Keir by Pippa Jay, a science fiction romance novel
(a 2012 Readers Favorite Finalist and 2012 SFR Galaxy Award winner)
He stood in the shadows and watched them in fascination, the night air cool on his skin and the wind stirring his hair. His quarters overlooked the stone bowl of the plaza in which they had arrived, a deep crater in the craggy mouth of the mountain that cupped the shell-like palace. Even in the glow of the illuminated sky, he could see nothing below the crater’s rim or the landscape beyond, all of it hidden by night’s dark mantle. The stars were white pinpricks, dimmed to insignificance by the explosion of lights and veiled by a mixture of smoke and wispy clouds.
Amidst the noise and flashes, the sound of movement drew his gaze aside. Quin stepped out onto the adjoining balcony to lean nonchalantly on the ledge and admire the show. The display forgotten, Keir immersed himself deeper in the shadows and watched her instead. Quin had unbound her hair, which now formed a wild red halo around her face. The formal robes had been exchanged for a short black slip that ended mid-thigh, and a long-sleeved robe of black lace. The gentle curves of her slim figure showed through the fabric. His eyes strayed to the white skin of her legs, like fine marble shaped and smoothed. What would it feel like to touch? Cool like stone? Or warm like velvet, soft as silk?
Unease tightened his muscles, and he tried to pull his gaze away. A Salusian woman would never expose herself like that. But she does not know I am here. I should not be looking. Even as he thought it, even as he berated himself for it, his gaze drifted back. A smile arched her lips as she watched the skies, as enchanted as a child. A stronger gust of wind brushed the hair back from her face and folded the satin cloth of her outfit taut around her figure.
A sudden sense of elation overwhelmed him, combined with the heat T’rill had inspired. Desire wrapped tight arms around his body. The heady mix stole his breath. No. Shame burned his skin. Quin was his friend, the first he had ever had. The first person to show him kindness in more years than he could count. Yet at that moment he wanted more. For the first time in remembrance, he wanted to touch and be touched in return. To hold her and have her return his embrace freely, with more than a friend’s affection. To feel her white skin under his fingertips. To brush the hair from her face as the breeze did now, and run his fingers through it.
His thoughts dishonored her gift of friendship to him.
A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction romance authors committed to writing and promoting the very best in the genre.
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