Space Rep: Are they going to blow everything up?
Liza: I don't think so, but this is my future dystopian banner.
Space Rep: Well, let's check out the cover. That should be more telling.
Space Rep: Hard to say. Let's go to the blurb.
After the Convergence is a sweet, slightly dystopian detective romance set in the near future. Shortly after “the convergence” or emergence of seriously intelligent computers.
This is from near the middle of the story. The hero, Alan Blake, after escaping from an isolated trailer in the middle of the desert, has run into an old flame of his at the truck charging station where he was working/snooping around. He’d just discovered a smuggling operation, and she’d come to pick up an agent who was being smuggled. Unfortunately only his body arrived, rather badly decomposed.
“There’s this drifter, came in on one of the trucks. He’s shuttling tractors because we’re short. Floyd! Where are you?”
“Can you describe him?”
“Medium height, brown hair, highly sunburned, weedy sort of man. Showed up on a northbound truck this morning.”
Teresa laughed. Then she walked to the next tractor and knocked on the hood, “Alright Alan, I know you’re in there. Open up, or I’ll use my persuader on you.”
I pulled the internal release and after the hood opened, stood up.
“Hi Teresa. Long time no see.”
Teresa took me to a motel. She shoved me in the room, made me disrobe and said, “Get washed, ‘Floyd.’ Between your days in the desert and that body you shifted for me, you’re rank.” Then she took my clothes and locked the door. “I’ll be back with clean things for you.”
A few hours later she returned. She threw me a few things, obviously from a second-hand shop, and said, “Get dressed.” After I had complied, she continued, “Hold me!”
“Hold me or I’ll gut you.”
Strong female hands grabbed me and forced me into an embrace.
“Teresa? What the Hell? I thought you didn’t like men in general and me in specific.”
She gulped, swallowing something. “Hold me, damn you.”
“Fine.” I mean she was a woman after all, and it had been too long since I last held one this close. I might not have had another chance, the way things were going.
She writhed and squirmed, pawed at me, moaned and shivered. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought we were going at it. Then she stopped. Pushing me away, she said, “Thank you.”
I asked, “Red pill, what’s that?”
“You really are an innocent Alan, aren’t you? I needed a man I could trust not to take advantage of me while I swapped back.”
“It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s the standard treatment for sexual deviancy in the People’s Republic.”
“The red pill. Take it, grab someone of the appropriate sex, and you’ll like that gender when it takes effect. Wears off after a while, and you return to normal, but it can be effective.”
“You and ‘Heather’?”
“She was an exile. The pill didn’t work on her, so her parents sent her North. She had a stack of pills so she could keep trying. Don’t blame her parents, it was either that or a re-education camp. At least she’d be alive as an exile. We were both lonely so I thought ‘What the heck’ and gave it a try. Fun while it lasted.”
“While we’re chatting. Did you kill her?”
Teresa was quiet, then said, “No. I did love that bitch, you know.”
“Any idea of who did?”
“PRT assassin. When she joined the Free State Militia, she became a traitor in their eyes.”
“Was it true what you said about her and Guezman?”
She sniffed, “Guezman had the goods on her. Made her help him. He’s playing both sides of this game.”
“Decidedly unhealthy that, I suppose. What about Paul?”
“No idea, could be them. To be honest could have been one of ours or anyone.”
“The other case I’m working on is Sarah Gonzales.”
“PRT have her. One of their experiments.”
Space Rep: That sounds interesting! Do you have a buy link?
Liza: Hold on. I'm not the lackey. That's your role.
Space Rep: I've grown up since I left. But I'll go find the link. Here it is.
Amelia Grace Treader is an author of (mostly) historical romances, with the occasional science fiction romance thrown in for good measure. Based near Atlanta, she writes a unique combination of romance and action. She enjoys reading history, science fiction, and historical romance. While a child of the American South, she's also an Anglophile and not unfamiliar with the south of England. They're more alike than you know - There's even a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in the Oracle in Reading, and they're just as good as in Kennesaw.
Despite the descriptive name of romance as “bodice rippers,” Amelia tends to write more in the sweet style of "bodice unbuttoners" where the romance is there but not explicit. After all, a good quality bodice was expensive, and only a cad or puppy would damage it. It's also more consistent with the behavioral conventions that were in place at the time.