Above the flames the fla.., p.13
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       Above The Flames (The Flames Trilogy #1), p.13

           Cassandra Fear
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  Jasmine stopped and turned around to face him so quickly he almost didn’t have time to stop, but even still his chest bumped against her cheek. She brought her hand up and rubbed it. “Sheesh, Amon. For a fallen angel, who I’m guessing should be a bad ass, you sure aren’t very intuitive.” She smiled then, so brightly her eyes glimmered. “So, you think this is far enough back, or what?”

  Amon had a strange urge to run his fingers through her long brown hair. His hand was up in front of him, slightly outstretched before he forced it down to his side. “Yes.” His voice came out high-pitched, so he cleared his throat. “Sure, this spot looks good.”

  The shade provided a cooler temperature without the sun beating down on them, but sweat still lined his forehead. He wiped his arm across, but his arms were damp as well, so the movement didn’t have the desired effect. Instead, he pulled the bottom of his borrowed shirt up, using it like a cloth over his face. When he lowered it, Jasmine was staring. Hard.

  She swallowed. “So, where do we start?”

  The truth was, Amon wasn’t sure where to start. Her gift provided little information. He thought her power acted almost angelic, but it was so destructive. It made it so easy to kill a demon, and even though there was no love lost between the angels and demons, Amon had a hard time believing the angels would have given Jasmine a power that could hurt anything so easily.

  “Well, that’s promising. You don’t even know what to do with me, huh?” Jasmine laughed.

  Before she could say anything else, Amon spoke up. “It’s not that. Your power is very different than anything I’ve seen. Perhaps you can tell me how it works in more detail so I can figure out how to help you with it.”

  “Well, I have told you a little bit, but I guess it couldn’t hurt to go into more detail.” Jasmine framed her cheek with two fingers. “Let’s see. I don’t know how to explain it. Ask me a question about it.”

  “How about this. Talking doesn’t help me see it, so maybe if you show me.” Amon sat down on a tree stump and crossed one leg over the other. “I will sit here and watch as you summon your power.”

  Jasmine closed her eyes and lifted her face toward the sky, looking like a glorious angel who might take flight. Every ounce of tension left her body and a grin spread across her face. Amon gasped as a trail of blue, almost like a glowing snake, slithered from her waist up to her neck, and then split into two snakes that traveled down each arm until both her hands lit up. When she opened her eyes, they were alive unlike anything he’d ever seen. It was as if her power sparked a flame inside her, lighting her features up with warmth and excitement.

  “Are you just going to sit there and stare, or do you think you can tell me if you saw anything?”

  “Oh, I saw something,” Amon said, his voice a bit breathless. He cleared his throat again, then stood and began to pace in front of the stump. “I could see the path of your power; it slid under your skin until it reached your hands. Is that the only place you’ve ever been able to release it from?”


  “Okay. Release it.”

  Jasmine shook her head. “I don’t want to accidentally hit you or something.”

  Amon smiled despite himself. “You won’t.”

  “Maybe you could just move behind me.”

  Amon bowed at the waist. “Your wish is my command.” And he walked the few steps until he stood at Jasmine’s back.

  Jasmine’s hands went to her hips and she rolled her eyes. “Just a little FYI—chivalry died a long time ago.”

  Amon raised his eyebrows. “What exactly does FYI mean?”

  “Oh, I forgot.” Jasmine chuckled. “You’re not from this century, are you? It means for your information.”

  “Thank you for letting me know. Although, I’m saddened that chivalry is no longer practiced here.”

  Amon had a feeling she was exaggerating, and that chivalry hadn’t really died, but he couldn’t help feeling that what Jasmine said was partially true. He would have to make sure he tried to bring it back to this world before he had to leave it.

  “All right, you think we can get this show on the road?”

  “The floor is yours,” Amon said, wishing he wasn’t standing behind her so he could make a sweeping gesture with his arms.

  “I swear I’m never going to get used to the way you talk. So old-fashioned.”

