So. Today is Wednesday... And yesterday was Tuesday. In case you were as confused as me!!! But in regular-I'm-always-late-fashion... here is a teaser from Starbright!!!
Ok, it's more like a sneak peek, because it's kind of long. But it's one of my favorite early scenes from Starbright.
You should also know that the version available for Starbright now is polished and edited and so much better than it has been!! So if you've been waiting to buy it, now is a great time!! Plus it's only 99 cents and the second book comes out in just a few weeks!!!!
So, here is Seth and Stella and chocolate chip pancakes. Hope you enjoy!!!!
“What is that smell?” a groggy baritone voice asked from the doorway to downstairs.
Seth leaned against the door-frame, shirtless and disheveled. His black sweatpants sat low on his hips, revealing a thin line of plaid boxers and perfectly chiseled hip bones. His dark hair was a mess of waves that laid across his head in wild tangles, curling into charming semi-circles just at their tips. He crossed his arms and lifted his nose into the air, breathing in the aroma of baked chocolate chips left in the kitchen.
His eyes found mine because I was staring at him with a mixture of embarrassment and wide-eyed wonder from the sink. I had seen plenty of boys shirtless before, plenty of good looking, athletic boys. I grew up with Tristan and his brothers who had all been practically shirtless from the day we met, and all of the Shield brothers were hot without exception…. But nothing I had ever seen compared to the Angel standing in front of me.
The Actual Angel.
I reminded myself that Warriors were born that way. They lived hard, grueling lives and any lesser physique wouldn’t stand a chance against the Darkness. Still, I had to clamp my mouth closed when he lifted one palm to rub at the overnight stubble that darkened his jawline with the palm of his hand. His smile deepened and his honey colored eyes brightened, turning his expression mischievous.
I turned back to the dishes, convinced he could read my thoughts. My impure, totally uncalled for, wicked thoughts. And as I scrubbed the griddle clean, I wondered how treacherous it was to have lustful thoughts about my Counterpart before we were even…. uh…. more than whatever we were? I was probably the first Star in the history of the entire universe. Lust being one of the seven deadly sins and all…. I ignored him, or pretended to, as he brushed past me into my square country kitchen.
I was so not going to be responsible for the fall of mankind because I couldn't keep my adolescent hormones under control, aka keep from ogling the man candy that invaded my house and my life.
“Are these for me?” Seth asked, reaching for the plate of pancakes.
“Yeah, Annabelle made them for us,” I explained quietly, trying to hide the embarrassing squeak in my voice.
“Awesome,” Seth muttered and then sat down heavily at the table across from Jupiter.
When he used the syrup bottle for an extended amount of time, I couldn’t help but glance over at him. There he sat with the entire plate of left over pancakes, his fork digging in and breaking them apart savagely so he could shovel them in his mouth. There had to be at least fifteen pancakes, stacked gluttonously high on his plate. The maple syrup dripped down over the top of the pancake mountain in glops of sticky liquid and every time he took a bite he made this adorable little moaning sound that I desperately hated or loved, no definitely hated.
“Seth!” I gasped, stalking over to the rectangular oak table my dad had made by hand one summer in an effort to be more…. human. Although, I had not personally met another human that whittled their own furniture, I couldn’t fault dad for trying. Besides he was really proud of how much money he was convinced we saved. “I didn’t know you were going to eat all of them! Those pancakes are like gold around here! What am I supposed to eat for lunch now? And for dinner?” I demanded, forgetting all about the way his abdominal muscles folded over each other while he leaned over his plate, shoveling heaping forkfuls of my favorite meal into his greedy, perfectly formed mouth.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, with a mouth full of food. His skin was heated and subtly glowing, I could feel the warmth radiating from him and it was like a beacon calling me closer. Obviously I had to resist, mostly because of the pancakes. “You should be more specific next time.”
I was normally a very easygoing girl, I rarely let things bother me and most of the time could laugh about any situation. Most of the time. Stolen pancakes and no lunch was not one of those times.
“I think you should put at least half of those back! Do you really need….” I counted what was left of them in my head quickly, “seventeen pancakes just for breakfast?”
