integration is much subtler science fiction. It’s the kind of book I bet someone not steeped in the genre could read and, perhaps, not even be aware of its classification. At the same time, I think any devotee of sci-fi would delight in recognizing what hides in plain sight of those less in the know. ;)
Here is an excerpt of a scene that unfolds between Jack and Sabine, with some added notes to impart helpful details that have been explained earlier in the narrative.
Sabine puts on her underwear and one of Jack’s t-shirts and heads downstairs.
She finds him sitting at the kitchen table, intent on the [smart-]surface. He catches her movement out of the corner of his eye and looks up at her, but says nothing. He turns his attention back to the table.
“Morning honey,” Sabine says cheerfully. She refuses to be affected by his uncharacteristic stoicism.
She walks over to get a glimpse of upon what he is so intent.
“Hi, babe,” he says, not looking up.
“Reading about the abductions?”
Sabine turns to walk away and he reaches out for her hand. She turns back to him to find him looking up at her.
“I missed you,” he says, eyes watering.
“Jack, don’t,” she protests. She doesn’t want him to profess his love. She doesn’t want him to express his vulnerability. She feels the fleeting pleasure at his momentary distance slip away.
“No, damn it,” he replies. “I’m not going to fucking hold onto shit. I didn’t just miss you. I worried about you. I’m not crazy to think I may never see you again when pretty young women are being snatched up all over the world. And when you don’t reply to me. When you avoid me because I want you to express to me just one iota of what I put out, why should I assume it’s just business as usual, that it’s you refusing to give me what I need, and not that you’re the one who got taken.”
“This is why I don’t reply,” she says, extracting her hand from his unconsciously tightening grip. “Why can’t you ever be happy with what you have. I am here. God damn it, I always come back to you.”
“I live in perpetual fear of the day you won’t,” Jack says, his eyes spilling a stray tear down each cheek. “God, Sabine, you are the only person I really miss. The only one I really want.”
[Context: Jack does not lack other avenues for companionship. He and Sabine are unmarried.]
The sight of him crying elicits such conflict in her. She wants to tell him to stop, the same way she was told never to cry, as a child. No one compares to the masculine ideal presented by her stern, distant father, whose emotional expression comprised anger and rage and all the notes in between. In her eyes, a man does not cry, and Jack debases and diminishes himself with these increasingly frequent emotional displays.
But a small part of her protests.
I’ve never met another man like you, she remembers telling him, and she remembers that it was a compliment. When she had discovered such depth of feeling behind his playboy persona, it was the moment she knew that she loved him. It was when she first doubted that what she truly wanted was just to be fucked without feeling by men who didn’t care for her in any way beyond basic respect for her humanity, if that.
She thinks of Mehdi and realizes that, at an earlier point in her life, before Jack, she would have fucked him despite his flagrant disrespect of her, perhaps even because of it. Because no man with so little regard for her could ever worm his way into her heart.
Sabine is beautiful to a point nearly beyond comprehension. She is the stuff of fantasy. Her face is mathematically, art-school perfect. The shape of her body is salacious fodder for maddening lust. She has stretch marks and the density of her breasts has suffered from large swings in her weight, but no blemish impugns an intangible beauty that transcends even the perfection of her visage. She exudes warmth and ebullience of spirit despite fierce independence and advertised lack of need for anything, from anyone, besides pleasure.
She bends over and puts her arms around Jack’s neck, pressing her warm face against his wet one. She moves to sit in his lap and he pushes back the chair to allow it. They sit together, quiet, and she is grateful that he doesn’t ruin the moment with his compulsion to fill every silence with words.
She feels a slight twinge in her heart at the thought that she feels closest to him when there is nothing to say. When she’s not swept away by a flood of useless language.
To my small but beloved readership,
I’ve just updated the description and the cover for Integration. Please check it out and share it with your friends and followers!