{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
jcconway would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Time, Heat, and a Smoking Ember

By jcconway All Rights Reserved ©

Romance

Time, Heat, and a Smoking Ember

Gina should have said, “No thank you.” Then she would be home with her slippers and tea. It would have been much simpler. She checked her eyes in the rear view mirror. She’d done a shabby job on the shadow—not very subtle at all. But it would have to do.

Not that it mattered. She and Nathan broke up long ago. A college fling, really—nothing more—and even then they weren’t a great match. He smoked. He drank. He skipped class. In retrospect, she wondered what she ever saw in him.

Still, she was curious what brought him back to town. He was always city bound. When he left for law school and she returned home to help Mom with the bakery, she assumed that was it … which was fine with her. No complications. He was fun, but immature. Not what she ever envisioned as a serious relationship.

She stopped the car and texted, “Here.”

Nathan responded immediately. “Be there soon. Stopped to pick up something.”

She rolled her eyes. She had always waited for Nathan. He was constantly forgetting his cigarettes somewhere, or his lighter … it was the number one reason he ran late.

“Bad habit,” she responded.

She stepped to the sidewalk and enjoyed the evening air. It was a great town and everything was going just fine. She would tell him that. It was none of his business whether she’d had a date in ages, and really none of hers whether he had either. It was odd how their phone conversation this afternoon felt like no time had passed since graduation. The only real change she sensed was a calmer tone. He didn’t sound today like he was talking through a cocky smirk.

“You look … amazing.”

Gina spun. Oh my.

Where she expected a cute, smart-mouthed college student with disheveled hair, she saw a well-dressed, confident man—Nathan as she would have ordered him, had she thought it possible.

She drew a breath. “Thank you,” she managed.

Nathan held his hands out, palm up. She slid hers onto his and tried a casual smile.

He opened his mouth to speak, but stumbled on the words. “I … I, uh …”

They both laughed.

He shook his head. “Wow. I didn’t realize how … nice it would be to see you again.”

She tilted her head. It was flattering that he seemed as flustered as she. But she needed solid ground—not a foolishly racing heart. “Stop it. Why are you really here?”

Nathan shrugged. “I’m thinking of moving back.”

Gina, unlike most, could always gauge Nathan’s sincerity. Here she saw the real deal, although any other answer would have been more expected. The Nathan she knew had only ever wanted to be near the center of the action.

“Move away from the city?” she asked, squeezing his hands.

He twisted his mouth—that cute, ‘aw shucks’ expression that always crept in when Nathan admitted he was actually wrong. “It’s not what I thought it would be,” he said. He let go of her hand and reached inside his jacket.

She shook her head. “Downtown is no smoking,” she warned, pointing to a sign. “New ordinance last year.”

With a crooked smile, Nathan pulled a single yellow tulip from his jacket and handed it to her. “I quit smoking five years ago.”

Gina lost her breath. He remembered. Her favorite flower … her favorite color on her favorite flower.

“Um … that’s good.” She swallowed. “I mean”–she felt her voice thicken–“for you … for your health …”

Her eyes bounced between the bright yellow tulip and his deep brown eyes.

“Well you always told me …” He placed his hands on her arms near the shoulders, tenderly caressing.

“Who knew you listened?” she said, inching closer and putting a hand on his chest.

She inhaled deeply. Mmm. Clean, warm, strong … no cologne … all Nathan.

He stroked her neck, her jaw line … his thumb passed gently across her lips, carrying the scent of the freshly-picked tulip.

Was she losing her mind? She had seen neither hide nor hair of Nathan for … almost six years.

She should step back.

He leaned in, brushing his lips over her forehead. Gina closed her eyes. Slowly, his lips descended, grazing her eyelash … her cheek. Their breath mingled. The sensation stirred memories and longings. This was too much—and not enough. For the moment, she resolved not to try sorting out her thoughts and feelings—just let them be.

She met his lips with hers—tasted them with a probing touch, delicious, then pressed tighter … how could one man’s flavor exude such confidence and passion?

Their lips parted, reluctantly. They both took a deep breath—almost a gasp.

“It’s good to see you too,” he said, with a light, warm laugh.

She nodded. Nathan was back.

Things would not be simple anymore.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, jcconway
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

SPepper: I had a hard time putting this book down even to go to sleep. The story is compelling and beautifully character driven. I hope author will make this a series.

zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...

Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...

brettylee: The narrative is slick yet punchy. Life, Family and Friends I believe is the core message so it’s easy to relate to. It’s surprisingly action packed. The author does a good job at keeping you guessing. Just when you think all is right, whack, the unexpected happens. The dialogue is energetic and ...

emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...

jessica12301990: One of the best books I have read in a while. Could not put it down, loved the characters and how real they felt. Read from start to finish without putting it down. Really hope this gets published and when it does I will be first in line to pick it up.

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

More Recommendations

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

rihannabkj2: Great story,I can hardly stop reading this novel. it shows that compassion and love can still exist after so many years between two persons. I most say well done to the Author who wrote this book. Others should read this book inorder to know that there can still be LOVE among two persons no matt...

maewilde25: I liked this, though it dragged on for over 200pages and heaven knows I did not expect the plot twist in the middle. David being Cristiãn. I was wondering when he would show up and didn't know he was there all along. it looks like there should be a sequel, please let there be a sequel. I know the...

Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.