When William returned, he stood in the bright doorway, silently watching her. His long shadow covered her as she squatted to drop the last nails into the can, the cool umbra of his body draped over her back, but she didn’t turn around.
“Looks good.” William’s deep voice resonated in the small space.
The smallest hint of a smile tugged at Rhia’s lips and she turned to look at him. “You mean the floor?”
His eyebrows crinkled together for a second then he quickly looked away. “Of course. The floor.”
“Step out of the doorway. You’re blocking my light.”
William walked inside, his tattered shoes clunking across the newly lain floor as he moved to Rhia’s side. He squatted beside her, held out his hand for the can, and nodded at the floor. “Good job.”
Rhia sat back on her heels and wiped her brow. “You, too.” She watched him as he continued to nod, looking around at the floor, the nails, the walls, and everywhere but at her. Once his mouth opened as if to speak, but closed again, his lips pressing together. She couldn’t figure out if he wanted to praise her work and was hesitant to say too much, or if he thought he should say more but couldn’t think of anything. She waited, hoping he would look into her eyes again.
Finally, he cleared his throat, stood up and walked to the open door. “We’ll be working on the plumbing in here soon. You can either help with that or move on to the next box to do another floor.”
Rhia followed him out the door and was glad when he turned back to look at her. She stood straight, her shoulders back and her head lifted.
“It’s up to you,” he added.
“William,” Rhia said softly. “Where are you going to be?”
“I’m doing the plumbing.”
“Then I’ll work here, too.”
William stared at her for a moment. He blinked, his broad chest expanding with a deep inhalation. Cocking his head to one side, he studied her intently, trying to gauge her meaning. His dark eyes flitted quickly down the length of her body and back up again.
Rhia saw the confusion in his eyes, as if he both feared and longed for the companionship she offered. There was the slightest softening of his brow and the corner of his lips curled into the faintest smile. She knew he had made his decision. Rhia smiled.
Title: RUN Ragged
Author: Kari Aguila
Genre: Suspense / Science-Fiction / Women’s Fiction
RUN Ragged is on Kickstarter in September!
Find RUN Ragged on KICKSTARTER this month! Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site where you get to choose which projects sound interesting to you. There are great rewards and you make a powerful impact on bringing RUN Ragged to fruition!
Would anything change if women ruled the world?
Fifteen years after the Last War devastated families and infrastructure, women have taken over under the banner of peace and equality. Only too late do they realize it’s a slippery slope to oppression. In RUN Ragged, Rhia, a strong and independent sea captain finds herself trapped in The Center, a re-education facility designed to help people fit into the rules of the new matriarchal society. The warden claims to be guiding those in her care, but Rhia quickly sees the cracks in the system. Faced with the terrifying torture and brainwashing the warden inflicts, those cracks become gaping holes that threaten to pull Rhia down into the depths of despair. Can she resist this slow subversion and become the reluctant hero the inmates need?
RUN Ragged is the suspenseful second story by the award-winning author of Women’s Work. It’s a disturbing look at what price we are willing to pay for peace and how much we are willing to ignore to keep our conscience clear.
Kari Aguila was the recipient of an IndieReader Discovery Award for her first novel, Women’s Work. Her stories are gripping and thought-provoking looks at gender stereotypes and relationships set in a dystopic future. She is also an avid gardener, outdoor enthusiast and mother of three. Aguila lives in Seattle with her family, and loves to visit Book Clubs, Wine Clubs, or Book Clubs with Wine. RUN Ragged is her second novel.
Search RUN Ragged under the Search Projects Page