Authors: Jamie Magee
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to any real people or event is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 by Jamie Magee
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the express consent of the publisher and author, except where permitted by law.
For the dear friend that showed me how passionate fire signs could be, Chancey Shae Pickard.
And to my baby brother, Joseph Brady, for teaching me to respect fire, for showing me how courageous fireman have to be. Your bravery is unprecedented.
Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.
Other Books by Jamie Magee
All series mingle at some point creating a “web of hearts and souls”
Insight (Book 1)
Embody (Book 2)
Image (Book 3)
Image (Book 3)
Vital (Book 4)
Vindicate (Book 5)
Enflame (Book 6)
See (Book 1)
Witness (Book 2)
Synergy (Book 3)
Redefined (Book 4)
Where To Find Jamie Online:
Table of Contents
When death shadows your path, you only have one viable defense—adrenaline. All the rage, panic, and jealousy coursing through my veins vanished instantly. There was no room for such emotions. There was no choice between fight and flight—I’ve always been a fighter.
The light was blinding, but that was nothing compared to the piercing sound of the train’s whistle that was bellowing through my body. I braced my arms on the dash, knowing there was nowhere to turn, no way to stop.
Out of sheer instinct, Wilder turned the wheel sharply, which rapidly plowed us through the brush that surrounded the frozen lake. The ice carried the wheels of the car so far out onto the lake that turning back was not an option.
Gavin’s truck, which was just behind us, had followed our path onto the ice. The only way to go was straight ahead toward the manor, but that was a foolish mistake.
Seconds later, just before the hood of the car, I saw the darkness spider web across the pristine blue of the ice, and the frozen lake opened wide, swallowing us whole.
The shock of the cold water never registered to me as I struggled to undo my seatbelt.
Once I was free, I reached for Wilder, who was already loose. He leaned back in his seat and lunged his long legs at the windshield, trying to give us both a way out, but before he could break the glass Gavin’s truck landed on us with a sickening thud.
The added weight caused us to sink faster than before, and now the icy water was seeping over our necks. Wilder was so cold that he couldn’t think—he couldn’t move. I swam over the seat and angled myself so I could kick out the back window. It took me three tries, but finally I forced it open.
Wilder was gone, completely unconscious. I positioned my arm under his shoulders and pulled him with every ounce of my strength. He was almost too broad to fit through the window. The jagged glass scraped his arm—the pain from the gash shocked him awake. I heard him scream under the water as I thrust him forward then followed, finding air with the next beat of my heart.
After a second of thought, I realized that when I swam by Gavin’s truck it was upside down; I knew they were either hurt or trapped because no one had broken through the surface of the frozen lake. I had to go back. I had to save them.
“Indie, no!” Wilder screamed at me, but I didn’t bother to argue or even hesitate.
I dove into the water, pushing through the blocks of ice. Wilder was behind me, swimming faster than I could.
The dark color of crimson was escaping out through the windows of the overturned truck.
Wilder started to kick out the passenger side window as I swam down to the crevasse where our car met theirs. The back window was buckled. It only took one kick to break my way through.
Wilder had broken through and was pulling Cadence out; she was the one that was bleeding. Gavin was awake and struggling with Wilder to rescue her.
I wrestled with Sophia’s seatbelt; just when I got it loose, the truck began to fall to the side, losing its balance on our car. I pushed Sophie out just before the car tumbled in the water, trapping Mason and me.
The tumble knocked him out cold, but it also crumbled the windshield, giving us a faster escape than I could have hoped for. I took my scarf off and looped it under his arms, then I pulled, kicked and fought my way past the massive blocks of ice, wanting air – wanting survival, wanting death to leave me be tonight.
It was as if the lake were demanding a sacrifice, payment for breaking the peace it had before we lost control and broke through her barriers.
I climbed and climbed, pulling the weight of Mason with me, careful not to let the ice hurt him anymore. It felt like a century later, but I broke the surface and sucked in the freezing night air.
My heart was pounding so hard that it was making me shake. I knew. I just knew I was too late, that somewhere in this battle with this lake I’d lost one, if not all, of my closest friends.
Each time I pushed the weight of Mason onto the ice, more broke away. He wasn’t going to be able to handle this water much longer—there was no way. I pushed forward, knowing the bank wasn’t far, which meant the ice would be thicker, stronger.
