My sci-fi romance Breeder was one of those books readers loved or hated. There was little middle ground.
This year, 2019, is my 10th anniversary as a published author. I signed my first publishing contract 10 years ago in July. I’m marking the occasion by taking a look back at some of my most memorable books.
Here’s an excerpt from Breeder, followed by some personal insight into the story, why I wrote it, what I was thinking…
If not for the sneeze, Dak would have exited the musty, dank corridor, but the muffled sound caught his attention. When he squinted into the darkened cell, he spotted a female crouched on a straw mat in the corner. He hadn’t noticed her on his way into the Breeder Containment Facility; the habitation unit had appeared empty.
Dak turned to the BCF director and sighed. “What about her?”
The beta’s already crooked mouth drooped farther in distaste. “My apologies, Commander. You don’t want that one.”
Sival’s disparagement piqued Dak’s interest. The director’s opinion had proven worthless; none of the breeders he’d preselected for inspection had been close to satisfactory.
“I would like to see her.”
“Very well, Commander.” Sival saluted and opened the habitation cell with a master entry card. Dak stepped into the small enclosure. The director followed, and the metal gate clanked shut.
The naked female drew into a tighter ball and tucked her face deeper into the crook of her arm. Other breeders had preened as soon as they’d noticed him and his chest-insignia identification. He wasn’t just an alpha. He was the Alpha.
The lack of respect and failure to adhere to Protocol by acknowledging his presence struck him as odd. Dak frowned. “Is she mentally deficient?”
Sival tightened his lips. “No, stubborn, ill behaved. She wouldn’t befit an Alpha Commander.” He nudged the female’s hip with the toe of his boot. “Rise to your feet.” When she failed to respond, he prodded her again.
Dak forestalled him with a wave and grasped the female’s arm. “You will stand.” He hauled her upright.
She averted her face, so he grabbed her chin. Tangled hair the color of black heating stones fell away from an oval face to reveal eyes like the Parseon moon. The glimmer of intelligence sparking within the violet depths aroused his interest more than anything else he’d seen so far. Nature had bestowed the Parseon people with an exceptionally strong immune system so that they rarely required medical intervention, but breeders by nature were weak, and so many of the ones he’d seen had seemed dull or ill or both. This one’s skin, when unsmudged by grime and dirt, probably glowed like the pale sands of the Ospian Sea. He supposed, as breeders went, she wasn’t unattractive, although the stench emanating from her was. His beta would throw a fit if he dragged such a creature into their domicile.
“Why is she so filthy?” he asked.
“She refuses to bathe.”
As Dak scrutinized her facial features for shape and symmetry, he noted little imperfection or dysgenics other than her lack of hygiene and her gender. When cleaned up, she would please the eye, but to bear his sons, it mattered more that she be healthy and strong.
He released her face and assessed her from head to toe. He exceeded the height of most males, while she stood smaller than the average female. The top of her head failed to even meet his shoulder. She was thinner than other breeders too, although her chest bore an abundance of fatty breast tissue. In the chill of the cell, her nipples had puckered to hard points.
Despite the coolness, he was experiencing a rise in temperature. A dormant lust chose that moment to kindle, causing heat to coil in his abdomen and groin. He could not remember the last time he’d experienced such a spontaneous reaction—if he ever had. With the pads of his fingers, he probed the sides of her neck for swollen areas. The way she trembled under his touch aroused a sliver of sympathy. Breeders lacked courage, and uncertainty frightened them. Not all alphas and their betas treated breeders well, but if he chose her, she’d be adequately fed and housed. Command of his province consumed his time and energy, which left his beta alone for long stretches. A breeder would relieve Corren of household chores and provide him with a physical outlet.
“What is she called?” Dak asked.
“Her sire named her Omra.”
Peace, it meant.
He parted her lips with his fingers and slipped a digit into her mouth, running it along her upper gum line to check the solidness of her teeth. At a flash in her eyes, he jerked his hand away a centisecond before she snapped her jaws together, so that her incisor only grazed the tip of his finger.
Sival’s face reddened. “Commander, I apologize. I will have her flogged.”
“Unnecessary. I’ll take care of it.” He unclipped the sudon from his belt.
What inspired Breeder? What does it really mean?
The inspiration for Breeder (a M/F sci-fi romance) sparked from three simple concepts: what if a misogynistic civilization devalued its women so much that it relegated them to the role of breeding slaves? What if heterosexual relationships were considered unnatural, deviant and wrong? What if the core beliefs upon which an entire world was founded was completely false?
Breeder is set on a brutal alien planet with a caste system. The strongest and most intelligent men are deemed alpha and are afforded all the privileges of their rank. Below them are the betas, males considered weaker and less intelligent. They perform the support roles in society and basically serve as “wives” to the alphas. At the bottom of the heap are women, slaves who are imprisoned until they’re needed for breeding.
Overseeing this structure are six Alpha Commanders (note the capital A), the most elite of the elite, the rulers of the planet who ensure no one deviates from the caste structure or “protocol.”
Alpha Commander Dak, needs a son to carry on his legacy, so he purchases a breeder slave. But, he comes to see Omra as a person and against protocol, falls in love with her. Their relationship not only jeopardizes their lives, but rocks the foundation of their society.
Each book in the trilogy (Breeder, Terran, Warrior) focuses on a different H/h who get their HEA with no cliffhanger. However, what happens to their planet and society isn’t revealed until book 3 (Warrior).
Breeder, originally published by Loose Id in 2013, was my first science fiction romance series. After I went Indie, I re-released it in 2017. If you’ve read the light, humorous Alien Mate or Dakonian series, well, Breeder is completely different. It’s edgy, dark, and intense, but ends with hope (and an HEA for the H/h). It’s a compelling story that is too edgy for some readers, but it’s unforgettable. Many reviewers have called it my best work, and it’s been compared to Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale.
Breeder can be read just for the entertainment value. But, it does have a deeper message. In writing Breeder, I’d hoped to cause people to question their most basic, core beliefs. The absolutes. Are they really true? Or do they believe those things because they’ve been taught they’re true? Are you willing to question your absolutes?
If you decide to read Breeder, I’d love for you to drop me an email and tell me what you think. (And, of course, reviews are always greatly appreciated).
The Breeder series is available everywhere.
On Amazon | Universal link to other booksellers