Hello! It's been a while since I've posted a First Chapter Friday post. The last time was on a former blog that no longer exists. Plus, I've released many stories since then. As I work on my current work-in-progress, I thought I'd share some of my already published stories. At first I thought about posting in the order they were published. But then I decided to post according to their publishing anniversary date. No years included, just the month and the date. So, we're starting with UNKNOWN FUTURES, a sapphic sci-fi romance that is part of the 1Night Stand line at Decadent Publishing. It was published January 3, 2012.
Here's the first chapter from UNKNOWN FUTURES...
“Miss Jewel Barnaby?”
Her eyes darted toward the tall, austere man in surprise, nervous tension knotting her shoulders. She almost didn’t respond. No one had called her Jewel since she’d left the hospital two years ago. Instead they called her ugly, freak, or monster. The doctors had done all they could, but despite the several surgeries and multiple, painful skin grafts, everyone in Prescott, Ontario would always know her as the girl who was splashed in the face with acid on the biggest night of her teenage life.
They’d been in his garage, grabbing blankets for the after-prom party. When he’d tried to get fresh with her, she’d had to tell him, a jock through and through, she wouldn’t sleep with him, that she’d preferred women. But he didn’t take no for an answer. Pinned against his truck, her heart racing in panic, she kneed him in the groin. Doubled over, he’d grabbed sulfuric acid from a shelf behind him and splashed it in her face. Everything after that moment became a blur until she woke up in a hospital, groggy with painkillers, a tube stuck down her throat. She couldn’t see a thing with the bandages covering her eyes, but felt and heard her mother by her side.
From then on, some of her neighbors looked at her with disgust, sympathy, or fear. Others glanced away when she passed, as if she didn’t exist, including her old friends.
The chauffeur simply smiled at her as he reached for her two oversized suitcases. His professional, impassive demeanor calmed some of the butterflies dancing in her stomach.
Standing on the curb, she stared down the road, sure neighbors spied out their windows, wondering why a limo would be picking her up. I need a break from this place. As she slid over the leather seat of the Ford Excursion limousine, her stomach tightened. Madame Evangeline’s text had been brief. Pack for two weeks. The limo will meet you in front of your building in an hour. She’d had no time to do anything but change and throw clothes in a suitcase.
Until now. Had applying to 1Night Stand really been a good idea? She could end up with her date running away, screaming. And why had Madame Evangeline told her to pack for two weeks when her date was only supposed to last one night?
She had no one to report to, though, no one who would worry she’d be gone for so long. She didn’t have a job. When she handed in applications, she was often told the position had already been filled, and once she’d poked her head back in to ask a question and seen her resume being ripped up before she’d even left the building. All the university courses she took were through distance education. With so much free time, she often kept well ahead of her studies so she had no assignments due for another month.
Her parents wouldn’t miss her either; her mother had died a year before from breast cancer. They’d spent so much time together in the hospital. She’d been Jewel’s closest friend, her ally, the one person who’d accepted her unconditionally. And now she had no one. Her father only cared about his bimbo of a girlfriend, and made sure to keep the airhead away from his lesbian daughter. Jewel rolled her eyes. She preferred a woman with a brain, not an ass wiggle and an annoying laugh.
In the last two years, though, she hadn’t had one date, not even a night out with friends. No one wanted to be seen with her, and after a day of stares at the local college, when she’d gone there to write an exam, she’d returned home and applied to the 1Night Stand dating service. She’d read an account of the wondrous matchmaking abilities of Madame Evangeline on a Yahoo group for burn victims. If Josh had found love, why couldn’t she?
Jewel had no idea what her date looked like or where she’d meet her. Looks really didn’t matter, but she wanted an age, a name, something…. And where was she going? Packing for the Sahara Desert was not the same as packing for the Arctic Circle, so she’d included clothing for both and every climate in between.
When the limo merged onto the highway, she reached into her tote bag for her ereader. Taking her mind off the purpose of her trip might ease her rolling stomach. Throwing up in the luxurious car did not seem like a good idea. She loaded up the most recent book from her favorite science fiction romance series—involving an alien species not as uptight about homosexuality as humans—and became lost in a world more hospitable than her own.
Jessica E. Subject is a USA Today bestselling author of Sci-Fi and Paranormal Romance.
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