Authors: Sabrina Devonshire
Tags: #erotic romance, #Science Fiction
The man who makes Marissa crazy is the only man she wants. But it’s a bad time to let lust call the shots when a comet cloud is careening toward Earth and Marissa’s the only one who can save everyone.
World-renowned oceanographer and meteorite specialist Marissa Jones uncovers evidence that a comet cloud will soon destroy Earth. When aspiring writer and her best friend Jennifer begs her to take a Saturday morning sci-fi writing class, Marissa reluctantly agrees. Writing her real-life story as fiction gives her an astonishing new perspective on the anomalous set of craters she discovered off the La Jolla Coast. But this favor for her friend stirs up more than scientific results…writing teacher Justin Lincoln goads her constantly and taunts her with his irresistible curly blond locks and steely physique he knows only too well make women drool. Marissa teeters on the edge of anger and raging attraction for this irritating man. But it’s a terrible time to let lust call the shots when the world’s about to end and Marissa’s the only one who can save everyone.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Message from Viola Mari
Copyright © 2013 Sabrina Devonshire
Cover art by Ashley Waters
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Message from Viola Mari
“Have you met anyone exciting?” Jennifer asked during our morning run. My best friend and a sales representative at an online dating service, she never fails to inflict her matchmaking services on me. She gave me that bright-eyed, you-need-to-land-a-man look I’d come to dread. Despite our exertion, her dark hair still dipped neatly along her heart-shaped face and her waterproof mascara showed no signs of smears.
I’d rolled my eyes so many times when she’d inquired about my love life (or should I say non-existent love life), my eyeballs were falling into semi-permanent
oh no she’s going to ask me again
, orbit. I’m an underwater meteorite specialist, obsessed with space rocks that plunge into oceans.
Why can’t she understand that men don’t hold a candle to meteorites, microscopes, and diving expeditions? I’d rather run my fingers over the smooth body of an iron meteorite than a guy’s gluteus maximus any day
“Not since yesterday.” I glanced at my watch—twenty-eight more minutes and our run would be over. If only I’d done a solo swim in La Jolla Cove instead. I loved the view from the beach—the houses perched on bluffs of Franciscan sediments, the way sunshine danced like diamonds over the sapphire blue Pacific Ocean.
Jennifer brushed a drop of sweat off of a blush-reddened cheek. “Now check out that woman.” She pointed toward the other side of the street. “She knows how to attract a man.”
Doesn’t she, though?
The woman sashayed across the sidewalk. Her implants, stretching the spandex on her low-neck dress to capacity, looked like two enormous missiles about to be launched. “She’s going to cause a car crash.” I wrinkled my nose.
Why can’t people just make the best of what they have?
“You could look way better than her if you tried,” Jennifer said. “A fresh new hairstyle and a little makeup would get guys looking your way.”
I didn’t want some stylist layering my unruly cascades of champagne blond hair.
Why should I cover my freckles with foundation when they made me look like me? Why should I brush on blush when my cheeks glow naturally after a workout?
“I know what you’re thinking—that a pair of fake breasts would really complete the ensemble.”
It was Jennifer’s turn to eye roll. “I never said anything about that. I just want you to make the most of your looks so you can find someone, that’s all.”
Larry was Jennifer’s latest boyfriend. He, like all the men she’d dated, looked delicious enough to be the latest cover model for
. “I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy.”
Why can’t she write me off as a lost cause once and for all?
I sighed and watched as a bellman pulled open a door for Ms. Bouncing Breasts. The historic hotel never showed its age. A face-lift and fresh coat of paint revived its appearance as if it was a middle-aged woman getting
a little work done
“I bet she’ll get laid today,” said Jennifer.
“Which is supposed to be my goal in life, right?” I wiped the sweat from my brow and glanced at my watch.
Four more minutes and counting.
Men in my life, in La Jolla and elsewhere, had been few and far between. I spent most of my waking hours working alongside male coworkers who cocooned themselves in polyester and bathed infrequently. My mother suggested taking up tennis and golf to meet eligible bachelors, so I dutifully joined the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.
On the tennis and golf course, the closest I ever came to a romantic encounter was when a Kevin Costner look-alike handed me a golf ball that had hit him in the head and glared at me. Then there was the titillating conversation I had with a dark-haired police officer after I sent a golf ball reeling through the window of someone’s BMW.
It’s not that I’m out of shape. I’m proficient at running and swimming. But engaging in any sport that requires swinging, balancing or hitting any kind of target—other than an unintended one—is a high-risk endeavor for me.
People often romanticize the typical day-in-the-life of a female oceanographer. They imagine that I stand with windblown hair on the bow of a majestic ocean vessel, my makeup undisturbed after photographing underwater scenes from the safe cocoon of my submersible. But no, I am the woman every mother prays her daughter won’t become. Once a tomboy who petted amphibians and reptiles and collected rows of muddy rocks, rather than dolls, I’m now an employed adult who rarely dons cosmetic products and spends most of my waking hours in a windowless laboratory.
