Home > Storm (Ashes & Embers #1)(10)

Storm (Ashes & Embers #1)(10)
Author: Carian Cole

“Thank you. Are the phones working?”

“No, I tried the landline in the bedroom and it’s dead. It happens a lot up here. Write Michael’s number down and I’ll give it to John in case he comes while you’re in the shower.”

“Oh, good idea. Thanks.” I rummage in my purse and find a pen and a piece of paper, scribble Mike’s number on it, and hand it to him.

“I’m going to make some dinner while you’re showering. You like pasta? It’s pretty much all I’ve got since everything else we either ate in the truck or it’s still in the truck.”

“Yeah, that would be great. Thank you.”

I almost scream when I get in the bathroom and see myself in the mirror. I look like a total mess. My makeup is smeared, my cheeks are red and blotchy, my hair looks like a bat got stuck in it and flapped its wings for an hour. Holy hell, I can’t believe I was trapped in a truck with a man for two days looking so hideous. And what’s unfair is Storm’s hair and his damn guyliner looked perfect the entire time! Ugh!!

Oh, and, by the way, this bathroom is enormous with a huge corner glass shower with like ten showerheads and a big Jacuzzi tub in the other corner. I rummage around under the sink and find vanilla scented body wash and some expensive shampoo. Apparently, Storm likes the finer things in life, which is odd for someone who builds motorcycles for a living. Of course, the chick in me has my radar up for any signs of female cohabitants, but I see no signs of female life in this bathroom. No lipstick, no stray tampons, no pink towels. Weird.

I take the longest, hottest shower ever and lather myself up with this luxurious body wash. The shampoo and conditioner smell heavenly. I’ve never been in a shower with so many shower heads, but it’s really amazing, like being rained on from all angles. I wonder why all showers aren’t designed this way.

After what feels like an embarrassingly long time to be in someone’s shower, I relent and get out. I wrap myself in a big fluffy bath towel. Storm’s bathroom is like a five star hotel.

My hair looks amazing after I dry it and now I know his secret to fab hair—it’s from this hair product that has a French name I can’t even pronounce. If this actually were a hotel, I would so steal this stuff. It figures I’m having the best hair day I’ve ever had, and now I don’t even have any makeup because all my stuff is back in the truck. Unless John, the plow guy, came back, but I really don’t want to poke my head out there and ask for my bag. Grrrr. I grab my purse and pull out a tiny eyeliner I keep in there for emergency touch-ups and put on a tiny bit of lip gloss. I don’t want to look like total death in front of Storm. Not that it matters, but I don’t want him to go from thinking I’m cute to thinking I’m scary.

A loud knocking on the door makes me jump as I’m pulling the hoodie over my head.

“Dinner’s ready. Are you coming out or what?” he says through the door.

I open the door. “It’s about time,” he says. “You weren’t in there treating my shower like a playground, were you?”

I smack him in the chest. “No, perv. It just felt good to be warm.”

I follow him down the hall to the dining room where he has the table already set and even adorned with a candle in the center. I swallow hard. I have seriously never had a dinner at home with candlelight, and it’s something I have always wished for. It just seems so romantic.

“Wow... so pretty,” I say as I take a seat.

“Water? Wine? Ginger ale?”

“Oooh, I would love a ginger ale.”

He comes to the table with a soda for me and a glass of red wine in his hand. He flops down in the chair across from me. “It feels so good to be out of that damn truck, doesn’t it?”

I nod to him as I sip my soda. “It does. I was really starting to worry.”

“I know that must have been really hard for you.” He starts to pile spaghetti onto my plate. “Being stuck in a truck with a stranger and all, but you really did good, Evie. I know I’m not exactly the easiest person to be around.”

I give him a sweet smile. “Neither am I.”

Eating warm food again is amazing. It’s funny the things we take for granted. “Storm, this is so good,” I say after a few bites. “Thanks for making dinner. I forgot what hot food was.”

“No problem. John dropped our stuff off. I put your bags in the living room.”

“Oh, cool. Maybe you can give me his address and I can send him a thank you card?”

He sips his wine and makes an uneasy face. “I can tell him for you.”

After we eat, I help Storm clean up and then he goes off to shower leaving me alone in the living room with Niko, who promptly jumps up on the couch with me. I’m actually going to miss this big fluffy dog. I pet him absently as I stare around the room hoping to find photographs of Storm and his family to give me a bit more insight into him, but there are no photos in this room.

