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Authors: Rebecca Yarros

Ignite (Legacy) (7 page)

BOOK: Ignite (Legacy)
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* * *

F
ive hours later
, I’d fed her twice, showed her some of my favorite spots around town, and even walked her into the newspaper office.

Old Mr. Buchanan was still in charge, but he told her he was looking for a new reporter/editor/graphic designer.

“Small-town life,” I said to her as we walked back to the Jeep Knox had lent us from the crew’s new garage. The thing was brand new, and the weather was perfect for keeping the top off.

“I love it,” she said, dropping her sunglasses down as she buckled in to the passenger side. “And thank you for driving by the high school. Addy wanted pictures.”

“My pleasure,” I told her as we pulled out onto the main street. “How is she doing?”

“She says Aunt Dawn has everything under control. Then again, I’m pretty sure if the house was burning down she wouldn’t tell me right now.”

“She knows you need the break,” I said. “Where’s the next house?”

She gripped the paper tightly as the wind rustled it. “Six-fifteen Pine Ave.”

I entered it into the GPS and we turned left, heading for the edge of town. “I’m not sure where that is.”

“Has a lot changed since you left?”

“There’s more here. They’d finished a lot of the rebuild before I left for Alaska, but there’s been some growth, too. I bet we’re up to four thousand people by now.”

“It’s beautiful,” she said, her eyes on the mountains around us as we left the town limits.

“What did you think about the first six houses we saw?”

“They’re nice. Not exactly what I picture you in—us in,” she corrected. “A little trendy, a little too close to each other.”

“Agreed. I want an easy commute to the clubhouse, but I think Alaska spoiled me. I like being away from people.”

“You’ve gone savage,” she joked.

“Just a little wild,” I countered.

We followed the road deeper into the mountains until we were a good three miles outside of town. “Pine,” I said, turning onto a dirt road.

“Much more your speed,” she joked, reaching over to rub the back of my neck.

The road took us another mile before a house appeared on the left side of the road. “Wow,” Avery sighed.

Wow, indeed.
We made our way up the lengthy driveway and parked. It was log-cabin style, similar to my house back in Alaska but bigger.

“He said it was new construction,” I told her as we got out of the Jeep. “Landscaping isn’t finished.”

She looked around the front yard. “You’d have to put in some beds there. I could plant some gorgeous flowers. The tall kind that would bring color up to the porch level.”

I intertwined our fingers as we took the steps up to the porch. “Rocking chairs?” I asked.

She shook her head. “A swing.”

“A swing,” I agreed as I punched the code into the lock box. It popped open and I turned the handle. Then, before I could stop to think, I swung Avery up into my arms, her weight slight against my chest.

“River!” She laughed. “We’re not married.”

“Pretend, remember?”

She looped her arms around my neck as I carried her inside. “Wow,” she said.

“You already said that,” I told her as we both took it in.

“I might say it about twelve more times.”

The entry and great room were open to the second floor, where there was a walkway that connected one suite of rooms to the others above us. There were more windows than walls, all looking out over the mountain range and forest.

“It’s like we’re the only ones on the planet,” she said as I set her down. We walked over the hardwood floors of what was staged as the living room, to take in the views from the windows and sliding door to the deck.

“Want to explore?”

She nodded in excitement and took off. As was par for the course in my life, all I could do was follow her.

There was a gourmet kitchen with full appliances, a dining room, a full, finished walk-out basement, and that was before we headed upstairs. The entire house had been staged to sell, and even though the furniture wasn’t exactly my style, the space was.

“Wow,” Avery said again as we walked into the master bedroom. It was separated from the other three by the bridge we’d passed under downstairs. There was a bed against the far wall, two walk-in closets, a giant master bath, and an entire wall of windows that looked over the mountains, mirroring the downstairs. A door led out to a private balcony, and we stepped onto it, both leaning against the railing that held us three stories up.