Behind me I could hear the thrashing of the water against the ice, the sound of death itself chasing me from this lake. Adrenaline was coursing through every inch of my body. It was my weapon at the moment, and my intent was to use it fiercely.
After the seventh attempt, I found ice that was strong enough to hold Mason. He groaned as I pushed him up, coughing out water.
I was exhausted, but I had to go back. I had to get my camera. It was my proof, my only proof, and I wasn’t going to give it up without a fight.
Just as I went to dive into the freezing lake once more, a blinding light stopped me and my hell vanished instantly.
“Indie, what the hell? Get down!” Cadence said in a harsh whisper.
My eyes were wide with shock. I couldn’t understand where I was or what had just happened. I gripped the side of the wide beams above my bedroom. I’d climbed almost twenty feet in the air, and I had no idea how I had managed to do that. My room was a disaster; bookshelves were turned over and lamps were shattered on the floor.
My heart was beating so fast that I couldn’t breathe. I could not understand how I was at death’s door one instant and perched up here the next. I tried to breathe, but no air would come. I kept seeing the ice, the water, the blood…that couldn’t have been a dream—could it? The last thing I needed was for my night terrors to return.
I glanced at the beam just beneath my hand to see ice growing. I clenched my teeth and thought of every word or image that resembled fire wanting to hide this dangerous curse.
My wrist began to burn, then warmth eased through my hand, my arm, and my body. In my mind, I heard a familiar, deep whisper echo, ‘
I’ve got you, Love. I’m never going to let you go
.’ I clenched my wrist; the black scarf that was wrapped there, it was my magic, my defense, and most importantly at that moment it was my sanity. Tiny rivulets of water appeared where the ice once was, evaporating just as they emerged. I let out a sigh, knowing I’d talked myself down once again, which was a miracle in and of itself considering how insanely my heart was beating—how out of control my emotions were.
Echoing footsteps made their way down the hall, and that did nothing but make my alarm grow. I could see my breath and feel the ice coming back. Focusing on the fire burning within the scarf, the warm sensation, was my only hope. One beat later, the fog of my breath vanished, along with ice on the beam holding me in the air.
“Freaking A,” Cadence said under her breath as she rushed around picking up lamps and scattered books, trying to make the room look less violent.
Mrs. Rasure opened our bedroom door one beat later. She pulled her black robe tightly closed; her blazing red hair marked by lines of silver reflected the anger in her cold, dark stare that found me peering down at her.
“Genevieve Indiana Falcon, what on Earth are you doing up there?” she scolded.
“I—um—I was. Cold,” I stammered, still not completely awake.
Mrs. Rasure took in the room, along with Cadence’s obvious shock and fear. “So you chose to climb the walls?” Her tone was icy and quick, just like always.
“Hot air rises,” I mumbled, letting my legs relax along the beam I was perched on.
“I see,” she said distantly. “If you choose to carry on with your wild ways, do so in another wing; your grandmother needs her rest.”
A glare was my instant response. Now I was wide-awake. This woman was evil. I was sure of it. I turned my body so my arms were holding the beam, then swung my legs to the edge of the bookcase and climbed down.
My emotions of rage and declared vengeance caused ice to form on the wood as I climbed down. I focused on the scarf and felt the fire there once more. I let out a small breath to ensure that there was no fog there; finding nothing odd, I placed one hand over my wrist and turned sharply to face my one and only mortal enemy.
“Mrs. Rasure, I have no wild ways, and I would appreciate it if you would leave my wing, my house, my life.” My tone was beyond polite, yet dripping sarcasm.
She grinned indifferently as Cadence came to my side. “Tell me why after seven years you still choose to use my proper name. I’m your aunt, your family. Your well-being is my first priority.”
Every curse word I knew was racing through my mind as I smiled graciously at the woman who had invaded my family so long ago.
“That is how my mother introduced you to me. She never advised me to call you differently.”
Mrs. Rasure tilted her head and let her eyes smile innocently. “Considering that she was not your real mother and that she has long since passed away, I will ask you once more to call me Aunt Celia.” She let her words settle, then crossed her arms. “I received a call from the attorney. He was somewhat surprised that you listed seventy-seven siblings and that each of them had written a letter on your behalf. He asked if there was any family that was not listed that he should expect correspondence from. Of course, I told him that he was lacking seven, but considering they had passed away, I advised him not to list them…that it might damage your delicate state of mind.”