  Jasmine’s whole body tensed as she drew her hand up in front of her, aiming toward the stump Amon had been sitting on. His eyes went to her hands, which were pulsing blue.

  “Tell me what you feel as you feel it,” Amon said.

  Jasmine jumped slightly, and then relaxed. “I feel alive. And hot. And completely beside myself, almost like I’m watching from beside my own body. I feel like my power could push me aside and take over and I’d never even know the difference.” Her fingers started shaking. “And I feel like if I give up the control, the power will get what it wants. And it always wants more than I do.”

  A stream of blue shot forward, lighting up the tree stump. Then another, and another.

  “You must fight back. Try now to hold it in,” Amon said, and the blue sparks stopped. “Good, Jasmine.”

  Amon moved to her side as Jasmine started wiggling. Her face was scrunched and her eyes were shut. She bit her lip and her hands rolled into fists as she struggled.

  “I don’t think I can hold it,” she said through gritted teeth.

  Amon placed his palm on her arm. “You must show your power that you are in charge. Establish yourself as the leader and it will follow.”

  “It’s pu—ushing back.” The strain was clear in her voice.

  “Can you speak to your power?”

  Jasmine nodded. “But it doesn’t listen to me.”

  “Then use a different voice. Make it listen.”

  A blue spark shot out, ping-ponged from one tree to another, and slammed into the side of Amon’s face. The initial sting caused him to cry out, and Jasmine instantly turned to him. “Did I hurt you? Damn it, this always happens.”

  “It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt anymore.” Amon realized what he said was true. It had burned at first, but quickly receded. “Do I have a burn on my cheek?”

  Jasmine shook her head. “A little red mark, but nothing else.”

  Jasmine’s whole body started to tremble. Amon asked, “Are you okay?”

  “I can’t keep this up much longer.”

  “Okay, put it away for now, then.”

  The blue snakes receded along the same path, combining back into one until it disappeared at her waist. Jasmine fell to the ground, her eyelids fluttering. Amon followed her down and placed his palm on her face. “Jasmine?”

  “I’m fine,” she said, pushing his hand away. “I just need a minute. It wipes me out.”

  Amon leaned back, even though he desperately wanted to touch her more. Her skin was like the feel of cotton. A slight breeze ruffled his long hair, bringing the smell of pine to his nose. He took a fresh breath, not sure if he’d ever get used to not smelling smoke and charcoal.

  After a few minutes passed, Jasmine opened her eyes.

  “Do you think you can pull it back out again, just for a moment?” Amon asked.

  Jasmine pressed her lips together, a determined look on her face. The blue snake slithered back up her body and down to her hands. Once her hands were glowing, Amon reached out and grabbed one of them.

  Jasmine yanked her hand back and blue streams came from both hands, until she put her power away again. Then she turned on Amon, a heated look in her eyes. “What the hell’d you do that for?” Jasmine asked, raising her voice.

  “I needed to know if your hand was hot when you used your power.”

  “Fan-fricking-tastic. So was it? Hot, I mean?” Her cheeks flamed. “I mean my hand. Was my hand hot?”

  Amon smirked. “Slightly warm, but no, not hot.”

  Jasmine turned her body and playfully slapped Amon’s arm. “Don’t do that again, okay?”

; Amon nodded. “Where does your power go when you put it away? I see the color disappear from your body.”

  “You’ll think it’s silly.”

  “Try me.”

  “I have a little power box. That’s where I put it.”

  Amon laughed loudly. Jasmine narrowed her eyes at him, so he pressed his lips together, but couldn’t stop another laugh from escaping before he finally regained control over himself.

  “Really? You’re going to laugh at me?” she asked, starting to chuckle herself.

  “I’m sorry. I’m not sure what came over me.” Amon paused and rubbed his chin. “So, this was an interesting exercise.”

  “How so?”

