Fiction – “The Only Motion is Returning” by Del Dryden

Close up, the moon was not nearly as beautiful as it had seemed from Earth.

Li would admit, when she was in a good mood, that the terrain had a certain stark beauty. A rugged, timeless grandeur. She was not in such a mood at the moment, however. Another idiot had gotten himself lost and wandered into a maintenance tube, and that always threw the tour schedule off for the rest of the day. No tourists would be visiting the pyramid for at least an hour. The staff had to locate the stray, make sure he wasn’t hurt, check to make sure he hadn’t been up to sabotage during his unauthorized jaunt. Usually there had been no sabotage. Usually, they were just lost.

The problem was that the tourists just didn’t listen. They were briefed thoroughly before leaving Earth and again when they arrived on the Moon, but once they reached the Earthlight Gardens Resort they seemed to lose all caution. It was a big luxury hotel, with the added benefit of low lunar gravity. Their every whim was catered to. They fell, and they didn’t get hurt. So they got cocky. That was when tourists started disappearing into engineering shafts and trying to override the safety mechanisms on airlocks. There was one in nearly every batch.

“They found the roamer. In M5-03,” Li’s grandmother said, working her way slowly along the bank of lush tropical foliage to where Li stood peering out at the landscape. Three sides of the giant glass pyramid were comprised of clear triangular panels, offering a view of the moon’s surface and, in the distant sky, the blue circle of Earth.

“That’s unusual. How’d he make it that far?” M5 was one of ten maintenance corridors that ran beneath the hotel complex, and the stray tourist had been found in a section that was over forty feet below the surface and at least a quarter-mile from the main hotel building. It was not a place that many would find by accident, but tourists had wound up in stranger places.

“Don’t know yet. Have you finished all the feeding posts?”

“Yeah, I started at the top this time. This was the last one.” Li rubbed her hands on the already sticky towel she had clipped to her belt. “Do we know how late things will be running this time?”

“Probably late enough to keep you here awhile this evening. But we have more time for lunch. It evens out. Come eat something.”

Li sighed and looked down at the mess of ripe fruit sitting on the pedestal in front of her. One Blue Morpho had already landed, its proboscis extending delicately toward the offering. Just past it, near the glass, Li saw a pair of tiny yellow butterflies, Sulphurs from Bolivia, flitting in a spiral as if they were playing with one another. Their pastel color was easy to see against the black curtain of the sky, but they faded into invisibility when they dipped lower and blended into the monochromatic background of the lunar landscape. The butterflies were so beautiful, their tropical setting so lush, it was easy to forget the harsh necessity that had prompted the establishment of this biosphere and the others like it. The increasingly erratic climate on Earth might not support such ephemeral loveliness in situ much longer, and already there were a number of plant and insect species that existed only in these living museums, artifacts of the global ecosystem mankind had not learned to value until it was far too late to save it. Too many places on the Earth now looked as barren as the surface of the moon.

Li realized her grandmother was still standing next to her, waiting with the same patience she always demonstrated.

“I’m really not hungry, Nai Nai.”

“Not hungry, or don’t want to talk?”

“Don’t want to talk.” Li knew she should have demurred, saying she wasn’t hungry. But she hated that, hated the oblique way her grandmother went about these things. Pure passive-aggression, at least according to Li’s parents. Li wasn’t quite so sure, and she wasn’t the daughter either. She told the truth, and her grandmother seemed to accept that, prefer it even. She would always catch a lie.

“I’m hungry. I’m going to eat. Join me if you want something.” And with a beautiful smile, the older woman sprang down the concrete-and-stone path, taking full advantage of the less-than-Earth gravity. At the base of the pyramid, near the public elevator, there was an outcropping of rock hiding an alcove. From that tiny vestibule, one could enter Nai Nai’s office or take the elevator down to her private quarters. The Earthlight Pyramid head curator’s office and quarters, at least; but for the past twenty-one years, that position had been held by Li’s grandmother.

She didn’t look her age, but Li knew Nai Nai was starting to feel the effects of so many years spent working in a low-gravity environment. Of course her quarters were full gravity, but most of her day was spent in the pyramid at just over half a g. Even with tension bands in her clothes and regular load-bearing exercise, she was suffering bone density loss. If she wanted to go back to Earth, it would have to be soon. It was one of the things they did not talk about. One of two things Li didn’t care to discuss.

