Rekindled Fire: An Anthology of Rekindled Lovers
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by Elle Amery
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance
Description: Rekindled Fire traces the stories of ten couples who lose each other, only to find their way back together once again. The love stories here contain two unifying elements: profound love and erotic, passionate heat. Whether the story is contemporary or features magic, vampires or shape shifting; whether it involves spanking, bondage, or simply pure, unadulterated sex; or whether the couples have been torn apart for several months or one hundred years; one question remains the same: Will these former lovers be able to rekindle the flame of love? Contributing Authors: Angela Cameron, Amber Hipple, Jen Bluekissed, Vanessa Vaughn, K. Ann Karlsson, Nini Richou, Cora Zane, Janne Lewis, Louisa Bacio, Elle Amery.
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance/Ravenous Romance, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: September 2009
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [222 KB]
Reading time: 146-204 min.
Rekindled Fire traces the stories of ten couples who lose each other, only to find their way back together. As a sappy romantic, my favorite stories have always been the ones where a couple is torn apart--either by an outside influence or because of their own obstinacy--and, against all odds, come together again. There's something about the tragic emotional conflict that draws me in and holds me tight.
The love stories here contain two unifying elements: profound love and erotic, passionate heat. Whether the story is contemporary or features magic, vampires or shape shifting; whether it involves spanking, bondage, or simply pure, unadulterated sex; or whether the couples have been torn apart for several months or one hundred years; one question remains the same: will these former lovers be able to rekindle the flame of love?
Hop on board and discover for yourself!
* * * *
by Angela Cameron
"I can't believe I'll be at Tulane tomorrow." Isabell rolled onto her side, readjusting so her ribs didn't push so hard against the planks beneath her. She eased closer to the bare, muscular chest of Taylor Wyndham, keenly aware of the heat generated by Wynd's body. Water sloshed with the movement, lapping the wood below the deck.
She shivered, but it wasn't from the climate. Nothing was wrong with the weather. The sky was bright with a million stars, and even the nightingale was singing in the forest across the water. The day had been a scorcher, and even in shorts and a tank top, lying on the dock, the humid summer night was far too hot for chills. A gentle wind came off Wyndham Lake, blowing over the length of her body and cooling her skin where the beads of sweat were exposed. But the breeze wasn't what had caused her to shiver. The chill was inside her, twisting her gut.
Wynd pulled her tighter and wrapped his heavy arm around her waist. "It won't be that bad."
"It's too far."
"We'll talk every night if you want."
"It never works, Wynd. You know that." Isabell buried her face into the soft cotton of his shirt, letting the scent of his skin fill her nose. She squeezed her eyes shut to stop the tears that threatened. "What if you get lonely?"
Calls weren't what she meant. He had to know that. If there was one thing that Taylor Wyndham wasn't, it was stupid.
Wynd sighed and kissed the top of her head. "I love you, Issie, and no one will ever make me forget."
That first stupid tear streaked down the side of her face. He just didn't get it. That silly romantic in him was the thing that she loved and hated. It made him naïve. He always saw the happy ending for them and ignored all the other, more probable endings.
"Are you crying?" He pulled her face toward his.
The wind picked up, blowing the sweet scent of honeysuckle between them and tossing auburn strands of her hair into her face. Wynd's emotions surged, the energy forcing the wind around them the way it always did when he was feeling particularly protective.
Isabell stared up into those blue-gray eyes and felt her heart start to swell again. It was almost magical, the way it always happened. First she'd look into his eyes. Then those colors would move and sparkle. Next thing, she'd feel like her heart was going to explode with love. Wynd was the most beautiful thing in the world, right down to that scar over his right eye from the fight he'd had with Harrison Gray in tenth grade after Harrison had made the mistake of grabbing her ass.
That was the first day she kissed Wynd--the first day she'd kissed anyone. She couldn't resist: he was just so adorable with that bandage over his eye and his scraped knuckles. He insisted on walking her home down the path that led through the forest between their houses. Then there, next to where the stream fell off the hillside in a little waterfall, he kissed her. It was too perfect.
