Burned (New Adult Romance)

Burned (New Adult Romance)

By:  Krista Lakes  Ongoing
Language: English
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All 20 year old Holly ever wanted to do was escape the boring Colorado mountain town where she was born. However, when she arrived at college, she found herself having too many wild nights. Worse yet, she had one too many mornings of waking up in an unfamiliar bed, and she couldn't keep her scholarship. Now that's she's back in Conifer, she has no idea what she is going to do with her life and no hope for the future. Andrew's father died a couple years ago in an electrical accident, and while Andrew wants nothing more than to leave town, his mother's mental instability makes it impossible for him to go. He feels trapped in a no-win situation and his options are slipping away. When a mutual friend has a crisis, Holly comes up with a plan, a plan that will change all their lives for the better. She knows that, despite previously being burned, all it takes to start a fire is a spark. However, she realizes that once again, she may have stood too close to the flame, and the torch she carries for Andrew burns brighter than ever. Will Holly manage to rekindle old loves, or will the destructive fire in their hearts consume everything they hold dear?

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26 Chapters
Chapter One
The dry grass crackled in the evening breeze. Pale green streaks at the base of the stems were all that showed it was alive, struggling against the heat of the summer sun and a rainless afternoon. Thunder rumbled in the distance, but the clouds refused to release their water. A large sign with a bear in a hat declaring the fire danger “extreme” glared out over the road. A car sped by, the taillights fading into the setting sun. A red glowing cigarette ember flicked out of the open window, landing on the dark asphalt. It rolled gently, swirling in odd circles until finally resting on the edge of the road. The parched breeze puffed, pushing the small glowing light into the grass. It only took a moment for the spark to ignite on the dry tinder, small flames hungrily feeding on the thirsty weeds. The spark of disaster had been lit.***I leaned back against the checkout stand, waiting for something to happen. I had straightened the gum, organized the gift-cards, and even wiped the conveye
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Chapter Two
"Holly, can you stop at the hardware store and pick up the parts I ordered?" my dad asked as I finished my breakfast the next morning."Sure- I'll stop there on my way to work. Do you want me to pick something up for dinner?" I answered, putting my empty bowl in the dishwasher."Nah, I'll be at work when you get home, so I'll make that rice thing you like and put it in the fridge." He sipped at his coffee, wincing at the heat."Okay. I'll see you later tonight then." I kissed his cheek as I grabbed my keys off the kitchen table and headed out the door.The car was cold, but it was a short drive to West Hardware, and the heat was barely going by the time I got there. The door chimed as I walked in, the smells of tools and wood filling the air. Andrew stopped organizing the shelf he was working on and hurried over to greet me. The store was empty other than the two of us."You here for the parts your dad ordered?" he asked, smiling."You must be a mind reader," I answered, returning his
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Chapter Three
A small flame grew, feeding on the dry grass. At first, it was more smoke than flame, but it grew quickly. Soon a trickle of flame spread into the deeper grass, finding a feast of dry tinder. It only took moments for the flames to spread along the roadside, incinerating everything they touched. The stars came out to watch the pretty flames dance along the side of the road, their silent light pale compared to the orange and red glow.***I got off my shift at 2:30, so I headed over to our usual meeting spot. I pulled my car into the back corner of the West Hardware Store parking lot and walked along the edge of the crumbling asphalt toward the main building. My feet followed a worn path along the wall of the building, my hand trailing behind me on the warm plastic siding. The back lot of the store was deserted, piles of lumber sitting under big blue plastic tarps. I was the first person there, so I claimed a spot in the sun, pulling back the tarp to sit on the wood.The sunshine was wa
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Chapter Four
Andrew set the last bag of groceries from the car on the floor of the kitchen, making sure he didn't track any mud into the house. Audrey, his mother, was busy putting them away as quickly as he brought them in. He began to help her, putting the milk in the fridge and shuffling around the contents to make room for the rest of the food.“Thank you for getting the groceries, Andrew. After last night's shift, I just couldn't get going today. Your dad used to do the grocery shopping for me-- he would always buy something special for you, remember?” She stopped for a moment, her eyes going distant, as she drifted into the past.“Yeah, I remember Mom. He would always get me a special cereal or dessert or something. How about I just plan on doing all the grocery shopping from now on? I can do it on my way home from work on Thursdays, and that way and you don't have to worry about it,” Andrew said as he put the eggs away.“Oh no, honey! I am the parent here. You shouldn't have to do that. I a
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Chapter Five
