Burn Me Once - Page 5

‘I know that your eyes show me everything you’re feeling and that your skin is like salt-water pearls.’

My laugh is a hoarse sound in the swirling atmosphere of need. ‘That’s all very cheesy.’

It’s not. It’s really not. Maybe it’s the fact he writes and sings some of the most famous love songs of all time, but he can totally pull this off. This guy, and this guy alone, can make those lines sound like they’re being spoken for the first time ever.

His laugh answers mine, and I’m smiling even as I want to acquiesce to his flirtation and do as he bids—live dangerously.

‘Even if it’s true?’

My breath catches in my throat and I look away—straight into the curious eyes of a woman a few feet away. She’s studying us and her cell phone is in her hand.

Strange how quickly I have forgotten that Ethan Ash is a celebrity. Heat spreads through my cheeks and he follows my gaze, quickly assessing the reason for it. Now he touches me with more urgency, placing a hand in the small of my back and leading me further down the street.


‘So what?’

I toss a look over my shoulder. The woman is still there, cell phone still in hand. Busybody! I guess this is par for the course for him, but I can’t imagine that. Being watched and observed all the time. Having people think they have a right to pry into your life, crack the lid off it whenever it suits them. No thanks.

‘Want to take a walk on the wild side?’

‘I...’ My footing stumbles a little as my eyes skid to his and all sense of gravity and order tips off balance. ‘I’m not sure.’

I look away.

‘How about we start with your name and you can make your mind up over a quiet drink?’


I’m struck dumb. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me in my whole life. Acknowledging that brings a smile to my face.

‘I think I’d like that.’

His smile shines bright light and heat into every microscopic corner of my world.

‘Then let’s get going.’


WE’RE SHEPHERDED INTO the obviously incredibly exclusive bar with a degree of fanfare that might make even the Queen of England envious. At the bar around the corner from our flat, with its neon lights and pumping songs, it was easy to miss the degree of Ethan Ash’s celebrity. Not to ignore the fact that he’s unique and different and special, but that these are qualities he has independent of his fame.

Here the deference is marked and reverent, his celebrity obvious and noteworthy. He is treated like the Second Coming, and some of that glory deflects nicely on to me, as his obvious companion.

And it is obvious. He kept his hand in the small of my back the whole way here, and he stays close by me as we weave our way through the establishment. I like him being close.

Close enough that I can smell his fragrance and enjoy his warmth.

Close enough that I can slip into the fantasy of what it would be like—will be like?—to touch his body all over. To kiss him. To taste him.

I stifle a groan, dipping my head forward to hide the liquid desire that is taking over my body. Desire is unexpected and yet it is welcome. After Jeremy I wasn’t sure I’d ever feel it again.


He nods towards a cosy booth seat and every cell in my body ratchets up with awareness. Of him, of me, of the intimacy of that booth.

I nod slowly, then slide in ahead of him. ‘Do you come here often?’

He shakes his head. ‘Nah, not really my scene.’

‘That’s interesting. It’s very much my scene.’ I wink at him. ‘At least more so than the place we were in before.’

‘Yeah, you were a bit of a fish out of water there.’

‘Really?’ I wrinkle my nose. ‘Why do you say that?’

He shrugs. ‘Gin and tonic?’

It takes me a second to realise he’s asking me a question—what kind of drink I want. A second longer to realise that he knows my regular drink.

‘How did you...?’

‘You ordered it right in front of me.’

‘I also ordered a Prosecco and a vodka gimlet.’

‘But you gave those to your friends.’

The certainty that he’s been watching me oozes pleasure over my skin. I think he knows, because his smile hints at the same kind of pleasure reverberating inside him. Heat is a burst between us.

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