“I’ve never seen something so beautiful,” she said, tucking the stray strands of her topknot behind her ears.

“Me either,” I said, never looking away from her. She was still my Avery, but here, she felt freer, less burdened. I couldn’t help but wonder how she would bloom if she were allowed the freedom to define who she was without others telling her.

“I can see it,” she said softly, turning to face me.

“See what?” I was desperate to know how she envisioned life, what this house, this place looked like through her eyes, because all I saw was her.

“I can see living here. I could work at the newspaper office, and Addy could go to the high school. I see the fresh start as clearly as I can smell the new paint, and it’s…”

“Scary?” I offered.

“Beautiful. It’s such a beautiful picture. I can see you here, cooking in that kitchen, waking me up in the mornings with soft kisses.”

“That’s exactly what I want,” I said.

“This house is you. You should take it.” Her profile was framed by the sun-kissed strands of blonde in the afternoon light as she looked out over the sizeable backyard that ended in forest—trees and the mountains I loved almost as much as I loved her.

“This house could be us,” I said, taking her hand. “I want you here, sleeping in that bedroom. Kissing me in the kitchen, racked out on the couch while we binge-watch something awful on Netflix. I want to explore these mountains with you, talk to you, laugh with you, make love to you.” I brought her fingers to my mouth, kissing each one as her lips parted. “I want to make a life with you here. It’s not just about leaving my best friend behind, it’s about what we have between us—what we can be if we just give this a chance.”

My chest tightened as I waited for her to respond, her eyes moving between mine and the landscape. I’d been so careful with her these last seven years, cautious with my feelings and how much I let her know. But laying it all out on the line was both freeing and terrifying.

I’d rather be at a fire. At least those were the flames I knew how to battle—Avery I’d just let burn me if she wanted.

“It’s a beautiful dream,” she said softly.

“It can be reality.”
Don’t give up, Avery.

She sighed. “And Addy?”

“You are under no obligation to live with me. You know that. But there’s plenty of room here. I want nothing more than to wake up next to you every day, and the bedroom down the hall on the left has a great view that I think she’d like.”

Her eyes swam with tears. “You’d do that? Live with Adeline?”

“Adeline is pretty much my little sister, too. I have no problem helping you raise her. You’ve done a damn good job already, and I’d love to ease some of that. Besides, the room at the end is a three-story drop, so it’s the hardest for a boy to sneak in.”

She laughed, two tears racing down her face. “I don’t know what to say.”

I brushed the tears away with my thumbs. “Say yes. Say you’ll make the crazy choice to come with me. Say you’ll jump with me. For once, let’s do something reckless.”

“How can you be so sure we’d work out?”

The fear in her eyes might have given me pause if not for that tiny glimmer of hope I saw there, and that was what I latched onto. “Because you’re already my longest relationship. You’ve always been the woman I’ve put before everyone else. I would never hurt you, never betray you, never stray from your body if I knew you felt the same.”

“How do you feel?” she whispered, opening the door I’d done my damndest to keep shut all these years.

“Avery, don’t you realize that I’m completely, madly, whole-heartedly in love with you?” I didn’t wait for her answer, simply sealed my mouth over hers and showed her that I meant every single word.

8
Avery

H
is tongue consumed
my mouth the way his words invaded my soul—completely and without apology.

His confession had done what I thought was impossible and brought down every last one of my defenses against him. This wasn’t some fling—this was River.
My
River.

God, could the man kiss. It was a blatant, carnal exploration that had me arching against him, reaching for his head to hold him closer. He grasped me under my ass, lifting me easily, and my legs wrapped around his waist.

He brought us into the bedroom and headed for the massive four-poster bed that took up the center of the room, never once breaking the kiss or pausing. He lowered us to the mattress, and my senses ignited. The feel of the fur coverlet beneath me combined with River’s taste, his scent, the weight of him as he rested between my thighs all merged together to awaken every nerve ending. The need that had pulsed in me that morning came back tenfold, demanding appeasement.

