This is one of the prettiest, most romantic covers I have ever seen. And my story, Memories of Gravity, will be appearing in this anthology in January (reserve your copy today!). Here’s a taste:
Wet spray hit me in the face with salty seawater and I sputtered and gagged, my eyes stinging from the faceful of ocean. The wave had almost knocked me flat. I still had jelly legs even after exercising to rebuild muscles gone slack from zero gee. I windmilled my arms and caught myself on the old fat posts lining the edge of the slippery wharf, waiting for the ferry to take me to Tern Island.
The sun was low in the sky on a wintry afternoon and I shivered in my coat and scarf. I could see the ghostly lines of the massive near-Earth space station that was our closest satellite slowly rotating overhead, and I felt comforted. Space was not so far away after all, despite the weight of gravity that held me down.
“Well look who’s here. Beatriz Sabatini, return of the prodigal daughter,” someone called, laughter in his voice.
I turned cautiously, clutching my duffle bag and holding my hood down over my cap, recognition making my heart speed up with an unaccustomed happiness.
“Ethan Cardenas,” I called back. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m your ride, darling,” he said, and despite my misgivings, I had to laugh. Ethan Cardenas, a ferryboat captain. I really was back on Earth.
Ethan waited for me in front of the rickety old office that perched on the rocks at the very edge of the wharf. He carried a thermos and was bundled in a yellow slicker, big black boots, and a wool watch cap. He was bulky, broad-shouldered, with creases around his eyes as if he spent his time peering into far distances. What I could see of his face was dark skinned and clean-shaven.
I minced over to him cautiously. The soles of my boots clicked uselessly on the stone. They could be magnetized at need, but little good that did me here. He was laughing at me.
“Still got space legs,” he said. He looked like he was enjoying my awkwardness and I seethed. He was always teasing me when were kids. He was handsome now and looked like he knew it, but he was just as infuriating now. “When did you make landfall?”
“Three months ago,” I said. Quarantine and mandatory re-immersion had taken that long. Once Earthside, I had to meet with my grandfather’s attorneys and go over the will.
He snorted. “Took you long enough.”
I didn’t bother to reply. He had clearly never been off world and didn’t understand about launch windows and transfer points.
I hope this whets your appetite. This looks to be a killer anthology — just check out the names on the cover. Definitely one for the bookshelves, facing out, because that cover is so lovely.