Scorpio, Dark Sky
Blurb: Scorpio—Dark Sky, part of the Temping Signs series.
Avery Vaylé, has always had a crush on her big brother’s best friend, Severin. But at the age of sixteen she watched in despair as Severin joined the Navy and later married someone else.
Severin Ortega is a ruggedly handsome, Scorpio who has suffered the humiliation of a messy divorce. The ladies love his wicked smile and obsidian eyes, but he’s extremely lonely and loath to expose his heart to another betrayal. After serving eight years, overseas, he returns without fanfare to the high desert Naval Airbase where he grew up to see if his childhood sweetheart is still sweet on him.
Sometimes fate has a way of putting things right. On a lonely desert highway, Avery’s car breaks down. When Severin shows up as the tow-truck driver, the chemistry between them is off the charts. Avery sees her chance to win the man she’s always wanted, but knows this moody Scorpio has been stung by love. During a night of stargazing in the desert, she coaxes him into opening up, all the while bathing him in the love she longs to share. But their lucky stars may not last. Avery’s bullying ex shows up on the scene and Severin’s past has been tarnished by a dark secret that won’t stay buried.
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On a dark road, they headed into a shallow canyon protected from the glare of town. Pulling onto a shoulder, he turned off the engine and doused the headlights. Darkness fell heavy all around. Unbuckling his seat belt, he reached for her hand.
She unfastened her belt and slid beside him on the bench seat, nestling against him.
He wrapped his arm around her shoulder. The gesture was at once both reassuring and suggestive. His fingertips stroked her arm as he held her firmly to his side. Without question, it was a lover’s touch. Leaning close, he pointed ahead with his free hand.
“Watch that section of sky.”
As if on his command, two beautiful streaks of light zipped across the hilltops. Then another and another.
“Oh!” The meteors flew overhead like a supersonic firework show. She barely had time to react.
He brushed his lips against her ear with his rich voice pitched low. “The most interesting thing about a meteor is the light is not that bright and doesn’t last longer than a blink, but in contrast to a dark sky, it seems so brilliant. Once you’ve turned your back on brighter lights, it becomes something special to appreciate.”
Her breath hitched. Something about the way he spoke tipped her off that he wasn’t really talking about shooting stars at all. “Thank you.”
“For this. If you hadn’t come along tonight—“
“You’d still be standing by the side of the road pissed off at Ramon?” He chuckled.
She was too timid to say, “Or still on the phone fighting with Jeremy and getting nowhere,” but she thought it. “By now, it’s likely I’d be sitting in a well-lit house, watching television, completely unaware all this beauty was happening above my roof.”
The sky was calm and clear, and then more streaks of gold darted overhead, one, two, three, four in quick succession. The fifth appeared to thicken and slow. It’s light fizzled a bright blue-green and hung in the air for a fleeting second before disappearing mid-heaven.
“An escapee,” he muttered. “That meteor got lucky. It bounced off the atmosphere and kept going.”
“They do that?” she said in wonder.
“Oh yes. When they come this close to Earth, most fall and vaporize, but a few are spared. The one we just glimpsed will be back next year.”
She turned to face him. They sat so close the tips of their noses touched. Reaching toward him, she stroked the edge of his jaw. Running her fingertips across the grainy stubble, she looked into his eyes. “I always hoped we’d meet again.”
Cupping her face, he pulled her near and brushed a light kiss to her lips. A second kiss followed warm and soft. With languid motions, he drew away, his gaze intense. “Should I be doing this?” He appeared concerned. “It is too soon?”
She’d been waiting years for Severin. In her heart of hearts, he had always been her absolute first choice. Returning his kiss, she wrapped her arms around his neck, breathing him in and savoring every sensation. His broad chest felt like a safe, solid presence to snuggle against.
“I can’t stop.” She unzipped his jacket and slipped her hands beneath. Her fingertips skimmed his black tee, cataloging each exciting sweep of lean muscle and imagining what he looked like minus the shirt. Patting the center of the bench seat, she coaxed him closer. “Slide over.”
A crooked smile crossed his lips. He moved from behind the steering wheel toward her.
With care, she swung a leg over his and climbed onto his lap, facing him. In a breathless moment she settled astride him. Even fully clothed, it was a thrill to have his powerful body pinned between her legs. Her thighs squeezed him tight. In an immediate answer to her snug caress, she felt his hardness press against her.
He leaned back against the seat with a look of amusement. “What are you going to do next?”
“Watch.” Bracing her hands against his chest, she peered into the deep sparkle of Severin’s eyes. Looking into his unreadable Scorpio-gaze was like swimming in a mystery. Leaning closer, she tangled her fingers in his hair and held him tenderly as she kissed his forehead, cheek, nose, and finally his parted lips, all the while thinking, You were always meant to be mine…I’m going to love you the way you deserve to be loved.
Holding her close, he returned the kiss with a husky sigh. With eyes at half-mast, looked up at her with an expression so filled with silent rapture she was convinced the next spark would cause ignition.
Untangling her arms from her coat, she let it to drop from her shoulders. From the corner of her eye, she saw shooting stars race across the sky. He stroked the soft skin on her throat and allowed his fingertips to trace lower, to the swell of her breasts. Circling the pads of his thumbs, against the light weave of her sweater, her nipples peaked. She longed for him to unsnap her bra, push the sweater higher and explore her with wet kisses. “Do you know what I want?”
“Tell me,” he whispered.
Her gaze cast toward the down coat on the seat. It would make a soft pillow for her head when Severin stretched on top of her to lick her nipples. “I would love to—“
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