Surrounded by flames the.., p.1
Surrounded By Flames (The Flames Trilogy Book 2), p.1Cassandra Fear
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Surrounded By Flames
The Flames Trilogy, Book 2
Surrounded By Flames
Copyright © 2017 by Cassandra Fear.
All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: Date 2017
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
To Coleberticus and Bertson,
the best two kiddos a mom could ask for.
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When born, a child depended on their mother to take care of them, changing their diapers and feeding them, coddling them and rocking them to sleep. The good stuff. Death could be similar. An old man or woman at the end of their life often would leave the world the same as they entered, in diapers and being taken care of. Unless luck wasn’t on their side…like Beau.
Life wasn’t fair. Jasmine knew that, but somehow knowing something as a fact and accepting it were two separate things. Right now, she sat as far away from acceptance as she could. She didn’t plan on inviting it over to her table anytime soon either.
The minute she accepted the truth about Beau, it all became real. Fake scenarios were better than the truth. Imagining a world with Beau made happiness swell inside her. He might be gone, but she didn’t have to live in that place. He might be an angel and she might see him again, maybe even soon, but that world she chose not to see. Instead, she’d focused on the made-up place. Her sanctuary. The only place she’d found keeping her whole and a tiny bit sane.
Their relationship hadn’t been on the best terms when he died. That is the understatement of the year, Jaz. Maybe they’d both said some cruel things. Yup. I can’t deny that one.
But Beau had been her first love. Her best friend. So much more. She had to accept the truth about him. He would never be alive again, not like her. It might be the hardest thing she’d ever do, but she had to face the truth with a shred of dignity. Making up fairy tales wouldn’t help anyone, least of all her.
How could she face Beau again after she’d failed him so badly?
She couldn’t save anyone. Ma and Pa died before she could help them. She hesitated to use her power and couldn’t save her dad. Beau died and she couldn’t heal him. What good were these powers if she couldn’t save the people who mattered most?
Jasmine gazed around. The leaves shimmered against the sunlight, casting shadows over the ground. She smiled to herself. Her spot in the woods always calmed her. It worked for her now, just like always. The beauty of this place affected her more than anything else could right now. If she didn’t ground herself, she’d drown in anger. Suffocate on fury. And probably choke on revenge. Which would definitely be the death of her. If she wanted to stop the demons, she had to stay focused. Breathing helped. The woods helped. She took a deep breath and her hands stopped shaking. Another breath and the weight on her chest lifted.
She sat on the ground and then rolled her shoulders back, closing her eyes. She continued the movement, letting her head fall back and the stream of sunlight warm the skin on her face. Stay focused. Keep your eyes on the big picture. You can do this.
Sometimes, her mantras were the only thing that got her through the day. Today, even those were falling short.
A buzz jolted the back pocket of her jeans and Jasmine almost jumped out of her skin. Her heart raced as she slid her cell phone from the pocket and tapped it, not even glancing at the screen.
“Jasmine? It’s Mom.” Her mom’s high-pitched voice sounded frantic.
Jasmine’s mouth fell open, but she quickly righted herself. “You’re Mom now?”
Only quiet answered her, at least for several seconds. Just as Jasmine started to say something, her mom continued. “I’m so sorry about everything, Jaz.” Her mother sniffled. “I shouldn’t have blamed you like I did. None of this is your fault.”
Words eluded Jasmine. She wanted to believe her mom, but she had a hard time as past events slapped her mind. Either way, she wouldn’t hold a grudge. Not now, when everything was at stake. “It’s okay, Mom. You were in a bad place. Don’t beat yourself up.”
“Jasmine, listen. I’m in trouble.”
Jasmine waited for more, holding her breath. A static rustling galloped over her eardrum, making her pull the phone away from her ear. Someone had taken the phone from her mom.
“Ah. There’s the girl I’ve been waiting for.”
A bull could have charged into Jasmine’s chest as she lost the air in her lungs. That voice. She would know it anywhere.
“Aww. How sweet. You remember me.” He laughed. “Good. Now, listen. I have a bit of a predicament. You see, I have your mother here. Your mind led me right to her. I do thank you for those pictures of your house, the ones you kept so safe, tucked in the back of your head. They made everything so much easier.”
“What do you want with her?” Jasmine clenched her fists. “Leave her out of this. It’s me you want.”
She could hear the smile in Bael’s voice. “Of course it’s you I want. But. I grew tired of waiting for you to come around. You needed an incentive, so I’m giving it to you. Easy enough.” He paused a moment. “Now,
“Bael, don’t hurt her. Please.”