“I see you two are best buds now.” Holy shit. He has nothing on, but a pair of black sweatpants that sit low on his hips. His top half is nothing but muscles and ink. His wet hair is slicked back and hanging a bit down his back. His shoulders and chest are broad and he has the perfect six-pack abs and a sexy V...

Wow. Just wow. I have never seen a man with such an amazing body in person.

I struggle to compose myself and not drool. “Storm, put a damn shirt on.”

Instead, he keeps coming closer until he’s standing just a few inches away. “Michael must be butt-ugly because you can’t seem to handle being anywhere near a man with a decent body without practically having a seizure.”

“Michael is not ugly. It’s just inappropriate for you to walk around half naked. I’m not used to looking at strange men who are barely dressed.”

He tosses his head a bit, his hair sending drops of water flying. “Hey, I ain’t that strange. And it’s my house, I can walk around naked or half naked or any other state of dress or undress I want to.”

I sigh. I probably should not have stayed here in his house. I really don’t know him at all, even though we just spent so much time locked up together. I have put myself right into his home field of treating me any way he wants to and forcing me to put up with his behavior.

“You could take your shirt off and we’d be even.” He’s giving me his devilish smile that’s somewhere between sexy as hell and wickedly adorable. How can someone look like that? It’s not fair. He sits on the couch, on the other side of the dog, but still too close for me to be comfortable with him being so... undressed.

“No, thank you. Is this why you wanted me to stay here? Did you think I was going to sleep with you?”

“Who said I wanted you to stay here?”

Well damn. I guess he never really did come right out and say that directly. It’s just what I assumed. Maybe he was just trying to be polite by offering but really wanted me to just leave. Shit.

I bite my lip, feeling stupid for thinking he wanted me here, and confused as to why I even care.

He reaches over and takes a piece of my hair between his fingers, twirling it. “I did want you to stay, Evie.”

Whew. “Is this like your love nest? Where you bring women for your non-committal relationships?”

He’s still twirling my hair, winding it around his finger and tugging it slightly. A shiver creeps over my skull and shoots down my spine. “I’ve never brought a woman here, actually. This is my private space. It’s sacred to me, to have space that’s untouched by the outside world.”

“Then why did you want me here invading it?”

He tugs my hair slightly again and meets my eyes. “I don’t really know. But I wanted to find out.” His voice is raw and honest, no hint of humor or teasing. No smirky grin. Just those deep pools of green watching me.

I feel like I’m breathing heavier than normal and I hope he can’t see it. The effect he has on me is uncomfortable. He amplifies all of my senses.

I swallow and continue to pet Niko between us. “You’ve mentioned hiding and wanting privacy a few times. What does that mean?”

He doesn’t answer me and his silence says volumes. I am treading on delicate ground here. I can feel it seeping out of him.

“Do you not want me to know?” I ask him.

He shakes his head slowly, his fingers still playing with my hair and gently brushes across my cheek. “No,” he says. “I don’t. But let’s just say sometimes, I just want to be me, and the only way I can do that is to be alone.”

I reach up and grab his hand, gently pulling it away from my hair. “Have you been ‘you’ while we’ve been stuck together?”


“Is that good or bad?”

“It’s enlightening.”

Enlightening? What does that mean?

He stands up and pulls me up with him. “Come on, I want to go in the hot tub. I shoveled the deck while you were in the shower.” He starts to pull me across the room by my hand. I tug back.

“Wait, what?” Hot tub? No.

He continues to tug me across the room to sliding glass doors he unlocks, which leads us to a wooden deck off the back of the house. He flips a switch and a bunch of small Christmas lights that are strewn about glow in blue. The cover is already off the hot tub situated in the corner, steam rising from the bubbling water.

“Storm, it’s freezing out here...”

“I know, but it’s awesome hot in there. I got it ready earlier while you were in the shower. I love being in the hot tub in the middle of winter when it’s cold and dark out here.”

He’s out of his mind if he thinks I’m going to get into a hot tub with him in the dark while we’re out in the woods surrounded by snow.

He lets go of my hand and pulls his sweats down until he’s standing there in just boxer shorts. I look away, but not before noticing his legs are also extremely muscular and covered in tattoos.

He climbs into the tub and slowly sinks into the water. “Whooo!” he yells. “This feels fucking awesome. Get your ass in here, Evelyn.”

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