The kiss, and the burst of emotion it brought, was apparently all he'd needed to spark that magic inside him. She'd known about his family's ability, and had eagerly waited along with Wynd for the day his would show. Wynd had been a late bloomer, at least by his family's standards. Most of the men in his family got their power at thirteen, but Wynd's hadn't come until that day. Still, it had been worth the wait. He was more powerful than anyone in three generations, according to his mother. That much had been evident in the way the wind had whipped through the tree, lightning had cracked through the sky, and the warm rain poured down on them.
It was the best kiss of her life, but it was the beginning of Wynd's public persecution. Once his power started, he hadn't been able to stop the magic when he was angry, hurt, or even when he just saw her. Many in their town suspected he had powers beyond what they could comprehend. Most were afraid of what he could do.
Wynd stroked her face again and she gave him a chaste kiss, whispering, "I don't want to leave you."
"I'm not letting you stay here, darlin'." Wynd blinked, his long black lashes brushing against his cheekbones. "They saw your talent. Not everyone gets a free ride for four years. And you'll be the first Carlisle with a degree. It's too big for you to pass up." He moved closer, almost touching her lips. "Besides, I'm yours, and a few years aren't going to change anything." Wynd grabbed her hand and toyed with the antique diamond engagement ring he'd given her just after graduation. "When you're done with school, we'll put that other ring on your finger."
His breath was so sweet, and his olive skin so warm, like always. Isabell leaned toward him, but Wynd pulled away.
"Come with me," she whispered.
"You know I can't. I don't have much time with Mom. Maybe a year."
Joan Wyndam was too sick to go anywhere, but it seemed as if the cancer had always been a shadow looming over their relationship. Wynd had even missed taking Isabell to her senior prom because he was sitting in the ER with his mother. But she couldn't complain. Wouldn't. He couldn't help her illness any more than Joan could. There were three other brothers who could help take care of her. Wynd just wouldn't let anyone else do it.
Isabell's shoulders sagged under the weight of her guilt. "I know. I'm sorry. I'm just--"
"Scared. Don't be." His lips brushed hers. "I should be worried about you. You'll be in another state, at a college ... with Harrison. I'm the one who should be scared." Wynd pulled back a little. "Harrison's after you. He's always been after you. With me out of the way, he'll come at you full bore. He's a jealous jerk."
"He's a friend," Isabell responded.
"A jealous jerk of a friend, maybe."
"He doesn't stand a chance. You're much hotter." She giggled.
"Hmm. Same here." Wynd's lips brushed hers again. He was so close that her heart was racing. "You're the one, Issie. Nobody else."
No one had to tell her that millions of boyfriends promised such things to their girlfriends each year. She knew how young romances went. Still, she couldn't stop her eyes from slipping shut when his mouth finally landed on hers.
Wynd kissed her with a gentle precision that made it seem as if he was born to do nothing but this. His lips were too soft, his mouth too skilled. It always made her mind turn to mush. Especially when his hand slipped under her shirt, pushing against the cup of her bra like it was doing now.
Isabell pulled back, gasping for breath. "Are you trying to get me in trouble?"
"Your mom said I could keep you out all night as long as you weren't a bitch to her on the trip tomorrow." Wynd leaned down, burying his head in the arch of her neck.
Isabell arched toward him, surrendering her neck. "You brought her flowers again, didn't you?"
"Godiva chocolate," he said in a muffled voice between nibbles.
"You're shameless." She laughed and pulled his face back to hers and took him in a long kiss. Tonight might be their last night together. If it was, it would be a good one.
Isabell reached for the button on Wynd's jeans and managed, with his help, to get them off of him without truly breaking the kiss. She'd started to take off her own shorts, but he stopped her.
"There's no hurry. We've got all night." He took his time sliding her clothes off. "Do you remember what you promised to let me do?"
Her face was suddenly on fire with the reminder that she'd been denying him that one act for almost a solid year. She nodded. "What if someone sees us?"