“I won’t. As long as you get here in five days.” Bael mumbled something under his breath.
“What did you say?”
He laughed again. “I didn’t think you liked your mother. This whole incentive thing…well, I didn’t think it would work. Guess family loyalty runs deep with a girl like you, huh?”
“She’s my mom. It doesn’t matter what happened between us, she will always be my family. Not that you know anything about that.”
“But I do. My demons are my family.”
“Your demons need to die.”
“And this conversation is over now. Remember, five days.”
The line went silent. Jasmine turned around, her hands clenching and unclenching at her sides. Anger bubbled inside her, as hot as a steaming pot boiling on the stove, until she released it with a sharp scream. It didn’t erase enough, so she punched the tree in front of her. “Damn it. Damn him!” Pain erupted in her wrist, so she grabbed it and tried to get the throbbing under control. She could still move it, not broken, but it hadn’t been the smartest idea to punch a tree. They hit back, hurting her more than she could ever hurt it, unless she had a chainsaw…
After that, she fell silent, but not long went by before she heard the rustling of leaves.
“Jasmine. Are you okay?” Amon’s voice bounced from the trees as he barreled toward her.
Jasmine straightened, preparing for an argument. She had a feeling Amon wouldn’t want her to go anywhere, let alone halfway across the country, even though he probably had no idea how big the country actually was. “Amon, Bael has my mom. I have to go get her.”
Amon rubbed his brow. “There is no way he has your mom.”
Jasmine squared her shoulders. “He does. She just called me and he took the phone from her. He said I have five days to go get her, and I’m going.”
Amon shook his head slowly. “Jasmine, you can’t just go rushing into danger.”
“But I can. And I will. I won’t let her die too. I don’t care if we didn’t get along. I don’t care if we had problems. She’s still my mom.”
Amon paced back and forth. He kept stopping, looking up at Jasmine, and then pacing some more. Until finally, he stopped and met her gaze with big eyes. “I don’t like this. It’s obviously a trap, Jasmine.” He paused. “But it is your mom, and if you must go, then I must go beside you. I won’t let you do this alone.”
Jasmine smiled and instantly moved closer to him, wrapping her arms around him in a hug. She hadn’t thought for a moment it would be so easy to convince him, but he understood, and she couldn’t thank him enough for that. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Amon hugged her back. “Good. At least we agree on something, then.”
Jasmine pulled back, raising her brows. “But how do we tell the others? Do you think they will mind?”
“It doesn’t matter if they mind.” He let her go, leaning back against the tree she had just punched.
Her gaze went straight to him, her eyes moving over his body. She took in his blond hair, which fell just to the top of his shoulders. His eyes shone, even from far away, like a pot of golden honey. His tall, slender form was bulked with muscle in all the right places. His arms made her feel safe when he wrapped them around her. Sexy described him well. Jasmine needed a fan to cool off. Her cheeks must have been the brightest shade of red because flames covered her whole face, and not the kind she could put out.
He could do so many bad things to me if I let him.
She mentally slapped herself. What was she thinking? Danger wrapped around her mother and the world might end any day, but she sat here thinking about the sexy fallen angel with the come-hither smile.
As if he could read her mind, he laughed.
“Why are you laughing?” Jasmine asked calmly, even though her insides shrieked. With embarrassment, sure, but so much more.
“Your eyes give you away every time,” Amon said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means your eyes are an open book, typing out word after word in clear, bold text.”
Heat rushed through her cheeks again. “Okay, boss. Whatever you say. You ready to go find the others and inform them of my trip?” Jasmine didn’t wait for him. Trying to get her hot cheeks under control, she walked ahead of him back toward the house. Beau’s house. A pang shot straight through her heart, causing a lump to form in her throat.
Amon jogged up beside her. “Our trip, you mean?”
Jasmine stopped and forced a smile. “Exactly. Our trip.”
Amon didn’t know, but she would have asked him to go along with her anyway. She didn’t want to go alone, especially knowing she would have to confront Bael. Strength and cunning made him an almost undefeatable foe. She’d gone up against him plenty of times but for some reason her power never lit him up, not the way it did the other demons. It must have something to do with him being the second to Lucifer. Somehow, that must have made him a lot stronger than the others.
He’d have to be to move up the ranks, Jasmine supposed. Demon ranks weren’t something she really understood, or ever wanted to.
