by S.A. Huchton
Genre: New Adult Science Fiction Romance
Series: The Endure Series, Book 1
Published: May 29th 2013
Cover Artist: Starla Huchton
How far would you go for love?
Since losing her parents at 14, young prodigy Dr. Lydia Ashley has focused on one thing: an appointment on the Deep Water Research Command Endure. Now 21, she’s about to realize that dream, but nothing is how she imagined it would be. Her transitional sponsor forgets her, her new lab is in complete chaos, and, as if that weren’t enough, she’s about to discover something so horrific it could potentially destroy all life on the planet.
Daniel Brewer, a noted playboy and genius in his own right, may be exactly what she needs… Or he may make everything worse.
Has she finally found a puzzle she can’t solve?
It hadn't been a lie. That last glass of champagne was probably a mistake. Lydia stared out at the shifting colors of sunset. Even if this little scheme didn't work at all, maybe it would clear her head some. She rested her hands on the stone railing of the balcony, watching the waves break over the sand.
"Gorgeous." Daniel's voice made her tighten her grip on the rail.
Lydia didn't look at him. "You don't see many sunsets under water," she said. "I'd almost forgotten how lovely they were."
He walked over and leaned next to her. "I wasn't talking about the sunset."
She hoped the changing light hid the pink in her cheeks. "Hmm. Your hypothesis lacks evidence to back it up, since clearly I wasn't attractive enough for anyone to actually invite to this thing."
Daniel winced. "Uh, yeah. About that..."
That was not the response she'd expected. "What, Daniel?" She looked at him accusingly.
He straightened and took a step back. "I may or may not have threatened to sever certain personal entertainment feeds for anyone that asked you."
Lydia stared at him, stupefied. "You... you threatened to disconnect their porn?"
"Well, if you want to be crass about--"
"Why would you do that to me, Daniel?" she yelled at him, shoving him, hard. All the rage she had been bottling up the last two weeks exploded out of her. "All my life, all of it, I have been too smart, too young, too intimidating, too... something, to be dated by anyone. The few times I was asked out somewhere, it ended with some guy asking me for a term paper or test questions so he could get a better grade or evaluation or something. And now, when I'm finally someplace welcoming, at an age where I'm not just a kid anymore, you decided issuing a threat to anyone who might even think of dating me is a good idea? What the hell, Daniel? Why? Why would you do that to me?" Lydia's eyes stung, but she would not cry. She. Would. Not.
Daniel's face was a mixture of fear and guilt. "You didn't hear them talking. I figured, anyone that would value porn over the chance at an evening with you, well, no one like that deserves you. I... I couldn't stand the thought of anyone else with you, Lydia."
She closed her eyes and turned away. "Then why not ask me yourself?"
There was a pause before he spoke. Whatever he had to say, it had better be good. "For one, I didn't want to cancel if my father decided I needed other arrangements. I thought if I waited until Friday morning and he hadn't pulled me by then I'd be safe. And for two..." His voice faded and she glanced at him.
"Well?" she prompted.
He swallowed, then exhaled in frustration. "Honestly, you scare the crap out of me, Lydia. I've never... I mean, you're the first and last thing I think about every damn day. I'm physically ill when I think I might not ever be the kind of person you deserve to be with. You make me want to be better at everything I do. I'm terrified whenever I screw up because I think I might never get the chance to kiss you even once, and if that were true I... I don't know if I could deal with that."
Of all the things he could have said to her, she couldn't imagine any of them being more perfect. Maybe it was all the champagne, but her anger evaporated.
He touched her bare shoulder. "Lydia, I'm sorry. I--"
She didn't let him finish. The word "sorry" had barely left his lips before hers were on them. It had taken every ounce of courage she had, but she had done it.
Daniel didn't respond for a moment. She thought maybe she had made a mistake, but his hand on her neck, and the other sliding around her waist eased her fear. His lips were warm, parting against hers. She thought she might actually melt at the sweet sensation. Her fingers dug into the fabric of his jacket, pulling him closer. Daniel's tongue tickled her own, encouraging her. The embrace grew heated very quickly and she didn't think she could stand much more.
Out of breath, she broke away. Unsure if her legs would hold her, she set a hand on the railing for support. She couldn't meet his eyes, anxious about what she might see there. He set his own hand over hers, entwining their fingers.
"Seems I was wrong," he whispered in her ear.
"Wrong?" Surprised, she looked up at him.
His empty hand touched her chin. "Well, now that I've kissed you, I'm not sure I can stop."
Lydia smiled. "And who's stopping you?"
He kissed her again, gentler this time, his mouth brushing her skin as lightly as the breeze coming off the ocean. At this, she came undone and lost any feeling in her feet. She laughed as he caught her. It was positively mortifying, but she couldn't care less. If it landed her in his arms, she would consider never walking again.
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Top Ten Reasons That Science is Sexy
This post is proof I should never be left to my own devices when being asked for a guest blog post. I took some time to think about what I might write about here, to give you a little insight into why someone like me (decidedly NOT a scientist), would choose to write a book with science as a central theme. Not only is this list meant to gather interest in my book, Maven, but I'd like to show you a little of why I feel science and technology is so vastly underrated as far as romance goes.
