Burning Bright by Chris Cannon Excerpts
“I think we are at the no-news-is-good-news stage,” Jaxon said.
“That works for me.” Bryn said. “I’m hoping my chaos magnet days are over. I’d love an uneventful holiday season.” “The Christmas Ball should be safer this year. Your grandfather has hired extra guards and installed more surveillance cameras around the estate.” “That’s comforting, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to relax and believe an event is safe.”
“I feel compelled to point out that the common denominator among all the recent chaos has been you.”
“And you get to spend the rest of your life with me,” Bryn shot back. “You lucky duck.”
“I can barely contain my joy.”
They drove back to the Institute for Excellence trading comments and laughing. It was nice. On the way to her room, he said, “Do you still have the present I asked you to keep for me?”
Way to put a damper on the day. “I do.” Where is he going with this?
“Can I have it back?” he asked.
“Of course.” She unlocked her door, letting him into the living room and then went to retrieve the bracelet from underneath her sweaters. Should she admit she’d looked at it? No.
Jaxon accepted the box from her and held it in his palm like he was testing its weight. “I finally figured out what I should do with it.” He slid it into his coat pocket and then said, “I almost forgot.” He pulled a small white cardboard box from his pocket and handed it to her.
“What’s this?” She opened the box and looked inside to find brownies dotted with green Christmas tree-shaped sprinkles.
“I stopped in a bakery to order something for my mother, and I saw those.”
That was oddly thoughtful of him.
“I know normal girls wouldn’t want to eat brownies after baking cookies all day, but I figured that didn’t apply to you.”
“It’s not like I can argue that statement, so thank you.”
“Good night, Bryn.”
“Good night.” She locked the door behind him before taking a bite of brownie. It was chocolatey fudgey heaven. A small voice in her head whispered that he must actually care about her. The smarter part of her brain said to shut up and enjoy the brownie. No reason to read anything even remotely romantic into the nice gesture.
Bryn stopped mid chew. Wait. What? Did she just think of romance and Jaxon in the same sentence? Sure, he was funny, and smart, and handsome when he wasn’t being an asshat, but that didn’t mean there would ever be any real feelings between them. Right?
He stood. “Let’s go for a walk.”
“Okay.” She set her mug on the bench and let him pull her to her feet. Should she tell her grandparents where they were going? That would kind of ruin the moment she and Jaxon might be having, so she shelved the idea.
Hand in hand, they walked down one of the slate paths back into the trees with the fairy lights. “This place is amazing.”
“This has always been my favorite part of the house. I used to spend a lot of time out here.”
They walked down a path and into a stand of trees. Several single swings and a double swing where two people could sit, like a porch swing, were suspended from the trees. There was also a staircase that spiraled around a tree and led up to a walkway suspended between the trees, high up in the branches.
“Can we go up?” Bryn asked. “Sure.” The spiral steps were easy to climb, but the walkway was higher up in the trees than it appeared from below. “What do you think?” Jaxon asked. “I think it’s the perfect place to hide from the world.”
Wait a minute. “You made fun of me last year when I said I wanted a treehouse.”
“This isn’t a treehouse, it’s a far superior tree bridge.”
“Right,” Bryn mocked. “That makes sense.”
Jaxon tugged her back toward the platform of the first tree. “There’s more.” Around the back side of the tree there was a bench. “If you don’t feel like walking, you can sit.”
“As one does when one is tired from adventures on their tree bridge.” She sat and relaxed back against the trunk of the tree, very aware of Jaxon’s proximity and the heat coming off his body.
“Exactly,” he said.
She laughed. From inside the tree the fairy lights seemed even more magical. “You know this is basically a tree house without walls.”
“No. That doesn’t work for me,” he said. Bryn rolled her eyes but didn’t comment. “I saw that,” Jaxon said. “You were meant to.” Joking around with him felt comfortable. “This is nice.” “The tree?” he asked. “No.” She pointed back and forth between them. “This. Us. No pretenses or small talk…just us.” “Speaking of us.” He leaned in, slowly, like he was giving her a chance to move away. She met him halfway and pressed her mouth against his. Time seemed to slow down as his hand touched her cheek and then cradled the back of her head. Heat thrummed between them, burning bright as the kiss grew, which was strange yet somehow right.
I guess I should say thank you for coming to look for me.”
“You’re welcome, though you seemed to have the situation taken care of by the time we got there.”
“Mostly,” he said. “But it’s nice to know that someone notices when I’m not where I’m supposed to be.”
And now this felt awkward and a little too serious. “I guess it really is our job to look out for each other now, isn’t it?”
He grinned. “I’d like to point out that I’m normally a lot less trouble than you are, so you’re getting the better end of this deal.”
She rolled her eyes. “Yes, I’m one lucky girl.”
He acknowledged her joke with a grin and then pushed to his feet. “Do try to remember that.” He walked to the door and let himself out.
She locked the door behind him. Weird how she felt closer to him now. Shared drama probably had that effect on a relationship. Whatever kind of relationship she had with Jaxon, it seemed to be shifting…which was natural given their strange circumstances. Nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.
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Burning Bright (Going Down in Flames #5)
by Chris Cannon
Publication Date: June 4, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Bryn is back for her senior year at the Institute for Excellence, also known as shape-shifting dragon school. She isn’t sure which is scarier, the life-force sucking dragons stalking campus or the fact that she’s officially betrothed to Jaxon, a guy who will never love her. Not that she could ever love him, either… That’s just ridiculous.
Senior year should be fun. Her parents are alive, she’s finally fitting in, and she’s learning how to be a Medic. But what’s with Jaxon giving her strange looks? He runs hot and cold, and he doesn’t even have the excuse of being a hybrid fire-and-ice-breathing dragon like her. One minute they’re having a great time and the next, she wants to blast a fireball at his head. The marriage contract of doom looms over them–unless this match not made in heaven kindles a flame…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Cannon is the award-winning author of the Going Down In Flames series and the Boyfriend Chronicles. She lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and several furry beasts. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or romantic comedies. You can find her online at http://www.chriscannonauthor.com.