Wynd chuckled as clouds rolled in, blotting out the moon and stars overhead. It was darker and quieter, except for the wind that flowed through the trees around the lake. A deep fog rolled in across the water. Of course, he wasn't going to let a little thing like the weather stop her from giving in.
"Time to pay up."
His mouth went to her navel, and Isabell closed her eyes. The little scratch of his stubble reminded her that it was his mouth on her as he kissed a trail down to her hip, then made a line slowly toward her core.
Isabell's mind went as hazy as the sky. She was light, almost floating by the time Wynd's tongue slipped down that slit between her legs. In what she could only describe as a true out-of-body experience, the first orgasm rolled through her. She'd yelled out, but the sound of the wind howling around them blotted it out.
The residence of the Wyndham Lake community would talk about the freak storm tomorrow, but only she and Wynd would know how truly amazing it was.
* * * *
Isabell turned the corner on Sixth Street, heading down the cracked sidewalk toward Gabby's, the little corner cafe that boasted country cooking. She hadn't been there in the two years she'd been at college. Now, smelling the scent of Gabby's famous patty melt in the air, she realized how the scent reminded her of home and the trips she'd made to the little diner with her grandfather.
The door opened with the ding of a bell, and she glanced up. There was Wynd, exiting the country café, just where his younger brother, Ryan, said he'd be when she called the Wyndham's house looking for him. She smiled at the warmth that came to her core whenever she saw him. Even the two years that they'd spent apart, with barely more than conjugal visits spent in her cramped dorm room at Tulane, hadn't diminished his appeal. He walked toward his tall black Dodge in worn jeans and a T-shirt, looking better than she remembered. The dark hair was a little longer, and his skin was a paler shade of tan from the cool winter months that had separated them, but it only made him more attractive.
Her feet moved faster. She couldn't wait to see his face when he realized that she'd managed to finish her finals early. The stretch from Christmas to summer break had taken far too long.
"Wynd." A female voice said, drawing Isabell's attention. The woman, a brunette in a thin yellow sundress, bounced up to him.
He turned toward the woman, one hand on the door handle. "Yes?"
"Thank you for last night." Wynd stood still, facing the woman, who drew close. She pressed her body firmly against his, wrapped her svelte arms around the back of his neck, and planted a long, wet kiss on his lips. Her red lacquered fingernails dug into his shoulders. One knee lifted upward to slide along his outer calf.
Isabell felt the wind blow out of her lungs. Everything faded away except the sight of Wynd leaned against the door of his truck with the strange woman planted securely against his body, her mouth plastered to his. Part of her wanted to run, another part was screaming inside, but her body just stood there, eyes riveted to the scene unfolding before her.
Even when the woman smiled and turned away from him, Isabell stood there with her mouth open. She couldn't breathe. Her lungs wouldn't pull in the air.
She heard a man's voice, the sound coming far away, even farther away than Wynd, who was saying something to the girl as he climbed into his truck. But she couldn't stop watching him. He backed out of the parking space, shaking his head as he jammed the truck into gear. In a second, he'd driven off. It was such a simple act, but he was taking with him all the dreams they'd built together.
And he was taking her heart. She was sure of that, because she couldn't feel it beating in her chest anymore.
The world started to move, and she could hear the faraway voice again. "Come on. You can't stand here sobbing. Let me take you home." A man's hand grabbed her arm.
Isabell glanced up. Harrison--Harrison, her friend who'd always been there, who held her every time she'd cried over missing Wynd, who had promised to be her friend forever. It was Harrison who was wrapping his arm around her shoulder and tugging her toward a black BMW.
"I need to talk to Wynd," she sobbed, trying to tug her arm from his grip.
"Wynd's not coming back, hon. I'm sorry, but you're the last one to know."
"No..." she moaned, still unbelieving.
"I'm so sorry, Issie. He's moved on."
He had. He'd moved on, without her.
And he had taken all the magic with him.
