Starfire – Excerpt

Jemma turned over in the bed, groaning as her sore body protested slightly. She looked up into Raven's deep-blue eyes.

"Good to see you awake. How are you feeling? You gave us a fright." His eyes crinkled in the corners as his lips turned up in a small smile, confusing her with the warmth she detected from him.

"What happened?" Her voice croaked, surprising her.

"You must have hurt yourself and ignored it. It turned into an infection, which you also ignored…the wound on your hand?" He looked at her, questioning, and she remembered the cut on the jagged metal of her Raptor. "With exhaustion and everything else, your body had enough and you basically collapsed coming back from sorting out the pirates."

He moved forward in his seat, and she could smell his body. The musky scent of him rose in the still air of the cabin, making a slow heat begin to curl deep in her belly.

"How long was I out?"

He smiled, and God help her, she smiled back. "About twelve hours. I had arranged for your meal and mine to be delivered here shortly, but since you look and seem to feel so much better, we can go to the mess hall. Do you want to clean up a little?"

Levering up on one arm, she took a deep breath. "Yeah, that would be great." She closed her eyes briefly then flicked her gaze back to him. His rumpled ship suit told the tale that he had been with her for some time. "Why aren't you in engineering, doing the thing with the matrix?" she asked as she rose.

He reached a hand toward her, offering support. "My crew is clearing the area, getting it ready for me to start tomorrow with the weld patches."

He smiled, and she itched to reach her hand out toward him to touch his skin, but she stopped herself before she could follow through and stood carefully, pleased when no vertigo or nausea assailed her.

He threw her a clean ship suit and pushed her toward the sanitary unit, closing the door after her. "I'll wait here in case you need me."

She closed her eyes. For a moment, she made a mental check of her body. Her temperature seemed back to normal, her head had definitely improved, the thumping headache was gone, and even her stomach had settled.

Stripping out of her underwear, she engaged the shower, stepping into it. The feeling of well-being rose as the water ran over her body. She lathered her hair and body, smiling as she imagined Raven with her in the shower. Briefly, she wondered how he would react if she just opened the door. Not a good idea, she sternly told herself.

Jemma turned off the water and reached for the towel she expected to find on the hanger. She discovered there wasn't one there. Damn. Now that was an oversight. She looked at the discarded underwear. At some point, someone had stripped her down so she didn't even have a flight suit to act as towel.

She could't see anything that would do the trick. She sighed then firmed her shoulders. "Nothing to do but ask, Jemma."

Slipping behind the door, she opened it a crack, looked out, and caught his eyes. "There's no towel in here. I don't suppose there's one out there?" She felt more than naked without her flight suit to act as a barrier between her and Raven.

His eyes gleamed, and she could see a burning emotion present. It could be desire; his eyes narrowed and started to glitter in the dim lighting, and the heat ramped up a notch in her belly, curling like a living thing and calling to her. His face tightened, and he stepped toward the cracked door. He advanced slowly, snatched up the toweling cloth from the chair beside the bed, and stepped closer—like a predator—clutching the towel in his strong hands.

She swallowed as he reached out.

"Want me to dry your back?" he said with soft words that seemed to argue with the heat in his eyes.

"No. I think that should be sufficient." She grabbed the towel and held on, watching his eyes for a moment longer until he let go. She watched a minute longer.

"You'd best get dry quickly. You don't want to catch a chill." His voice was deeper, and she dragged in a breath then slid the door shut.