The other was Qian. Although really, the two conversations were so closely related that avoiding one had to mean avoiding the other. Trying not to think about either topic, Li waited until her grandmother had gone before slapping her hand over the call button for the main elevator. It would take her down to the public tunnel. From there, it was just a few minutes’ walk to the hotel’s restaurant.

The quick elevator hop back up to the full-grav area no longer disoriented her, as it had when she arrived five years earlier. But the change in climate and pressure still nearly always made her ears crackle and pop, sometimes painfully. The marble-clad hotel lobby was cool and dry compared to the balmy pyramid, and Li shook off a chill as she made her way to her destination. After she stopped to wash the sticky fruit residue off her hands, she realized that she actually wasn’t all that hungry. She decided to bypass the restaurant entirely, and wandered into the hotel’s central atrium where she could get tea and a snack from the kiosk. And more Earth viewing from the skylight of that space. This time, of course, without the barren surrounding landscape to detract from the pleasure. The view was all up, not out.

The atrium of the Earthlight Gardens Resort was another garden. This one was more traditional, combining elements of a formal garden, a park, and an outdoor restaurant. Guests could partake of breakfast, or light snacks throughout the day, and gaze at the Earth through the ceiling while they enjoyed the comforts of Earth all around them. The food kiosk was partially hidden from view by the clever arrangement of red-columned walkways and peaked roofs that crisscrossed the atrium. A stream ran through it all, cleverly carved into native rock, and koi trolled lazily near the water’s rippling surface waiting for any food that might chance to fall. The stream was made even more charming by the addition of petals from the delicate flowering trees that dotted its edges in tidy patches of moss surrounded by rock. Cherry blossoms now, because it was spring in China. When fall came to Beijing, and Qian had to start wearing a jacket, maple leaves would be scattered across the water instead. There were only a few trees, though, so as not to interfere with the view. On the moon, all the hotels were designed around the view. It was the primary reason tourists flocked there, after all.

Ignoring the bowl of dumplings she’d purchased, Li leaned back in her chair and lifted her eyes to home again, wondering where Qian was at that moment. Was she looking at him? Or was it night for him now, in Beijing? She had tried to keep track when he first left, but after a year it had grown more difficult. Especially as much as he traveled these days; he was forever crossing date lines.

After what felt like a short time spent sky gazing, Li felt the hypnotic pull of perspective trance and forced herself to look away. It had not been a short time. It been at least five minutes, and her tea was no longer hot. Such a ridiculous mistake for an old hand like her to make. She was no tourist, to stare at the blue spot until she imagined herself falling “up” towards the planet. But for the first time in years, she recalled those first few dizzying days on the moon, when she’d been warned about that very common syndrome. Not believing, and finally testing it for herself.

“See?” she’d said to Qian after two minutes or so of staring up at the black and blue. “Nothing. It’s mind over matter.”

“Mind can be a problem,” he just said, smiling enigmatically. “Keep looking.” Five minutes later, he was snapping his fingers in front of her face and jiggling her shoulder, calling her name as he tried not to laugh. She came back to her senses and was convinced it had been just a few seconds since she’d told him she wasn’t affected. He had to show her the time on a stranger’s watch to make her believe.

Earth fever, they called it when it happened to the tourists. But only with fondness and understanding. Everyone succumbed at least once, it seemed, to this highly specialized form of hypnotic dissociation. There were always rumors of people who had gone crazy from it, but Li thought they were probably just lunar legends, cautionary stories to scare tourists and new residents. Just like the stories of people getting sucked out of airlocks because the safeguards failed. Not that the gruesome tales stopped idiots from trying it all the time. “I could have just held my breath,” they always insisted, even though they had been shown the safety videos. As far as Li knew, people had been using that line since the hotels opened thirty-five years ago.

She hurried through her dumplings and tea when she saw the latest tour group assembling in the lobby. There were always stragglers, though, and she knew she’d have at least ten or fifteen minutes to get back to the pyramid before the group even left the hotel.

In her haste and her brief trance, Li had forgotten all about the roamer. She had intended to ask the concierge for news on her way out, but she didn’t recall that until she was already in the elevator, headed back to work. Just as the doors slid open at the floor of the pyramid, Li saw her grandmother emerge from the elevator that led to her suite, and then both stopped and stared at the floor in horror as the ground shook beneath their feet, a whopping percussive thump and rumble that resonated all the way to Li’s teeth.

“Quake?” Li asked, already heading for her grandmother’s elevator.

