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Authors: Evi Asher

Burning Ember

BOOK: Burning Ember
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Burning Ember
Eternals [1]
Evi Asher
eXtasy Books (2013)

Burning Ember, the first book in the Burning Miniseries, part of the Eternal series.

Burning is her curse. Saving her is his mission.

Born a pyro destined to die in her own flames, but raised a human, Scarlet is unwittingly thrust into the world of the Eternals, where she hurtles toward her ultimate fate.

A vision of a woman dying in flame has haunted Archer from his childhood, so when he learns about the rare pyro, he appoints himself her protector. How do you protect someone when everyone is out to kill or capture her, and how do you protect her when the greatest chance of dying runs in her own veins?

Burning is her curse. Saving her is his mission.

 

 

Born a pyro destined to die in her own flames, but raised a human, Scarlet is unwittingly thrust into the world of the Eternals, where she hurtles toward her ultimate fate.

A vision of a woman dying in flame has haunted Archer from his childhood, so when he learns about the rare pyro, he appoints himself her protector. How do you protect someone when everyone is out to kill or capture her, and how do you protect her when the greatest chance of dying runs in her own veins?

 

 

 

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Burning Ember

Copyright © 2013 Evi Asher

ISBN: 978-1-77111-738-8

Cover art by Martine Jardin

 

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

 

Published by eXtasy Books

Look for us online at:

www.eXtasybooks.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burning Ember

Eternals: Burning Book One

 

 

By

 

 

Evi Asher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my family, the ones I was born with, and the ones I’ve chosen. For all the support, you have given me.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

The haunting call of a night bird broke the silence of the moonless night. Archer sat on his haunches on top of a large headstone near the center of the Resting Peace Cemetery.

He only had the dead for company, but his senses were alert because he knew he wouldn’t be alone for long.

Archer shifted his weight, trying to get comfortable on the cold stone as he reached up to raise the collar of his coat against the chill of the October night.

The wind gusted through the branches of a nearby tree, drawing his attention. The soft crunch of someone stepping on loose stone, accompanied by a sweet whiff of perfume, alerted him that he wasn’t alone.

“Don’t you think this is a bit gothic for a meeting place, Jasmine?” Archer’s voice was low, not breaking the peace of the hallowed ground where they met. “We could have met at a bar, or a coffee shop.”

“Perhaps.” She stepped out from behind a headstone. “I wanted to meet where I knew I’d be safe.”

Archer suppressed the urge to snort. “Apt,” he said, referring to the weeping angel she’d used as cover. “A fallen angel steps from behind a fallen angel.”

“I don’t have time to deal with your warped sense of humor.” She tugged her glove off and stepped closer to him, holding her bare hand out, palm up, to scan him for hidden magic.

“I’m not carrying any spells.” Archer pushed himself off the headstone, his booted feet touching the ground with a soft crunch. He tucked his hair behind his ear.

“Does Dimitri know you are meeting me?” Jasmine pulled her glove back on her hand, lowering her eyes.

Archer’s answer was a derisive grunt. “Do you think I’m crazy? If he knew I was meeting you, he’d kill me—just because I didn’t bring him with, so he could kill you.”

She looked up and twisted her lips. “He hates too easily. He could have accepted me as I am. The things I did do, well… He’s a demon and can’t judge.”

“You keep telling yourself that, if that makes you believe it.”

He scanned the cemetery, an instinctual thing for him to do. “Enough of the catch up. It’s cold out here. What do you want from me?”

“I forgot that Lycan blood runs hotter.”

She slipped her hands into her coat pockets, and he thought she was more confident now that she knew Dimitri wasn’t going to be making an unexpected appearance.

Archer leaned his shoulder against the tall tombstone without replying.

Jasmine sighed as if steeling herself for the words. “I want to hire The Outsiders.”

Surprise made him gape at her for a long moment before he found his voice again. “Excuse me?”

“You heard what I said. I need your help, and your team can do what I need done.”

“No.” His lips compressed in a hard line.

Jasmine raised her hands before Archer could protest further. “Wait, before you say,
no
, let me explain.”

“I’ve already said,
no
, and I’ll say it again.
No
.” Archer stepped forward.

“Nothing you say can change my mind.” He leaned closer using his height to try to cow her. “Even if you could change my mind, Dimitri would say
no
. Then he’d come after you as soon as you weren’t on holy ground. Do you truly want to spend the rest of your immortality hiding in churches?”

“Look.” Jasmine tilted her blonde head back to stare up at him. “Do you think I would have come to you if I had any other choice?”

“I. Don’t. Care.” He emphasized each word—maybe she’d get his point now “Well, you better start caring, because a woman in one of my safe houses burnt the place down without the aid of anything that could make a flame.”

His blue eyes widened with surprise. “She’s a pyro?”

“Yes,” Jasmine said. “She’s never given any indication that she might be one until last week. She must have been suppressing it because the destruction was complete. She has no control.”

“Was anyone hurt?” Archer asked.

“No, everyone escaped unharmed,” she replied blandly.

