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Jade Waltz

Copyright © 2020 Jade Waltz

StarPyre is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

All rights reserved.

Published by: Jade Waltz

First Edition: June 2020

E-Book ISBN: 978-1-952420-90-0

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-952420-04-7

Cover Artist:

Mel Shinyama


Formatting: The Nutty Formatter












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Author’s Note:

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School was out, summer classes had yet to begin, and I was ready to dance my worries away.

As I passed through the secured entrance, I closed my eyes, enjoying the sense of relief rushing through me. After spending weeks studying with my nose down in my notes, this was exactly what I needed—to be free from the weight of it all.

My grades may not have been the highest, but they were good enough to graduate next year. I could worry about my future beyond college once my super senior year started in the fall. Most of my acquaintances had already moved away, soon after their commencements, leaving me here to suffer my way through my fifth year in college. Everyone who stayed behind knew that summer classes were designed to be quick and easy. Not even the professors wanted to waste these gorgeous days inside.

Taking in a deep breath, I rolled my shoulders, feeling the tinsel on the pads tickling my bare arms. Letting it all out, along with my stress, I opened my eyes and scanned the party.

The “Beyond the Stars” Summer Rave was in full blast with its space-themed decorations and set-up. Multi-colored, glowing, star-shaped lights streamed from every direction as blown-up UFOs floated above the crowd, appearing as if they were abducting the guests with their beams of light. The attendees were jamming to electronic music blaring into the night sky. Everyone was dressed to impress, each equipped with a unique interstellar costume for the night. Tonight’s costume contest came with a large prize to be won, and from what I could tell, the competition would be stiff.

A quick check of my smartwatch told me that Kaylie hadn’t arrived yet. I sighed. My best friend was always late for these things. She spent too much of her time trying to make sure that she looked perfect, so much so that she lost track of time or who she was meeting up with. I wasn't going to let her ruin my night. Besides, if she turned up after the contest was over, she was one less person for me to compete against. I may have had some money, but I was poor compared to her fortune. I wouldn't be surprised if she hired a designer to customize her outfit for tonight.

There was no use in wasting time waiting for her, especially when there was no guarantee she’d show up. I typed a quick message, asking her where she was. There. I was the responsible one. She couldn’t say that I didn’t try.

Exotic scents assaulted my nose as I pressed into the dense crowd, trying to get away from the smokers enjoying themselves along the fenced border. Covering my nose with my arm, I tried to filter out the thick smog billowing from them as the wind blew it into the dancing mass of people.

I couldn’t complain, though; I knew that smoking was allowed in designated locations at outdoor events like this. Any type of musical festival was a hub for booze, drugs, and smoking. It gave attendees an excuse to get wild and lose themselves to the music. Some guests took it too far by having sex in the public areas. That was why I now only attend government-sanctioned events. Still fun, but more relaxed.

As I made my way through the crowd, I spotted many women wearing their versions of a sexy Star Trek uniform, only in colors that weren’t normally available. Neon, tye-dye, ombré colors, and even some dresses had mesh on the sides where the black stripe should be. Instead of the mini skants the women in the Star Trek franchise wore, these skirts barely covered anything. Which was fine—this was a beach after all, and their costumes covering more than what bikinis would—but I didn’t find their outfits at all original. These definitely wouldn’t place in the contest tonight.

Amazingly, many folks had coordinated their costumes as a group. Sailor Moon was a popular theme, along with many attempts at sexy silver space suits partnered with aliens of all shapes and forms.

Someone bumped into me and grabbed my arm before I had a chance to trip and fall.

I turned around to confront the person. “Hey . . .” Words failed me as I stared at the culprit.

“Hey, baby,” the shirtless, brunette man purred, licking his lips as his eyes trailed along my body. “When did you crash land on this planet? Because you are definitely out of this world.”

“Just a few minutes ago.” I glanced at his grip on my arm and gave it a quick tug. He instantly released me, throwing his hands up in the universal gesture for surrender. “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch your name.”

He shot me a quick smirk. “Clayton, but my friends call me Clay.” He lowered his hands as his eyes lingered on my chest for a moment. “But you can call me anything you want, babe.”

Internally, I rolled my eyes at his arrogant flirting. Any other night, I might dump his ass and keep walking. A quick look at my smart watch told me Kaylie hadn’t responded—as usual—leaving me to fend for myself. I didn’t mind meeting new people, chilling with them, and exchanging numbers if we clicked. Hell,

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