“The roamer,” her grandmother said, slapping the emergency lock button just as the alarms started to sound. Piercing, multi-frequency clanging and whistling designed to penetrate even the heaviest gear filled the corridors. Both women clapped their hands to their ears, wincing, until the sound was slightly muffled as the doors to the elevator slid shut.

“Was this a bad move?” Li asked frantically between the alarm’s still-noisy peals. “Getting in an elevator?” She tried to remember the emergency protocol for a moonquake or other disaster; she thought it had involved taking the fire-exit stairs down to the M-2 maintenance tunnel. The hatch for the stairs was halfway across the pyramid from the elevators, however; if the structure had been breached, they might not have made it that far. But elevators were supposed to be a last resort in disasters. They posed their own set of dangers.

“This was safest,” her grandmother explained. “Just fifty feet down. Even if the lift breaks part way down, we’re still at half grav and it isn’t too far to fall before the fail-safe hydraulics kick in and slow us down. If it just stops, we’re running next to two maintenance tunnels and the elevator shaft is in the air system, so we can get out that way if we need to. Shouldn’t you know all this?”

“I should,” Li agreed. “I really should.”

She was waiting for the floor to fall out from beneath them any second, for another rumble, for something. But there was only the klaxon, and the emergency lockdown counter that had started a few seconds after the alarms.

“Emergency lockdown in thirty seconds. Please proceed quickly and safely to your designated lockdown location or closest alternative, and enter your ID code into the communication panel.” The countdown from ten began just as the elevator doors opened on the grav lock that led to Nai Nai’s quarters.

When the second set of heavy doors closed behind them, Li heaved a sigh of relief. Not just at the sense of safety that came with the resumption of normal weight, but at the blessed muffling of the alarm sound. In private quarters and other smaller spaces where it was assumed people would be without spacesuits or other heavy protective gear, the alarm was not broadcast as loudly.

“Eight, seven–”

“Pull up the emergency channel,” Nai Nai was saying, even as she tapped their codes into the panel by her door.

“Five, four, three–”

Li dashed to the computer and typed frantically, fingers trembling so much she could barely hit the familiar key sequence to enter the hotel’s main staff information page. The emergency management page had already replaced it.

“I’ve sent our codes,” her grandmother said.

“One. Emergency lockdown initiated. Clear all hatches. Repeat, clear all hatches.”

Once the hatches were secured, the alarms stopped. The usual announcement followed, telling everybody to remain in their secure locations, that updates would be provided, that an all-clear would sound when the lockdown was over. Rescue operations were already underway. It was the same recording played during the regular drills, but without the “this is only a drill” part.

And then, silence.

Li stared at the screen for several seconds, during which time she realized her heart was racing and her mouth was dry. She snapped her jaw shut and stepped away from the desk toward the living area, slumping onto the sleek tan leather couch and letting her head droop down into her hands until her heartbeat slowed.

“That explosion wasn’t in M5,” Nai Nai said. She was sitting opposite Li, in the armchair she liked to use for reading in the evenings. “It must have been somewhere closer to the center of the complex. Or on the other side, but it would have had to be huge.”

“How could you tell?”

“Well…M5 is one of those two maintenance tunnels I told you about, that run past the elevator shaft. Section 02 runs under the pyramid, and the roamer was in 03, wasn’t he? If a bomb went off there, I don’t think we would have made it down here.”

“What? You said it was safest to go down the elevator! What were you thinking, Nai Nai?”

“I had forgotten, until just now. But here we are. Would you like some tea?” She was already up, moving toward the eating nook.

“No thank you,” Li responded automatically, still flabbergasted. “I just had some.”

“Me too. But I think this situation calls for some more. If it lasts long enough, it may call for wine. But we’ll start with tea.”

Li stared at her grandmother in astonishment. She seemed as calm as she always did, moving with a serene and unhurried grace through the motions of making tea. Li could smell the leaves, a smoky oolong, as Nai Nai scooped them from canister to teapot. Much, much better than the beverage from the kiosk. Without asking, Nai Nai placed two cups on the tray.

Just watching her do all this had a calming effect on Li. She had seen her grandmother prepare tea hundreds of times, always the same way, the same elegant and efficient movements. It was deeply comforting to see this familiar ritual played out.

“Maybe he was picking it up from M5.” She wasn’t sure where the idea had come from.

Nai Nai looked up at Li sharply. “Say that again?”

“The roamer. The bomber. Maybe he wasn’t dropping something off in M5, maybe he was picking the bomb up there.”

