Promises To Keep

In the distant future, with Earth near barren and men willing to commit to marriage almost non-existent, a group of young women leave to find husbands in the Outer Colonies. On the way men from a rebel planet called Gaia hijack them to claim the women themselves.

Gaian men can only make love to a woman they match and Dr. Sarah Johnson turns out to be the match for the most hated Gaian of all, General Garran Doranth. To keep their promises, these two must look beyond what they think they know and learn to trust what they feel for each other.

The man from the broadcast had probably inspired her dream. He’d looked so…well, so healthy. It wasn’t that Earth didn’t have good-looking men, there just weren’t many who looked like he did. Healthy…and happy. Probably intelligent, the kind of man a woman could talk to. His large hands would be gentle. She saw that from the way he held the child. A man with gentle hands, just like the one in her dream.

And the baby. She figured the child to be about two months old. Adorable, sweet. She’d do almost anything to have a child like that.

Would ‘anything’ include leaving Earth?

She got home, bolted the door and wandered into the kitchen. Even though it was late, she didn’t feel sleepy. Instead of going to bed, Sarah made a hot toddy of warm milk, nutmeg, and raw alcohol. It was rare she drank anything other than wine, but now it seemed called for. She felt flustered and over-aware of her own body, still aroused from her dream.

Activating the kitchen terminal, she searched the public info channels for the New Life Collective. There were several news articles. Some included the clips of the man and baby. Sarah copied the clips to her private files before reading the articles themselves.

The NLC had been around for about two months. Its stated goal was to provide wives to the Outer Colonies, particularly the emerging frontier colonies where there were more men than women. Some of the articles were in favor of the NLC, most written by people Sarah knew to be connected either to Earth’s government or to the military arm, Earthforce.

Other articles weren’t so positive, hinting that the ‘wives for the Outer Colonies’ effort was actually a ploy of some sort, one even going so far as to suggest it was an attempt to weed out the most intelligent and ambitious women on Earth and send them elsewhere. It seemed likely that the government was behind the NLC, at least in part. Their headquarters were in an expensive part of town and broadcasts like tonight were costly. There had to be money behind the project.

Looking at the NLC literature itself, Sarah noticed some odd things about what they were looking for. They wanted young, healthy, unmarried women, capable of bearing children. That made sense. But the requirements went on to say that professional women were wanted, doctors, lawyers, and women with careers that included management and advertising. Why would a backward colony need lawyers or advertisers? Her own profession was logical. She could expect a great deal of work with so many new families.

A tremulous spark of excitement jolted her. Was she actually thinking about doing this?

The last NLC requirement made the least sense. They didn’t want women who had close family in Earthforce or who worked directly for the government. Her job was at a government-supported hospital, but that wasn’t the same as being a government employee. And while she’d known people in Earthforce, none of them had been family, not even Karen.

How could she do this? Earth was her home. Still…. Sarah looked around her kitchen. When her parents had been alive, it’d never felt so cramped, even with all three of them there. The rest of the house seemed smaller, too.

Taking her drink, Sarah wandered into her parents’ old bedroom. It was just as it had been when they’d died a year ago, in a p-tran accident that hadn’t merited more than a two-minute mention on a public info channel. She’d taken some comfort sitting in their room during the first few months after their deaths.

No longer did she feel her parents’ presence in the old furniture and faded linens, the dusty smell of unused space. They were gone now and nothing was going to bring them back. She was alone in the house.

Alone. That’s what she’d said to Maria today, that no one should be alone. And that’s what she was, and if she stayed, she’d remain that way. There was no point in living in the past. If she wanted someone to love, she’d have to do something about it.

The wall above the bed held a collection of old photographs. One attracted Sarah’s attention. Margaret Sullivan Johnson, her great-great-many-more-greats-grandmother. During the late nineteenth century, Maggie had left Ireland for what was then San Francisco, to escape the dreariness of life in her old home, traveling across an ocean and a continent to find a husband and happiness.

The old photo showed an unsmiling woman wearing a fluffy white blouse and a flat hat perched on her long braided hair. The image was black and white, and faded with time, but Sarah had read Maggie’s diary and knew her ancestor had hair the same fiery red as her own. Even now, she saw a bit of herself in the determined face.

Maggie’s story impressed her, the resolve to better her life. “What would you do, Maggie?” she asked the photo. “Would you go to another world to find your dream?”

The com-link in the kitchen trilled and Sarah answered it.

“Sarah, I’ve been looking into the NLC thing," Laura said." We have the morning off tomorrow, how would you like to go with me and check these people out in person?”

Suddenly Sarah knew exactly what Maggie would do. “What time do you want to go? ”

BJ Deese of ECataRomance ...Janet Miller has written a very entertaining love story, and I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good futuristic romance. Even though this setting is in the far away future, it is very believable, and Janet Miller has written a story that her readers will definitely enjoy and remember. I look forward to reading more of her stories.

Jean of Fallen Angels Review Four Angels ...The writing is very good, and the plot is well-paced, keeping one's interest throughout. The female characters are smart and brave and willing to take the initiative, perfect complements for colonial men... I quite enjoyed it, and recommend it as a good summer read.  Five Rating!

Cy of Romance Junkies ...Janet Miller creates a fascinating world and adventure. PROMISES TO KEEP shows chivalry is still alive, and what is meant to be will win in the end. Janet brings the characters to life and combines humor, tragedy, and romance into one novel while staying within the bubble of believability. 

Sinclair Reid of Romance Review Today ...Janet Miller weaves a tale of adventure, danger, and awakening passion in PROMISES TO KEEP. Her characters are captivating and the storyline intriguing. I hope there will be more about the people of Gaia. 

Marlene Breakfield of Paranormal Romance An entertaining science fiction romance with interesting characters ...When all's said and done, PROMISES TO KEEP is an enjoyable science fiction romance which I can highly recommend.