Burn Me Once - Page 21

But a whole townhouse—no, two? He pushes the door open and we’re right in a construction site. There are tins of paint, ladders, and yellow tape, presumably indicating ‘no-go’ areas.

‘You’re joining the two together?’

Excitement swarms through me. The cost of the real estate alone, and then these extensive renovations, indicate that Mr. Heynes has considerable finances at his disposal.

I take on many projects, for clients with varying degrees of wealth, but by far the most fun to work with are the couples or clients who are seriously loaded. Who let me go to town on assembling an art collection worthy of a world-class gallery. I suspect Mr. Heynes might just be one of them.

‘This way, please.’

I fall into step beside him, breathing in the architectural beauty of the building as we go. I note with pleasure that someone has chosen to keep all the original features. Deco ceiling roses are in a state of restoration, so too the fancy balustrade that borders the stairs. We move deeper into the townhouse and the natural light that floods in from the back garden is exquisite. A grey day it might be, but this garden is both a sun-catcher and a green oasis in the middle of New York City.

A movement in the corner catches my eye and I’m drawn to it instinctively. Another man, sitting in a folding director’s chair, stands up.

It takes my mind longer than my body to recognise who it is.

My body knows straight away, of course, as proved by the way my nipples strain against the fabric of my shirt, and the way all of me pulses with need. Memories of our night together flood my brain and desire is instantly, obviously heavy in the room.

Ethan Ash stares back at me, a sexy smile on his face, like he’s waiting for me to speak. Or to jump him.


‘ETHAN...?’ THE WORD is an exhalation. A query, yes, but also a soft, muted groan.

He’s wearing jeans again. The same ones he was wearing the day I left? Saturday? Four days ago? Is that all? But he’s teamed them with a simple blue and white button-down shirt, the sleeves pushed up to reveal his tanned forearms, and he’s got simple Nikes on his feet—nice shoes, but I miss his sexy bare feet instantly. His hair is in disarray, reminding me forcibly of how it looked after I’d run my fingers through it.

‘Thank you, Grayson.’

The man I met outside nods. ‘I’ll be out front.’

I turn to face Mr. Heynes, but he’s already disappearing back down the hallway we walked together.

‘My bodyguard,’ Ethan says, with a grin that is instantly disarming.

Usually I’d have something pithy to say in response to that, but I’m blindsided. Blindsided by the fact that I’m staring at the man I had the best sex of my life with—whom I thought I’d never see again. I thank the fashion gods that I chose to wear my favourite black jersey dress today, teamed with sky-high Louboutins and a chunky gold necklace. It’s an outfit that always leaves me feeling confident.

I haven’t said anything in a really long time, and his smile has turned into a frown. A little line has dug its way between his thick brows.

I look away quickly, needing to gather my wits—urgently. ‘What are you doing here?’

‘It’s my place,’ he says simply, as though that explains everything.

I expel a sigh of frustration. ‘That’s not what I mean.’

‘I know.’ He moves towards me and the vibrations that are affecting me on a cellular level intensify sharply. My stomach swoops.


‘How did you get my number?’

He doesn’t look the slightest bit ashamed. ‘I looked on the internet for art advisors with long red hair and hypnotic eyes. You were right there.’

I cross my arms over my chest, tapping my fingers at my elbows disapprovingly.

‘You have an excellent reputation, Alicia.’

I arch a brow, ignoring the way his praise makes something pleasant spread through me. ‘Why am I here?’

He stops right in front of me, so close that I can see all the flecks of black in his ocean-green eyes. ‘I have a proposition for you. Two, actually.’

‘A proposition?’

‘Two.’ He nods towards the garden, and for the first time I see a little table has been set up there. ‘Have lunch with me.’

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