The older woman pondered this in silence a few moments as she carefully poured the steaming water into the pot and then closed it to let it steep.

“Or maybe,” she said at last, “he was just a lost tourist and it was a quake after all. We’ll find out.”

She carried the tray to the coffee table and set it down before resuming her seat. Li noticed, as always, the simple beauty of the cascading water wall behind Nai Nai. The water flowed down a rippling sheet of black rock to pool behind a screen of dwarf bamboo. She knew it was only a hologram that could just as easily have displayed a window, an aquarium, or any number of other options. But the visuals and sound were perfect. And it was so like Nai Nai to sit facing away from that wall, reserving the finest view for her guests.

Li jumped up before the tea was ready, stalking to the terminal and sitting down in front of it this time. She tapped at the keyboard furiously, trying to find an open channel of communication with anyone in any other sector of the hotel complex. Screen after screen came up blank; everything had been re-routed for emergency use. And with all the airlocks and hatches sealed, the local communication devices would be useless as far down as they were.

Nai Nai was just watching her, with a touch of amusement evident on her still-lovely face. “When you’re finished, we’ll talk.”

Then she sat and waited until Li had completely exhausted all efforts to use the computer or any other potential means of communication. There was nothing, no way to contact anyone, and they both knew it. The only way they could get out now would be drastic measures involving emergency overrides and space suits, and that option would only be taken if it became evident that the air supply was compromised and running dangerously low.

Finally Li sat down with a sullen glare that would have done any sixteen-year-old proud. “You can talk now.”

“Do you expect me to say I’m disappointed that you would speak that way to your grandmother?”

It was exactly what Li had expected. She just shrugged.

“To your father, I might have said something like that. But you’re not my child. And I’m not the person I was when I raised him. Or even the person I was when he had you. It’s been quite some time since then.”

Li sensed that this was not meant to be a veiled reference to her own age, to the ticking of Li’s biological clock, but a simple statement of fact. Time passed. Things happened. People changed. Early widowhood had given Nai Nai a certain freedom she’d always craved, and her life after that point had indeed been very different from her life before it. She had traveled the world and then, once her wanderlust was satisfied, she had moved to the one place where she could see all the world at once. Or at least half of it at a time. All that happened before Li was born and named after her grandmother.

They shared so many things. A birth date, a name, a profession. Even, according to Li’s parents, a personality. Li didn’t see it, and she often wondered how her parents could have mistaken her own mercurial temperament and lack of self-confidence for anything like the traits her grandmother displayed. Even in her mid-seventies, Nai Nai was still a beauty. More than her features, though, it was her carriage that people remembered. Her grace, her serenity, the gentle way she could move through a room and convey the sense that things were not quite as bad as all that. She was the calmest, most deliberate person Li had ever met, and she also had the sharpest wit and keenest sense of humor when she chose to use them. Li thought, sometimes, that her parents had never really known this woman at all.

“Sorry, Nai Nai.”

“Thank you for that. Despite what you seem to think, Li, I haven’t been trying to pin you down to talk about your personal situation.”

“You haven’t?”

“No.” She shifted in the chair a bit uncomfortably, with a slight grimace of pain. It was unlike her to show that. “Not exactly. I need to talk about my own situation.”

Li was amazed to see her grandmother looking almost uneasy, disconcerted. “I’m sorry. I just thought–”

“I know. And I don’t blame you for assuming that. But that’s something you can only work out for yourself. I understand more than you think about these things.”

“I always thought you understood everything about these things,” Li admitted, and she was rewarded with a laugh.

“That would certainly have helped me throughout the years,” Nai Nai said, “but no. Some things, but not everything. Li, this is difficult. But at my visit to Dr. Waxman a few weeks ago, he said it was time. If I don’t go home now, I won’t be strong enough to handle the trip. He’s given me six weeks to decide and book passage. After that, he won’t authorize me for travel.”

“Nai Nai, no! You can’t just leave. What about–”

Li’s panicked response was cut short by her grandmother’s sharp tone. “I can. And I intend to. I want to see Earth again, I want to see my children. I haven’t been back in almost six years, Li. I haven’t seen my two youngest grandchildren since before they learned to talk.”

It was the first time Li could recall her grandmother being abrupt with her, and she hesitated before speaking again, embarrassed that her first reaction had been so selfish. That she hadn’t noticed things were getting so bad. “I…I just wasn’t expecting to hear that, Nai Nai. I thought…” She really wasn’t sure what she’d thought. Her brain was still trying to process everything.

