Passion flame, p.1
Passion Flame, p.1Finnian Valko
Copyright 2014 Finnian Valko
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Chapter 1 – Hired Hand
Ejaz Bennett: Jack of all Trades. Known by most as Ejaz the handyman, he's also known as Ejaz the bounty hunter. For most of his life, Ejaz hunted things that most men would not dare go near; things that go bump in the night: vampires, werewolves, and the occasional pixy. Ejaz had seen it all, and gotten paid for every mark he brought back.
Ejaz sat in his pad: a modest apartment smack-dab in the middle of his hometown. The place was a cluttered mess and smelled of cheap whiskey, but to him it was home. He took a drag off of his cigarette as he lounged in his armchair, enjoying the afternoon off from his nightly job.
Suddenly, and without warning, Ejaz’s home became engulfed in a swirling inferno. He leapt up, grabbed the gun he always kept in his belt, and pointed it out in a defensive stance. But he became perplexed when he realized that the fire was not burning anything. It was not even hot. The flames began to swirl and converge into a humanoid shape before him. Soon they solidified into the form of an average-sized man with light hair and pale skin. He was dressed in a black cloak which covered him from head to toe. Most intriguingly though were the man's piercing red eyes, which stared at Ejaz.
Ejaz pointed his gun at the intruder. "Who are you!?"
The intruder raised a hand. "Peace, hunter. If I wished you dead, I assure you, you'd be a pile of ash by now."
Ejaz did not lower his gun. "Answer my question!"
The intruder remained stoic, unthreatened by the weapon. "I am called Jehoash: King of the Dragons."
Ejaz hesitated. He had taken on dragons before, but only very rarely. Some even had the ability to shape shift as Jehoash appeared to. But he could sense the overwhelming power at Jehoash's command, and knew that were he to fight him, Jehoash would undoubtedly win.
"What do you want?" asked Ejaz
Jehoash took a single step forward. "I have come to you humbly, human. Ejaz, hunter of beasts, I need your help."
Ejaz slowly began to lower his gun, still on edge. "The "King of the Dragons" needs my help? What for? I hunt your kind."
Jehoash nodded. "Precisely. I am not like the rest of my race, the ones you have slain. I am old and I gave up my violent ways long ago. I only wish to have peace and happiness with the woman I love."
Ejaz became confused. "The woman you love? You mean a female dragon, right?"
Jehoash shook his head. "No. I am in love with a human woman. Jessabelle is her name. She showed me that I did not have to remain alone to prevent myself from harming others. That I could...love, as human's do. We were together for years and we even conceived a child together."
Ejaz was more intrigued now. He relaxed and placed his gun at his side. "I admit I've run across a few dragons before, but none of them were like you. Certainly not friendly, or loving for that matter, but how do I know this isn’t some kind of trick?"
Jehoash smirked. "Again, hunter, if I wanted you dead, you’d be quite dead. I pride myself on being different. My kin, however, do not."
"But I still don't understand what you would want from me." responded Ejaz. "Assuming you’re telling the truth, shouldn't you and this Jessabelle be living happily ever after with your kid?"
Jehoash's expression went back to stoic. Clearly the question had struck a sore spot in the king's heart. "I...I lost her. I suppose it's not easy living with a dragon, a beast, like me. She left me and I let her go. She took our child and she is now with another man: a human man."
Ejaz shrugged. "And? Sucks for you and all but what's that got to do with me? You want me to kill this man? I don't hunt people, sorry."
Something stirred behind Jehoash's eyes; a glint of power but just for a moment. "My love life is my concern, hunter. I am trying to win her back, but it is...complicated. How this relates to you actually involves my son: Jackson."
Ejaz sat back in his armchair. "Again, I'm only good for violence. What about your son?"
Jehoash sighed. "My son...he is...starting to show his nature. He is a half breed, and as such has some traits of both dragons and humans."
Ejaz lit himself another cigarette. "Okay, okay, go on..."
Jehoash continued. "He's begun to accidently use his powers: Fire and what not. Apparently he set their house curtains on fire. The boy is only a year and a half. He's too young to understand what he's doing and from what I know, my love's new boyfriend has no idea that the lad is actually a half breed, nor does he know about my true nature for that matter."
"So...what? You want me to kidnap your son? I don't do that either, sorry." Ejaz took a drag off his cigarette.
Jehoash shook his head. "No, no, I will try and deal with that also. Where you come in are the other dragons that my son is attracting."
"Other dragons?" inquired Ejaz.
Jehoash went on. "My son's accidental antics have gotten the attention of some of my kin, and they are currently watching both him and my love. I believe they intend to harm my family. Dragons hate blood mixing, especially with humans, and any time a half breed has been born it always ends the same. I do not wish my love nor my son to be harmed, but I do not wish to harm my kin either. So, I need someone who can do the latter."
Ejaz was beginning to understand. "I get it. You want me to hunt the dragons that are after your boy. I can respect that, but I don't work for free."
"I know, and I didn't expect you to." Jehoash tossed a sack that was on his belt over to Ejaz.
Ejaz examined the sack. It was full of gold coins. "These look like legitimate gold doubloons! They're worth a fortune!"
Jehoash nodded. "A very small piece from my personal hoard. I am a dragon, after all. There is much more where that came from if you succeed in protecting my family."
Ejaz smirked and set the coins on his coffee table. "But one more thing before we agree on anything. The guy your woman is with now: will you kill him? If you do, or try to, I'd be obligated to hunt you too, Jehoash."
Jehoash paused. "I do not wish for it to come to that, but Jessabelle is the best thing to ever happen to me in all my centuries. I will fight for her, or die trying. I do not wish to harm her new interest, but should he attack me...well...I am a dragon..."
Ejaz remained silent for a time. This venture was risky, but if he did not help it could be a lot worse. Plus, he liked the gold. "Yes, well, I guess we'd better hope it doesn't come to that. You’ve got yourself a deal, Jehoash."
"I thank you, hunter. Now..." Jehoash held his hand up and clenched it into a fist, which was then engulfed in flames. In an instant, both the dragon king and the hunter vanished into thin air.
Passion Flame by Finnian Valko / Fantasy / Romance & Love have rating 4.8 out of 5 / Based on38 votes