  “I’ve learned that your power is alive and wants to take hold of you. When you first bring it forth, you have a lot of energy, and it subsides very quickly as you use more of your power. So these are all things we can work on. The more you practice bringing it out, the easier it will be and the longer you will be able to use it. I think we should train more often, say once in the morning and once in the evening. In the morning we will work on the physical things, and in the evening your power. We must make sure we are using it every day, at least once. That way, we will be able to see if you can use it longer as time goes by.”

  “But we don’t have any time. The demons are already attacking towns.” Jasmine’s eyes widened. “I can’t train for weeks. We should be out now, hunting them.”

  Amon shook his head. “You aren’t ready, and neither are the others. It would be suicide right now.”

  Jasmine’s angry looked chilled Amon. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

  “I’m not trying to put you down. You are strong; there is no question in that. But we must make sure your greatest weapon is at your disposal. Right now, if you ran into a large group of demons, your power would deplete your energy before you could finish them. Then what?”

  Jasmine sighed. “Okay. I get it. We’ll train first, fight later.”

  “Good girl. Now, go get some food.”

  She started walking, then stopped and angled her head toward him. “Just so you know, I really don’t like being bossed around.”

  Amon smiled. “Noted.”

  A ghost of a grin started to spread across her face before she turned, disappearing into the trees, leaving Amon to sort through his wandering thoughts. Jasmine was trouble, but not a bad kind. And probably only for him. She wasn’t the only one who needed to learn control. He’d need to have plenty of it when he trained her, because everything about her made him long for her in ways that he shouldn’t.

  As he walked back to the house, he cleared his mind as much as he could. But it wasn’t enough. He plopped down in front of the TV and turned it on, hoping the mindless shows would help, but instead a flashing message sprawled across the screen. A woman came on, a panicked look on her face.

  “We interrupt your program for breaking news. Last night, at least fifty people from a town in Idaho were murdered, however, there may have been more. Death tolls are still coming in. Police are on alert, and the president is sending troops in to battle the group of people who have struck down so many. More updates as soon as they come in. Just remember to lock your doors at night, and if you live around Island Park, you might want to go visit those relatives out of state you haven’t seen in a while. This is Bridgette Thomas, First Action News.”

  Amon stood and started out of the room, but stopped as he realized he wasn’t alone. Jasmine was in the doorway, fear painted all over her delicate face. When her wide eyes met his, she opened her mouth, but quickly closed it.

  “Don’t worry. We will stop them,” Amon said.

  She nodded, but didn’t say a word.

  Chapter 16

  Something Unexpected


  Jasmine shifted as she waited for everyone in the family room. Amon had called another meeting, and it seemed nobody cared much about being on time. She was here, as well as Amon. Beau sat beside her, looking away from her.

  Two large bookshelves surrounded the entertainment center, and Amon stood with his back to her, his fingers gliding along the spines of the books, caressing them as if they were something dear to him. Jasmine smiled and got up, walking over to him.

  “Hey,” she said softly. “What you looking for?”

  Amon turned to her a moment, then his eyes went right back to the books. A half grin spread across his face. “Nothing. It’s just been so long since I’ve seen a book, let alone felt one. They are still the same, although some of the covers are much different than anything I’ve ever seen.”

  Jasmine chuckled. “Yeah, the modern world is quite a scandal all in all, I’d say. Especially to someone like you, who hasn’t been around for…you know, I don’t think I know how long you haven’t been around for.”

  “It’s been a long time,” Amon said, gazing at the ceiling. “When I was alive still, it was the year of our Lord eight hundred and sixteen. Times were much different then. Very simple. We farmed the land we owned, and we fought invaders and often time pillaged new land. I’m not proud of those times.” A faraway look followed Amon’s words, and Jasmine found herself very curious about him and the life he’d led.

  “So, you’re older than dirt?”

  Amon laughed. “I suppose I am.”

  “It’s nice to actually find out a bit of information about you. Not too hard, is it?”

  Amon quirked his brows.

  “I mean, it’s easy to tell me a little about yourself.”

  Amon shrugged, staring at his feet.

  “And I guess that’s all I’m going to get.”