Seth nodded enthusiastically, “Yes, I really do.” He reached for Jupiter’s coffee next, taking down what was left in the cup in one, quick swig. Jupiter didn’t even look up. Grumpy, ill-mannered, temperamental Jupiter didn’t care that Seth had stolen the last few drinks of coffee, because apparently that’s what Seth did. He saved humanity and stole people’s food. My hackles rose even more. The last drop of someone’s cold, bitter coffee was one thing. Annabelle’s coveted chocolate chip pancakes were an entirely different matter.
“Stella, he did fight a battle last night,” Jupiter reminded me in a voice that very much sounded like a reprimand.
“A tiny battle!” I groaned. “Really, I’m not sure we can even call it a battle at all! It was more like a skirmish. Or a…. a…. warm up exercise! I don’t think his one act of bravery last night accounts for eating every single pancake left in this house,” I finished in a grumble. Jupiter and Seth both raised their eyebrows at me as if they could hardly believe my ungratefulness. I decided to push my luck just a little bit further, “Besides…. What if he gets fat? I mean, he is my Counterpart! I should be worried about stuff like that, right?” A blush crept up my neck and flowered across my cheeks. I knew I had gone too far, but what had fallen out of my mouth felt more like unstoppable word vomit than an actual, rational argument.
“You’re worried about me getting fat?” Seth moved from his seat with lightening quick speed. I hardly had time to comprehend he wasn’t sitting anymore before he stood directly in front of me, with both of his arms pressing against the counter on either side of me, pinning me in. “Let me assure you, my weight gain is nothing for you to be concerned about.” Seth’s amber colored eyes glowed with focused intensity and the way his dark hair fell across his forehead made me wonder if he was more Fallen than Angel. He reached for my hand, with a dangerously strong one of his own and pressed my palm against his flat, muscular stomach. His skin was hot to touch, and perfectly hard muscle. I shivered with the contact. “These are genetic; I wouldn’t worry about a few pancakes distorting your eye candy.”
The flush that burned itself into my face, now deepened across my collar bone. I didn’t dare move my hand until Seth took his off mine, and then I retracted my fingers with the speed of my own angelic heritage, causing a smug smirk to break out across Seth’s face.
“I get your point,” I mumbled, not willing to back down from this fight. “But I still don’t appreciate the way you came in here and just snatched up all of the pancakes.”
“Point taken,” Seth didn’t immediately move from the bicep-cage he built around me. He enjoyed watching me squirm. And I did squirm, with shaky breaths and an unfamiliar heat low in my belly and all. But then his eyes turned soft and he held my gaze, igniting the connection that tied us together, the one that I couldn’t even fully understand yet. I was impossibly tiny standing next to him. I wasn’t short, I was even tall compared to a lot of the human girls I went to school with, but next to Seth I felt hopelessly fragile and delicate. I instinctively knew that without him by my side I didn’t stand a chance against even a small army of Shadows, let alone the entire forces of Darkness mobilized against me and this planet.
“Seth,” Jupiter chastised from across the room. The tone of his voice reminded Seth that he was a Counterpart- a Warrior. He was supposed to protect and serve not intimidate and bully.
Seth gave me a good natured, casual smile and then stood up straight. He held my gaze for a few moments longer, letting me feel his dominance like it was this physical thing between us. I shivered.
“I’m going to see if Annabelle needs any help,” I choked out, in a tightly strained voice. I broke the hold of Seth’s gaze first, hating that we already fought, that I already made things awkward for my Warrior. I groaned, frustrated with myself and flew up the servant stairs before anyone could object, or remind me what a terrible hostess I was playing. Or even worse, what a terrible Star I was being.
“Please tell me that won’t be a problem with her training,” I heard Jupiter ask once I was around the corner. He almost sounded amused and so I paused on the stairwell, recognizing that Jupiter rarely felt amused.
“That won’t be a problem with her training,” Seth spouted back word for word. The huge smile probably lighting up his face completely evident in his voice. I was sure Jupiter was convinced that whatever he was talking about would definitely be a problem with my training. A nervous chill skittered down my spine just thinking about hand to hand combat training with Seth.