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Authors: Kaitlyn Hoyt

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BOOK: Scorching Secrets
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“I knew that I was probably humming, but I didn’t think I was actually singing. Was I loud?”

“Not too loud.”

“That’s helpful.” I roll my eyes. “I’ll try to keep it down. Watch your movie.” I click play and bring my attention back to my drawing, adding more details. I draw a design on the umbrella. Putting my pencil down, I push the notebook back and fully look at the picture.

Colton nudges my side with his elbow. I turn toward him. He’s smiling at me again. I glance around the room and find everyone looking at me again.

“Shoot, I was singing again wasn’t I?” David and Emma laugh, while everyone else nods. I point at Colton. “This is all your fault. You awoke the beast inside me. I was dormant until you made me play that piano and now all these songs keep spewing out of me.”

“You just compared yourself to a volcano.”

“To a really small volcano.” I pinch my fingers together to show how small I am referring to. “Not like Mt. Vesuvius or anything. You’d all be in trouble if I was like Vesuvius. We’d have a disaster of Pompeii proportions.”

Over everyone’s laughter, I hear the sound of a gunshot. I look at the TV right as someone gets shot in the head. I jump and turn back to Colton. “You know, I can’t unsee that.” Another song comes on and I start singing again. I slap my hand over my mouth. “Oh my gosh, I need duct tape.”

Colton grabs the hand that is covering my mouth. “No one can understand you if your hand is covering your mouth.” He is smiling at me—his green eyes twinkling with amusement. My eyes glance down at his hand holding mine, before I look back up at him.

“I said, oh my gosh. I need duct tape,” I repeat. To my delight, his smile widens. At that moment, I feel the familiar pull in my body, demanding my attention. “Catch me,” I whisper as my body slumps forward.

Chapter Three

Colton

I don’t think I heard her right, until her body falls forward onto me. I pull her onto my lap so she doesn’t fall off the couch.

“Ugh, she always has to ruin the moment,” Emma says. “You know, Colton, a guy doesn’t look at a girl like that unless he—”

“Don’t finish that sentence, Emma,” I tell her.

“I’m just saying. You’ve been watching her all night. I saw that smile you kept trying to hide.” I wonder if Emma is like this to Ryanne, because if she is, I don’t know how those two get along so well.

“She’s having a vision, isn’t she?” Liam asks.

“Well if she’s not, we have something to worry about because people shouldn’t just pass out like that all the time,” Emma retorts. “At least she was sitting down when it happened this time, and we don’t have to worry about her hitting her head or something. I’ve seen you guys have some close calls when it comes to catching her.”

I look down at my lap and cringe. I hate when she goes into her visions. She looks so lifeless. Her head is cocked to the side and her long hair is covering her face. There’s always a possibility that she will come out of the vision bleeding or injured. I watch her until I see some movement that proves she is coming back to this time.

It isn’t so subtle this time. She jumps up and off of me. “Larkin!” she yells and runs to the back of the house where all the weapons are kept for training. She’s rushing around looking for something. Obviously, something is wrong. She comes back into the room carrying a large sword.

“Ryanne, what’s going on?”

Instead of answering my question, she calls his name again. “LARKIN!” The desperation is obvious in her voice.

“Ryanne!” Liam yells. She turns and looks at him but doesn’t say anything. I start to walk toward her, when Larkin transports into the room.

“You called?” He smiles at her. I hate when he smiles at her like that—that smug arrogant smile that reveals way more than Ryanne thinks.

“Take me to Jane’s.” She steps closer to him.

“What?”

She hits him in the chest. “NOW!” He takes a step forward and wraps an arm around her waist, pulling her against his chest, and transports out of the room.

I continue to stare at the spot where she just was until my brain finally registers that she is gone. “What the hell just happened?” I yell as I turn back to the room.

Emma walks over to me. “Based on what just happened, I would assume that she had a vision that something dangerous and possibly life threatening was going to happen to Jane and/or Jane’s fiancé, so she called Larkin. As we have seen, Larkin can transport to random locations and said Larkin is probably taking Ryanne to her house to save her guardian on some superhero mission.”