He kissed me deeper, with care and carefully checked passion. I felt his restraint in the tension of his arms, the flex of his fingers. He wanted me, but he wasn’t going to do anything I wasn’t fully ready for. The knowledge was heady, relaxing and inflaming all in the same moment because I knew he would give me whatever I wanted.

And he loved me.

Sweetness filled my chest and expanded outward, lingering in my limbs until his hands stroked up my rib cage, and then desire overpowered it.

I stretched my arms above my head, silently urging him to take off my shirt.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“I want your hands on me,” I whispered against his mouth, gently tugging on his lower lip with my teeth. “Here. Now.”

This would be his home. I had zero doubt. For this moment, it was mine, too, because he was here. No matter what happened with us in the coming months, I wanted this with him. I wanted him to have a piece of me here even if it was only in memory.

My blue shirt came off with little fuss, and then River sucked in his breath. “Incredible,” he whispered as he framed my lace-cupped breasts with his hands. His mouth collided with mine, a new edge taking over.

His thumbs grazed my hardened nipples through the lace, and I pushed into his hands, needing more.

His hand slipped beneath my back as I arched, and with a simple flick of his fingers, my bra was undone. With a motion of my arms, it found its way to the floor, and then his mouth was on me, drawing my nipple into his mouth.

“River!” I cried out as he worked the sensitive flesh. My thighs restlessly rubbed against him. I’d never been so turned on from a few touches, never been so desperate to get a man naked before…but I’d never been with River.

“Off,” I demanded, yanking the fabric of his shirt.

He sat back on his heels with a wicked grin. “Your wish is my command,” he said, gathering the shirt by the neck and pulling it off in one smooth motion.

My brain didn’t have words for him—for the cut of his muscles, the deep tan of his warm skin, the desire darkening his eyes. He was the definition of sex, and for right now he was mine.

I kicked off my flip-flops as he stretched out over me again, leaning his weight to the side so he didn’t crush me. “You are exquisite,” he said, running his mouth along the underside of my jaw.

Chills raced down my body, my hips rocking involuntarily.

“So fucking sexy and finally
mine
.” His words echoed my thoughts as he kissed me again, robbing me of every thought beyond his body and the magic he spun around mine. If I was this lost after a few kisses, how would I feel when he—

“River!” I gasped as his fingers slid past the waistband of my shorts.

“Tell me no,” he whispered as those fingers reached my panties.

“But then you’d stop,” I said, my hips moving to meet him.

“That is the rule, yes.”

His hand paused just above where I needed him the most, where a dull throb had begun.

“Don’t stop,” I told him as my hands threaded through his hair. I loved the silky texture, the way it slid through my fingers.

“Avery.” My name was a prayer on his lips as his fingers parted me and brushed my clit.

I cried out, my hips moving, my back arching, my fingers tightening their hold.

His breath stuttered in his chest. “God, if you only knew how many times I fantasized about this.” He circled my clit again, then lightly rolled it.

I whimpered and kissed him as one of my hands dug into the muscles of his shoulder. “How does it live up to the fantasy?” I asked, barely able to hold on to a thought as he pressed down on me. Pleasure shot through me like electricity, tension coiling in my belly. The space was almost too tight, but he slid one finger inside me and my back came off the bed.

“There’s no comparison. You’re hotter, wetter…” He slipped his hand free of my shorts, then—
holy shit
—licked the finger he’d had inside me. “Sweeter than I ever imagined.”

“More.” It was the only word I could say because it was the only thing I wanted. I’d had sex before—I wasn’t a nun—but I’d never felt this driving need, this utter desperation for someone.

He kissed his way down my stomach, then flicked open the button of my shorts and slid them over my ass and down my legs. “These have to go, too,” he said, and my panties followed.

There was no shyness, no awkwardness as he looked me over like he needed to memorize this moment. The need in his eyes was enough to make me feel like a wanton goddess. His hands started at my breasts, squeezing with just the right amount of pressure, then slid down my curves, over the seam of my thighs until they reached under my ass.

