Rising from the Ashes
Flame Kissed, 1
by Charity West
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, New Adult, Mainstream Romance
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Heat Level: 2
Kaycee Witherspoon barely escaped her last relationship with her life. Now that she has a fresh start in a new town, she feels like she can finally breathe. But is she relaxing her guard too soon? When she finds her tires slashed and her apartment broken into, she has to wonder if her past isn’t quite so far behind her.
Zarek O’Donnell doesn’t know much about the new assistant at his fire station except that her mesmerizing curves and bewitching smile have him under her spell. Even though she laughs easily and seems to light up around him, he can tell that there’s something darker haunting her. His protective side rises to the surface whenever she’s near, and he knows he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe.
When the lines of past and present begin to blur, there’s only one thing Kaycee knows. This time she might not escape. If she wants the new life she’s forged for herself, she’ll have to fight to keep it.
“You have to be exhausted after working until this morning and then dealing with my apartment this afternoon.” I nibbled my bottom lip. “What if I made dinner? I haven’t eaten yet, and I’m sure you haven’t either.”
“I have a better idea. Why don’t we order some pizzas and watch TV for a while? We can sit on the couch and just relax for the rest of the night. Put on PJs and kick back.”
I arched a brow. “You own pajamas?”
“Well, I own pajama pants. Does that count?”
Holy Jesus, was he seriously going to run around without a shirt? Because I wasn’t sure my hormones could handle it. The hint of muscle I could see through his t-shirts was enough to make me drool. I didn’t think I could handle bare skin. Although, it would be a nice distraction from my problems, as long as I could keep my hands to myself. I wasn’t going to make any promises, though. A shirtless Zarek might be too much temptation.
He smirked, and I realized I was staring like an idiot.
“You just pictured me shirtless, didn’t you?” he asked with laughter flashing in his eyes.
My cheeks flushed. “No. Of course not.”
His grin widened a little, and he shook his head, clearly not believing me.
“If you tell me what you want on your pizza, I’ll place the order while you get comfortable.”
“I knew you were anxious to get me out of my clothes.”
My whole face felt like it was on fire. Before I could embarrass myself further, I bolted from the room and went to get a drink from the kitchen. I’d made a fresh pitcher of sweet tea last night and hadn’t touched it yet. By the time I’d poured myself a glass and returned to the living room, I could hear the shower going. I set my glass down and went to change into a tank and sleep shorts. They were old and comfortable, but they showed enough skin to be considered sexy. Do I want Zarek to see me as sexy?
I’d thought we would be roommates, co-workers, and nothing more. But the more I got to know Zarek, the harder it was to resist him. I’d felt that instant spark when we’d met at work on Monday, and I had to wonder what that spark would feel like if our lips touched. Would I feel the zing all the way to my toes? Just being near him was enough to make me tingle with awareness. I thought about him in the shower and wondered if he was as sexy dripping wet as I imagined him to be. I gave myself a mental slap, changed into my pajamas, and then returned to the living room. I couldn’t order the pizza yet since Zarek hadn’t told me what he wanted on his. I hadn’t paid close attention at work when the crew had ordered enough pizza to feed a small army.
I heard the shower shut off, and a few minute later, he wandered into the room.
My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, and I nearly choked on my own spit as he sank onto the sofa next to me. Holy hell, he was hot as fuck! His broad chest was well-muscled and his abs … I nearly fanned myself. As I whipped around to face the TV, before I got caught staring, I absently wiped at my chin to make sure I hadn’t been drooling.
Evernight Publishing (discounted for a limited time)
Charity West is a young adult/new adult romance author who has always had her head in the clouds. She had her first crush when she was four, and it lasted for six years. Then she quickly fell head over heels for another boy, until she had to move away and leave him behind. Jumping from one boy to another, she finally found a keeper when she was twenty, and she’s been married to him ever since.
By the time Charity was twelve, she was sneaking her mother’s Harlequin romances and reading them in secret when she was supposed to be asleep. Teased throughout middle school and high school for the bodice ripper covers on the books she openly read in class, she knew that one day she wanted to write her own happily-ever-afters.