Read Ember Burns (The Seeker) Online

Authors: Ditter Kellen

Tags: #Mystery & Suspense

Ember Burns (The Seeker) (3 page)

BOOK: Ember Burns (The Seeker)
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She moved around him to hide her blush and opened the fridge.
I can think of one thing you can do for me
. “Thank you, I believe that was everything. Would you like a drink?” She held up a wine bottle for his inspection.

He nodded. “That would be great.”

“Have a seat. I can’t place the accent. Where are you from, and which condo is yours?” Ember laughed. “I’m sorry about all the questions. I’m a reporter; it’s my job.”

He sat on a stool across the bar and winked at her. “It’s okay. I’m from Bulgaria originally, and I just moved in next door.”

Her heart skipped a beat. They would be neighbors for at least a year if he signed a lease.

Several questions surfaced, but she resisted the urge to voice them. He wasn’t wearing a ring, which was the most important thing at the moment.

Ember had never been so attracted to a man before. It felt as if she’d known him forever. Something about him felt familiar. A dream she’d had recently flashed through her mind, but she shook it off. She couldn’t possibly have dreamed of a man she’d never met…or could she? Her palms began to sweat, and her face felt hot.
Damn. I need to get a grip.

“Your bag is buzzing.” He nodded in the direction of her purse.

It took a second to register what he’d said. She couldn’t look away from his eyes. They were such a unique color…reminding her of moss that hung from the many oak trees scattered around her parents’ yard.

She managed to break eye contact, which made speaking a little easier. “Would you mind getting it for me?” Ember busied herself pouring their drinks to keep from diving across the bar and ripping his shirt off.

Their fingers brushed when she handed him the drink, and heat traveled up her arm to settle in her heart.

There was no denying she was falling for a total stranger. She couldn’t even look at him without losing her breath. It went beyond want or need. Something shifted in her very soul.

Ember accepted the purse and dug out her cell. She took a sip of wine while checking the text message. It was from Laura.
Have to cancel. Take a rain check?

After a quick response to her friend that it was fine, she also sent a reply to the detective.
Sorry, Clay. Had a meeting. Call you tomorrow.

She set the phone aside and noticed Angel staring at her over the rim of his glass with a look that could only be described as hunger.

Clearing her throat, she asked. “Would you like some music?”

“That would be great.” His deeply accented voice did crazy things to her insides.

“Looks like I’ll be staying in tonight. Are you hungry?”

Something flickered in his eyes. “Am I keeping you from something?”

“Not at all. I was supposed to have dinner with a friend to celebrate my promotion, but she had to cancel.”

“Congratulations. What kind of promotion?”

Was that relief in his voice?

“I’m a reporter for the Lakeland Hedger. I just made lead photojournalist. What kind of music would you like?”

“Brains as well as beauty…and whatever you have is fine.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Music? I’m okay with anything you have.” She didn’t miss the twinkle in his eyes or the innuendo.

Ember laughed to cover her nervousness and strolled into the living room to search through her many CDs lined under the stereo. She selected the soundtrack to her favorite vampire movie.

His scent suddenly enveloped her, leaving no doubt he’d followed. She’d never been so attuned to another’s smell before…other than Alan’s breath, but that was on a whole different level. Angel’s incredible scent didn’t stop at her nose. It flowed through her body like lava, melting any resistance in its way.

“You have quite a collection. Vampires? I wouldn’t have pegged you for Team—”

A phone ringing cut off his words. “I have to go. I’m sorry.” Regret was evident in his voice.

He was almost to the kitchen before she’d turned completely around.

She wanted to run after him.
Yeah, desperation in its finest form.

He opened the door and glanced over his shoulder. “Your last name should be Burns.” It closed softly behind him.

Ember Burns?
She almost laughed at the play on words.

Chapter Three

Ember stripped out of her clothes and ventured back to the kitchen to finish her wine. She drank his also and picked up the bottle and her cell before heading to the bathroom.

Bright light nearly blinded her when she flipped the switch, and she blinked several times until her eyes adjusted to the invasion. She started the shower and stared at her reflection in the mirror. There was nothing unique about her body other than high, perky breasts. A narrow waist led to full hips and a slightly too plump rear.

