[Siren Classic: Erotic Contemporary Romance, HEA]
Five years ago, Annie Bretton made a mistake that ended in tragedy. Returning to Derbyshire with her four-year-old daughter, Ellie, Annie finds herself working alongside Kane Henderson when an arsonist with a grudge against the Hendersons threatens to turn Derbyshire into a tinderbox. The Hendersons’ holiday homes aren’t the only thing going up in flames. Annie and Kane are also fighting the fire that rages between them, a fire she feels will be extinguished when Kane learns the truth about Ellie.
Kane Henderson still feels guilty about a night five years ago when he gave in to his longing for Annie Bretton. It ended in the death of Annie’s fiancé, Jay, who was also Kane’s best friend. When Annie and her little daughter Ellie are in danger, Kane is determined to be the one to help them, regardless of how independent Annie thinks she is.
A Siren Erotic Romance
Annie had been dreaming of Kane. She was lost in his arms as he was lost deep inside her. Nothing else mattered. Whatever secrets they had, whatever had happened in the past, it was all over with. Being with him was so right, whereas being without him had been miserable.
“I love you,” she cried over and over again as he thrust into her. “I love you, Kane.” In her dream she was able to say all the things she was afraid to say in real life. In her dream it did not matter. He would not mock her feelings, nor would he run away from her love.
When she first felt the heat, she had believed it was a part of her and Kane, a result of their fevered lovemaking. It was engulfing them in the fire that had always been there. Only when acrid smoke filled the room did she start to wonder if things were quite right. Rather than the aroma of sex and desire, there was the smell of burned carpet and leather. She idly wondered if the seats of the Humvee were burning, but that couldn’t be right, as a moment ago they were in his bed. Then she heard an alarm going off somewhere. She tried to remember if Kane had a siren on top of the Humvee.
Annie panicked. She could not let Ellie see her like this with Kane. Her daughter was too young to understand. She had to stop, only the dream held her captive.
Annie opened her eyes, and it was then that she realised the fire was not part of a dream. It was happening. She could not see the flames, but she could smell the burning. Ellie stood at the side of the bed, holding a teddy bear and sobbing in terror. The smoke alarm beeped furiously.
Annie had not undressed to get into bed, feeling at the time that she would not sleep. She jumped up and lifted Ellie into her arms. “Oh, darling, I’m so sorry.” She silently berated herself for concentrating so much on Kane and her dream that she had forgotten to keep her daughter safe.
She ran to the bedroom door and out onto the small landing, but she could see that the door at the bottom of the stairs was already burning. Any moment now and the flames would break through. They were trapped upstairs!
She rushed back into the bedroom and shut the door, praying it would hold the fire back long enough for them to escape. There was no phone upstairs, and her mobile phone was downstairs in her handbag. The window was a large sheet of glass with only a small opening at the top. Ellie might fit through it, but Annie wouldn’t. Even if she could get her daughter through the window, it was a long drop to the bottom. But over the front door, just to the left, was a stone porch. If they could reach that, they might get down. There was only one thing for it.
“Darling, listen to Mummy,” said Annie, putting Ellie down as far away from the window as possible. “I need to break the window. I want you to stay here so you don’t get hurt. Okay?”
Some vague idea that she shouldn’t let oxygen into the room flitted through her mind, but she could think of no other way to get out, and even if the fire brigade came, they’d have to smash the window to get them out anyway.
Annie grabbed the bedside table and then ran at the window, hurling the table as she went. On the first try, it merely bounced off. She swore under her breath and tried again. That time it only cracked the window slightly, but one of the legs fell off the bedside table. It wasn’t heavy enough.
Without thinking of the consequences, Annie raised her foot and kicked it at the window. She kept kicking until the window was broken. It was at the same time that the fire engine arrived. Someone had obviously thought to call them. The street became filled with light from the fire truck and because all the neighbours switched on their lights and opened their doors. They came out onto the street to watch the commotion.
Penny Travers jumped out of the truck and ran to the front, holding a mobile phone in her hand. She was talking into it frantically, whilst her fellow fire officers were breaking into a well-ordered routine. Penny finished her call and shouted instructions at them, but they did not need it. They all knew what to do. Finally, Penny looked up and shouted, “Annie, it’s okay. Wait there, we’ll get you both out.”
Annie ran across the room and scooped Ellie up in her arms again. “It’s all right, baby. We’re going to get out.”
The next few minutes went by agonisingly slowly as the fire service started to deal with the fire, whilst at the same time putting up a cherry picker to get Annie and Ellie out. As it was small, it could only take one of them at a time, along with one of the firemen. It was Penny Travers. Annie wanted Ellie to go first, but the child sobbed and clung to her. “Mummy.”
