Page 35 of Burned (Ignite #1)

He hands me a towel and I slowly wipe as much of the powder off of my hands as I can.

“You ready?” he asks as he holds a lighter up in front of him.

It’s possible that he’s more excited about this than I am and I can’t help but smile at his exuberance. I think he might have been lying before when he said watching me work was the best part. He’s like a toddler right now, bouncing back and forth on his feet waiting for me to give him the okay.

I nod my head and laugh at him. “Yep. Let’s do this.”

With remnants of gunpowder still clinging to my hands and splattered across my clothes, I know I need to move as far back as possible. I walk back to the safety of the patio and watch as Collin sets up the fuse that attaches to the paper and gunpowder, holding my breath as he flicks the lighter. When the fuse ignites, he runs across the yard until he’s by my side, grabbing my hand and pulling it up to his chest. He holds my hand in both of his right against his heart as we listen to the ssssssssss of the flame as it flows down the five-foot length of fuse. We both stare with wide, excited eyes as the spark gets closer and closer to the paper until the hissing suddenly stops as the fuse gathers enough energy to ignite all of the gunpowder. Two heartbeats later, a loud pop fills the air and the paper bursts into flames. Within seconds, the fire burns out and all that’s left behind is a cloud of smoke and puffs of powder.

Our heads turn towards each other and I can’t stop the excited grin that lights up my face when I see the same look mirrored in Collin. We take off running, his hand still clutching mine as we race across the yard laughing at how silly we’re both acting.

We stop in front of the hemp paper and wait until the smoke clears. Collin doesn’t say a word as he stares down at the burnt design, each piece revealing itself slowly as the smoke floats away. I start to get a little nervous that maybe it’s not as good as I thought since I’m so out of practice. He lets go of my hand and bends down closer to the paper, his eyes taking in every detail as I watch him.

“Holy shit, Finnley,” he whispers after a few seconds.

I finally turn away from him and look down at my creation. It’s another silhouette of him, this time wearing a fireman’s hat with a rolled up hose slung over one arm and a wall of fire surrounding him.

“This is absolutely f**king amazing,” he mutters in awe.

Pride rushes through me with his words and my long dormant dream of doing something with my talent becomes forefront in my mind. Staring down at Collin admiring my work, I’m amazed that that it’s even possible to be this happy after everything I’ve been through with Jordan.

Chapter 18—She Keeps Me Warm

IT’S STILL HARD to believe Finnley and I only found our way back to one another fifteen days ago. I’ve spent fifteen days learning everything about her all over again and fifteen days discovering every inch of her body. We’ve talked, we’ve laughed, we’ve f**ked on every available surface in both of our houses and we’ve only stopped long enough to order take-out before going at it again. I’ve set up countless sheets of hemp paper in my backyard and sat in a chair by the house, quietly watching her work whenever inspiration hit her. It’s amazing to see the passion for her art shining in her eyes with each and every new picture she creates. It’s my damn house, so I’m not limited to wallpapering my bedroom with Finley Morgan originals this time around. I’ve hung each one of her designs on the walls in my home, much to her embarrassment. I want her to be proud of her talent and I want her to see how much pride I have in her every time she walks through my door.

I know that rediscovering her ability has lit a fire inside of her to go to art school like she always wanted to. As much as I want to tell her to quit her job and do what she wants, I know I can’t do that. This is her dream and I want her to find her own strength to make it a reality.

“Oh, my God, I’m so full I think you’re going to have to roll me into the house,” Finnley jokes as I pull my truck into my driveway.

I wanted nothing more than to keep her naked and tucked away in my bed forever, but I thought it was time I took her out for a real meal. I surprised her by taking her to the Italian restaurant where we had our first date. It was kind of nice not having to bum a ride from an older friend this time since neither one of us had our driver’s licenses back then.

I make my way around the front of the truck and open her door, holding her hand as she steps down from the cab. My dick has been hard since I picked her up at her house earlier and she opened the door wearing a red, wrap-around dress that hugged her curves.

Her matching red heels click against the pavement as she jumps down and the vee in the front of her dress gapes open, showing off even more of the creamy skin that I’ve been staring at all night across the candlelit table.

I move our clasped hands behind her back and rest them right above her ass as I trail the fingers of my free hand down her collarbone and over the exposed skin of her br**sts.

“I need to be inside you,” I tell her softly, staring into her eyes as I move my hand lower until I’m cupping one breast in my palm.

I run my thumb back and forth over her nipple through the material of her dress, lightly pinching it after it pebbles

“How fast can you unlock that door and take your clothes off?” she whispers as I kiss my way across her cheek until my lips are right by her ear.

“About as fast as I can make you come. What’s the record now, thirty-five seconds?” I tease.