Read Burned (Keeper of the Flame) Online

Authors: Ivy Simone

Tags: #vampires, #paranormal, #witches, #werewolves, #shapeshifters, #new adult

Burned (Keeper of the Flame)

BOOK: Burned (Keeper of the Flame)
3.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Keeper of the Flame Book 1
Ivy Simone



Copyright © 2014 by Ivy Simone


This book is a work of fiction. The names,
characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales
is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. 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. Purchase only authorized editions.


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Chapter 1


I take a calming breath and unfold the note
to read it one more time before getting out of the car.


Of course I want answers. I want to know why
I’d dreamed of my father’s death two weeks before it happened. Or
maybe why things catch on fire whenever I’m upset.

I drop the note in my purse and open the
door. The house sits in the shadows. There aren’t any lights on
inside, and even in the low glow of the moon, I can see it looks
neglected. Abandoned.

Grabbing a flashlight from the glove
compartment, I clench my fingers tight around the metal. I walk up
the steps to the porch, and then bang on the front door though I
doubt anyone is going to answer.

Why the hell would my mom tell me to come
here when she isn’t even home?

Frowning, I scrub the film on the window with
the sleeve of my shirt. Probably because she’s as unpredictable as
my father always said she was. Actually, the word he used was
unstable. Because she always claimed to see ghosts and said she
could make things happen with her mind.

At least that’s what my dad said. I shine the
flashlight in the window, narrowing my eyes. Funny how readily I
believed what he told me‒including the unstable part‒until I
started experiencing the same thing.

“She’s not there.”

I whip around, my heart slamming against my
ribs. There’s a man at the bottom of the stairs, his dark eyes
glinting in the moonlight. His T-shirt stretches tight across his
chest and his toned arms are relaxed as he puts his hands in his
pockets. I think I see the hint of a tattoo on his bicep.

“I didn’t hear you,” I breathe. I squeeze the
flashlight tight in my hand, keeping my distance. “Where did you
come from?”

He nods to the house next door. Through the
thick, overgrown hedge, I see lights shining in the windows.

“I’m Faye’s neighbor, Ryan.”

He moves up a few steps and sticks out his
hand. My boots click on the wooden flooring of the porch when I
walk to take it. His grip is firm and warm, and his cheeks dimple
with a welcoming smile.

“Is there something I can help you with?” he

I relax my grip on the flashlight. “I’m
Willow. Faye’s daughter.”

He pulls his hand back, scrubbing it on his
stubbly jaw as his eyes glint with something dark and dangerous.
“Like I said, she’s not here. And she probably won’t be back for a

“How long is a while?” I ask, putting steel
into my voice. I hold the flashlight like a weapon.

His jaw clenches and he props his hands on
his hips. “Probably longer than you want to wait. You should go

I frown when he starts to turn. “That’s a
generic answer. Besides, she told me to come here. Why would she do
that if she wasn’t going to be here?”

He pauses, glancing back. “Wait. She asked
you to come?”

“Yes. So if you know when she’ll be back, I’d
appreciate if you’d tell me.”

He can’t be more than a few years older than
me, maybe twenty-five, but his eyes hold years worth of experience.
He hikes the rest of the steps so he’s standing directly in front
of me. “Are you sure she told you to come?”

“How is that any of your business?”

Ryan eyes my death grip on the flashlight,
and he lifts a brow. “Are you planning on hitting me with

“Do I need to?”

His lips twitch. “Listen, I’m going to sound
like a dick when I say this, but trust me, you don’t want to wait
here for your mom. It’s better if you leave. Go home.”

“You’re right,” I say.

His shoulders relax and he actually looks
surprised. “Good.” He steps aside and says, “Have a safe trip.”

“I meant you’re right about sounding like a
dick. Mission accomplished.” I turn to the house again. “Now, if
you’ll excuse me‒”

When I glance back he’s gone. Vanished into
thin air. I scan the bushes, shine my flashlight to the side of the
house, but there’s no one there.

“Good,” I whisper to myself, though I have no
idea how he disappeared that fast. And that quietly.

Peering through the window with my
flashlight, I grit my teeth. Shadow Hill needs a better welcoming
committee. All I see is the dark outline of furniture inside. On a
whim, I check the door and then pause when I find it’s

I freeze on the precipice. I’ve never been in
my mom’s house before. She left me and my dad when I was eight,
fourteen years ago, and I never heard from her once. The only
reason I looked her up was because I thought she might want to know
about my father’s death. But I hadn’t ended up calling her or
visiting her. I hadn’t planned on contacting her at all until I got
the letter from a Shadow Hill address with the confusing

I shine the flashlight inside. It smells
dusty and sealed up. I sneeze and then step into the living room. A
dark hallway leads farther into the house, but I stay where I am,
scanning the old furniture and knick-knacks on the mantel.

There’s an open book next to a plush chair
and I walk over to shine my flashlight on it. A pentagram is
branded onto the leather cover and the pages are filled with
sketches and what look like spells and hexes.

Biting my lip, I lift the book. If my mom’s
not here, I might as well try to find answers without her.
Especially because Shadow Hill is rich in history, full of myths
about paranormal and supernatural activity.

Something creaks farther down the hall.
Almost like footsteps, but too quiet for them to be coming quickly.
I shine my flashlight in that direction. I squint my eyes and peer
closer. The light reflects off a pair of yellow eyes. I yank in a

A wolf walks slowly down the hallway, like a
predator stalking its prey. I back to the door, the book under my
arm and my flashlight in the other hand.