He didn’t look away as he brought his mouth to my core. I screamed as he licked me, sucked at me, made love to me with his fingers and then his tongue. My mind lost all control of my body as he worshipped me. I rocked against his face, loving the scrape of his stubble against my inner thighs. My hands fisted in the sheets, then his hair, anything I could grip onto as I shamelessly reveled in every sensation skyrocketing through me.

He laved at me until my body grew so tense that I could barely stand it, my need for release pounding at me. It was so damn good, the pleasure nearly unbearable until I fractured into a thousand pieces of light, his name the only word on my tongue.

His lips made their way up my body, over my navel, between my breasts, until they found mine with a surprisingly tender kiss. “God, I love that,” he moaned.

“Which part?” My smile was weak as I struggled to find my breath.

“All of it. Your reactions, your taste, the way you say my name. God, especially that.”

“River,” I whispered and kissed his neck.

He groaned. “Yeah, that.”

“River,” I said again, my hands exploring the glorious muscles of his back. His skin felt like warm satin draped over knotted steel. He gasped as my fingers traced the fuck-me lines that led to his shorts. “Take these off.”

A few quick motions and he was naked, his erection hot and heavy where it rested along my thigh.

“Are you sure?” he asked, looking deeply into my eyes, his thumb stroking over my lower lip.

“Yes. I want you to be mine,” I answered, then kissed his thumb.

“I’m already yours in every possible way.” He kissed me, reigniting the flame I was sure my orgasm had doused.

A tear of foil, and we were protected.

He picked me up easily, flipping us so that I straddled his thighs as he sat. He gave me the precious gift of control, and I reveled in the ability I had to drive him wild. I ran my hand along his length, wishing I’d taken the time earlier to taste him.

He cradled my face in his hands as I raised up on my knees and guided him to my entrance. Eyes locked, breaths ragged, hearts hammering, I lowered myself slowly, taking him inside me inch by exquisite inch. He swallowed my cry with a deep kiss, and we were joined in every possible way. My flesh stretched to accommodate him, and he was utterly still as I adjusted to him.

But then still wasn’t enough. Not when he was this full, this hard inside me.

His hands kneaded my hips as I began to move, his grip digging into my flesh as I rode him. “You feel. So. Perfect,” I said between glides.

“We,” he corrected, kissing my neck. “
We
feel perfect.”

And we were. It didn’t feel like sex—more like fulfilling the union our bodies demanded because our souls had always had it. The lines of his face grew taut as he concentrated on our movements, sweat making our skin slippery as we rocked against each other, pleasure streaking through me with each motion.

His hand shifted from my thigh to strum his thumb over my clit, the nerves hypersensitive. “You don’t…” I gasped as he pressed, then circled again. I tried to gather my thoughts to speak again. “You don’t have to…I don’t think I can…”

“Yes you can,” he said, his breath warm in my ear. His free hand reached for my ponytail, wrapping it around as he gently tugged my head back. His mouth attacked my neck, licking and sucking every sensitive place. “I have seven years of fantasies, Avery. Seven years of imagining the way you’d scream my name, how tight you’d grip me as I slid into you. Seven years of waiting to feel you come around me. I have more than enough to get you there again.”

I groaned, already feeling that tension starting to ravel. He shifted our angle so he could stroke deeper, our bodies undulating in perfect rhythm. It was as if we’d been making love for years, already so in tune, in sync.

“I love you.” He groaned. “I’m never going to get enough of this—never going to get enough of you.”

Yes, more.
I moved faster, until my world was a blur of sensation and River—his breath, his body, his scent, his heart. My orgasm built until I was ready to splinter. “River,” I begged.

“Yes,” he hissed, then brought his mouth to mine. A few deft movements of his fingers and I came apart, my cry swallowed by his kiss.