“I’ll be right behind you, darling. You go with Penny, and I’ll be down next.”
Ellie screamed and still refused to let Annie go. She could feel her daughter trembling in her arms. “Please, darling. Please, you have to go. Mummy will be with you soon.”
“Come on, sweetheart,” said Penny Travers. “Come with me, and then we can get Mummy down.”
Ellie squealed again, clinging onto Annie for dear life. Annie was vaguely aware of the roar of another engine and a heated conversation below. The cherry picker was suddenly lowered, taking Penny with it. “No!” Annie cried. Surely they weren’t leaving her.
Only moments later, the cherry picker arrived at the window again. “Hey, Ellie Henderson. It’s your old friend, Kane. Are you coming with me?”
If Jay hadn’t let Annie down again, none of this would be happening. That was the lie she told herself to pretend that the heat between her and Kane Henderson hadn’t been there all along. Lying on the four-poster bed with his kisses burning her neck and his searching fingers scorching the soft flesh of her thighs, she felt the flames rising higher still, threatening to consume them both.
Over in the other wing of the Cavendish Hotel in Bakewell, the party was in full swing. Drunken revellers danced and sang, but it seemed a long way away from the hush of the inn rooms, which were situated in the older part of the building.
The suite, with its ivory and whisper-green decor, had a log fire burning in the grate, competing with the heat rising from the bed. Annie had gone there to cry. Kane followed her to check she was all right. When he sat on the edge of the bed and put his muscular arms around her shoulders, saying, “Tell your uncle Kane all about it,” she found herself wanting him more than ever. Forgetting that she was supposed to be his best friend’s fiancée, and also that she was supposed to be a good girl, she’d been unable to resist kissing his sensual lips. He groaned, almost like a wounded animal, before flinging her back onto the bed and kissing her breathless.
She pulled away, afraid of the need rising within her. “We have to stop,” she whispered when his hand cupped her breast through the red silk dress she wore. Her own hands running through his thick dark hair belied her words. He nibbled at her neck then kissed her again. She could taste whisky on his lips, and she lapped it up like a woman who had spent days in the desert.
“You started it,” he groaned. “Now I’m going finish it by kissing every part of your gorgeous little body.”
It thrilled her to hear him say it. Kane Henderson, who could have, and often did have, any woman he wanted, really wanted her. She could hardly believe it after all the years she had adored him from afar whilst pretending that things between her and Jay were hunky-dory.
Kane trailed kisses down her throat, her breasts, and her belly, sliding her dress up until she could feel his breath through the thin black lace of her panties. All her arguments disappeared in a puff of smoke when his tongue pressed through the fabric and added moisture to her already-wet pussy. Her body jolted with pleasure.
He tore her knickers off in one easy movement. The action sent shock waves through her body. He stood up at the edge of the bed, looking down at her, spreading her legs apart so that she was exposed to him. “That’s better. God, you’re beautiful.”
“What, me or my pussy?” She tried to speak lightly, but her voice caught in her throat, causing the words to come out breathlessly.
“Both…all of you. Take your dress off,” he ordered.
Struggling, Annie pulled her dress up over her head, leaving her wearing just her black lace bra.
“And the bra.”
She obeyed, mesmerised by his commanding voice and his eyes on her dusky skin. “Now you get naked,” she ordered.
“Who’s in charge here?”
“I suppose you are.” She hated to admit it, but she liked it that way. Mainly because, despite what he might believe, she wasn’t as experienced as Kane, so his commands helped her to know what to do.
“In that case, you undress me.”
Annie sat up and, with trembling fingers, started to undo Kane’s shirt buttons, revealing his tanned, muscular chest. She slid the shirt over his shoulders, unable to resist pressing her lips against his skin. She caressed him with her fingers, tracing a circle around both his nipples before following the faint line of hair down past his navel. Her hands were trembling more than ever as she unbuckled his belt and then unzipped his trousers. As if he were becoming impatient, Kane pushed them the rest of the way down, kicking off his shoes at the same time as he brushed the trousers away from him.
Annie laughed. “A man wearing just socks and underpants looks so ridiculous.” Only he didn’t look ridiculous at all. He was too well made for that. She brushed the bulge in his underpants, feeling his cock spring to life beneath the fabric. “What do I do now?” she asked, looking up at him.
“Do what I’ve been dreaming of you doing for months and months.”
Annie did not need a clue as to what he meant. She slipped his underpants down and almost got smacked in the eye by his erection. It made her giggle, and she realised she was becoming a little bit hysterical. This wasn’t her. She was a good girl. Wasn’t she?
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, Annie.” Kane’s uncertain voice made him sound more vulnerable than she would ever have imagined him to be.