“That I’d be here forever? And you would never have to make this decision?”

Chagrined, Li nodded.

“You realize that you don’t have to decide anything on a permanent basis right now, don’t you? I’ve already spoken with the Director and he’s agreed to hire you to replace me. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go home in six months from now, or a year.”

“Earth is still home?”

“To me. Things may be different for you.”

Things were different. Nai Nai had hied herself off to the moon only after a successful academic career of many years, and a long, happy marriage. Her children were grown and married. She was through with worrying about that part of her life, except in her role as the doting grandmother who lived out of town and came only occasionally to lavish attention on her grandchildren. Especially her namesake granddaughter, who shared her passions and wanted nothing more than to grow up and fly to the moon, to live with Nai Nai in her crystal pyramid full of tropical wonders.

Nai Nai could say whatever she liked, but they both knew the decision Li faced. If she took over the curatorship, the position she had in many ways spent most of her life training for, she would be likely to remain on the moon permanently. Or at least until she faced the same decision her grandmother now did, to live out the rest of her life there or go back to Earth, never to return. This current melancholy was temporary, even Li knew that; it had only obscured her devotion to the work, never diminished it. She even enjoyed living on the moon, most of the time. She had worked too hard for this dream to give it up easily.

But children have more than one dream, and Li thought Qian had walked straight out of several girlhood fantasies. The dashing, attractive young pilot who can’t keep his eyes off the shy, quiet scientist. The awkward, gangling boy she remembered from her childhood, transformed into a tall, handsome man. The two friends reuniting by accident, and then falling in love after so many years apart. Meeting again on the moon, of all places! As if it had to be destiny. Taking the job would mean giving up her hope for all those other dreams to come true. At least with Qian.

She looked at her grandmother, who was still sitting too stiffly. “Are you all right?”

Nai Nai smiled. “Physically? I suppose so. The doctor believes I’ll be better off if I go back. I may live longer, have less pain, once I re-adjust. Or I could die from some sudden illness two weeks after I’m back, I don’t know. We never know these things. I’m going back because I want to see my home and family again, not because I have any desire to leave this place. So of course I’m sad about having to make that choice. But I knew I would have to, one day. I want to stay here, but I want to see home even more.”

“Do you know where you’re going to live, yet? With Dad, or–”

The slightly derisive snort surprised Li. “No. I still have my house outside San Francisco. I’ll settle back in there. If you stay here, you can keep the furniture if you want it. At least until you have a chance to order something else.”

Li couldn’t imagine this room decorated any other way. It was Nai Nai’s space, crisp and elegant. Modern Zen.

She had only a vague memory of her grandmother’s house in California, but she knew it was much the same. Real water, though; the wall fountain hologram was a direct copy of the one in her grandmother’s foyer. The one back home. She hadn’t known her grandmother still owned that place.

“Is the garden still there?”

“They tell me so. I suspect I’ll have a lot of work to do once I get there, though.” She didn’t sound very troubled at the prospect. “It will be nice to have the freedom to grow just anything, again. Not have to worry about gravity. Real soil.”

“True. You can have fuchsias again. Your favorite, right?”

“They used to be. I’ll have to see.”

After a moment, Li sighed and shrugged. “I don’t know, Nai Nai. What do you think I should do?”

“I think you should live your life as it comes to you.”

“I meant–”

“I know what you meant. And you know what I meant.”

“Do you think he’s ever coming back?” It was the question Li had wanted to ask, but not dared to ask, for months now. Ever since Qian’s correspondence, which used to come at least once a week in the form of mail or video, had dwindled to an occasional note every week or two, or three. Then four. Now, seven. It had been fifty days since Li last heard from him. Fifty weeks since she had last seen him. He had been gone for twice as long as their romance had lasted.

“Do you want him to come back?”


Li stopped and grasped for the thought that had almost slipped by her. That Qian’s absence had lasted longer than their romance. Not quite twice as long, she corrected herself. Because the romance hadn’t really ended when he left, it had continued for a month or two after that. But Li couldn’t help realizing that even she had automatically counted the time that way. As though it had all really ended on the day he flew away, not months later when his letters stopped coming.

“I’m not sure,” she finally admitted.

“And if he did,” her grandmother continued more pointedly, “would you still want a man who had treated you this way?” It was as close as she would ever come to expressing an opinion, and Li gave the question careful consideration.

