EMBER - Part Two (The EMBER Series Book 2)

BOOK: EMBER - Part Two (The EMBER Series Book 2)
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COPYRIGHT

 

First Original Edition, May 2015

Copyright © 2015 by Deborah Bladon

ISBN: 9781926440262

Cover Design by
Wolf & Eagle Media

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and situations either are the product of the author's imagination or are used factiously.

All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written consent from the author.

Chapter 1

 

"Bridget? I don't think she can hear me. She's not responding to me at all."

That's true. I can't deny it. I'm not responding to her voice at all. It has nothing to do with the fact that I was hit by a police car four weeks ago. It has everything to do with the fact that my mother has taken on a personal mission to point out how every decision I've made the past few months has contributed to the fact that I ended up on that street right in the path of that car.

I don't remember much about that night. I remember panicked cries, although I'm still not sure if they were coming from my body or not. The pain drowned everything out. It enveloped me and I couldn't pinpoint exactly where it began or where it ended. It was just there, unrelenting and vast.

Dane had been there, yelling at people to back away so no one would move me. I landed on the hood of the car, my scalp covered in a matted mess of my own hair, shattered glass and blood.

I lost consciousness for only a few minutes, which was both a blessing and a curse. My voice had gotten lost somewhere in my throat so the only way I was able to communicate with the first responders was by a nod of my head. They took that as a positive sign and when I was able to freely move my legs and arms there was a sense of relief that washed over Dane's face and the faces of the paramedics.

The police officer who was behind the wheel of the car that hit me was racing towards the scene of the emergency that had brought Dane and dozens of other firefighters to that block in SoHo. He had slowed the car as soon as he saw me dart onto the road but the impact was unavoidable. I had been lucky. That's what the doctors in the ER had told me over and over again.

I'd spent a week in the hospital recovering from three broken ribs, a fractured wrist, a concussion, and numerous small cuts on my scalp and face. In the days following the accident my thoughts were so muddled that I struggled to remember the first moments after my parents arrived at the hospital and the look on Zoe's face when she saw me on the stretcher. The dress she had bought for me was torn and stained. My bloody hand had reached for hers and without hesitation she had cradled it between her palms before pulling it to her chest. 

The night that I was supposed to introduce my drawings to the world ended in a way no one could have predicted but the outpouring of support from strangers had captivated the news media.

A bystander brought to that street by the barrage of fire trucks had captured an image with their smartphone of my body sprawled across the hood of the police car. My name was front page news. The real reason the fireman were all on that street was shadowed by the story of the burgeoning artist who had walked into the path of a police car. No one cared that three utility workers had become trapped in the basement of that building when they were working on the gas line. The old and rotted floor above them had collapsed on them. Thankfully they were all pulled to safety and brought to the same hospital as me.

Within days of the accident, all of the drawings I had displayed at the gallery space were purchased by people I've never met.  Zoe's husband, Beck, had taken it on himself to rummage through the box of drawings I kept hidden in my apartment. He'd framed many, taken them to the gallery and as quickly as he hung them, they sold.

As I recovered in a hospital bed surrounded by my parents, Zoe, Vanessa, and Dane, the dream I'd kept hidden within me, of being a recognized artist, had finally started to come true.

"Bridget." My mother steps closer and taps her fingers against my shoulder. "I need to talk to you."

When I'd told her and my father that I wanted to rest it was a thinly veiled attempt at garnering just a few minutes alone. My mother had made the unilateral decision to move in with me after I was released from the hospital. She's been staying in the second bedroom, although that's truly only when she's fast asleep. The rest of the time she's hovering and as much as I've needed and loved her help, it's time for her to go home. My father is here visiting this weekend and with any hope she'll be on the train with him when he leaves tonight.

"What is it?" I roll onto my right shoulder, taking care to keep my left hand out of harm's way. I've been wearing a cumbersome plaster cast since they set my wrist. I've become surprisingly adept at maneuvering my life around it.

"Your landlord was here earlier," she says as he pinches the bridge of her nose. It's a gesture I've seen countless times since I was a child. It's a physical sign of the emotional toll something is taking on her. I'm guessing that she's tiring of being my roomie as much as I am.

I push myself up so I'm resting on my right elbow. "What did he want?"

"Your lease is almost up." She leans her leg against the mattress. "I think you should move back to Connecticut with us."

I bite my lip to ward off the undeniable urge to list the myriad of reasons why that would be the worst possible decision of my life. I, instead, opt for logical over emotional. "I'm going to look for a new place this week. I can afford something better now."

"You can afford something better?" she parrots back as she sweeps her hand in the air. "This place is a dump and it costs a small fortune, Bridget. You can't afford to live in this city."

I actually can. I still have my job at the pub and even though I'm out of commission for the next few weeks, Elliott assured me, when he visited me last week with a bouquet of flowers in hand, that my job was there as soon as I was ready. Until then, the money that my drawings have brought in has given me a cushion in my savings account that I've never had before. "I'm staying here, mom. I don't want to go back."

"I've already talked to a friend back home and there's an available job for a program coordinator at a family center."

Not one word in her statement interests me in the least. I've long abandoned the notion that I'd use my degree to help others. If I do that, I'll be sacrificing my own happiness and goals. I'm finally starting to see some positive recognition for my work. Granted it might all be because I was run down by a police car, but it's not how you got there, it's more about what you do once you're there, right?