First, the fire tasted the grass, then a bush, jumping to a twig, to old pine needles, then winding up the base of the dying pine, feasting on the dry fuel. The flames danced and played, gleefully jumping from grass to bush, feeding and consuming without end. The light grew brighter the more it fed on the landscape, gray smoke beginning to cloud the stars.***“It is a shame to hear about that whole West divorce nonsense,” Mrs. Thatcher told me as she put her groceries up on the conveyer belt. It was a slow enough day that I was grateful to have her in my line. Mrs. Thatcher was the local busybody. She knew the gossip about nearly everyone almost as soon as it happened. She had lived in Conifer for as long as everyone could remember, and had been airing everyone's laundry for just as long.“I never liked that Barbara,” she confided in me as she put corn flakes up onto the belt. “Always too high and mighty for her own good. I never really understood why Ray married her, especially sinc
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Chapter Six
This was not working.I sat in a sea of crumpled paper, my chair a lone boat in an ocean of failed ideas. I had tried typing my ideas on how to get Audrey and Ray together on my computer, but it felt so impersonal. So, instead, I sat massaging my cramped fingers and staring at yet another blank page. I picked up the piece of paper and smashed it into a ball, tossing it toward the waste basket just to get it out of my face. I missed, and it bounced off my dog's head. Shadow raised her head to smell it, her big brown eyes curious, but upon finding it to be nothing other than frustrating ideas, she resettled.It had seemed so easy at first glance. Audrey and Ray had fallen in love once; I knew they could do it again. I had buzzed through my shift, sprinted home, and hopped on the computer for research. Fast forward two hours and I had no results. Everything I found was either too complex or too reminiscent of “The Parent Trap”. I had no idea how to get these two people to fall in love, l
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Chapter Seven
A fox sniffed the air, turning its tail at the acrid smell. Rabbits’ noses twitched as they debated running or hiding from the implacable foe. A small black bear raised up on his hind paws, sniffing the air before lumbering away. Two deer hurried past the bear, the fear of flames gleaming in their dark eyes. The crackle and pop of the fire chased them all slowly, eating away at their homes without mercy.***I got to the restaurant early, sliding into a seat at the corner of the bar. I shrugged out of my jacket, hanging it on the back of my chair. It was warm in the restaurant, and I soaked up the heat after coming in from the cold. The night sky outside threatened snow, and the temperature was dropping quickly.“Hey, honey. You ready for tonight? I almost feel giddy, like I'm in on a big secret,” Britney said with a giggle as she slipped behind the bar. She handed me a diet Coke, leaning against the bar. I grinned at her.“I'm a little nervous, and I'm not even the one doing anything
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Chapter Eight
Smoke trickled into the sky, blotting out the stars. Smelling smoke a young mother cradled her child closer to her breast. Two teens stopped their kissing to wonder why the sky seemed darker. A father checked on his young son, sleeping soundly in his bed, his brow pushed together as he worried for his family. A car stopped on the side of the road, flames reflecting in the dark windows. The glow of a phone lit the interior, the cry for help beginning.***I put on my warm winter boots and my nice hunter green wool pea coat. I decided that I wanted to look pretty, even if it meant I wasn't quite as warm as if I wore my heavy winter coat."You look nice," my dad said, watching me as I put on a hat and yellow scarf."Thanks, Daddy. Can you hand me my bag?""Sure. You're going out with Andrew tonight, right? When are you thinking you'll be home?" Dad asked nonchalantly. Since I had come home, he had been trying hard not to slip back into his protective ways; I really appreciated him lettin
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Chapter Nine
The lake was beautiful. It had snowed for the first time in weeks the night before, and the world was a winter wonderland. The frozen lake stretched out under snow--covered hills, evergreen trees standing like silent observers dressed in white. A large log cabin style building gazed out at the plowed lake, the windows glowing cheerfully and welcoming visitors inside. Small figures glided and danced on across the silver lake, their joyful shrieks filling the air.I could see Audrey and Ray lacing up their skates at the edge of the skating area, the two of them laughing and joking like lovestruck teenagers. They looked so young and carefree as they wobbled out onto the ice.Andrew and I stood on the deck of the Lake House, watching the two adults play on the ice. Ray tried to show off and skate backwards, slipping and falling onto his butt. Audrey inched toward him, unsteady on her skates until she reached him. She stuck out her hand to help him up, but when he grabbed it, instead of he
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Chapter Ten
Red engines lined the road, spraying precious water at the blaze. Black patches of burnt grass hissed and steamed, still defiant against the hoses even as they sputtered. The flames still leaped and danced, their light highlighting the concern filling the fire chief’s face. It was already too late. The flames had too much of a head start. He knew the flames would win the battle tonight, but he called for more men to fight the war.***I fidgeted with my gloves, gathering up my courage to get out of my car and go inside the hardware store. My dad had asked me to pick up some supplies for him, and I didn't have a good reason not to go. I thought Andrew was sure to be working. It wasn't that I didn't want to see Andrew; it was that I was nervous to see him. I shouldn't be nervous. Nothing happened.Nothing happened. I repeated it to myself, hoping the repetition would convince me. Nothing happened. I closed my eyes, but I could still smell his cologne, feel his body push into mine, his a
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