Ktas has every reason to think of himself as a lucky man. His best friend and bondmate, Teiba, has finally completed his enlistment time in the Waeseran Starservice and come home to the clanstead for good. The s'ruessef family is prospering, with its numerous members in good health and general accord with one another. If life and work on the isolated riverside farm seems a little boring compared to his own lost Starservice career, that is just reality, something to be accepted. At least he survived the accident that cost him his chance to rise through the ranks, earn glory and power, perhaps even command his own ship one day.

The lingering problems from his injuries are minor, at worst restricting him from a few types of tasks. Others can do those as well as he once could, so it causes no hardship to the family. He's alive and mostly healthy; he has an honorable place in his childhood home and a devoted lover. Yearning for something more, something he can't even name, is just foolish.

Philippi had been living an equally boring yet comfortable life on Earth. She worked at an unfulfilling job to pay for her hobby of staying at an inn and stable two days a week to ride and care for the horse she co-owned. Then, one day, what seemed like a small malfunction kicked her out of her humdrum routine. Innocently seeking help, she instead found betrayal.

When Philippi re-awakens from her drug-induced walking coma, she finds herself lightyears from home in the custody of aliens, disoriented and half-starved. The friendly one who knows a little of her language, Ktas, informs her she has been bought as a slave from a man who was selling the use of her body on the streets.

The discovery that her horse handling skills cross over reasonably well to tsaakas, the Waeseran equine-equivalent, means she has a much greater value as a trainer and stablehand than as a common bedworker. Afraid to investigate her abduction, Philippi is easily persuaded to attempt to create a new future for herself instead. It's no lonelier a life than she led before, on Earth. She adjusted then, and she can adjust now.

But even as Philippi begins to earn approval and acceptance from the s'ruessef clan, Ktas is succumbing to his belief that the family secretly sees him as a lesser person now; housed and cared for out of obligation, but no longer an equal. His resentment and depression build, and those who care for him the most feel helpless to stop the inevitable crisis....

Susan Crites 2006





(Click here to begin the story.)
(For the convenience of returning readers, I've added separate links to each section down at the bottom of the page. Yes, this is my clever plan to get you to scroll down and see my online bookstore link.)

PLEASE READ THIS PART RIGHT HERE!

This novel online is an experiment in several ways, so first of all, thanks for showing up with your lab coats on! It seems to me the internet should be capable of providing new ways of providing fiction to readers, especially fiction like this which is a bit out of the mainstream. If you find this story and/or experiment interesting, and want to help, I would love that! Here are some things you can do:

1. Pass this link on to other people who you think might want to read it. That will help a lot!

2. Email me with new ideas or suggestions for improvement. Really. Lay it on me, I want to hear it!

3. If you feel like it and are in a position to do so, become a patron of my art. I went and got a shiny new Paypal button for people who like to push buttons, but it would be just as good for me (and good for you too!) if you wanted to go to my online bookstore, NeonHearts.com, and buy yourself something! Just click on the banner! It's true we have some rare and expensive collectible books, but there's also a whole Bargain Bin of good stuff under $2, plus the famous Penny Bonus Bin which you can dip into for every $10 in purchases!

Things I want you to know about the experiment:

1. There is no obligation on your part. You get to read this for free no matter what.

2. Seasons is a complete (and long) novel, not a work in progress. I won't leave you hanging!

3. Click here to email me!



Rare, used, and out of print book



Summer's Turn
Harvest End
Winter (Section 1)
Winter (Section 2)
Winter (Section 3)
Winter (Section 4)
Icebreak (Epilog)