In Flames - Elise Faber



Another date.

Another loser.

Sighing, she waited long enough so the man—said loser—would have vacated the hallway, then she slipped out of her room and made her way to the infirmary.

It was empty, but she could always find something to keep her busy.

And, if she waited long enough, someone would get hurt and she’d have something real to do, something that wasn’t sitting around reviewing charts and being jealous because her friends were ridiculously happy and bonded and . . . she was dating losers.

Which wasn’t entirely fair.

The Rengalla she’d gone out with that evening was a perfectly nice man.

Just not the one for her.

And, if she were being completely honest, he was a little boring.

As her life had been . . . for decades.

Nearly a hundred years old, she’d lived through medical and technological advancements, she’d lived through wars and loss, and . . . she was bored out of her mind.

She wanted excitement.

She wanted to feel something, anything aside from this heavy weight sitting on her chest.

The one that told her she was missing out, missing something.

Not doing enough. Not helping enough. Not living—


Yes, that was a trend with her.

Well, that and lonely.

Unfortunately, lonely was also a trend. Because as much as the men she’d dated had waxed poetic about liking strong women, that hadn’t actually come to fruition, especially when she was pulled out of dinner or bed or sexy, fun naked time and called into the infirmary because someone had broken their leg, or burned their arm, or because a baby had decided to make an untimely arrival.

Then they realized that dating the Rengalla’s top healer wasn’t all fun and games.

Then they tolerated the intrusion a time or five, maybe even ten.

But eventually they tired of the interruptions, of not being first in her priorities and then . . . they went away.

So circling back to lonely. And she might as well add horny into that mix.

Because that was the crux of it, too. She was tired of her hand and her vibrator. She wanted an orgasm courtesy of someone else. She wanted someone to look at her with desire. To want her. No, to need her.

Like Dee had Cody.

Like Gabby had Mason.

Like she would probably never have.

Sighing, she grabbed the doorknob, started to push into the infirmary. Maybe she wouldn’t ever bond or have a man devoted to her like her friends did, “But, is it too much for me to have just one night of hot sex?”

“Pent up, Suzie girl?”

That voice.

Liquid honey down her spine, heat drifting between her thighs, desire making the tips of her fingers itch—

To release her magic, to wipe that smirk off his gorgeous face.

To . . . wrap her fingers in the strands of his deep brown hair and yank his head down for a kiss.

She let go of the knob and turned to face Graham.

Cocky, funny Graham.

Whom everyone liked. Who was nice to every Rengalla, big and small.

Every Rengalla, except for her.

Her he liked to torment.

She couldn’t stand the man—or at least that was what she told herself. Plus, he was too arrogant by half and never failed to infuriate her. But he wasn’t dating anyone, and clearly after this evening, she wasn’t either.

And . . . she wanted him, had spent years wanting him while pretending not to.

She stepped toward him, close enough to smell his scent—all damp forest floor and warm summer sunshine—close enough to feel the heat from his body, sense his strength in the hard planes of his body.

“You offering to help me out?” she asked, taking another step, her breasts brushing against his chest.

A muscle ticked in his jaw. “Suz,” he muttered, moving back and putting some distance between them. “Don’t be ridiculous.”


God, it sliced right through her, tore at her insides.

Not even the man who’d slept with half the single women in the Colony wanted her.


She forced a laugh, her eyes burning. So stupid. “Right,” she said and spun around, reached for the knob once again. “I’m busy. Now, go away.”

“Wait.” He grabbed her arm.

She shook him off, pushed into the space that had become her sanctuary. Maybe there were some bandages to organize, some charts to file—


That wasn’t the sound of the door closing.

Rather, it was the sound of the door locking.

On a gasp, she spun around.

Graham was there, eyes hot as he stepped away from the door. “So, little Suzie girl is feeling needy,” he said, the words sending a shiver down her spine. He crowded into her. “She wants my help scratching