“Emma, I think it would be best to not evoke a response out of him at this moment,” Liam says while walking up to me and placing a hand on my shoulder. “Calm down, Colton. She’ll be fine,” he speaks through clenched teeth. I know it’s hard on him too when she decides to play hero and not involve anyone in her plans.

“She just carried a sword out of here, Liam. A sword. She’s not going skipping through a field of flowers. She’s obviously going to fight something, and we’ve seen how well that has gone in the past!”

“She knows how to fight. She’s not surrounded by anyone else. The chance of her risking her life for someone else is drastically reduced,” says Logan. “And she has Larkin with her to help.”

At the mention of Larkin’s name, I feel the need to hit something. Liam and David both reach out to block me when they see the anger in my eyes. I’m reaching my dangerous point right now.

At the feel of their hands on my shoulders, I take a deep breath, but can’t calm myself. “The last time she went into a fight with a sword, she got stabbed and I had to heal her!” I yell at no one in particular. Ryanne is always doing this. She keeps putting herself into situations that end up with her coming back to me broken or on the verge of death. The room gets quiet after my outburst.

“What do you mean
you
healed her?” Emma asks, obviously confused.

I freeze. Throwing my head back, I close my eyes and exhale loudly. That didn’t just happen. I didn’t just say that. No one is supposed to know about that…not yet anyways. “Damn it.” At the silence around the room, I open my eyes and face Logan. “Did I really just say that out loud?”

*****

As my feet hit the ground in front of Jane’s, I am overcome with a feeling of dizziness and would have collapsed had Larkin not had a hold of me. “It’s a little disorienting the first couple of times,” he explains.

I don’t care how many times it takes to get used to the feeling. There’s something I have to do. I turn around and look around the yard for the man. When I see him step out of the trees, I take off toward him. Surprise is going to be my method of attack. Who would expect a 5’3” girl to come running toward them during the middle of the night?

My body collides with his and knocks us both to the ground. I push magic out and straddle him to keep him there. He is momentarily stunned before he starts to struggle out of my grip. I know I won’t be able to keep him down for long.

“Ryanne, are you crazy?” Larkin reprimands me as he catches up to us. The man beneath me pushes against my magic and knocks me to the side. He turns around and punches Larkin in the jaw before returning his attention back to me. Larkin falls the ground, unmoving.

You can’t count on a guy for anything.

I jump up and run toward him again. A few inches in front of him, I bring my foot up and kick him. I accidentally dropped the sword after the transport, so I need to figure out a way to injure this man enough to stop fighting.

When my foot connects with his chest, he stumbles backwards but doesn’t fall. He runs toward me again and I duck to avoid his outstretched arm. He moves quickly though and brings his other arm out and punches me in the side. I double over and gasp when a sharp pain shoots through my abdomen. I jump back before he is able to get another punch in. Larkin starts moving on the ground. I bring more magic into my limbs and attempt to kick the man. Again, he merely stumbles.

I back up when I see him grab the dagger from his belt. Larkin lifts his head and looks toward me and then to the dagger. He blinks once, and then without saying where he is going, he disappears. Did he really just leave me here? The man lunges for me, dagger pointed out. Attempting to avoid its sharpened blade, I jump to the side. The dagger just grazes my arm. I hiss when I feel the blood start dripping down my skin. He swings his other arm out and hits the same spot on my side, knocking me to the ground.

Larkin blinks back in front of me, sword raised. He stabs the man in the back. Cutting through all muscle and bone, the sword stops its forward movement and sticks out of his chest. Blood splatters onto me, and the man sputters and collapses. Larkin yanks the sword out and blinks away with the man’s body. To where, I’m not sure.

A second later, I feel hands wrap around me, and I am transported back to the house.

Landing on my butt in the middle of the living room, I wince at the movement in my stomach. However, when I see Larkin standing over me, I jump up. “Why did you kill him?!” I yell at him.

“That’s the thanks I get for saving your little butt?” He steps closer to me.

I reach out and hit him in the chest. “We could have questioned him.”

“Ryanne, you’re covered in blood!” Liam says.

“Most of it’s not mine.” I look down at my clothes. “Dang it, this was my favorite shirt.” The blood splatters will never come out of my white shorts either. I bring my attention back to Larkin. “I need to know who he was working for, what he planned on doing, and what their next move is. We could have gotten a lot of answers out of him.”