Her tone made Archer think that fact wasn’t of particular importance to her.

“Look.” She tilted her blonde head back to stare up at him. “Do you think I would have come to you if I had any other choice?”

“And you should learn not to make your problems mine.”

“Oh, stop pretending you don’t care.” She rolled her eyes. “Do you really think Dimi didn’t tell me about the vision you had when you were a boy?”

Archer bit down, clenching his teeth until the muscles in his jaw bunched. “He did, did he?”

When all Jasmine did was nod her head, he spoke again, “Okay, I’ll admit, you have my interest, but it still doesn’t mean The Outsiders will take any job you have to offer”

“You are missing the point. What Dimi told me isn’t important, but what is, is that we find her—and soon.” She clasped her hands, her shoulders tense.

Like hell, it wasn’t important. Archer was going to have a long talk with Dimitri about his big mouth. Pillow talk was one thing, but betraying confidence was another.

“She’s run away, and I have no idea how to find her.” The concern in her voice didn’t fool him even if it sounded genuine. He knew Jasmine wasn’t capable of concern. “I’m still not interested in taking any job from you.”

“Archer, she’s going to hurt someone. She needs help. We need to find her before the wrong people do. You know how rare a pyro ability is.” A gust of wind caught some of her blonde hair, blowing it across her face. She reached up with a small hand to move the errant lock.

“Why do you care, and why can’t you send your own people after her?” he asked, with his eyes narrowed. There had to be a catch, and with Jasmine, there was always a catch.

“The Outsiders are bounty hunters, and you have… resources that I don’t have,” she admitted with a small shrug of her shoulders.

“Like?”

“If I wanted my people turned into s’mores, I’d send them after her. I know you have a witch who can perform an anti-burn spell for you.”

Archer said nothing for a moment as he considered how she might have found out about Trinity. He decided not to ask because he knew she would lie anyway. “Don’t you have a handy witch to work a spell for you? Oh, I forgot. Witches don’t like you, do they?”

Archer knew he’d hit a nerve when her lips compressed.

“Your team is—” She paused as if looking for the right word, “unique.”

Archer agreed with her statement. The Outsiders were a mix of different breeds, a werewolf, a demon and two vampires—and that was just in the Crossroads chapter of The Outsiders. It did make them unique in a field where most of the immortals stuck to their own species. They also had hidden—or what he had believed to be hidden—allies. He wasn’t so sure what was secret anymore.

“It gives you abilities others lack.”

“This is all moot, angel-girl,” he said, with a sardonic lift of his brow. “Dimi won’t agree to work for you.”

“So, don’t tell him that you are working for me.”

Archer stepped back lifting his hands. “Hold up. That’s not an option. I trust my team with my life, and you don’t gain that kind of trust with lies. So,
no
.”

She gritted her teeth. “The pay is four million. Find a way to get Dimitri to take the job, get creative if you have to.” She turned, and walked back the way she had come.

“Not going to happen,” he called after her as he pulled his coat tighter around his frame and turned in the other direction, back to his car. Now he had to figure out how to tell Dimitri they were going after a pyro, and not let him know that Dimitri’s ex was the one who had told Archer about the fire starter.

 

Archer tugged on the strap to pull up the loft elevator’s door and stepped out on the hardwood-paneled floor of Outsiders Inc. He gave the elevator door a tug down to close it, then turned to face the reception desk. Archer felt a half smile curve his lips. Calling it a reception desk was a misnomer. It was the hub of Outsiders Inc., and Zane was the vampire in charge of keeping it all running. He did so with the precision of a general at war as he sat in the center of the horseshoe shape of computers, monitors and other IT paraphernalia.

Archer opened his mouth to greet Zane, but stopped when the vampire held up his hand. He rolled his chair to the switchboard to punch a button, and answered the incoming call in a smooth voice.

“Outsiders Inc. You have a problem. We have a solution. How may I help you?”

He lifted his hand to his ear to adjust the wireless headset. “I’m sorry, Ma’am.” He looked over at Archer with a long-suffering expression. “I can’t send you a double cheese and pepperoni pizza. This is a private investigation and bounty hunting service, not a pizzeria.”

Punching a key to end the call he looked up at Archer. “I swear I’m going to give up my human fast, and bite someone at the phone directory place. Since that stupid misprint, I’ve spent more time taking pizza orders than dealing with real business.”

“Any new clients come in?” Archer moved closer to the computer hub.

“Not one.” Zane leaned back in his chair, flicking his golden blond fringe out of his eyes and crossed his arms across his chest, then grinned, flashing fangs. “We should get something new soon, but if you are looking for something to do…” He dipped his head in the direction of a pile of boxes that leaned so badly they were threatening to tumble and spill their contents onto the floor. “I’m still inputting all the old files into the system.”

Archer laughed. Zane was always trying to get them to help with those files. “Dream on, vampire-boy. I’ve already got a new job lined up.”

“You do?” Zane sat forward. “Wait, before you tell me about it, something was hand-delivered for you while you were out.”

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