Catching my elbow, Jase stops me and instead puts his hand on mine, pulling my fingers back and making me hold my hand out flat. He’s silent as he gives me the knife.

“It’s heavy,” I comment weakly as he sits cross-legged and I do the same in front of him. The heat from the fire is the only thing that keeps the chills of the cool air away. My heart races as I glance at the small silvery scar still on his chest.

“I want us both to play,” he tells me, wrapping my hand around the handle of the blade and then bringing it to his chest. “First you need to shave me.”

The command is simple although my gaze shifts from the small smattering of hair on his chest to his eyes. Scooting closer to him, I watch the way his throat dips, the way the cords tighten as I prepare for the first stroke.

Before I can press the blade to his skin, he lays a hand on each of my hips, holding me steady. The warmth of the fire is nothing compared to his touch. With every small exhale, I drag the blade down carefully, feeling it nick each hair along his chest. Breathing in, I then drag the blade over his skin, blowing softly across it as I go and gently bring the back of my fingers across his body to check on the smoothness of it.

“Don’t leave any behind,” he tells me, sitting upright and still not moving.

“Does it hurt at all?” I ask him, running my fingers over what I’ve just done and then moving the blade to a patch of fuzz on his upper pec by his shoulder.

“You’re only shaving me,” he answers with a handsome grin, mocking me.

“I mean the scar. Where I cut you before,” I whisper, not looking into his eyes and then grabbing the cloth next to Jase to wipe the blade clean.

“No,” he answers and then takes the knife from me. “It feels like a memory that fate made happen.”

He does the same to me, shaving away the little bits of hair, making sure there’s nothing between us that the fire would catch.

“You first,” he tells me and he tips the bottle of ethanol, the cloth pressed against the opening. The smell of alcohol hits me as he wets the rag. “Where you put it, the fire will catch, but do it quickly.” Before relaxing his shoulders and sitting back, he lights the candle. “Use this for the flame but hold it upright to keep the wax from dripping.”

I’ve paid attention and I’ve seen what he does. Nodding, I know exactly what he’s said and why it works, but still I hesitate, holding the rag in my hand and staring at his chest.

“What if I hurt you?”

“The blanket’s fireproof and I can lie down, Bethany. I’m here, and you’re more than capable.”

I remember what it’s like, the memory of the fire tickling then blazing. Heating my skin before vanishing and leaving me breathless and hungry for more. I can give that to him. The very idea of it makes me eager to do it.

Reaching out, I wipe the damp cloth against his skin in a small motion, not covering much area at all. My pulse is fast and my hand trembles slightly. I can’t help it; the only thing that keeps me composed is the intimacy of the moment and his touch steadying me.

“A cross?” he questions and I let my lips kick up as I pick up the candle. “Over your heart,” I answer him in a whisper as I lift the flame. It catches quicker than I anticipate, blazing in a short burst and vanishing as my heart races.

Releasing my shock in a single breath I look to Jase whose eyes are wide with desire as his chest rises higher. “Again,” he commands in a deep groan. This time when I get closer to him, he grips my wrist holding the cloth out and tells me, “Use more and in a different spot. When it lights, press your body against mine and feel the aftershocks of the fire.”

He takes his time, moving my hair behind me and telling me to braid it and be careful. Playing with fire is something we’ve always been warned not to do, and maybe that’s why it’s so exciting.

I do as he says, wondering what type of pleasure or pain it’ll bring. I’m too slow the first time, too slow to feel anything but the heat of his chest where the reddened skin felt the kiss of fire. Still, with my body pressed against his and feeling the rumble of desire against his chest, it’s erotic, it’s forbidden and I want more of it.

“Fire needs fuel to stay alive. It has to breathe, but you can smother it. It needs to move, but you can deny it.” His words are mesmerizing, and the feel of dulled flames extinguished as I press my body against his is unlike anything I’ve felt before. It’s gone too fast.