10. Knowledge is power. I think we can all agree on how sexy a powerful man can be. Whether that's demonstrated by expert knowledge of spellcraft, swordplay, finances, sports, or in the bedroom, guys that know things about things are where it's at. Personally, if a man can teach me something, I'm all in. This extends to science and tech as well. It's not that I want someone spouting formulas or tech specs at me all day, but if he can use that knowledge to make things happen and impart some of it to me? Oh yes. I'm coming along for that ride.
9. Birth control. Without biologists studying the human body, how would our heroine have any reassurance that her one night stand was going to be just that instead ending up with a lifelong commitment to a kid? By the scientific miracle that is birth control, her and that sexy hero can get busy from sundown to sunup without a care in the world. Science is an enabler for this kind of behavior, and I, for one, am glad it's such a terrible influence.
8. Alcohol: brought to you by science! Wine, beer, that awesome cherry vodka? Yeah. Wouldn't be a thing. People experimented and tested their fermentations to create these consumables that have put some of our favorite characters in awkward (or awesome) romantic entanglements. In Maven, champagne is the liquid courage Lydia needs to close those last few inches between her and Daniel for that all-important first kiss. Thank you, science!
7. Hot guys in glasses. Some genius figured out that we see people who wear glasses as being on the smarter end of the spectrum. We equate it with reading or doing important things, and that perception of higher intelligence can make a man (or woman) more attractive. Hence the availability of non-prescription and fake glasses.
6. Chemistry. And I'm not talking about the periodic table. Half the time I have the maturity of a twelve-year-old and even I can't find a euphemism there (okay, I probably could). No, I'm talking body chemistry. For example, certain scents are scientifically proven to be more attractive than others. Thanks to science, I now know that a combination of cucumber, lavender and pumpkin pie scent is a good bet for getting a man interested. This is a real thing. Google it if you don't believe me. Additionally, there's a reason we talk about two people having great chemistry. Those two people are, in fact, reacting to each other chemically. Your brain does all sorts of stuff you're unaware of when you're talking to another person, and that means a veritable chemical cocktail of things circulating through your blood stream. Knowing a bit about how this works improves what writers can do to elicit emotional responses from readers, which, in turn, rewards readers immensely.
5. Brains + Brawn = instant fangirl. If you saw The Avengers, I don't think I need to explain the hotness that is Robert Downey, Jr. or Mark Ruffalo. Yeah, yeah, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, blah blah blah, but that one-two combo of hotness and smarts? I'm done. Granted, Thor and Captain America aren't exactly brain-dead, but the witty banter Tony Stark and Dr. Bruce Banner bring to the story seal the deal. I want to be challenged in conversation as much as I enjoy the eye candy, and those two are prime examples of putting the sexy in science.
4. The sky is our playground. Without science to help develop airplanes, we wouldn't have things like the Mile High Club or sexy jet pilots to drool over. Fly me to the moon, indeed. Want a quick getaway to a tropical isle? You can thank science for making it possible.
3. Demystifying the mystery. Do you really know what's going on underneath that lab coat? Me neither, but it might be fun to find out. ;)
2. Science is liberating. We no longer have to fear things like falling off the edge of a flat planet or spontaneously drifting away from the ground thanks to gravity. Fictional couples can watch the stars together over a romantic candlelit picnic in the back yard or view them from the observation deck of a four-star luxury space cruiser. What becomes possible in the real world expands our creativity as a result, encouraging us to think about what else could be. Creative exploration enables new stories and new venues for out-of-this-world romances, even if we never leave the Earth.
1. Chocolate. Much like alcohol, it took many people years and years of developing formulas to get the ultimate blend of yummy, mood-altering goodness exactly right. You think Milton S. Hershey and John Cadbury didn't spend umpteen hours mixing cocoa and figuring out how to craft it into the pure deliciousness we enjoy today? Those pioneering men researched and experimented the bejeezus out of chocolate to give us what people the world over use for self-medication. For this reason alone, how could you doubt science? Seriously. We're talking about chocolate here.
If this list doesn't convince you about how sexy science really is, I offer you a challenge. The first six chapters of Maven are available for free over on Goodreads and Wattpad both. Try a little taste, and see if you don't believe me. :)
A Little Thanks.
I wanted to throw in a thank you to Starla who wrote this awesome post and I also wanted to say that I think this is my favorite guest post that I have done here on Enchanting Reads. Thanks so much for doing it Starla. :)
About the Author
Starla Huchton released her first novel, The Dreamer's Thread, as a full cast podcast production beginning in August 2009. Her first foray went on to become a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards.
Since her debut, Starla's voice has appeared in other podcasts including The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, The Drabblecast, and Erotica a la Carte. She is also a voice talent for Darkfire Productions, and narrates several of their projects, including The Emperor's Edge series, This Path We Share, and others. Her writing has appeared in the Erotica a la Carte podcast, a short story for The Gearheart, and an episode of the Tales from the Archives podcast (the companion to Tee Morris and Philippa Balantine's Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series), which garnered her a second finalist badge from the 2012 Parsec Awards.
Her second novel, a Steampunk adventure entitled Master of Myth, was the first place winner in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of The Sandy Writing Contest held annually by the Crested Butte Writers Conference. Maven is her third completed novel and the first in a planned series of four, being released under the name S. A. Huchton.
After completing her degree in Graphic Arts at Monterey Peninsula College, Starla opened up shop as a freelance graphic designer focusing on creating beautiful book covers for independent authors and publishers. She currently lives in Virginia where she trains her three Minions and military husband.