The wolf growls, hair rising on its back. My
heart hammers in my chest as I twist the doorknob. Slowly, slowly,
I pull it open.

And then I dash through, slamming the door
behind me. I drop the flashlight but keep running, my boots hitting
the wooden flooring on the porch with loud thuds. When I reach my
car, I toss the door open and dive inside.

Once the door is shut behind me, I lock it
and stare through the windshield. The porch is empty. The front
door is still closed and the night is quiet. Peaceful. The old book
sits in my lap, pages open to the middle.

My heart still hammering in my chest, I make
out the thick lettering at the top of the page.

“Holy shit,” I whisper.

It’s too dark to read the rest of the page.
My hand is shaking when I close the book and set it in the
passenger seat. It’s just a coincidence. But even so, I’m ready to
get out of here.

I need a drink.

~ ~ ~

Shadow Hill is bigger than I thought. It’s a
recreational town along the river with skiing and hiking close by,
but also caters to people like me who have no interest in either.
Which means it’s fairly easy to find a bar.

It’s a Thursday night, so I’m not surprised
when I walk in and see only a handful of people, most of them
couples with snacks or meals to go along with their drinks.

I sit at the bar, sliding my bag onto the
seat next to me and watching the bartender finish pouring someone a
drink before he walks to me.

“Can I get whatever’s on tap?”

“ID please,” he says.

I flash my driver’s license, frowning at the
picture when he grabs a glass. It’d been taken two weeks after my
father’s death and I’d still been in a daze about the whole thing.
The dream I’d had, his actual death, and the fact he’d been
secretly storing money in an account for me for years and

The first thing I’d done was drop out of
college. The next was try to figure out how he’d died. It had also
gotten me interested in everything supernatural and paranormal and
landed me a freelance job with a magazine that published articles
on the same topic.

The bartender slides me my beer. A man sits a
few stools from me, glances at my beer and says, “I’ll have one of

He gives me a smile, the kind that only
quirks up one corner of his mouth. The kind that says he needs a
drink as badly as I do.

I take a long swallow, and then close my
eyes, rubbing my hands over my face. The pentagram, the one I’d
seen on the front of the book, is burned into my mind. It’s the
same one that had been scrawled on my father’s living room floor
when he’d been found dead.

“You look like you’ve had a long day,” the
man says.

When I look over, he’s angled in my
direction, eyes dark as slate. Calculating.

“More like a bad year,” I mumble.

He moves to the seat next to me and I
straighten. He’s broad in the shoulders, which are covered with a
dark jacket. His hair is as dark as his eyes, raven black and askew
in the front like he’s run his hands through it more than once.

When he smiles again, desire shoots straight
to my stomach.
Not a good idea,
I tell myself. I’m here for

“I’ve had a couple of those,” he tells me.
“Bad years.”

“You live around here?” If he’s local, maybe
I can get information from him.

“As of last month. You?”

“No. Just here for research.”

“What kind of research?”

I shrug. “The kind most people don’t believe

That usually makes most guys even more
curious. Once I’d discovered my mom wasn’t really crazy and she
must have had some kind of supernatural power, I’d started
researching everything I could get my hands on. There’s a lot of
information about witches out there, but most of it is surprisingly
inaccurate. So I researched and traveled and wrote articles and
made an income beyond the money my father gave me. All to try to
discover more about what I can do and what had happened to my

I see the door open out of the corner of my
eye. Ryan walks in, gaze connecting with mine before he sits at a
table in the corner.

It could be a coincidence, but I doubt it.
First he tells me to leave and now he’s following me.

The man next to me holds out his hand. “I’m
Logan Meyers.”

“Willow Donnelly.”

I reach out and his fingers close over mine,
sending a shock of electricity through me. My breath catches in my
throat and my vision goes hazy.

“Willow?” Logan asks, still holding my

I open my mouth, but nothing comes out. I see
a flash of the wolf in my mother’s house, the book with the
pentagram flipping pages frantically, and then another face. One
stuck in the shadows…far enough back I can only see the glimpse of
something white.


Chapter 2


“Willow,” says a low voice. It’s so calm,
it’s almost hypnotic.

My eyelids flutter and I open them to find
myself slumped against Logan, his arm wrapped snugly around my

“Maybe you should eat something next time you
have a drink,” he says with amusement in his voice.

“It wasn’t the drink,” I mumble.

I try to stand, but my legs wobble. Logan
squeezes my waist before angling me against the stool. “You

I nod.

“You sure?”

I swallow, my gaze traveling to Ryan. He’s
watching us with a frown. Logan follows my stare and his shoulders

“You know Ryan?” I ask.

His jaw clenches. “I tried to buy one of the
houses he flipped. He wouldn’t sell.”

“Maybe he wasn’t ready to let it go.”

Logan looks at me again, humor lighting his
eyes. “He wouldn’t sell to

“Why not?”

He brushes his thumb on my arm, sending
tingles to the tips of my fingers. “Our families don’t get

I ease back on the stool. “I think I’m fine

“Tell me about your research.”

I swivel on my stool and stall by taking
another sip of my beer. I kind of dig Logan for being cool about my
swooning episode, so I don’t really want to tell him about my
research. He’ll probably return to the stool farther away from me.
But Logan’s dark eyes are locked on mine again, pulling an answer
from my lips.

BOOK: Burned (Keeper of the Flame)
3.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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