Burn Me Once - Page 35

Then, as if reading my mind, she blinks and looks away, withdrawing herself from me.

‘That’s it.’ Her voice is gravelled.

I can’t take my eyes off her face immediately, but she lifts a finger and points and I am drawn to the gesture. I follow the direction until my eyes land on a portrait across the room.

It is of a woman with pale skin and rust-coloured hair. It’s painted in profile and there’s an enigmatic twist to her lips that prompts curiosity. I reach for Ally’s hand, still outstretched, and move us towards the picture.

‘Your favourite?’

‘Yeah.’ The admission is softly spoken.

I look down at her; she’s blushing. Is she annoyed with me?

Objectively, Ally is stunning. Always. But when her face flushes with colour she glows with all the warmth in the world and she is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Even in the midst of this art she is...intriguing. A mix of intelligence, maturity and vulnerability.

An ache spreads through me, pervasive and hungry. There are too many people around for me to do what I want—to wrap her in my arms and kiss her as though my literal survival depends upon it.

‘Why?’

She bites down on her lip and her eyes flick first to me and then away. ‘Oh, I just really like it.’

She pushes the conversation away with tangible determination.

‘They’re going to be closing soon. We should go.’

CHAPTER NINE

I FEEL AS THOUGH the lift isn’t moving.

Ethan is beside me, and we are being pulled upwards by cables and knots, but I need him. I need him to fuck me. Not to tell me I’m beautiful. Not to wander through the MoMA with me, looking at pictures and listening to me explain them.

That’s breaking the rules!

What the hell were we thinking?

We have to fuck, and now, to remind us both of all the things we want from this—and all the things we don’t.

When the doors finally open I can’t help but groan my relief. He grins at me and wraps an arm around my waist, pulling me into his side, leading me down the corridor towards his room. The second we are inside I launch myself at him, holding him tighter, seeking his mouth.

He seeks mine back. Our need is mutual. Urgent. Inflammatory.

‘Fuuuuck.’ He rips himself away and stares at me like he’s trying to make sense of this, of me, of our need. ‘Fuck.’ He shakes his head. ‘What the hell are you doing to me?’

I don’t want to talk. Even about sex and our insatiable need for it. I push myself against him, kissing him, pushing at his shirt, and he answers in kind, lifting my dress over my ass, higher, breaking the kiss just enough to undress me completely.

His fingers are demanding as they slide into the waistband of my underpants, pushing down, curving around my ass, and then he lifts me easily, as though I weigh nothing. He lifts me, and I wrap my legs around his waist, and his kiss is warming me up from inside. He lies me on the sofa but stays on top of me, and his kiss, the weight of his body, the roll of his hips—it is everything.

I arch my back, seeking him, needing him, but there are too many clothes in the way.

‘Need...’ I whimper, snapping his belt open and pulling it out of his jeans.

He reaches down and undoes his button and zip and kicks his legs out of the pants, barely breaking our kiss. His lips move over mine. His tongue is daring me, daring mine, taunting me, making me forget all my reasons for keeping this light. Making me want more, want to beg him to stay in my life in some capacity even when I know that temporary is all we are—all that makes sense.

Also all I should want.

I run my fingers up his back and he grunts; I think he swears but the ringing bell of desire is all I can hear. And our own urgent breaths, tangling together, the sound of the impatient passion that defines us.

He hums in my ear, and I make a sound a bit like a moan. He is so sexy—his voice so beautiful, so raw, so famous. It hits me then, for the first time, that I’m sleeping with a celebrity. Someone so famous that everyone in the world must know who he is.

And I pull back a little—just enough to see his face, to look into his eyes.

Fuck. What am I doing?

My heart trips over a little, thumping hard against my ribs, and my stomach swirls with emotions I don’t even want to think about analysing. Recognition pulses through me. Why has it taken me so long to realise that he’s not just Ethan? To remember that he’s Ethan Ash, superstar?

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