  Amon’s eyes met hers. He stared hard at her, fixated. Jasmine wanted to look away, really she did, but something about those golden brown eyes held her entrapped. It almost looked like honey had been squirted in his iris, swirling through the brown in a tie-dying expedition where the end result was phenomenal. Before, she only thought they were mesmerizing; now she knew they were.

  “Jasmine,” Amon whispered.

  Chills spread down her arms. When he lowered his voice, it turned manlier. A hint of a growl lingered too. Her heart rate sped up and she took a step forward, completely lost in the moment.

  A throat cleared. “We’re all here, Amon. Ready for the meeting to start.” Caim’s voice carried a hint of amusement.

  Jasmine stepped back, turned, and walked back to the sofa. She sat down beside Beau again, feeling horrible. She’d forgotten about Beau sitting there, watching her whole interaction with Amon, which she had to admit probably looked terrible.

  When she tried to grab Beau’s hand, he yanked it away. I deserve that. And more.

  “I’ve asked you all here because I think it’s time we talk strategy. How is the training going?” Amon asked, pacing in front of the TV.

  One by one, the fallen angels responded, all saying training was moving along nicely.

  “We must continue to train, but I think we need to start going out,” Amon said.

  “What do you mean by going out?” Gemma asked. “Like, hunting?”

  Amon nodded.

  “Amon, do you think that’s wise? None of these humans are ready to hunt demons,” Lamia stated. For some reason, her tone sounded irritated.

  “Lam, they have to learn. There will be rules, of course. No going out alone. And you must have one of us fallen angels with you if you go out,” Amon said.

  “Cool. So we’ll get to kill some demons!” Cole exclaimed, moving closer to Amon.

  Amon grinned. “Now, calm down. It will not be that easy, and at the moment we shouldn’t try to kill them. I want you to remain hidden and listen for information. We have no idea what their plan is, and trust me, Bael will have one. If we can find out what it is, it will give us the advantage.”

  Beau scoffed. “Sounds like you’ve got everything worked out, huh?”

  Amon ignored him, and Jasmine was glad. Beau was pissed, sure. But he didn’t need to take it out on Amon. He didn’
t do anything. As much as Jasmine didn’t want to admit it, a spark had flared between them. Not that either of them would act on it. It didn’t make it disappear, though, and surely Beau had noticed it.

  “Also, I’d like to have a guard at the front and back of the house at all times, just in case. We can split this into shifts. Is everyone okay with this?” Amon asked.

  “Hells yeah!” Azzy said, his eyes wide. “Sign me up for the night shift. I can fly above the house and scout too.”

  “Thanks, Azazel,” Amon said, and Azzy’s face scrunched up as if he’d eaten bad food.

  “Come on, man. You have to use my real name?”

  Amon shook his head. “It will do you well to remember who you are. We all need the reminder. We’ve spent too long in Hell, and forgotten our true roots because of it.”

  “That is probably the truest thing that’s ever left your lips,” Lamia said, her voice turning seductive when she said lips.

  Amon’s eyes landed on her, but he kept his face impassive, showing no reaction at all.

  “Lamia, how right you are,” Caim said, moving to her side and putting an arm around her, which she instantly shrugged off. “It’s wonderful to have such a smart woman on our side.” He laughed.

  Lamia glared at Caim.

  “So, things are going to get even crazier, I guess?” Gemma asked.

  “You can bet on it. So prepare yourselves. And train as much as you can,” Amon said.

  It seemed like everyone’s shoulders slumped as they left the room. Jasmine followed, but Beau called out, “Jasmine, can I talk to you a minute.”

  Her heart thumped in her ears as she nodded. When she turned to face him, her cheeks heated at the look on his face. He stood with more weight on one side, so his body was slightly leaning. He had a hand on his hip, and was chewing on his bottom lip.

  Amon brushed against Jasmine’s arm as he strode out of the room, and her whole arm heated from that touch. But he’d left them completely alone now. A heaviness settled on Jasmine’s chest, making it hard to breathe.

  “Now that we’re alone, I have something I need to say,” Beau said, his voice emotionless.

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