Snippet Saturday is a brilliant collaboration by Lauren Dane and a fabulous group of authors that she’s invited to join her in posting book goodies every Saturday, of which I am thrilled to be a part of. This week’s theme is *drumroll* LEAN ON ME!
We all need somebody to lean on now and then, right? Well, the same can be said of romance novel characters. Enjoy the Snippet and then be sure to visit all the Snippet Saturday authors via the links at the bottom. In fact, even badass Super Soldiers need a shoulder. So enjoy the Snippet from Death and Roses where Scharsi, Gen8 Super Soldier finds comfort in the arms of her lover…the man who was sent to terminate her.
Heart lodged in his throat, Tanil gathered Scharsi close and spoke what he hoped were soothing words against her ear, careful to keep his tone low in case her auditory filter was disengaged.
“Tell me what’s wrong. I’m a tough guy and all, but I don’t think I can take too many tears from you. It breaks my heart.”
“It’s just that…” She stopped short on a loud slurpy sniff. Completely unladylike and the cutest thing Tanil had ever seen.
“I mean, you’re just so easy to be with. No drama. No weirdness about what I am. No regrets about what you are, I mean, being a soldier for the fucking Amalgamation and all. You care about me, Tan. I mean really care. I can tell by the way you touch me. The way you listen to me when I have something to say. The way you make me laugh to the point my stomach hurts.”
And it was true. He did care about her. In fact, he was far gone in love with the woman. He hadn’t told her because he didn’t want to distract her or take her focus off the hunt. This was dangerous stuff and the last thing Scharsi needed was a man-sized distraction on the way into a life-or-death situation. Yet at the same time, the way her tears flowed, the expression on her beautiful face all looked a lot like love too.
With each passing day he found himself craving to be the one constant in Scharsi’s life. Did she love him? Maybe. Maybe not. But he was determined to be the best thing in her life until she decided that she needed, wanted, someone other than him.
This tough-as-nails woman was bred to violence, yet could sit here and cry with him, laugh at his dumb jokes while making a few terribly corny ones herself. She was smart as a whip, wise as an old woman, yet when time allowed, as carefree as a kid who enjoyed candy and a tickle on the tummy. Well rounded should have been her middle name. What more could a man ask for? Well, he could think of one thing.
“Scharsi, please don’t cry.”
“I can’t help it. You just make me so happy. And I know I’ve said it a million times, but you make me comfortable. I was already comfortable in my own skin, but I’ve never been with anyone who made me feel so…normal.”
“Would it make you feel even more normal for me to tell you that I love you?” Damn it. He hadn’t meant to say it. Hadn’t he just finished telling himself she didn’t need such a distraction? But, it just slipped out.
“What? You love me?”
“I do. I love everything about you.”
Tanil was puzzled when she turned away and lowered her lashes. Scharsi didn’t have a shy bone in her body. What was this about?
“Scharsi, look at me.”
She shook her head, ‘no’.
“Don’t get me wrong, Tan. I love myself, love who I am. It’s just that, well, it’s different to have someone else love me this way. Carl was the only one, and even he didn’t quite love me like this. I don’t know if that makes sense to you but…”
Then it dawned on him—there was a part of herself she held back, a piece that was specific to what she was rather than who she was. Something he hadn’t seen until now, but was of so little consequence Tanil hadn’t given it a second thought. Obviously, Scharsi had given it a second, third and probably a fourth thought. But why? Did the woman think he hadn’t already accepted it? Of course it was a ridiculous notion, but his Scharsi bordered on “emotional wreck” just now, so perhaps he’d let it go, right? No way in hell.
Quietly, in a tone he hoped was sweet, he said, “Let me see you, Scharsi. Please.”
At her hesitation he added, “Scharsi, please look at me, sweetheart. Share that last bit of yourself with me. Besides it’s only fair.”
She turned with a half smile and a questioning tilt of her head.
“Well, you know that my birthmark is just under the curve of my ass. It’s only fair I get to see your birthmark.”
He knew she understood. Super Soldiers might incur a scar from a battle or two, but they were born perfect. No birthmarks or any other physical flaw. Except one that, regardless of the decades of research and DNA manipulation, the Military Sciences Lab couldn’t breed away.
“Come on, baby. Give it to me.”
Lifting her head, she stared him straight in the eye. Like the subtle shifting of dusk to dawn, Scharsi’s honey brown irises began to fade until a silvery white gaze peered boldly back at him. She was still the slightest unsure—he could see it in her body language, the stiffness of her spine, the tightness around her mouth. Tanil couldn’t blame her after all she’d been through, but he was certainly determined to wipe it from her mind.
“Beautiful, Scharsi. They’re beautiful, just like all the rest of you.”
Her expression was dubious at best. He looked closer, could see the iris begin to darken.
“No, don’t. Don’t change them back. I love your eyes.”
Reluctantly she relented and allowed that slight hint of brown to retreat, leaving the most beautiful moonlight-colored eyes Tanil had ever seen. He’d done his share of work with SS, but he couldn’t think of a single one with eyes quite like his Scharsi’s. Deeply expressive, they told of her struggles and her determination to survive. Her zest for life, though she’d spent many years hiding, her loyalty to those she cared for and a bone-deep honor and commitment to doing what was right. But when she tilted her head just so, he caught the glimpse of what he was truly looking for—the passionate, giving lover that reveled in not only her femininity, but her strength as well. Oh, and orgasms. Yes, the woman did love to come, for sure.
Snippet Saturday authors
Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Mandy M Roth