Qian had first said he planned to return in two months. Then it was three. Then it was “whenever I come back,” and it turned out he’d taken a training position in Beijing and would no longer be flying the lunar route. He’d often mentioned things that they would do when he came back, or things that they would do once Li returned to Earth. But never once had he asked Li to move back. The prospect of his doing that had dimmed after the first few months, until even she no longer dared hope for such an invitation. It had become purely a question of whether Qian returned to the moon. And then she had stopped asking herself those questions.

“Li,” Nai Nai asked, “do you want this job?”

“Of course,” she said immediately. “I know I’ve been a pain lately, but I really do love this job. I mean I don’t think I could ever do it as well as you have, but I’ve always wanted this. Ever since I was a little girl.” The earnest light in her eyes seemed to satisfy Nai Nai, who nodded thoughtfully then rose from her chair.

“I’m going to go meditate. That may lead to a nap.” When she reached the arched entry to the hallway that led to the back of her quarters, she turned and gave Li a wink. “Live your life.”

Ten minutes later, the all-clear sounded. Only twenty-five minutes had passed since the alarms first went off.

The roamer, it transpired, was not a mad bomber. He had simply been a tourist, more hopelessly lost than most. And the rumble had not been an explosion, but a very brief quake some distance from the hotel complex. Too brief, said the experts, who were already hard at work trying to determine whether the unpredicted tremor had been merely a precursor to something larger. Most moonquakes lasted much longer.

But there was no foul play, and no serious structural damage. Even the butterflies, so sensitive to their environment, seemed to have suffered no ill effects. As she walked through the pyramid to check everything over, Li noticed a Sulphur resting on a mossy rock near one of the feeding stations; she wondered if it was one of the two she’d been watching earlier.

The afternoon tour of the pyramid would still be taking place, although it would begin some four hours after its regularly scheduled time. Management wanted to keep the guests busy, to help reassure them that they were in good hands. Nothing quelled panic like a nice long lecture about which tropical plants adapted best to a lower gravity environment. If the resort was worried, surely they wouldn’t send their guests off to learn how the pyramid’s first lead entomologist and his assistant had experimented for years to find the perfect balance of gravity and air currents to allow the butterflies to fly in less than full gravity.

“That assistant was actually my grandmother, who become the lead researcher and curator here over twenty years ago when Dr. Xiao retired. Unfortunately, grandmother is retiring herself soon, to return to Earth,” Li said, turning to scan the tour group, making sure all the guests had reached the widened area of the path where she usually stopped to talk about how the horticulturists and entomologists had collaborated to determine a sustainable plan for the pyramid’s plant and animal life. “Is everybody here? Bobby, you have your head count?”

The guide gave her two thumbs up, and Li smiled as she continued. “Fortunately, an obsession with plants and butterflies must run in the family. And a desire to live in strange places. Because if they had to go outside this family, I don’t know where these folks would find another dynasty of entomologists who have also studied horticulture and whose dream job is raising butterflies on the moon.”

The crowd chuckled obediently, and some wag made a comment about breeding up the next generation. Li just smiled sweetly and shook her head.

“No next generation yet, I’m afraid. I’m not even seeing anyone.” She winked at the crowd, which included a number of matronly women this time around. “So if you know anybody who’s trying to set up their eligible son who’s always wanted to live on the moon and do science…”

The chuckle was more spontaneous this time, less polite. A few of the matrons even got a gleam in their eyes. Li didn’t notice that, though. As soon as she’d seen that the crowd was paying attention, she was off again, leading them to the next stop on the tour.

But Nai Nai, lurking in the back of the tour group as she sometimes like to do, did notice those gleams. And she approved.


About the Author

After earning two graduate degrees, practicing law awhile, and then working for the public school system for over ten years, Del Dryden finally got a clue. She tossed all that aside and started doing what she should have been doing all along, writing fiction! In hindsight she could see the decision was a no-brainer. Because which sounds like more fun? Being a lawyer/special educator/reading specialist/educational diagnostician…or writing spicy romances novels and the occasional piece of science fiction?

When not writing or doing “mommy stuff” Del reads voraciously, blogs intermittently, noodles around with web design, and plays computer games with her husband. She is fortunate enough to have two absurdly precocious children, one delightful rescued mutt, two fancy mice and three African Dwarf frogs.

Del and her family are all Texas natives, and reside in unapologetic suburban bliss near Houston. Find out more about her and her writing at

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