Ember turned from her reflection to step into the shower and let the hot water soothe away the remnants of the day. With the complaint filed against her, the pictures showing up again, and a sexy Angel moving in next door, her emotions had taken one hell of a ride.

She really needed to talk to Laura about the day’s events. After a quick wash and rinse, she grabbed a towel from the rack and hurried out. The heavy terry cloth felt good against her skin. She dried quickly and dialed her friend.

“Hello?” Some of the tension left with the sound of Laura’s voice.

“Hi. You got a minute?”

“Yeah. Sorry I bailed on you, but Mom fell. She’s okay. They took her to the hospital for X-rays to be on the safe side.”

“Oh no. Just let me get dressed, and I’ll be on my way.”

“Don’t be silly. She’s fine. I’m heading up to check on her now. I’m sure they’ll release her tonight. What’s up?”

“It can wait. You have a lot on your mind right now. Call me when you know something.”

“Spill it, Em. I have a few minutes left of this drive; it’ll take my mind off things.”

Ember took a deep breath. “Do you believe in love at first sight?”

Laura laughed. “You really need to get laid.”

“No shit, but I’m serious.”

“Okay. Who are we talking about here? And, no, I don’t. Lust at first sight maybe, but love?”

“My new neighbor. I just met him an hour ago, but something happened between us, and my entire world tilted on its axis.”

“Wow, did you sleep with him?” Humor was still obvious in her voice.

“I’m totally not kidding here.”
Although I wish I were. How do you tell someone you may be in love with a stranger?
“I have never felt like this before. I know it’s crazy, but there it is.”

“What’s this phenomenon’s name?”

“Angelo. He goes by Angel. He’s really tall with dark hair and has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. Even his voice is hypnotic. And he smells so good, I could eat him with chopsticks.”

“Maybe he is an angel.”


“I’m teasing. Okay, so you think you fell in love with your neighbor. It’s probably just a healthy dose of chemistry. That happens sometimes. I’m sure it’ll fade after you sleep with him. How was his breath? Did you at least kiss him?” She was definitely fighting a chuckle.

“It was perfect. He got a call and had to leave suddenly so I didn’t get a chance.”

“It’s probably your hormones or lack of sexual activity.”

Ember finally laughed. No one could make a weird situation funny quite the way Laura could.

“You are so not right, but I love you for it. Hug your mom for me and please call as soon as you see her. I’ll worry.”

“I will, and I love you too.” There was a brief pause. “Okay, I’m here. Talk later.” The call disconnected.

Ember made her way to the bedroom with wine in one hand and phone in the other.
I have such an exciting life. Not.

By the time she was dressed and lotioned up, she’d almost finished the rest of the bottle. The slight alcohol buzz began to relax her.

Her cell rang with an unknown number.

“Hello?” Silence.

“Is anyone there?” She could hear breathing, then a click, and the line went dead.

An old, familiar fear came rushing back with anger right on its heels. “Fucking freak.”

Ember sat heavily on the edge of her bed and stared at the phone. Someone was playing mind games, and she’d be damned if she would allow them to rent space in her head.

With determination, she stood and made her way to the balcony for some much-needed air. She checked to make sure the porch light was off so she could sit in the shadows unseen. She felt fairly safe being on the second floor, but she wasn’t taking any chances.

The night was warm, and a gentle breeze blew in from the north, lifting her hair as the glass door slid silently open. She sat in one of the two chairs positioned around a small table, rested her head on the seat back, and let her eyes drift shut.

Almost immediately an image of the new janitor flashed through her mind with his emotionless stare.
There is something very Norman Bates about that guy
. Ember shivered with the memory of their encounter.

A deep voice sounded from nearby, startling her. Angelo had stepped out onto his balcony. Ember slid down in her seat to stay hidden behind a palm tree she’d placed there for privacy.

He talked with someone on the phone. She was about to get up and tiptoe inside when his next words stopped her. “I have to be careful. Yes, I know. I thought of that also, but she didn’t say anything about it, and I’m wondering if she’s even aware.”

