Release Date: Mar 26, 2009
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Publisher Link: http://redrosepublishing.com/bookstore/product_info.php?products_id=411
Blurb: In a world with nothing left to lose, can one man find hope in another? It's the year 2031. The rain doesn't fall, while access to water is controlled by a ruthless few. In the midst of this harsh, barren world, Jacob has taken up his father's mantle as leader of the rebellion against the Water Lords. Loyalty and sacrifice have their place in Jacob's life, but there's little room for love. Gorgeous recruit Ethan at least meets Jacob's physical needs, but duty to their cause comes first. When a killer dust blizzard interrupts a scouting mission, memories of Jacob's painful past hit him full force. Will he find shelter from the storm in the form of Ethan's love?
Ethan stood on the crest of the dune. He focused the high power binoculars and scanned the arid valley. He let a long, low whistle. "Got some amazing cloud buildup on the horizon. Think anything will come of it?"
Jacob instinctively sniffed the breeze for the scent of pending rain. Nothing, he thought. With a sense of sadness, he realized he didn´t remember what rain smelled like in the first place. He pushed the sadness away.
"We´ll see." He took a swig of water from his canteen. His eyes lingered on Ethan´s sculpted form. Clad in snug black tank top and fatigues, the same model of rifle as Jacob´s slung across his back, the other man cut a striking figure against the bright blue sky. His shoulders glowed bronze in the sunlight, his hair golden where the western breeze tousled the strands combed back by the tinted sand goggles pulled atop his head. Jacob never bothered with goggles, but apparently Ethan´s pale blue eyes were more sensitive to the sun.
He wondered why Ethan´s presence proved so distracting, when the men he´d slept with before had failed to hold his interest after two or three encounters. Tearing his eyes away, he took another sip of water and capped the canteen. He walked around to the rear of the rail buggy. "How far´s the ravine from here?"
"About twenty kilometers."
"Any water in it?"
"Can´t tell. These binoculars aren´t that good."
Jacob adjusted the solar panel installed on the back of the buggy. So long as he drove conservatively, a charged battery afforded him a two-hundred mile range. In the event he and Ethan ran into trouble and had to haul ass across the dunes, that range would significantly decrease. Best to have the vehicle fully juiced. The panel set, he turned his attention to the decrepit house he´d parked next to.
He scanned what would have been the front yard. The burned-out shell of an SUV sat half-buried in the dirt beneath a dead oak tree. A long, wide dune lined the nearby split-rail fence, the tops of telephone poles peeking through the dirt on the opposite side. The house had sat by a two-lane highway, from the looks of it.
Jacob´s boot heels crunched against the sand as he approached the front steps, the top few still visible as the house rested on a raised foundation. The structure was a wooden two-story number, flecks of dirtied white paint clinging to the walls in random patches. No vinyl siding for these folks, Jacob thought dryly.
The house had been boarded and shuttered, as was the case with all of the homes in this region during DB2, but the plywood had been ripped from several of the first floor windows by some bored, restless soul for the purpose of target practice. Jacob went up the concrete steps to the wooden porch. The warped planks groaned in protest but supported his weight. To his left, the remains of a lopsided porch swing hung by one chain.
He pulled the screen door open with an ominous creak. He noted fresh rust on the hinges, indicating a recent rise in humidity. He caught himself sniffing the air for rain again. Nothing. Nothing but dust and dry heat.
"What are you going in there for?" Ethan called after him.
"Just looking," Jacob said. "Might find something of use in here."
"Like what?" Ethan asked. "Spiders? Scorpions? Mummified farmers?"
Jacob paused. He wasn´t sure what he was looking for. In the old days, it would have been food, medicine, bottled water, and weapons.
"You never know," he finally answered. Trusting his rookie would follow him, he tried the doorknob. With another squeak of hinges, he crossed the threshold into the house.