* * * *
Isabell stood on the porch of her soon-to-be in-laws' home, trapped against the cool brick by Harrison's arms and hips. He pushed a curl away from her face and sneaked a quick peck in the dark. She turned her face, looking around him to where his old friends from high school were waiting in a stretch Hummer in the street. James, the former tight end from the school's team, was hanging out of an open window, wolf whistling above the sound of the music that radiated from the car like he had so many years ago when they were just kids.
Harrison pulled her face back to him and kissed her more deeply.
She didn't resist. The kiss sputtered, then fizzled out, like all her kisses with Harrison did. She'd made up her mind a long time ago that there was no place for fireworks in her love life. Harrison gave her what she wanted, what she needed, and she clung to that stability.
He leaned back, still holding her face. "Hurry back to me, hon."
She forced out a laugh. "You won't care. You'll be at your bachelor party."
It was the last of three that had been planned by their friends and families. The previous two, complete with strippers, had taken place on the opposite side of the country where they lived, where they'd one day raise the two kids she was still trying to convince Harrison to have. Now, they were back in the South for a few weeks, long enough to give her the wedding at home she'd demanded, surrounded by family and the friends who had known them before they'd both graduated from Tulane and gone on to law school.
"I always care." He kissed her once more, then turned and left her standing on there in the moonlight. He bounded down the stairs, yelling to her as he jogged down the sidewalk. "Don't sleep with the stripper!"
Isabell shook her head and watched him climb into the limo. The guys weren't even around the corner before the long black limo full of her old girlfriends pulled around.
The fun was about to begin.
* * * *
"I've got to step outside." Isabell pushed through the back door at Saint's, her favorite restaurant and former haunt, and stepped onto the deck overlooking the moonlit lake. All this talk about weddings and marriage was making it hard to breathe. It wasn't that she was afraid of the commitment. She just couldn't think about it too much without it making her claustrophobic.
The deck hung there, protruding from the edge of the cliff the way it always had. The outstanding view of Wyndham Lake that Saint's offered had been what made it her favorite restaurant. The exquisite food and elegant décor only added to the bonus. She wandered further onto the deck, noticing how alone she was. She still wasn't sure how her wedding party had talked the manager of such a popular place into letting them have the entire building for a party like this.
Isabell peered over the edge. It was too far to the water, but the urge to climb up the railing and dive off grew with each second she stood there. Maybe it was the daiquiris that were making her brave. Or maybe it was the unbearable Alabama heat, driving her to dip into the cool water. Living in the drier northern climate had weakened her tolerance of the heat.
She turned and glanced inside at the bridesmaids and friends who were dancing with the male strippers they'd hired for entertainment. They were, for the most part, toasted.
They won't notice you're missing.
When she inched toward the stairs that led to the deck, no one seemed to see her. No one called for her, even when she went down the flights of wooden stairs that scaled the cliff to the water below. When her foot took that first step onto the dock, her heart started pounding.
She'd dreamed of this place so many times, and it was still just as magical. The dark lake was a wide chasm surrounded by the blackness of trees and forest, silhouetted against a dark sky. The almost-full moon overhead twinkled like white lights on the water. Even the crickets chirped the same high-pitched song.
Isabell walked toward the edge of the wood and slipped off her sandals to feel the warm wood beneath her feet. She walked to the edge and stood, toes hooked over the end of the planks. The water sloshed with her movement, slapping against the pontoon boat docked under the covered section to her right. In her sleep, she'd swam in this lake so many times over the years, each time emerging a different person. She'd never understood the meaning of the dream, but would wake each time with the irresistible urge to fly straight home for a swim.
A stiff breeze pushed up from the water, rustling the leaves and whipping her hair around her face. Her skin cooled a little, making the heat almost bearable. It was just like the dream, except for the sound of the wind. It pulled at her, whispering one word with each twist of the direction.
Jump, it breathed.
Stealing another glance toward the party, she slipped the mint-colored dress over her head, then tossed it onto the dock. The white lace bra went next, landing on top of the pile before the matching panties came off.
