I’ve never done one of these and was a little nervous when I decided to give it a go. You’d think that as the person who wrote Deep Deception I’d know Natalia and Gennie well enough that their answers wouldn’t be much of a revelation. Not so. That’s the beauty of writing and creating characters, they become people with surprises and secrets. And these two are full of both…
There’s a knock on my office door. Before I can call out, it opens. Natalia enters but stops short of coming in, one hand on the knob and the back of her other wrist resting oh, so casually on her hip. Is she carrying? She gives the room a quick scan then moves aside for Gennie.
Natalia is wearing a silvery gray blouse and black trousers, her blonde hair in a sleek tail. Very professional. Her low black boots shine, and she walks with the wariness and grace of a jaguar. Gennie’s sage green sweater, brown tweed skirt and high brown boots are softer, more conservative than I had expected, but she’s equally guarded. She wears her darker hair loose about her shoulders, her brown eyes letting nothing slip by. They sit in chairs across from my desk and adjust their seats slightly to keep the door in view. Gennie’s comm is in her hand. Her gaze keeps dropping to it.
Me: Thanks for joining me today, ladies.
Natalia: Thanks for having us. (touches Gennie’s arm) Hon?
Gennie: (slips her comm into her bag, sets the bag on the floor and smiles at me.) Sorry. Waiting for a message.
Me: Everything okay?
They exchange glances. I can’t tell what’s passing between them.
Gennie: It will be. My apologies. Shall we start?
Me: I know you’re both very busy and appreciate your time. First, how are you doing? Natalia, how’s the arm and the…(I make a circular gesture at chest level)…thing?
Natalia: Arm’s fine. No scar or loss of strength. And the thing (she smiles, amused) is getting better. Thanks for asking, though really it’s your fault, isn’t it?
Me: (cheeks warm) I guess it is. Right. Let’s get to it. Gennie, you two spent some time in a pirq mining town where there was little in the way of modern conveniences. Natalia had grown up in that environment, but you didn’t. What tech or convenience did you miss the most?
Gennie: My air car. The roads in Grand Meridian were horrible.
Natalia: And she can’t drive a ground car for shit.
Gennie: (affects wounded expression and swats at Natalia’s arm) Hey, the steering on that 1500 was the worst. Even you have to admit that was part of the problem.
Natalia: I’ll give you that.
Me: Natalia, your love of homemade garlic bread amused a few folks. Why so enthusiastic about it?
Natalia: (shrugs) It reminds me of my childhood. Of my family. And it tastes great.
Me: You mention your sister, Bekka, in the story. Have you contacted her since?
Natalia: I have.
Gennie: (squeezes Natalia’s hand) They had a lovely reunion. Her husband’s a sweetheart and her kids are adorable. Makes me wish I had siblings.
Me: You’re aunties?
Natalia: (smiles) We are. It was a crazy, emotional, house-full-of-kids-and-noise fun time. We’ll be visiting again.
Me: Excellent. Gennie, we learn Natalia’s path from pirq mining family to Colonial Mining Authority agent, but we don’t learn much about your background or how you came to work for Guy Christiansen. Can you tell us about that? (Gennie fixes her eyes on mine. Sweat breaks out on my forehead.) Just a little something? You’re a bit of an enigma.
Gennie: (crosses her arms and sits back in the chair) There isn’t much to tell. (Natalia snorts a soft laugh. Gennie ignores her.) I was just out of university, working for the fishing cooperative on the South Continent. I met Guy at a Chamber of Commerce dinner. We got to talking. He offered me a job. That’s about it.
Natalia: You are the Mistress of Understatement.
Gennie: I’d rather not go into details, if it’s okay with you. It was a long time ago, but the statute of limitations aren’t quite up on some of my earlier activities. Besides, I’m not that person any more.
Me: But those events made you who you are. How did a middle class girl from a fishing town become the major domo for one of the biggest drug dealers on the planet?
Natalia: (leans forward, staring at me, her blue eyes intense) She said she didn’t want to answer. Next question.
Me: Fine. Why did you use the method you did to get Natalia’s attention at the beginning of the story?
Gennie: (laughs, less tense. Natalia smiles and shakes her head) Because of what happened with Sterling and Sasha, and because of my own situation, I needed to pass along the information I had in private. Knocking her unconscious was the only way to assure she’d stay put to listen then the only way to get away cleanly. The kissing and caressing were bonuses. (kisses Natalia’s cheek and whispers) We still haven’t used those ropes in a more enjoyable manner.
Natalia: (gives her a wicked grin then clears her throat and turns to me) I forgave her for the drugging thing early on. I understood why she did what she did.
Me: Obviously your perception of Gennie changes over the course of Deep Deception. What do you find the most intriguing about her?
Natalia: (grasps Gennie’s hand in both of hers) Her ability to put others ahead of herself. At first, I thought she was the most selfish, self-serving woman on the planet. Then I learned why she was doing what she was doing. If Genevieve Caine cares for you, she will fight to the death for you. (looks at Gennie with profound love) It’s an amazing gift, to be part of that.
Gennie: (touches her lips to Natalia’s) Always, love.
Natalia: And she’s sexy as hell. (both laugh then sit back)
Me: Gennie, same question. What is it about Natalia that you find fascinating, maybe something we don’t see?
Gennie: Well, you know she’s loyal and dedicated and tough. (cocks her head and studies Natalia) But in unguarded moments, with the kids or when we’re just talking or in bed, I see the sensitive side of her that few have had the priviledge of seeing. To have that bit of her to myself is a wonderful thing.
Natalia: (cheeks turn a deep pink) I’m not sensitive.
Gennie and Me: Oh, yes you are.
Before Natalia can prove us wrong, Gennie’s comm trills. Both women freeze, staring at each other. It trills again.
Gennie: Sorry. I have to get this. (pulls the comm out of her bag and taps the screen once, twice. Her mouth forms a small “o”)
Natalia: (lays her hand on Gennie’s arm) Well?
Gennie turns the comm so Natalia can see the screen, a huge smile on her face.
Natalia: (reads then meets Gennie’s eyes) Really?
Gennie nods and the two women rise, hugging before they’re completely upright. Natalia cups Gennie’s face in her palms and kisses her.
Natalia: (looks over at me) We have to go. Thanks for having us.
Me: (shooting to my feet) But-but I’m not finished. (they start toward the door) What’s going on? What about your future plans? What about —
Natalia: Some other time. (slams the door behind them)
Me: (drops back into chair) Damn the void.
Is there something you want to know about Natalia or Gennie? I’ll comm them and try to get you an answer : ) Oh, and here’s a link to the opening chapter of Deep Deception. It includes the scene where Natalia and Gennie meet, and then some ; )
Cathy Pegau‘s muse almost always finds some sort of science fiction, fantasy or paranormal bend to the stories it offers. Her debut novel, Rulebreaker, was released in 2011. Caught in Amber released in January 2013. Deep Deception is the third installment of her Nevarro books.