"Hero’s Welcome," my entry in this anthology, tells the story of Ben Linkman, who formerly belonged to the underclass on the planet Thindar. His people have won a war of rebellion, and he’s come back from a military hospital to claim the estate the new government awarded him. An amputee and in pain, Link finds a surprise waiting for him when he arrives–Kasimanda, the woman he loves. She was once the daughter of a noble and on the other side in the conflict. Raped by soldiers in Link’s army, she’s as wounded as he. Together they must heal each other–and defend Link’s estate from the deserters bent on killing them and stealing the property.

When I first wrote this story, I was thinking about how war damages people and how they might heal. And because I write romance, I was thinking about how love could be an important part of the healing process. I was also glad of the opportunity to write about how two groups of people can hate each other--just because of their ethnic background. But what happens when a man from one group and a woman from the other group fall in love? I've never written a Romeo and Juliet story. I want my people to end up happy, not dead.

Rebecca York