Meet Rissa Dix (Character Interview by Diane Burton)
Meet Rissa Dix
Character Interview by Diane Burton
November 25, 2015
Please tell us your name and a little about your background.
My name is Rissa Dix, pronounced “Deece” not rhyming with six. I own the only tavern in Astron Colony on Galeriana (used to be Galeria 7). I’m forty years old, way too old for Dillan Rusteran who insists age isn’t a factor.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing more children to traffickers. After my baby was stolen twenty years ago, I closed myself off to wanting another child of my own. But after I rescued two teen girls, I vowed to protect them no matter what.
Is there someone special in your life?
Besides Pela, the girl I rescued, who is like a daughter to me? I guess it’s Dillan Rusteran.
What obstacles stand in the way of your happiness?
Our age difference. By the stars, he’s eight years younger than me. According to Dillan, we belong together. I don’t know why he says that. We couldn’t come from more different backgrounds. He’s heir to one of the biggest mining companies in the galaxy. He grew up wealthy, on a Central Planet. I’m the daughter of an itinerate preacher who wandered around the frontier. My own mother didn’t fight him to take me with her when she left. Dillan’s a lawyer, I never even went to school.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
No. Dillan claims he’s been in love with me since we first met. He was 16. What does a 16-year-old know about love?
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website.
After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from raiding the frontier colony. She’s met with apathy and disbelief. Because she lost her own baby to traffickers, she’s determined that no other mother will suffer the same heartache. Industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran aids her in rescuing more children. Little do they know they’re about to tangle with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger. Dillan’s loved her for years despite her claim she’s too old for him. As they fight the traffickers, will she finally see him in a new light?
The Protector is the third book in the Outer Rim series. Like the others, it is a standalone book, so it’s not necessary to have read the others to enjoy it.
“Did they send you in here to get us?” the taller of the teen girls asked.
Something about her was compelling. Rissa could be looking at herself at the same age. Then it hit her hard. That was what Miri would have looked like at that age. Same strong Traishan features—olive skin, dark hair and eyes. Same strong will.
Rissa took a deep breath to steady herself before locking the outer door. “Nobody sent me. You asked for help. What can I do?”
“Get us out of here before they discover we’re gone.” Despite the strength in the tall girl’s voice, she worked hard to keep her chin from wobbling.
“Who?” Rissa was afraid she knew.
“Those men. The Chellians. We can’t go back. We won’t.”
By the Matriarch, traffickers.
Her lungs seized, her heart hurt so badly Rissa clutched her chest. Be strong, she told herself. Pull yourself together. No traffickers had ever come to Astron Colony before. Or even to Galeriana. She had to help the girls get away.
She glanced at the window on the far wall.
“We couldn’t open it,” the smaller girl sobbed. “We were trying when you came in. We thought you were them.”
Since Rissa was taller, she could easily reach the window. With a shove, she got it open. “Come.” She motioned to the tall girl. “You first. You can catch your friend. She’s too small to catch you.”
She cupped her hands for the girl’s foot. “Hide outside. I’ll come around and take you somewhere safe.” At the girls’ wary looks, she added, “I promise. Now go before someone comes looking for us.”
Rissa boosted her up to the open window. The tall girl hoisted herself through, disappeared for a moment then stuck her head inside.
“The ground is higher out here. Come, Anaris.” She held out her arms.
The small girl, Anaris, gave Rissa a panicked look. “You’ll come for us?”
“I promise,” Rissa whispered then gave her a boost.
As Rissa reached to close the window, the tall girl was there. “Thank you.” She shut the window and ducked out of sight.
Hoping they would wait for her, Rissa walked out of the san-fac. She glanced over at a commotion near the freighter where she’d delivered the supplies. The pilot was yelling and his two crewmen were darting between ships, searching.
When the pilot saw her, he yelled, “What did you do with them?”
Rissa looked around to see who he was shouting at.
“You there.” He stormed up to her. “Where are those two girls?”
She affected a confused expression. “What girls?”
“My cargo, I mean passengers. Damn you to Lexol’s Fire. How did you get them out?”
The pilot’s slip confirmed what Rissa feared. The girls she helped escape had been cargo. The pilot and crew were slavers, bastards who trafficked in children. A primal urge swept through her. Kill them. Kill them now.