Isabell turned and stepped to the edge. Her hands went slowly above her head, building the excitement in her chest. She bent her knees and sprang into the water in the best dive she'd done in years.
She swam in the dark water, under the moon, until her arms began to feel heavy. Lulled by the sensation of water against her skin she rolled and floated on her back. She was lucky there were no boats out this late, and was happy to have the lake all to herself. This section, at least, she thought. She rolled back over and stroked back toward the dock.
Paddling back through the black water, she could see the lights on at the party above. The party was still going strong, and the girls hadn't noticed her absence.
When she reached the metal ladder on the side of the deck, she latched on.
"Where are you going?"
She startled, almost losing her grip at the sound of a man's voice behind her. Her heart stuttered in her chest and her head whipped around toward its origin.
"Hey, Issie," the man's voice said softly in the darkness. And her heart stopped beating.
She knew that voice.
"Wynd?" Isabell's heart started again, but the pace was too fast, triggered by the fact that Taylor Wyndham was swimming toward her. She sank lower in the water, hiding her nudity. Despite Wynd's lying and cheating and all the years that had passed, her body still warmed at the site of him. "What are you doing here?"
"I came out for my nightly swim and saw you. I wanted to talk."
He was close now.
Isabell started to pull out of the water, searching for the pile of her clothes. She stopped and let her shoulders sink back under the surface. There was no way out without exposing herself to Wynd, and she wasn't about to do that. She kept her arm in front of her chest and prayed it was dark enough for him not to get an eyeful. "What do you want?"
Wynd clasped a large hand on the edge of the dock and bobbed next to her. His hair was wet, black, and down to his shoulders now. His face was a little thinner, accenting his strong features. But those eyes were exactly the same. That blue-gray swirled and made her heart overflow just as it always had.
"I needed to explain something." He glanced down, then back up. His mouth formed a crooked grin. "And I'm going to, since you obviously aren't going anywhere."
She pulled her arm tighter across her bare breasts. "I don't have anything to say to you."
"Good. Shut up and listen for once." He edged closer so she could feel the swirl of water from his kicking legs. "I know that I'm probably too late, but I need you to know that I never stopped loving you."
"It is too late," she snapped. "You should have thought about that years ago, Wynd. You cheated on me."
"You know, I might believe you if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes."
He shook his head and sighed. "I know what you think you saw. But I didn't even know that woman. If you'd answered my phone calls or talked to me instead of having me thrown off Tulane's campus, then you'd know. Issie, you kicked me out of your life because you thought you saw something."
"And I'm supposed to believe some strange woman just walked up and kissed you?" She ran a dripping wet hand over her face, and then gripped the metal ladder tighter. "That girl definitely knew who you were."
"No!" She jabbed a finger at him. "I don't want to hear it. I'm getting married in two weeks. You had your chance, Wynd." She hoisted herself up the ladder and went for her clothes, trying not to cringe at the thought of his eyes watching her. He'd just have to see her naked ass. She wasn't going to sit here and have this discussion.
The water splashed as he climbed up the ladder behind her. She didn't look, just grabbed the dress and pulled it over her head.
"God, you're stubborn as ever." Wynd stalked toward her. Water rolled down his chest and dripped from his black shorts. "You are going to listen to me, Isabell."
"No. I'm not." She slipped the panties up into place. "I'm going back up to my party."
"Harrison paid her to kiss me."
The words stopped her. Isabell stood there for a moment, holding the lace bra in her hand.
No, he couldn't have. Harrison wouldn't have done such a thing. She glanced up at Wynd. "I don't believe you," she said, starting around him.
"James told me last night."
"Why are you saying that? He's my fiancé."
"I know, and if breaking up your wedding means you hate me forever, fine. But I'm not letting you marry that prick."
"Isabell?" A voice--Harrison's voice--pulled her eyes to the stairs. "What's going on?"
Wynd turned toward him, keeping his body between them.
"What are you doing here, Wyndham?" Harrison stepped onto the dock, making it sway just a little.
"I'm telling her how you broke us up."