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Scroll down for a SNEAK PEEK of Stolen by Darkness, the novel I am publishing in the box set. <3
Stolen by Darkness
The Dark Fae Trilogy Book One
by Samantha Britt
The lecture hall is warm and musty. Excess body heat emanates from the jocks in the middle rows, stifling my breathing. I long to run out of the building and seek fresh air, but the professor is still speaking. Biology is my toughest course, and I can’t afford to miss a single class. Everyone knows Professor Cohn’s tests come straight from his lectures, and I need all the help I can get.
Resigned to suffer through the next half-hour of class, I breathe through my mouth to avoid inhaling the musky smell. Not for the first time, I regret signing up for afternoon class.
As a freshman enrolling in my first semester of college, I’d wanted the chance to sleep in every day. I’d thought I’d been so lucky to not have class before ten o’clock in the morning. It seemed like the cushiest schedule ever. But now, after a solid month into the academic year, I I’d prefer to wake up early if it meant I could avoid sharing a lecture hall with the football team immediately after their midday workout.
I hear a low groan. “Gods above, does this school not know how to turn on an AC?”
I glance to my left. My best friend, Pascale, is flushed and fanning her heart-shaped face with a spiral full of notes. I decide not to remind her we are going to school in New York City and the older buildings weren’t built with the modern convenience in mind. Several window AC units are pulling air into the room, but they aren’t powerful enough to cool the large hall with more than two hundred students.
“And this B.O.,” she says a little louder, “Have any of these guys heard of deodorant or, better yet, a shower?” The girls directly in front of us turn around and chuckle. Pascale shoots them a conspiratorial grin.
I nudge her shoulder. “Shh.”
“You know what.” I’m in total agreement about the stifling atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean we have to be rude. I’ve experienced enough embarrassing moments in my life that I would never want to cause them for anyone else.
Pascale tucks her short, pink-highlighted hair behind her ear and sniffs. “We pay enough money to this school, the least they could do is invest in a working AC unit.”
I roll my eyes and return my attention to Professor Cohn and his discussion about organelles in eukaryotic cells. I scribble down his comment about mitochondria and their double membrane, doing my best to not misspell the unintuitive words. Science has always been a tricky subject for me, but I am determined to be a nurse. I need to get over my aversion for the sciences sooner rather than later.
Beside me, Pascale huffs and mumbles something about hating biology. Then, she picks up her pencil and starts taking notes. I barely hide my smirk. Of the two of us, I’m the only one who’s ever taken school seriously, but I think I’m a good influence on my friend.
Pascale and I met on accident when we were fifteen. It was the end of my first day at my newest school, and I was walking home when I caught Pascale bounding out of the forest bordering the road. Normally, I would’ve avoided contact. I would have tucked my chin to my chest and moved along without saying a word. But the sight of the nearly-transparent wings floating behind Pascale made me gasp. My binders had hit the pavement, and Pascale’s eyes swung toward me. Somehow, probably because of the wide-eyed shock on my face, she knew I had seen her wings.
I remember how quickly Pascale appeared at my side, retracting the shimmering extensions as she moved. As I gaped at her speed, she had grabbed my elbow and forced me into an alley off the main street. Looking back, I should’ve been terrified. I’d thought I’d been hallucinating the few times I saw things that shouldn’t have been there. A horned man on the subway. A green-skinned woman riding her bike. Each instance had been written off as a trick of light or my tired mind playing tricks on me. But in the afternoon, under bright sunlight, I’d known I hadn’t imagined the wings. That was the day Pascale revealed the truth to me: mystical creatures exist, and I am one of the few humans who can see them.
Distracted by my memories, I don’t notice a broad form slink into the lecture hall and sit next to me until he whispers, “What did I miss?”
I jump, bumping my knee into the chair’s tablet desk. I pinch my lips together to contain my wince. I glance at the newcomer, recognizing him from our weekly lab session. His name is Josh, and he and I were partner’s during last week’s lab when Pascale decided to drink too much elixir the night before. I’d left her in our darkened apartment to sleep off the hangover.
“Sorry,” Josh whispers, leaning even closer to me. Instinctively, I lean the other way, but I’m relieved when I don’t smell any sweat coming off the athlete. I notice the damp hair curling around his temple. He must’ve showered before coming to class, unlike his fellow teammates.
