Page 9 of Wicked Burn

How fair was it to her little boy that her most significant memory of him was his utterly meaningless, shockingly abrupt death?

But beyond that, Anne’s words hit a little too close to what she’d been thinking recently, ever since she’d blazed to vibrant life beneath the touch of a complete stranger twelve days ago, ever since she’d remembered what it meant to be alive. It was a little difficult to go back to the routine of a robot once you’d been awakened to the wonders of the flesh.

You’ve got a hot little pussy, but you’re teasing me with it, aren’t you, Niall?

Niall squeezed her eyes shut briefly to chase away the memory. A shiver ran down her spine. Even the recollection of his raspy whisper had a potent effect on her. She kept thinking it would fade, but no . . .

It seemed, in fact, that the memory of that wild, carnal tryst only grew stronger as the days passed.


She hadn’t seen him since that night. He’d told her that he left for his farm in downstate Illinois on Fridays, and it had been Thursday night when he’d . . . done what he’d done to her. She wasn’t quite sure how to describe what that was, exactly. Fucked her, consumed her, burned her to life? Niall thought desperately.

She had left for Tokyo for a planned weeklong business trip last Sunday night and just returned yesterday. Had he tried to contact her? And if he had, exactly what would she have done?

She wasn’t any closer to knowing the answer to that than she was to comprehending precisely what had happened to her that night in Vic’s apartment.

Surely it was a moot point, anyway. He was the one who had practically thrown her out of his place while she’d been lying spread-eagled in his hallway.

You should go.

That was it. Nothing else. Not a touch, not a word. Not even a glance, despite the fact that his mouth and nose had glistened wetly with the juices from her pussy.

“Honey, are you okay?” Anne asked anxiously, alarmed by the two spots of brilliant color that suddenly bloomed in Niall’s otherwise pale cheeks.

“I’m fine . . . really,” Niall replied. She smiled at her friend reassuringly as she tried to gain a semblance of control. For a second, she’d been lost in the incredibly erotic memories—shadows of images and sensations that she’d tried to bring to life again and again with her silver bullet vibrator. The little gizmo had gotten more of a workout in the last week and a half than in the first two years that she’d owned it.

Anne must have misunderstood the dazed expression on Niall’s face. “I’m sorry. I know I just stress you out more by bringing up the subject, but I worry about you.”

Niall laughed abruptly.

“What?” Anne asked, surprised by the sound of Niall’s laughter.

“Do you know what I would give sometimes to have it so that people didn’t feel like they needed to say that to me?” She smiled and reassuringly grabbed Anne’s hand when she saw her crestfallen expression. “I know you’re concerned about me because you care. I love you for that. But I’m fine. Really.” She thumped the older woman’s hand teasingly on the tablecloth until she saw her smile.

“Why don’t you tell me about that new dormitory the Institute is planning on Randolph Street? That’s going to cost a bundle, the way the Theater District has built up in Chicago, isn’t it?” Niall asked engagingly as she stabbed her salad with her fork.

Anne sighed. By this time she was very familiar with her friend’s sidesteps in conversation. But she let herself be sidetracked, knowing how much Niall needed a relaxing evening.

By the time Niall had finished a cup of decaf cappuccino and Anne had polished off a creamy slice of tiramisu, both of them were much less uptight and discussing in a semiserious manner where they should take a vacation together the following year. They agreed on Italy, but Anne thought Rome and Florence would be ideal, while Niall was more in the mood for a sunny, sleepy getaway in Tuscany.

“Tuscany,” Anne snorted. “We’d be much better off staying in Chicago in regard to the supply of men. Which—” She suddenly stopped and blinked twice as she stared past Niall’s right shoulder. “Oh, my, get a handle on the hormones . . . speaking of men . . .”

Niall laughed. “I hadn’t realized we were.”

Anne ignored her. She took a quick drink of her ice water, as though her mouth had just gone dry.

“I’ll be damned if Vic Savian himself isn’t staring at the back of your head right now like he thought he just discovered the secret of the universe in your hair.”

“Vic . . . Savian?” Niall asked slowly.

Anne set down her water glass and averted her eyes for a second before she glanced back surreptitiously to the bar.

“Sure, Vic Savian. The playwright?” she muttered under her breath. “The Hesse Theater—not to mention Chicago—scored a real coup by signing him on as the director and resident playwright. He’s won the Pulitzer several times, not to mention dozens of other awards. But the man hates New York. Genuine article of the West, you know. It’s a miracle he agreed to live this far east.” Her expression shifted subtly, as if she’d just put two and two together. “Oh, and the first play they’re doing is one of his. It opens next week. It’s been in all the papers. One of the professors in the Theater Department has been working with an assistant of Savian’s to get a program going where a few students can help out on the set, get some good experience in the trenches. Of course, he had to especially encourage the boys to apply, since the girls immediately filled up the roster. Vic Savian is one hell of a sexy beast.”