He continued to speak, and Ember’s mouth went dry. She’d leaned forward a bit and caught sight of him pacing. He was wearing black boxer briefs and nothing else.

Yeah, he’s every woman’s fantasy
. His skin was smooth and tan with a light dusting of hair on his chest. Muscles rippled as he moved. Her gaze traveled down to abs that left her mouth dry.

He turned just then, and she got a good look at the ass she’d been lusting for earlier in the evening. Perfect was the only word to describe it.

She nearly slid out of her seat when he spun around to make another pass. His cock may as well have had a red bull’s-eye painted on it. Ember couldn’t look away. His sheer size amazed her, and her pussy clenched. She’d never wanted a man so much.
What would it be like to be taken by him?
She almost groaned aloud at the thought.

His cock suddenly twitched, and she jerked her attention to his face. He stared back at her with a heavy-lidded expression. She’d been busted again.
How the hell did he see me sitting in the dark?

Her cheeks heated instantly. Mortified, she jumped up and scrambled toward the door.

“Don’t go.” The softly spoken command released a flutter of butterflies in her stomach.

Ember froze. She couldn’t bring herself to turn and face him. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t eavesdropping. I—”

A hand touched her shoulder, effectively cut off her words.

She spun around, shocked that he’d moved so fast without her hearing his approach.

“No need to apologize…Ember Burns.” He stepped closer, and his scent surrounded her in an invisible caress that was quickly becoming addictive.

“That’s the second time you’ve called me that.” Her voice came out in a husky whisper.

“It fits you.”

His gaze lowered to her lips, and Ember stopped breathing. She felt his hands slide up the sides of her face. “I’ve wanted to do this all evening.”

His mouth covered her top lip with a gentle suction. She’d never felt anything so wonderful. Her eyes drifted shut, and she tilted her head back to give him better access.

He groaned and moved to the bottom lip, giving it the same attention before applying a gentle pressure, skimming his tongue along the seam.

Ember gripped his biceps to keep from crumbling at his feet. Her heart beat overtime, and she had to remind herself to breathe. The feel of his tongue inside her mouth coupled with his amazing scent left her dizzy.

The kiss suddenly ended, and Ember opened her eyes to find him staring back at her with a look of regret. “You taste better than I thought you would…and someone’s at your door.”

He moved away, and the loss of his touch left her cold. It took a second to realize what he meant. But how had he known? She was so caught up in his kiss she hadn’t heard the doorbell.

She turned to go with the intention of getting rid of her unwanted guest. “I’ll be right back.” She gave him an expectant look, hoping for assurance he’d wait, but he remained silent.

Ember left him on the balcony with reluctance and traded the towel she’d been wearing for a T-shirt she normally slept in. She pulled at the hem, making sure it was long enough to cover her girly parts, then rushed to the door. A look through the peephole told her it was the detective.
Damn it, Clay. Your timing sucks.

She opened the door with a quick glance back to make sure Angel hadn’t followed her inside in his underwear.

“Hi, Clay. How are you?” She managed a sincere smile. It really would have been good to see him in any other circumstance.

“Hi back. I’m good. May I come in?”

He looked so hopeful she couldn’t refuse him.
Maybe he won’t stay long if I play the tired card.

“Sure.” With reluctance, she waved him inside. “Have a seat. Would you like a drink?”

“I’m on duty, but I appreciate the offer.” He touched her hand as he moved around her.

She closed the door and followed him to the bar. “Make yourself at home. I’ll be right back. And I thought you got off work at eight tonight?”

“I did. I’m on call.” He seemed so at ease inside her home.

He made one hell of a picture, wearing jeans and a dark green polo shirt with a badge clipped on the side of his belt. He even smelled nice.
Not as good as the Greek god waiting on the balcony, but it works for him.

Ember shook off the thought and strode back to where she’d left Angel. He hadn’t moved.

“It’s Detective Harper. I won’t be long. Would you like to come inside and wait?” It took everything she had not to throw herself on him. She wanted to feel his mouth on her again so bad she could taste it.
Jesus, he’s like a drug.

“Is everything okay?” The softly spoken question was laced with something other than concern.

BOOK: Ember Burns (The Seeker)
2.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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