My corner of the universe is slowly emerging from pandemic-induced isolation and…well…I’m not at all fit for public interactions. (laughs) I am a mess socially.
A friend wanted to give me a hug a few days ago and I, an avid hugger in the Before Times, backed away, held up my hands to block the hug and gave her what she said was a comically horrified look.
I saw a neighbor without her mask and told her “Nice face.” She laughed but I was mortified. Who says that to someone?
It turns out I do.
And small talk? I’ve forgotten how to do that. Completely.
With challenges of masks and the need for reduced social contact, I would hurl short, blunt requests at grocery store clerks, thank them and run away.
Now, I have to think of things to say. I had a discussion about bananas with a grocery store clerk yesterday. I responded to “How are you?” with “Yes” this morning. Regular interactions confuse me and I’m now the champion of inappropriate topics.
Kamyelle, the heroine of Under Strain, struggles with the same issues. She has been the only human on her home planet for what seems like forever. She has forgotten how to interact with other beings.
When the cyborgs arrive on her planet, she forgets to introduce herself. Multiple times. She blurts out what she wants them to do.
While she was in isolation, she also gained the often humiliating habit of speaking out loud every thought flowing through her very active brain. And I mean EVERY thought – the good, the bad, the embarrassing.
That habit was gained as a means of coping with the solitude. The lack of chatter was too heavy emotionally for her. It was too eerie and depressing and strange. Kamyelle would talk to herself simply to hear someone, anyone speak.
But then other beings land on the planets—cyborgs with enhanced hearing. She tries to cope with her thinking out loud habit by whispering. The warriors can hear her and not everything they hear is complimentary or appropriate.
It IS honest, however. And cyborgs value honesty. They trust it. That bodes well for Kamyelle.
Did you have any challenges returning to ‘civilization’? (grins) Were you as socially awkward as I was and still am?
A damaged cyborg warrior is hunted by a peace-loving human female.
Strain is severely malfunctioning. The D Model cyborg was the sole survivor after a horrific decision was made by his cruel manufacturers. He hates all humans, and when he attacks one who is under his cyborg leader’s protection, he is reprimanded, stripped of his weapons, and told to watch and not actively participate in the next mission.
That mission takes place on a small remote planet. Its lush terrain should only be inhabited by the cyborgs they were sent to rescue, but Strain senses another presence on the surface. She is watching him, tracking him, hunting him.
A fully operational cyborg would end her lifespan.
Strain wants to claim her. Forever.
Kamyelle is the only one left of her kind. Warriors have killed the other nonviolent human inhabitants of her planet. She survived…barely…by hiding in the trees, observing her enemies, and covering herself with lifeform scan-concealing mud.
When a handsome, gray-skinned, brilliant-blue-eyed male arrives, surrounded by weapon-carrying warriors, she has to save him. Warriors harm and they kill. That is what they do.
She won’t allow them to hurt Strain.
Under Strain is a STANDALONE Cyborg SciFi Romance set in a dark, gritty, sometimes-violent universe.
It features a broken warrior, a human female who thinks he’s perfect, and velociraptor-like dinosaurs who view them both as light, tasty snacks.
About Cynthia Sax
USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes steamy Cyborg, Alien and Contemporary Romances. Her stories have been featured on TV, in Star Magazine, and numerous top ten lists.
Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled monthly newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com