From Hard as Roxx – “What Could Go Wrong?”

This is a brief excerpt from Chapter 2 of my science fiction tome, Hard as Roxx. I am looking for a proofreader to edit chapters 12 – 27 . In the meantime, here is one of my favorite moments, from Chapter 2. See if you can tell one of my influences for Roxx.

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Roxx strode the dusty street. To an untrained eye, it would appear the small town’s owner had arrived to collect taxes or conduct an inspection. There was a purpose to her stride, her long legs and high boots claiming the street as her own. The cluttered street yielded before her – Roxx at its center – carts and villagers giving sway as she passed. From behind, without seeing, Jazz knew her mother would look neither left, nor right, would neither slow, nor swerve, nor yield. She was Roxx, and this was her town, because she was here.

She found the main intersection and turned left, a military turn – point-precise and sharp enough to cut. She was on a scouting mission, her troops obediently behind. They would find what they need and depart in peace. And, if there were no peace to be found here, this town of colorful folk would long remember the day that Roxx arrived.

She was tall and hard and magnificent.

Her pace was quick, her steps unfaltering, heading for the village center. Five paces behind was Jazz, a thin cloud of dust rising behind them as they walked. Jazz knew her mother well; gave her room. It was not deference, but security. If there was trouble, Roxx would move as a dancer moved, and there would be Le Roux, the deep russet that she’d used to paint their former home when the soldiers came. The men wanted Jessi, mommy’s little Jessi James, outlaw baby for life. What they got was Le Roux, Roxx the Red, the crimson death. They should’ve sent robots. No, her mom would need room to move, with her daughter watching her back.

So behind walked Jazz, step for fearless step.

Roxx wore black leather pants that were open along the sides and secured with thin strips of leather that zigzagged from ankle to mid-thigh. They exposed the slim line of her long legs, taut muscles of tan flesh flexing and releasing as she strode. Her midriff was exposed, with only a red tank top, over which she wore a cloak made from thin cotton fiber. She modified it to fit like a poncho, and it draped over her left shoulder and over her back. She would need her right arm free. Her left arm was hidden, as was Jessi, in a harness on her mother’s back, riding beneath the cloak. It was mom’s Eastwood look, Jazz, noted, remembering the ancient flat movie Old Unc almost insisted they memorize with him, every nuanced, unspoken word.

She was a work of art, Roxx was. As she conquered the patch of foot-worn dirt that insisted it was a street, her hips swayed in gentle syncopation to her steps. Even without looking, Jazz could feel the people, all enraptured by the tall woman with the delicate frame. She was a golden swan in a sea of loons. The wind, as if heralding Roxx’s entrance, rose, lifting her hair, which trailed behind like a dark, gossamer sail. And left she strode, and hips swayed left. And right she stepped, and eyes swayed right. Her long torso was still, head erect, arms barely moving. One boot in front of the next, a simple thing and nothing more. Yet, with each step, the village men no longer noticed her small hips, her slender muscular frame, the long, impossibly long legs, or how delicately her hair billowed behind, or how fine the wings that lied and called themselves arms, swayed. They only noticed right, then left, then right, and left once more. She was here, and they were hers. Jazz had watched her mother walk many times, fanning behind to watch her flow. Her mother’s tide took them, men and women alike, swept them from the safety of their mundane shores. She was the ocean here, and with her came an unrelenting current. And yet, her daughter understood, she had no idea.

Way to not make an entrance mom.

Roxx never attempted to be sensual. To do so would be as pointless as the ocean’s attempting to be powerful, or the sun’s trying to outshine the moon. She was a force of nature, blowing through the village square like a desert windstorm. Her jaw would be clenched, her eyes forward, hidden behind black onyx glasses. Jazz knew her mother would not turn to watch the men watch her. That would be a sign of weakness. Roxanne Grail was many things.

But not that. Never that.

There would be trouble here; it sank in the air like the smell of summer sweat. The men’s eyes ticked right, then left, then right. But not all clocked the lovely storm that passed through the village square. No, there were other eyes that paced Jazz, and she felt them, her eyes forward, fixed on her mother. Jazz heard their murmurs in her head. She stepped, matching her mother’s pace stride for stride … right, then left, and right.

And, she understood, because the eyes told her, she was her mother’s child; there would be trouble here. These people didn’t understand. This was just another Craphole, Africasia, the new Old West, and a new sheriff just blew into town with the southern wind. Her mother would not like the eyes. Not one bit. The eyes would meet Le Roux, and they would never forget.

Her mother stepped right. Then left. Then right. And stop.

Roxx turned, holding the sunglasses in her hand and a smile on her lips. Their eyes met, and in her mind, Jazz heard her mother’s voice, bright over the silence of the desert town. “You were right, kiddo. I see …”

The words stopped there, as Roxx followed Jazz’s nervous gaze to the crowd of eyes. In a flash, Roxx’s luminescent smile was gone.

A short, round man in a dirty white tunic and dusty beige headwrap approached the tall woman, never taking his eyes from Jazz. He stood there for a moment, watching her, his thoughts brimming with excitement. He was an experienced negotiator, however; none of his emotion showed on his face. Jazz blinked, temporarily shutting off the translation app. She no longer wanted to hear his thoughts. Before she could react – warn him away – the man made a serious mistake. He reached out, his fingers extending toward her mother’s back.

“Oh, crap,” Jazz said, and sprinted the five yards to her mother’s side.

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