The Heights of Perdition
Publication Date: December 20, 2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/ Fantasy/ Romance (Christian Themes)
There is nothing Aeris St. Cloud wants more than to win her father’s love and the acceptance of her family unit by joining the Military Academy at New Hope. But after she is captured by the fearsome space pirate, Captain Chainsword, Aerie is certain falling in love with her nation’s arch enemy is the last possible way to earn their coveted esteem.
Driven by vengeance, Exton Shepherd never set out to save anyone. As he circles the war-torn world in his pirated starship, the Perdition, he only sees his father’s ghost lurking around every corner and the looming darkness on the horizon. When Aerie unexpectedly tumbles into his life, he finds he cannot trust her, anymore than he can ignore her. But just like the raging war down on Earth, it’s tempting to think he can …
When the war ascends to the heights of the Perdition, Aerie’s loyalty, and Exton’s heart, are put to the test. But will love be enough to save them – and others – from certain destruction?
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“No thanks,” Aerie replied breezily. If he could tease her, she would more than return the favor. “I’d like to catch you when you have a clear disadvantage.”
“That’s hardly fair.”
“Well, we’re not equal anyway,” Aerie told him. “So if we’re going to be on unfair footing anyway, I might as well try to make it as good for me as possible.”
“When you use the words ‘fair’ and ‘equal,’ they are not actually talking about the same things. You realize this, right?”
“Yes,” Aerie admitted with a sigh. “But I was hoping you wouldn’t notice.”
“It’s part of my job to notice things like that. Once you realize how much the URS uses language to confuse people, it’s impossible not to notice.”
Aerie frowned. “I don’t intentionally do it,” she objected.
“You just did it.”
“Okay, not a lot.”
“You still did it.” When she looked down at the ground, feeling angry and guilty, he reached for her.
He faltered. “You’re allowed to argue with me, Aerie, but that doesn’t mean you’ll win.”
The tension in her shoulders relaxed slightly. Her arms crossed her chest in defiance. “So good to know I have your permission, Captain.”
“That’s another thing they do. They allow their emotions to get in the way of discussion.”
“No they don’t.”
“If disagreements come up, they always bring up the issue of survival,” Exton reminded her. “What does it mean ‘to survive,’ according to them? It changes, constantly; not that change is bad in itself. But there are a lot of things you can make a person do to survive. You can easily make a person lose his humanity in the name of survival.”
“What do you mean?”
Exton arched an eyebrow. “It’s a shame when people lose their humanity, even for survival. Morality’s usually among the first to go. Truth is redefined over and over again, until there’s nothing left—or just enough left to allow someone to control the chaos. Love is as a liability before eventually becoming unlike itself. Acceptance means agreement. Dissent means hatred and defiance.”
“Death means death,” Aerie countered. “You can’t do anything if you’re dead.”
“There are much worse things than death.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Then I’ll bet anything you’ve never wished you were dead.”
Aerie thought about how terrible she’d felt, unable to gain her acceptance into the military. She had thought about dying. But Exton was right. She had never wished to be dead. “Have you?” she asked.
“Have I what?”
“Have you ever wished you were dead?” Aerie wasn’t sure he would even answer, but she couldn’t regret asking the question. She wanted to get to know him better. He’d been kind to her—much kinder than she deserved as a prisoner of war, and much kinder than she knew the URS would have treated him. If truth was such a big deal to him, she would force him to give her his.
Exton moved, shifting his weight in discomfort. “When the URS killed my father, for one,” he finally replied.
Whatever else Aerie had been expecting, that was not it. She felt her lips part in shock, with silence as her only reply.
“Yes, death is death,” Exton said, repeating her earlier arguments and making her recoil. “That’s why what we do with life matters infinitely more.”
There was such conviction in his words. The two ideologies—the URS and Exton’s—clashed inside of her mind. While she did not disbelieve Exton, it was hard to dismiss the question of whether or not the State acted rightfully.
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About the Author
C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me
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