The moment I started to sag over him, he turned, putting me on my back. Our kiss deep, he drove into me, pounding out a rhythm that had me keening, my orgasm kicking back aftershocks.

He yelled my name as he came, his muscles straining above me, and through the haze of my pleasure I could think of nothing more than how beautiful he was.

A salty kiss later, he collapsed, rolling us to the side.

Our breathing was ragged as we stared at each other. “I think we might be pretty good at that,” I said.

He grinned, and my heart clenched, screaming out an emotion I couldn’t—wouldn’t—name.

“Yeah, but I think there might be room for improvement with practice.”

“Lots of practice,” I nodded.

“As much as you can handle,” he promised, kissing my nose. Then all traces of laughter faded. “That was… I don’t have words for it. Perfect isn’t enough.”

Earth shattering. Mind blowing.
“Perfect is just about right.”

He kissed me, holding me like I was infinitely precious to him.

“Hello? River?” A female voice came from downstairs.

We scrambled for clothes, throwing them on while he called out, “Just a minute!”

I tripped trying to put on my flip-flop, River barely catching me before I tumbled to the ground.

“All I wanted was—”

“Perfection,” I said, kissing him lightly once we were right. “We’ve got it. Now let’s see who that is.”

We walked hand-in-hand down the stairs to find a petite, curvy blonde in the kitchen examining the refrigerator. She turned when she heard us, her green eyes wide with joy. “Oh my God!”

“Harper?” River asked.

By the way she jumped into his hug, I guessed she was.

He set her down and she turned to me, enveloping me in the same warm hug. “You must be Avery!” She pulled back and smiled. “Bishop said you two are pretty much fated for the diner wall. I’m Harper. Ryker’s sister.”

“Diner wall?” I asked as River slid me under his arm. “Ryker?”

River kissed the top of my head. “You haven’t met Ryker yet. He’s on a fire with Bash right now. They’re Bishop’s age, but I graduated with Harper. And the town has a little tradition where we carve our names into the diner wall when we’re ready to declare undying love.”

My heart melted. “That might be the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Harper sighed. “It really is. Until there’s a divorce or an affair and you see some crazed wife hacking at the wall with a pocket knife.”

River nodded. “It happens. I love seeing you, Harper, but what are you doing all the way out here?”

“Oh, well, Knox told me that the breakers weren’t on out here, and when you didn’t come back, they figured you might not want to stumble around in the dark if you stayed any later.”

“How did you know we were at this one?” he asked.

“I didn’t. I’ve checked four other houses,” she admitted. “Anyway, the breakers are on now, if you two want to get back to”—she gestured at us—“the amazing sex you were having.”

I sputtered, my eyes flying wide. “We weren’t…”

She waved us off. “Your shirt is on inside out. Anyway. Ceremony is tomorrow afternoon, and then the council meeting is tomorrow night, so you two can frolic all you like.”

I wanted to die. It was like that nightmare where you’re caught at school with no clothes…except mine were on inside out and this was real.

“Thanks for coming out to check on us. Does anyone deliver out here?”

She tilted her head. “Magnolia’s might. Should I tell Knox you’ll take this one?”

“Knox, huh?” River grinned.

She turned redder than the tank top she had on. “Shut up.”

River laughed, his entire chest rumbling. “Good to see not much changes around here. Has Emerson taken Bash back yet?”

“How did you know?”

“Oh, come on. Emmy and Bash are a given. Almost as much as you dancing around Knox and praying he and your brother don’t notice.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Ugh. You’ve been in town for all of a day.” Then she looked over at me, a small smile playing over her lips. “You and I are going to be great friends. I need someone on my team against this one.”

I nodded. “I think we can manage that.” I liked her openness, the way she didn’t beat around the bush, and I loved the way she didn’t flirt with River. Then again, I’d seen how hot Knox was, and if River was right, and that’s the way her world tilted, then I couldn’t blame her.

BOOK: Ignite (Legacy)
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