Looking at Amon again, her chest lightened. With Amon along on the trip, her mother would be saved. She just knew it. Amon would help her fight Bael, perhaps erasing his existence for good. Jasmine would have to watch out, though. Being alone with him could be devastating to her health.
Flames broke out down the back of her neck, so she turned and started walking again.
“By the way.” Amon chuckled. “Your face gave you away again.” Jasmine could swear his voice got huskier with every word he spoke.
The tips of her ears burned as she peeked over her shoulder at him. He continued laughing, and Jasmine faced forward, her slow walk accelerating into a manic jog to the house. Being embarrassed sucked.
As Jasmine walked into the living room, she couldn’t believe the image that met her. The group of angels, who the whole world depended on for saving, sat in front of the TV, their mouths hanging toward the floor. Lamia squeezed between Caim and Cole on the couch, looking like a paper insert between two hamburger patties. The floor had swallowed Gemma, Amber, and Teeny. Azzy, the only one on his feet, leaned into a corner, his black wings scrunched against the wall.
“What the hell is everyone doing?” Jasmine rubbed her forehead as a throbbing traced her temples. “We are supposed to be planning how to save the world, and you guys are watching TV?”
“Hey. Don’t judge.” Lamia stood and walked around the coffee table, her long hair falling behind her shoulders. “It’s not like you’ve been in the mood to train either since Beau died.”
Jasmine’s heart dropped at the mention of his name. “You’re right. But it’s time we snap out of it. All of us. The world is depending on us to be at our best. How is this helping anyone?”
Gemma shrugged. “This show kind of sucks anyway. It’s the only channel that hasn’t gone fuzzy we could find. Unless you want to watch the news, but I can’t seem to find a channel for world news anymore.”
Jasmine widened her eyes. “Maybe the demons did something to the world station or something. I don’t know. Maybe they aren’t even in Idaho anymore.”
“But we’ve seen them here,” Amber said.
“Some of them, but what we’ve seen can’t be all of them.” Amon stepped to the front of the room. “We actually have no idea how far their reach has gone now. But we may be able to find out.”
Caim winked at Amon. “Tell us, boss, how would we be able to do that?”
Amon smiled. “I’m guessing you already know.” After he pressed his lips together, he addressed the rest of the group. “But for those of you who don’t, Jasmine and I have a journey to take. A trip to her mo
Jasmine cleared her throat. “Ohio. Hiram, Ohio. It’s a small college town.”
“Ohio? Is that far from here?” Azzy asked.
Jasmine nodded. “It is. I don’t know the exacts, but it’s at least a twenty-four-hour drive. That doesn’t include stops or anything else. So, it will probably take two days to get there.”
Amon shrugged. “The time or distance doesn’t matter. Bael has her family, and her mom is still alive. Jasmine and I will be leaving tonight to start the journey. In the meantime, you all will remain here and fight. I want you training and patrolling for demons. I want you looking for humans left alive and bringing them here. Gemma will heal what she can and save who she can.”
“You and Jasmine can’t go alone, Amon. It’s too risky, especially since you know Bael has her mom already. Who knows what other demons are lying in wait.” Lamia crossed her arms over her chest. “I will go.”
Amon shook his head. “No. I need you to stay here.”
“Okay, well, if you need her here, how about I volunteer?” Amber’s tinny voice could barely be heard over the blaring TV, a lot lower-pitched than Jasmine remembered. “I won’t be missed, and I’m new to the group. My power is strong and will be very helpful on the road, in case you run into trouble.” The girl hadn’t said much since joining them. This had to be her biggest speech so far.
Amon looked at Jasmine and she nodded as her heart softened. He’d always been in charge, but now, she felt like she could be considered his equal, his partner. His friend. And that, more than anything, swelled her chest with a light, airy feeling.
“Okay. You can come.”
Azzy came forward, his wings wiggling behind him. “Well, if you have two of the Angel Blessed, we should even the playing field and make sure we have two fallen angels too. I’ll go.”
Again, Amon looked at Jasmine. She nodded again, but her nerves sang with irritation. Only several minutes had passed since she’d had the thought of being alone with Amon. Although it could be dangerous for her, she’d secretly been looking forward to it. A selfish part of her had wanted to get to know him better as they made the long journey to Ohio, and even though she liked the others and appreciated their sacrifice, she wished nobody had volunteered. What kind of person did that make her? A horrible, only-cares-about-herself kind of girl, she feared.
Surrounded By Flames (The Flames Trilogy Book 2) by Cassandra Fear / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes