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       Above The Flames (The Flames Trilogy #1), p.1

           Cassandra Fear
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Above The Flames (The Flames Trilogy #1)


  Above The Flames

  The Flames Trilogy, Book 1

  By Cassandra Fear

  Above The Flames

  Copyright © 2016 by Cassandra Fear.

  All rights reserved.

  First Print Edition: April 2016

  Limitless Publishing, LLC

  Kailua, HI 96734

  www.limitlesspublishing.com

  Formatting: Limitless Publishing

  ISBN-13: 978-1-68058-584-1

  ISBN-10: 1-68058-584-3

  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.

  Dedication

  I’d like to dedicate this book to quite a few people, all of whom are very important to me. Firstly, my husband. You are my rock, solid and unmoving—ahem! stubborn—and I love you more and more every day for it. Secondly, to my kids, Cole and Amber, for always telling me I’m their favorite mommy—even though I’m pretty sure I’m their only mommy. You both make me so happy to be part of your lives.

  Next, to my mom. You are the hardest working person I have ever known. Pain has never slowed you down. Because of you, I learned the value of hard work. I couldn’t have done this without you! Also, to my step-daddy, for always being there for me even when I didn’t want you to be. Thank you for never pushing too hard. Even though I call you step-daddy, I think of you as another father.

  And last but not least, to my dad. I know you’re watching me from Heaven, smiling down at me every step of the way. I miss you more than words can explain, but I know we’ll meet again someday.

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

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  Chapter 1

  Changes

  Jasmine

  Jasmine’s skin crawled. She rubbed her palms up and down her arms as she peered out the back window of her parents’ SUV. It was dark, but the moon painted the old country road with a white glow, illuminating the faded concrete. The wooded area off to the right disappeared as fog rose from the pavement, wrapping around the vehicle. Dad eased on the brake.

  “What’s going on out here tonight?” Dad’s tone was clear, but soft.

  Jasmine shrugged, knowing he couldn’t see her.

  The tires crawled forward, and Jasmine’s body heated with a familiar warmth. A warmth that brought power. She tamped it down; made sure the box was locked. Stay in there. It’s not safe for you to come out.

  Dad’s cheery voice made her jump. “So, how does it feel to be sweet sixteen? I can’t believe my baby’s growing up so fast.”

  “It kind of just feels the same, I guess.” She smiled. “But, you’ve got to quit calling me that, Dad. I haven’t been a baby for a long time.”

  Dad peered through the rearview mirror, his eyes twinkling with humor. “Never going to happen.”

  Jasmine shook her head, smiling. Even though she acted annoyed whenever he called her “his baby,” she really wasn’t. Secretly, she enjoyed it, and it made her feel loved…special, even.

  Jasmine’s heart lightened as she met her dad’s eyes in the mirror. “I really love you, you know that?”

  Mom huffed.

  “Something wrong, Mom?”

  Mom gazed over her shoulder, meeting Jasmine’s eyes with a coldness that could freeze a soul. “Nothing at all.”

  Mom’s words were nothing but a contradiction to her tone of voice, and the look in her eyes. Jasmine had suspected for a long time that Mom was jealous of Dad’s love for her, but seeing it so in her face made her stomach drop. She’d never really been close with her mom, though. Not like she was with her dad. That’s just how it had always been.

  “Mary!” Dad growled. “Don’t start.”

  Mom pressed her lips together, and then opened her mouth. With one last hate-filled look toward Jasmine, Mom closed her mouth and faced the front again. Jasmine didn’t have a clue what was going on with Mom. She’d been so cold lately, so unfeeling. And then Jasmine had been hearing a lot of raised voices after she went to bed at night. She shrugged, not wanting to think about it right now. It was her birthday, after all.

  Jasmine leaned against her car door, breathing in the fresh air through the slightly open window. The fog was thicker here, and it seeped in through the window, stretching into the car. Inky darkness surrounded them, and it was hard to see a thing. Her heart sped up as something red showed through the black, but it quickly disappeared. She blinked, opened her eyes wide, and tensely leaned forward. There it is. Something glowing red.

  The car suddenly swerved to the left, sending Jasmine sprawling sideways, but her seatbelt held her in place, although it dug into her stomach a bit too much. “Dad, what’s going on?”

  “I don’t know, Jazzy. I think something’s wrong with the car.”

  Heat coursed through her veins, pumping power through her body, making her feel more alive than she had in a long time. She quickly squashed it down. I can’t let you out right now. I’m sorry, but I can’t! You are too uncontrollable.

  The car jerked again. “All right, something is definitely wrong with the car. I’m pulling off the road. Maybe I can figure it out,” Dad said.

  Jasmine didn’t think anything was wrong with the car. A strange feeling fell into her stomach, almost as if her heart was dropping into it. She gripped the top of the driver’s seat and looked out, seeing something red again, but this time there were two spots and they were moving closer and closer. She grasped Dad’s shoulder. “Do you see that?” She pointed out the front window. “Look!”

  Dad looked out and his shoulders stiffened. “What is that?”

  “Mike, I think we need to get out of here,” Mom whispered. “Now.”

  Dad shook his head, dropping it into his hand for a second before he started chuckling. “Look at us. The fog has set up a scary movie vibe and we’re all seeing things and freaking out. Let’s just calm down. I can’t go anywhere until the car is safe, or we’ll end up in a ditch somewhere. I’m going to go outside, check it out, and see if I can fix it. If not, we’ll have to call Triple A. Okay?”

  Jasmine gulped. Mom nodded. Dad got out, slamming the car door. The sound echoed through the total, absolute silence around them. There
weren’t even any insect sounds, which was strange because they were surrounded by woods.

  “Mom, do you really think we’re all imagining things?” Jasmine asked.

  Mom shrugged. “I don’t know, Jasmine. I just don’t know.”

  Jasmine fell back into her seat and slumped down, staring out the window.

  An earsplitting whistle shot through the air, causing Jasmine to instantly cup her ears against the sound. Jasmine met her mother’s eyes and saw fear. Without any more hesitation, Mom jumped out of the car, and Jasmine followed.

  “What was that noise?” Jasmine asked, coming around the front of the car. Dad was crouched down, inspecting the tire.

  “What noise?” Dad asked, looking up.

  “Mike, don’t tell me you didn’t hear that shrieking whistle. It was so loud,” Mom said.

  Dad scrunched his forehead. “I really didn’t hear anything. But it’s obvious you did.” Dad rubbed his forehead. “What is going on around here?”

  “I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with me.” The man’s voice was raspy, but smooth, like silk torn to shreds. Jasmine’s spine stiffened, and goosebumps ran down her arms and legs. She turned slowly, just like in a horror movie, only to see the silhouette of a man behind her. Fog surrounded him, hiding his features.

  Somehow able to find her voice, she asked, “Who are you? Where did you come from?”

  The man stepped into view and smiled, revealing abnormally white teeth that looked sharpened at the tips. “I came from Hell, actually. And I’m ready for some fun. You wouldn’t believe how boring eternity in a flaming prison is.”

  Jasmine inched backward. Her body tingled as her power moved through her, but she pushed it back again, not sure why it kept trying to get out. She never let it out anymore, and it never tried to escape. Not like this. She took another step backward, hoping the man wouldn’t notice her. Her phone was in the car, and this guy was crazy. They were going to need some help to get out of this alive. Maybe the police would make it in time. If only she could get to her phone.

  “Nuh-uh, you pretty little thing. You stay right where you are.” The man came closer, backing her into the side of the car. “I’m actually here to see you, Jasmine.”

  “H-how do you know my name?”

  “Hey, buddy, get away from my daughter!” Dad ran forward, wedging his body between the man and her.

  “This is touching, really. But I don’t have time for it.”

  With a speed she could barely register, the man’s arms swept out, shoving her father. But he didn’t just get pushed aside; her dad went in the air and landed with a thud against the ground. Mom screamed and ran forward, but Jasmine’s feet were frozen into the ground.

  The demon met Jasmine’s mom halfway, stopping her in her tracks. “Be a dear and get back in the car. I really don’t want to harm a woman. You understand, don’t you?”

  Mom nodded and shuffled to the car like a zombie searching for food until she flopped into the car and shut the door.

  “What the hell are you?” The words rushed out of Jasmine before she could stop them, but the man only turned and smiled. For the first time, she got a good look at him. Even through the darkness, the color of his skin seemed off. Almost like a putrid green had been painted in swirls all over his blackness. He was tall, a bit stocky in the arms. When she met his eyes, she started to tremble. They were red. And glowing. “Oh my God!”

  The man’s smile grew. “I was wondering if you’d ever notice. It sure took you long enough.”

  “What are you? And how did you make my mom go to the car? She never listens to anyone.”

  He held his hands in front of him, stretched his fingers out, and wiggled them. “Magic. And I’m going to teach you all about it. You just have to come with me.”

  Jasmine chuckled, softly at first, but by the end she was hysterical with laughter. “Yeah, okay, let me just grab my purse.”

  His eyes narrowed, all signs of amusement disappearing from his face. “I don’t think you are taking this very seriously, Jasmine. And I think you’d better, because Lucifer knows all about you. And he wants you in Hell so he can train you.”

  Her jaw dropped open and her eyes widened. “What are you talking about? You’re crazy. We can get you the help you need. Let us help you.”

  “You’re not getting it,” he spat. “I am a demon. And you are coming with me.”

  A demon? What is this guy on?

  “Okay, buddy. You’re a demon. I get it. But, instead of me coming with you, why don’t you come with me?” Jasmine asked desperately. “I mean, you can join us for dinner. We can talk about this demon travel thing, what I can expect. I like to feel like I’m in control, you know? Like knowing what to expect. I need to be prepared.”

  The demon’s eyes flashed bright red before fading and he gave her a crooked grin. “You are very smart, aren’t you? But that kind of thing doesn’t work with us. We are smarter. Faster. Stronger. And the sooner you realize I speak the truth, the better.”

  Jasmine looked down at the ground. Her dad was moving, dragging himself closer. She had to keep this crazy man busy until Dad could help her.

  “Oh, don’t worry. I can definitely tell you’re a demon. Your red eyes kind of give it away.” She shrugged. “I really just like to know what’s happening to me. And, well, if you’d be so kind as to tell me how we are going to get to Hell, it will help me relax some. I have anxiety.” She placed a hand on her chest. “And if I’m not careful, it might cause me to have a heart attack. You know?”

  He stepped closer, stopping right in front of her. Then he leaned forward, his mouth against her ear. She cringed as he whispered, “Do you not think I can hear your father rustling through the grass? You will stop him, or he will die. You know?” He chuckled.

  Jasmine’s whole body tensed. “Dad. Stop. Don’t come any closer.” She took a deep breath and blew it out. “I’m going with him. Just get in the car.”

  “The hell with that,” her dad yelled as he came barreling forward, slamming into the side of the demon.

  “Dad, stop!” Jasmine screamed, but it was too late. All she could do was watch as the demon lifted her father off of him like a feather and threw him. Dad grunted, landing flat on his back, and instantly started gasping for air.

  Jasmine ran toward him, but the demon was on his feet in front of her. He grabbed her as she ran and tossed her over his shoulder. “I told you you’re coming with me, whether you like it or not.”

  But Dad wasn’t done. He got up again and tackled the demon. Jasmine fell, her elbow slamming into the ground. Pain spread down to her wrist and she wrapped her other hand around it as she sucked in a breath.

  Her dad and the demon wrestled on the ground. Dad being on top helped his chances, but he didn’t stay that way for long. The demon flipped him, crawling on top of him so fast that her brain couldn’t register what happened.

  “You are like an annoying insect. And you know what we do to those, yes?” the demon asked, running his finger down her dad’s arm.

  Why is he petting my dad?

  “Leave him alone! Right now!” Jasmine boomed, finally finding her voice. The pain had faded some, but her arm could have been sprained. She wasn’t sure.

  The demon turned, his red eyes flashing brighter and brighter as Dad started convulsing. “It’s too late for him. Way too late.”

  She got up and moved to them. Her dad was paler than a ghost and sweat poured down his forehead. “What did you do to him?”

  “He is dying. I sliced him with this.” He held up his pointer finger, stretching out his long nail. Honestly, it looked like a claw. “This releases a poison any time it comes in contact with human skin. There is no cure for it. I’m very sorry, it wasn’t my intention to kill him, but he just kept interrupting us. I got a bit annoyed.”

  Jasmine seethed with anger, and her power flowed through her. This time, she didn’t stop it. Instead, she let it course through her veins, warming h
er everywhere she’d turned cold. “You poisoned my dad because he annoyed you?” She took a step forward. “With your nail?” Another step. “You are freaking crazy, you psycho. And I hope you get what you deserve. You aren’t a demon. There are no demons. They aren’t real!” She looked at her dad again. Drool dripped from the corner of his mouth. “And I don’t know what game you’re playing, but there’s no way you killed my dad with your fingernail.”

  The demon grabbed her wrist and squeezed, her bones threatening to crumble under his crushing grip. Jasmine cringed. A moan or two escaped as he squeezed even harder. “I am a demon, Jasmine, and I did release a poison with my claw. That is what we do when we cut someone. And you are coming with me.”

  Tears escaped her eyes. She blinked a couple of times, steeled herself, and let the anger take over. Her power burst forth, a neon blue glow coming from her wrists. The demon gasped and released her, his hand smoking. “What’s wrong, demon boy? Don’t like me anymore?” She strode forward, straightening her spine and standing taller. Her power sparked out like lightning flashing through the sky. Every step forward she took, the demon took one backward. “Scared, huh? You should be.”

  A determined look passed over his face. Then he leapt, grabbing her around her sides and tackling her. She tried to get her hands up, but he quickly shoved her arms down. She cringed against the pain in her right arm. The demon laughed loudly. “Oh, I’m scared all right. You are a tough one. Too bad you’re only tough when you have use of your hands. I know all about your little power.”

  Jasmine squirmed and wiggled, desperately trying to get out of his grasp, but it was no use. He was too strong. He squeezed his legs tighter around her waist and she could barely move a muscle.

  The demon turned his head just as her father slammed into him again, this time with much less force, but it was enough to knock him off of Jasmine. She got to her feet as Dad crumbled to the ground. Blue fire shot from her fingertips, painting the darkness with light.

 

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