In my experience, sci-fi allows me to take the usual romance storylines, and make them bigger. Want to explore the difficulties of a long distance relationship? It’s much larger when the characters come from completely different planets. Want to explore cultural differences? What if one is an alien, and one human? Or even an android. Do they feel love the same way we do?

Do want to add some danger and excitement into your story? Space battles are lots of fun! How about an alien invasion? An artificial intelligence gone wrong? There’s nothing more fun than a romance that blossoms amidst some chaos.

Sci-fi can also add a lot of new, everyday challenges. The difficulties of living on a spaceship, the confined space, limited number of people, no fresh air. How do you get some privacy there anyway?

In sci-fi, you don’t have to follow the current rules and social expectations of our society, you can play with them. Even a small change can make a big difference to a story.

In Reckless Rescue, I took the old and popular ‘stranded on a desert island’ storyline, and changed it to ‘stranded on a barren planet’ instead. Throw in a little pollution that makes it hard for the locals to have babies, and the sci-fi trope of a traveller stranded with a primitive settlement of people and unable to get home, and I had a story that was both different, but contained enough conflict to keep my romance, between one of the local women and my stranded space captain, interesting.

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Stranded on the dying planet of Zerris, Marlee longs for the one thing she can’t have…a family. Due to the noxious gas covering the planet, she can’t conceive a child, and the Council, determined to repopulate the planet, have ended her third—and most precious—relationship. They insist she pick a new mate and try again, but she’s sworn off love and the possibility of ever having a real family.

When a ship from the thriving planet of Urslat crashes on Zerris, Marlee rescues the ship’s daring captain, Tyris. His ship is grounded, winter is setting in, and he won’t survive without help. She offers him a deal…he can live with her if he pretends to be her mate so the Council will leave her alone.

Tyris agrees and a hungry desire sparks between them as they battle the harsh winter and primitive conditions. Their attraction grows, and soon, keeping their distance becomes impossible, even more challenging than the snow, the Council, and, for Marlee, the risks of a real relationship.

Will she risk her heart one last time for a chance at her dream? Or will Tyris be her undoing?

Excerpt from Reckless Rescue

The door closed behind them, and Nelor heaved a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry, Marlee. I wish I’d been able to give you a baby.”

“It’s not your fault,” Marlee squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. “It could just as easily be me.” She reached out to take his hands, not caring if he saw her tears. She didn’t need to pretend in front of Nelor. Of all the people in the village, he was one of the few she could be herself around. And now he had to leave.

Tears glistened in his eyes too. “I hope things work out for you next time.” It was a standard response. Expected.

She didn’t want to hear it. “I don’t want to do this again,” she said quietly. “I can’t.”

Nelor brushed her hair out of her eyes. “Yes you can. You’re one of the strongest people I know. And I know you’ll make a wonderful mother someday. Don’t let what we’ve shared stop you from achieving that.”

She didn’t feel strong. She wasn’t like her mother. She couldn’t live the way her mother had. “It’s not just about having a baby. I don’t want to be with someone else, live a life with them that should have been with you.”

She didn’t want to spend her days with someone she couldn’t be open with, couldn’t cry in front of, or, worst of all, someone she was afraid of.

“We don’t have any choice, Marlee. The council’s rules apply equally to everyone. And if they didn’t, where would we be? Our population would drop even more quickly. We might not like the idea of changing partners so often, but it’s the only way to make sure there even is a next generation.” He sounded like he was trying to convince himself.

Marlee shook her head. She didn’t want to hear it even though she knew it was true. She and Nelor could have been happy together. They had been.

“I can’t keep trying anymore,” she said, her voice dull. “I won’t go through this again.”

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