"I'm going to stay here and draw."

Her head darts to the left so she can look directly at me. I've seen the same look in her eyes before. When I was young I attributed it to her anger over the fact that I didn't complete my chores or I failed to get the grade she expected me to get on a test. Now that I'm older I see it for what it really is, concern.  "Bridget, you barely know him."

It's a conversation leap that might have been disorienting if not for the fact that she's brought up my relationship with Dane at least twice a day since I was released from the hospital. He's visited almost daily and each time he's been nothing but courteous and kind to her. She, on the other hand, has taken her time warming up to him.

"I want to be an artist, mom," I say genuinely, making a conscious decision to keep Dane's name out of this. "I have to stay here to build on the interest in my work. This is a turning point for me."

"You can do that back at home." Her voice is breathless. "I'm worried about you."

I'm twenty-three-years-old. If I'm going to forge ahead with a future for myself it has to start with pushing her to let me go. "Trust me, mom. I'm doing what I need to do."

Her bottom lip trembles and just as she's about to sit on the edge of the bed, my father appears in the doorway. "Bridget will be fine. We'll come back next month to see her. It's time to go."

 

Chapter 2

 

"I thought she'd never leave." Dane's arms are around me as soon as I close the door to my apartment. "I like your mom, but the woman should get a job as a bodyguard. She never left us alone."

She hadn’t. For the past three weeks my time with Dane has consisted of chaperoned visits in the living room of my place. My mother had grilled him with a barrage of questions about his youth, his family and his future career aspirations.

I'd intervened more than once to pull him from her overbearing clutches, but he'd held his own. He had answered each of her questions honestly. He'd assured her that he wasn't going to rush into anything with me and he'd actually pulled a smile onto her face when he brought her a blueberry bagel and a tea one morning after his shift. He had remembered her mentioning that a bakery on the Upper West Side made the best bagel she'd ever had and he went out of his way to hand deliver it. It was as much a surprise to me as it was to her.

"She's gone now." I scoop my casted arm behind his back. "I'm finally free."

He throws his head back in laughter and I glance up. Since the accident, his expression has volleyed between hope and concern. The night that I was hit, he had traveled in the ambulance with me to the hospital, holding tightly to my right hand. He had paced in the waiting room with my family and friends for word on my condition. Since then, he's come to visit me at least once a day. Even though the only intimacy we've shared the past few weeks has been hand holding and a few kisses, his presence has energized me in a way that nothing else could.

"How are you feeling?" He leans down to rest his forehead against mine. "Is your arm okay?"

I rub it gently over his back. "The doctor said I should have this thing removed in ten days and then I'll do some therapy. I'll be back to full strength in no time."

He shakes his head slightly. "You can't push it, Bridget. You have to let your body heal at the pace it wants to."

All my body really wants right now is to be nude in my bed with his. "I feel like the accident happened a lifetime ago. I have so many plans. I'm ready to get back out there."

"Not yet." His hands slide down my back to cup my jean covered ass. "Right now, you're not going anywhere. I've waited for weeks to get you alone."

"I'm all yours," I whisper as he glides his soft, supple lips over mine.

 

***

 

"I can't wait, Bridget." His breath flows over the back of my neck. "I want to taste you but I have to be inside of you."

I'm not going to say a thing. It's exactly what I want too. He'd carefully pulled the white t-shirt I had been wearing over my head before he knelt down to unzip my jeans and push them from my body. He'd taken not more than a minute longer to force my panties down. His lips had kissed a gentle path over my hip bone where a large bruise is finally fading. I'd heard his breath catch at the muted purple and yellow tones of it.

"I don't want to hurt you." His voice is low as his hands grip my waist. "Come and get on the bed. I want to see your face."

I let him take the lead, not because I'm not quaking from sheer want, but because I want to see his face too. I want to revel in the way his lips part when he's thrusting himself into me. I need to soak in the vision of his eyes closing when he feels me clenching around him as I find my release.

He holds my hand as he lowers me onto the bed. I watch in silence as he sheaths his thick cock in a condom. His labored breathing is the only sound in the space.

I move my legs as he drops his knee onto the mattress and I throw my left hand over my head when I feel his cock rub against my core.

"Bridget." My name flows from his lips within a muted moan as he grazes his long fingers over my folds. "You're so wet."

Each time he'd kissed me goodbye the past few weeks, my body had ached for him. I know that part of that is just the need that was borne from the intimate moments we've shared in this room before my accident, but there's more to it than that. When we're like this, on the cusp of sharing ourselves with one another, there's vulnerability within his eyes that I feel inside of me too. I've had lovers in the past that fulfilled me in a physical way but I've never connected with a man on any emotional level during sex. It's new for me, and as much as I crave the taste and feel of Dane's body, I want that emotional connection just as much.

"I want..." my voice trails as he leans back to draw the head of his cock over my clit.

"You want me to fuck you," he growls.

My legs fall open even more from the sheer weight of my body's need. I don't want to mask what I'm feeling. I just want him.

He inches forward, leans down to cover my mouth with his lips and pushes inside of me with one, painful, powerful stroke.

I lift my ass off the bed, bite his bottom lip and give in to the pleasure only this man can give me.

 

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