Super Starrella, Book 1 of the Secret Supers
by Aurora Springer
A quiet summer at her uncle’s farm turns frighteningly weird for seventeen-year old Estelle Wright after she trespasses onto an Army base. Blown into the air and knocked unconscious, she wakes with a nascent superpower. Not to mention a winged horse with a snarky attitude and a mind of her own.
Back home in Atalanta, a serial killer is targeting the students at Goldman University. Before long she must juggle college classes with sneaking out of the house after dark to battle alien monsters. Estelle’s life is in danger, but who can she trust with her secret: handsome Captain Copper from military intelligence, or hunky Toby, the tough gangster with a motorbike?
McTartan’s was a popular hangout for the students and the place was full. Toby pushed past the people waiting to be served at the bar. Several of them sent nervous glances at his surly face and tattooed arms and shifted aside to let him through. He found two seats in a booth at the back, away from the noisy crowd at the bar. They sat on opposite sides of the wooden table.
“What’ll you drink?” he drawled.
Estelle looked around. Toby had chosen a good spot for their conversation. The partitions on the sides of the booth gave them privacy. Toby sat facing the door, alert for any trouble. His eyes moved to check each person entering the pub.
“I’ll have a coke. Don’t want you to be hassled because I’m under the legal age for alcohol.”
“Worried the bad gangster will corrupt you?” he teased, leaning forward with his arms crossed and his elbows on the table.
Leaving him in suspense, she scanned his face. His heavy brows and the brooding curl of his mouth combined with his muscular build and tattoos gave the impression of an ugly customer. Despite his reputation as a tough gangster, he had been gentle with her. “No,” she said. “I think you’re sweet.”
His eyes widened and he leaned back. His voice was sharp with surprise. “You’re the first person ever to call me sweet!”
Happy to have scored a hit, Estelle grinned at him. “Okay, Toby, are you going to tell me the truth?” she asked.
He drawled, “Where can I start?”
“The superpowers and the mantis fights,” she suggested eagerly.
His eyes flicked to the door and he drawled, “Your army pal walked in. Think he’s looking for you?”
Automatically, she glanced round and saw Mark Copper standing at the bar. He was looking at the rows of bottles on the shelves, presumably selecting his drink.
His hand covering his mouth, Toby muttered, “Don’t stare. Pretend you don’t see him. We don’t want him listening to our conversation or trying to join us.”
Copying Toby’s caution in hiding her lips behind her hand, Estelle whispered, “He’s watching. He can see us reflected in the mirror behind the bar.”
Toby growled, “Did he follow you here?”
“He might have. Mark was at my evening class.” Estelle shivered at the idea of being stalked through the streets. Grabbing Toby’s hand, she asked, “Why would he follow me? Is he suspicious?”
“What’s wrong with us meeting in a pub?” Toby assumed his surly frown. He patted the space next to him on the bench. “Come here, babe.” She slipped onto the seat beside him and his arm slid around her shoulders. She gazed at him, her lips parted in a question. Leaning over, he kissed her firmly, sending warm flushes down her body. His lips traveled across her cheek, and his breath tickled her ear as he whispered, “Let him think this is why we met. Say something casual to fool him.”
He released her and gazed into her eyes.
Playing along, she gushed, “Oh, Toby, I didn’t know you felt like that about me.” She brushed her fingers over the cat tattoo on his firm biceps and noted the silky feel of the invisible nanofabric.
He stiffened and blinked. Then, his face broke into his rare charming smile and he pulled her close again. “Can’t resist a pretty girl.”
Despite his tempting drawl, she hissed, “Joke’s over! What’s going on?”
Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and discovers science facts in her day job. She has invented adventures in weird worlds for as long as she can remember. In 2014, Aurora achieved her life-long ambition to publish her stories. Her works are character-driven romances set in weird worlds described with a sprinkle of humor. Some of the stories were composed thirty years ago. She was born in the UK and lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats to sit on the keyboard. Her hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like gardening, watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.