Wimpy doesn’t sell.
Most modern romance readers expect the heroines to be strong and capable, the equal of the hero in every way. That is especially true of science fiction romance.
Readers still want a powerful hero. But how do you show how powerful he is if she can kick his ass? How can he sweep her off her feet if she’s apt to deck him?
A conundrum. When I started writing the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series, I envisioned a clandestine paramilitary force of cyborgs—big, brawny, tough computer-enhanced males—penultimate alphas on a mission to defeat terrorism in the galaxy. But defeating terrorism is science fiction (and too broad), not romance. So I intended to focus each book on a heroine in jeopardy. The series theme became “saving the girl and galaxy one mission at a time.”
Remember, the damsel in distress trope doesn’t sell anymore. So how do you create a strong heroine who needs saving?
- I tried to show Penelope’s strength in Stranded with the Cyborg (book 1) by making her an interplanetary ambassador, and the daughter of a female president.
- In Mated with the Cyborg, Mariska starts out as a victim of a cruel regime, but grows into her mettle and becomes a fighter by the end of the book.
- Illumina of Captured by the Cyborg is crafty and smart. Physically, she’s not as strong as the hero, but she has special abilities he doesn’t have, and the act that she commits at the end (no spoilers!) symbolizes her ability to stand up and fight for herself.
As the series has progressed, the heroines have gotten stronger. In Book 4, Trapped with the Cyborg, I have created the strongest heroine yet. A female cyberoperative. She is partnered with cyborg Sonny Masters (a secondary character in book 3). In fact, she leads their mission.
Meet Amanda Mansfield of Trapped with the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 4).
The Malodonian leaned in close to the blonde. “What’s a pretty little thing like you doing in a place like this?”
Sonny snorted into his drink. Did pick-up lines like that ever work? He watched out of the corner of his eye and shamelessly eavesdropped. In the Nebula Lounge of the freewheeling Darius 4 Pleasure Resort, one could not expect privacy.
“Minding my own business.” The woman’s glare suggested the Malodonian do the same.
“How about I buy you a drink?” he persisted, unfazed by her rejection. His skin was as thick as it was blue.
“Already have one.” She raised a double shot of Cerinian brandy. Her second. Sonny’s cyborg brain had kept track—not that counting to two proved a challenge. However, one single shot of the potent alien liqueur had been known to put many a stout man under the table. This woman could hold her liquor.
She’d caught his attention the moment he’d entered the lounge. Like the Malodonian had noted, she was pretty—very pretty, but not so little. She was long limbed and toned in a way that he liked.
He might have been tempted to try his luck himself—with a better line, of course—except he had little time for R & R. He needed to meet up with Manny, his Cyber Operations partner who would debrief him on the details of the next mission.
Hover lights floating around the bar flattered the woman, turning her hair to pure gold, but the warm-toned illumination wasn’t kind to the Malodonian, whose blue skin acquired an unattractive green cast. “Why don’t I join you then?” He planted himself next to her.
“Why don’t you not?” Without wince or wobble, she knocked back the brandy and slid off the barstool. Tall, like he’d guessed. Sonny stood six-foot-six. Most females barely breached his shoulders. The blonde’s head would graze his chin. A nice fit for dancing, vertical and horizontal.
“What’s the rush? Don’t run off.” The Malodonian grabbed her arm, his fingers biting into her skin.
Amusement vanished. Sonny leaped to his feet. “I believe the lady said—”
Before he could finish his sentence, she had the Malodonian on his knees, his arm wrenched at such an awkward angle Sonny almost felt sorry for the poor bastard.
“What part of leave me alone didn’t you understand?” she said in the Malodonian language.
The man’s guttural insult ended on a high note when she twisted his arm. “Get out of here.” She shoved him, sending him sprawling into a table. He swore again, his epithet translating to the C-word, and scrambled for door.
“Impressive.” Sonny applauded—from a safe distance.
“The way I took him down?”
“That, and the way you hold your liquor.”
She scowled, but then her lips twitched in a reluctant smile that lit up her face. So she did have a sense of humor. If he had the time…well, maybe he could make some. Once he departed Darius, it would be a long while before he could avail himself of feminine companionship. Manny wouldn’t arrive until morning. Perhaps he and the blonde could work something out for tonight?
Tread carefully though. He’d hate to end up on his knees the way the Malodonian had. Not that the blonde could get him there. Despite being well-toned, she couldn’t beat a cyborg’s nanocyte-enhanced brawn. The image of them naked and wrestling, vying for dominance, brought a smile to his face. He’d win, of course. But he’d allow her to think she had a chance.
“Something amuses you?” she asked.
He wiped the grin off his face. “No, ma’am.”
“Ma’am?” She glowered.
He raised his hands in mock surrender. “Where I come from ma’am is an expression of respect.”
She jutted her chin. “And where’s that?”
“Texas.” He’d never set foot in that part of Terra, but his great-great-great-grand something or other had settled there centuries ago. “It’s in—”
“I know where Texas is.”
“You’re from Terra, too, then.”
She rolled her eyes. “Good guess.”
Trapped with the Cyborg description
The only thing more dangerous than a suicide mission is falling in love…
Amanda Mansfield has faced challenges in her life: the disapproval of her critical father and the near-fatal accident that ended a promising military career and resulted in her transformation to cyborg. Now a Cyber Operations field agent, she volunteers to lead the most dangerous Cy-Ops mission ever: infiltrating enemy territory to find the secret hideaway of a terrorist mastermind. The last thing she needs is an added complication.
Like him. Sonny Masters. Her partner. A streetwise former thug turned cyber operative with a lethal grin who doesn’t understand she’s in charge and does not require his protection. He’s everything she dislikes—and everything her body wants.
If they can keep their hands off each other long enough to complete the mission, they might just get out alive…
Trapped with the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 4) is a standalone read.
Watch for Trapped with the Cyborg in June. I don’t have an exact release date yet. To take advantage of special, limited time discounted pricing on release day, subscribe to my new release newsletter. (To unsubscribe, just click on a link in any issue).