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Fire (Beautiful Ashes Series, Book 2)

By:Lora Ann

Chapter One



Keeley struggled to escape the demon’s hold. His hands were all over her, furiously pulling. She saw the fire licking along the gaping hole he wanted her in. If she could just stay where she was, Tar would come back for her. He promised to help her fight these demons. That he wasn’t afraid of her darkness. Yet his last words echoed in her ears, a loud clanging like a gong, “I. Did.” Did…did…did.

He did love her.

He did promise to fight for her.

He did vow to help her.

And now, now he was gone. She slammed her fists down hard enough to break her hands on the cold, unforgiving cement as she screamed and screamed for him, “Taaaaaaarrrrrr! How could you leave me? Why didn’t you do as you said?” Damn him! He’d told her once before, ‘I do what I say when I say I’m going to do it.’ Fucking liar!

The demon recoiled and hissed, “Love. Light. How can it still be here?” But there was no sense denying what he saw all around Keeley. Protecting her. A shield over her. He fought again to grab a hold of her and yank with all he had, yet there was resistance. He searched for the source. There it was in the form of a man. Even Strand. Fuck him!

He slid his tongue in Keeley’s ear and whispered, “He’s in love with your sister. She’s the only reason he’s here. E doesn’t give a shit about you. It’s all for Lacey—always Lacey. You’re never going to have that kind of devotion. Girls like you don’t deserve to be loved, honored and cherished. Look, Tarius proved that when he left you here. Come, my dark angel.” He snaked his hand between her legs as she tried to pull away from him. “Yesssssss, I can give you what you want.” He ran his razor sharp nail along her.

Both looked down at the blood trail he left. She struggled once more and shrieked, “No! I don’t want this.”

“Keeley, no human can give you what you desperately crave…torturous pain.”

She could feel him gaining strength and jerked forward with enough force her head hit the concrete with a sickening crack. Keeley would rather be dead than leave with the monster that had Caleb’s face. To prove that to herself and the corpse, she repeated the action. Her vision was fading in and out as a distant voice called out to her.

At least she would die her way.





E came up on a sight he’d never forget. The broken little girl before him tore at his heart in ways he didn’t quite comprehend. He knew this was what she needed—to hit rock bottom. But not like this. He searched frantically for Mitch, wondering what the hell was going on. Details were not given to him over the phone. Only thing he’d been told was that Keeley was in bad shape and needed help.

Under-fucking-statement of the year!

His sister-in-law was lying in the middle of the street, bloody and wailing. Her words incomprehensible. And E wanted nothing more than to annihilate the person responsible for causing it. Though he was pretty sure he already knew. Heaven help Tarius McNeil when he got his hands on him.

E approached Keeley as one would a wounded animal. Not out of disrespect but understanding of such torment her soul was going through. God, he’d been there not too long ago himself. The feeling of utter helplessness, of wondering if one would ever survive. Questions upon questions: would one ever be the same? Could someone really come back from this? His heart ached for this poor girl who’d been through so much, endured too much for any one person. No one should ever go through even one of the situations she had. Yet Keeley seemed to bring one destruction after another, and none of them were her damn fault. They weren’t poor choices she made. She was forced into them. Her control ripped from her in a violence that made a tsunami look tame. He wasn’t excusing her bad decisions as a result. But damn it all, most wouldn’t have survived the living hell she had. And E wasn’t a fool, she still faced a league of demons ready to take her away with no warning.

He crouched beside his distraught little sister. She was family, and he’d do anything to protect that family. His beloved wife’s face flashed in his mind. How could he shield her from this? A side of life he never wanted her to see, though he knew that wasn’t exactly fair. His Lacey was a strong woman. Determined. She loved with everything that was in her. It was what attracted him to her in the first place—what he loved so much about her. And this was her twin sister. She’d die in her place, sacrifice anything to save her. He understood that loyalty. Respected the hell out of it. For that reason alone, Keeley was worth it all. “Kee, sweetheart, can you hear me? It’s me, E.”

He didn’t want to touch her just yet, hoping his voice would bring her back from wherever she was. E was willing to bet it was Hell. She pounded the pavement with her bruised, swollen fists and head. Her voice barely a rasp from what he figured was screaming. He put two and two together in rapid fire, she was purposely hurting herself, as if the pain was keeping her tethered to the here and now.

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