I was completely content with my dirty fingernails, make-up free face, and solitary weekend nights in the lab until one of Jennifer’s schemes landed me face-to-face with a man who transformed my ordered universe into chaos.
The shrill of my cell phone cut into my relaxing, post-workout shower. I’ll call back, I told myself, until it beeped to indicate a voicemail had been left and then rang again. I turned off the water, grabbed a towel, and raced to pick up the phone from the vanity counter. “Hello,” I sputtered, as water dripped down my face and into my mouth.
“If we hurry and sign up, we can still get in,” said Jennifer.
“Get into what?” Using my towel, I wiped water from my forehead.
“The science-fiction novel writing class. It meets every Saturday morning, starting next week.” From the bubbly tenor of her voice, you’d have thought we were the latest winners of the California lottery.
Oh, Lord, and I thought her plan to crash into working professionals on purpose, while pretending it wasn’t on purpose, was her weirdest idea yet.
“Like I’d want to.”
“No I’m serious. It would be fun to go together, don’t you think? We could write a novel, meet some men…”
“Oh, no you don’t.” I saw my familiar Saturday morning routine of lounging in bed until ten washing away like a chalk drawing in the rain.
I can knock a guy unconscious with a tennis ball on Friday night, listen to strangers burst out laughing at my writing incompetence Saturday morning, and attend Sunday mass for the sole purpose of praying—
I don’t mind the sandpit, but please, oh please just let me finish all eighteen holes in the afternoon without knocking another guy in the nuts.
“Come on, Marissa.”
to take a writing class? You’re kidding, right?” I hung my towel on a rack and walked into my bedroom.
She wasn’t. Then she unloaded her insecurities about taking the class alone, which hunched me over with guilt. She couldn’t face it without me, she said. What she was really saying is that she wanted to drag me, an innocent, non-writing bystander, into this frightening picture.
I rifled through my underwear drawer, pulling out a bra and pair of panties. “I can barely even compose anything coherent on a Post-it note.” I’d paid numerous individuals to help me write freshman composition essays at my alma mater, John Hopkins University.
“Please,” Jennifer whined. “I want to publish my book. But I can’t do it without some objective advice. You have to admit it could be fun writing novels. It would be like you had this dual personality—scientist by day, novelist by night.”
“Novelist? You must be joking! I can barely summarize research results, let alone write about something emotional.” The mere utterance of the
word precipitated a coughing spell. I abandoned dressing for a trip to the kitchen for water.
“You’re not going to pretend you’re sick are you?” Jennifer asked before she resumed pleading.
Great idea, why didn’t I think of that?
I sipped my water and let out a long breath, wishing my glass contained a different kind of clear liquid—straight vodka, perhaps. I imagined my poor friend pacing circles around her living room, wearing out her carpet. She’d said on more than one occasion that the pressure of meeting sales quotas at Heart to Heart was taking its toll. My friend had a dream and I wouldn’t be the one to destroy it. I was the one everyone could lean on, no matter what. I was the one-stop nine-one-one crisis center.
My father had abandoned us when I was just seven years old. He couldn’t handle my mom’s drinking, or so he said. He drank even more than she did, from what I observed. Since I was the oldest child and my mom frequently changed jobs, I helped pay bills by doing odd jobs for neighbors after school. I cooked meals for my brother, Michael, and sister, Angela, when my mom worked nights. I learned at an early age how to mow the lawn and fix broken toilets, sink fixtures, and garage door openers. High-intensity exercise and preventing my family from being evicted from our apartment made me feel strong, in control, like I would never succumb to this alcoholism monster that had plagued our family for generations. Jennifer’s plea for help, like all the others that came from my family before, had to be answered with a
An email from Professor Justin Lincoln requested that we each send a ten-page writing sample. What would I write about, I wondered, before I found myself wondering what he looked like.
What is wrong with me?
Has Jennifer infected my brain?
I pounded out the first chapter of my factual story disguised as fiction on my keyboard and emailed it to Jennifer for editing. Within minutes, a corrected version popped up in my inbox. After reviewing it, I spewed out a series of expletives and hit the
What am I getting myself into?
A complete stranger would read this. Within minutes Professor Justin would know A—I was the worst writer on the planet and B—I had serious issues.
I poured some wine into a plastic USC cup. “You’re a real classy girl, Mar.” I gulped my wine and stared at the flashing cursor on the screen. It was one of those sci-fi end-of-world stories. A comet cloud would soon intercept earth. As it approached, the earth’s gravitational pull would tug thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands, of gigantic objects of ice and rock out of their orbits into our atmosphere. They would strike again and again until there were none of us left. Okay, so I’d telescoped time—but you couldn’t excite people about a sci-fi story where no one would die for months, could you? In my fictional version of my story, the world would end in forty-five days, unless the protagonist conjured up a brilliant solution.