“Before or after you got stabbed again?” He steps closer to me again. I have to crane my neck to see his face. “You know who he was working for and you saw what he was going to do, otherwise you wouldn’t have called me and asked for help.”

“I can handle myself.” I cross my arms over my chest and whimper at the pain that shoots through my body again. I know that everything Larkin said is true, but I don’t like that Dravin is targeting those that I care about.

“Yeah, it sure looks like that. He punched you twice and probably broke a couple of your ribs.” Larkin is getting angry at me. He’s clenching his jaw which I know is causing him pain. He reaches out and grazes the cut on my arm. He shows me his hand that’s now covered in my blood. I ignore that.

“How would you know that? I wouldn’t have gotten punched if you didn’t get yourself knocked out right away. Some help you are!” I poke him in the chest. I know that taking my anger out on him isn’t the right thing to do, but I need some outlet.

“Well, if you didn’t just run and tackle a man three times your size, I wouldn’t have had to jump in like that and wouldn’t have gotten punched.” He knows that I am just taking my anger out on him. I can tell by the look in his eyes. He is angry at me, but not that angry. He’s trying to get a reaction out of me.

“Can they even hear us?” Emma asks.

“How else was I supposed to go about it then? Huh? I surprised him. It was working.”

“Straddling a man may have worked in a different situation, but not one with orders to kill.” Someone growls at his comment.

I take a step back, so I can see him better and quite frankly, my neck is starting to hurt. I take a deep breath to calm myself. “I’m sorry I yelled at you.”

“Do you have a death wish? Because you only get so many close calls, Ryanne,” he whispers to me, before turning toward the crowd still standing in the middle of the living room. “She needs healed.”

“I’m fine. No need to heal me, Logan,” I say, while glancing at Logan. Larkin reaches out and pokes me in the ribs. I hiss and jump back at the pain. “Was that necessary?” I ask him.

“You need healed.” I take a step toward him to yell at him again when I feel arms wrap around my waist. I arch my back when my ribs snap back into their correct positions. A small gasp escapes when the brief pain shoots through me at the abrupt movement. There’s a slight tickle on the surface of my arm. I glance down right as cut seals together and fades.

“You could have warned me first,” I snap at Logan.

“With you, a surprise attack is easier.” He smiles at me, which causes some of my anger to melt away. There’s no reason for me to take my anger out on him.

“Larkin needs healed too.” I smirk at Larkin when his eyes narrow at me.

Logan walks over to Larkin and heals his jaw. Then he turns back to me and asks, “What the heck just happened? Would you like to explain now?”

“Not really. I’m still mad at him.” I point at Larkin as I start backing up. “And I want to go get all this dried blood off of me.” I turn and start walking away. I glance behind me and see a lot of shocked expressions. “Have Larkin explain it,” I yell as I make it to the top of the stairs.

I smile as I step into the bathroom. Their expressions were priceless. Larkin was knocked out for half of it, so that should be interesting. I undress and throw the clothes into the garbage can in the bathroom before turning the water on as hot as it will go. I stay in longer than I usually would have; I want to make sure all the blood, dirt, and sweat is off of me. I turn the water off when it starts to cool. I grab a towel and walk back into the room to find some clothes. Getting my “Dr. Sheldon Cooper for President” shirt and a pair of jean shorts from my drawers, I walk back into the bathroom to change. I scrunch my thick hair with a towel and walk back downstairs.

When I make it to the bottom of the stairs all conversation stops. Larkin is no longer in the room. I sit down on the couch in the spot I was in before I had the vision of the man killing Jane and Ross.

“Go on. Yell at me,” I say, looking at everyone.

“You tackled a large man to the ground without a weapon?” Bragden asks incredulously.

“I dropped it when Larkin transported me there. I figured I might as well surprise him. I don’t really think before I do stuff.” I shrug. Colton scoffs beside me. When I look his way, I instantly tense. He’s not looking at me, but I can tell from his tight posture that he’s thinking about what happened. He is brooding and staring at the blank television screen. Oh dear. He’s mad.

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