“It’s fine,” I say as quietly as I can manage. “He’s talking about eukaryotic cells.”
Josh retrieves his laptop and opens a word document full of notes. “Chapter four, right?” He asks a little too loudly. The pair of girls in front of us peer back, their eyes full of curiosity.
I nod, then force my eyes back to the professor. My pencil tries to slip out of my hand as I write a detail about the cell membrane. I hear Pascale snicker beside me. I want to kick her.
The rest of class I’m acutely aware of the guy next to me. I’d been wary when the lab assistant put us as partners, but Josh had surprised me. He wasn’t a dumb jock like the guys at my high school, and he pulled his weight during the lab activity. He was a better partner than Pascale and definitely more fun to look at.
My cheeks heat. That is the lastthing I should be thinking about right now.
But as Josh’s cologne trails over me, I can’t help but thing about how he is, definitely, the most attractive guy I’ve interacted with in my classes. Most freshman guys are just coming out of their awkward teen phase, and the other athletes are too fratty for me to consider attractive. Personality and intelligence matter a lot, and Josh happens to have both in spades. His humor and effort during our lab only made him more attractive in my eyes.
Rustling paper, closing laptops, and squeaking chairs fill the room. It takes me a second to realize Professor Cohn has dismissed the class. I lower the tablet desk to rest against the side of the chair and stand up. Pascale slings her bag over her shoulder, jerking her head to something over my shoulder. I don’t need to guess what, or should I say who, she is gesturing to.
Josh clears his throat. I turn and have to tilt my head back to meet his eye. At five feet, six inches, I would consider my height average, but I’m dwarfed by Josh’s six and a half feet. He grins down at me in a friendly way. “Have you finished the lab report?”
“Almost.” I only have the conclusion to complete.
Josh tucks his laptop under his arm. “Do you want to meet at the library tonight to compare our data interpretations? One of my upperclassmen buddies gave me some hints on the details the T.A. looks for when grading lab reports.”
The excuse to get out of meeting Josh fades from my mind. I’ve been busting my ass trying to earn full credit on lab reports. I even went to my T.A.’s office hours for feedback. Nhu Tran wasn’t unkind, but I simply couldn’t comprehend what she told me I lost points on. And it wasn’t a language thing. Nhu grew up in the States, and she spoke English perfectly. She simply wasn’t great at communicating with students. She seemed painfully shy and reserved, characteristics I can relate to.
Knowing I need my G.P.A. as high as possible before I apply to nursing school, I force my nerves to take a back seat and say, “I work tonight.” Immediately, I regret not proposing a different time to meet. I am not kidding when I say I am killing myself to earn full credit on the reports.
Thankfully, Josh is undeterred by my short response. “How about tomorrow morning? The lab isn’t due until the afternoon.”
I nod eagerly. “Tomorrow morning works for me. Meet at the café in the front of the library?”
His grin broadens. “It’s a date. See you then.” He leaves with a wave. I watch his departure, letting my eyes trail down to admire his backside when I hear Pascale tsk in my ear.
“Sera, Sera, Sera… holding out on me, I see.”
I shake my head and put on my backpack, walking out of the aisle without looking back at my friend. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Please. You didn’t tell me the stud muffin was your partner when I was sick last week.”
I snort at her claim of being “sick”.
Pascale ignores me. “It seems my little Seraphina likes her men tall, blonde and handsome.”
“I don’t like Josh.”
“Ah! Lover boy has a name.”
We walk out of the science building. I breathe in the crisp Fall air, relieved to be out of the stifling lecture hall. I opt not to respond to Pascale’s last comment. Doing so will only encourage her. But my friend is nothing if not persistent.
“Come on, Sera. I’m your best friend.”
“You’re my only friend.”
“Exactly!” She bounces on the balls of her feet as we walk across the street toward the dining hall. We always eat lunch together after biology. Later, I’ll go to my statistic’s class while Pascale will go home and undoubtedly binge on the latest Netflix show before I get home for dinner. What can I say? We are creatures of habit. Pixies, especially, are notoriously rigid with their day-to-day schedules.
I hope you enjoyed the teaser!
Remember, Stolen by Darkness, is available exclusively in the Shadows and Sorcery box set. Download for 99 cents and get over 20 books!
You really can’t beat that price! <3
Until next time, happy reading!