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Hearts on Fire 1: Serefina

By:Dixie Lynn Dwyer


Prologue




He watched them holding hands, the many couples as well as single young men and women as they entered the club. Soon they would not be smiling, but screaming as they gave their lives to his cause. The devil who attempted to cleanse the earth of his power and master would get the fight of their lives tonight. But they were not so good, so perfect and untouchable. Nor were those who would be sacrificed as a gift to the master.

Taking in the numbers of people, the abundant laughter, the blaring music, and the sight of his targets joining in, he smiled triumphantly. But then the master settled him down. His voice deep and firm in his head.

Do not celebrate yet. When they are dead, no longer a threat to our mission and purpose, then you can celebrate.

He swallowed hard. This was going to be the biggest fire he ever caused. This was going to set him apart from the minor followers of the master. But most importantly, this was going to take the lives of many.

Like my love, my power, my position beside my master, I fight for it, for me, and for the day when I succeed in setting the world on fire.



* * * *



Matt took Serefina’s hand and smiled down at her. She was stunning tonight. Well, she was stunning every night, but especially tonight. After months of dating, taking their time getting to know one another fully, they’d made love, for the very first time. He was in love. She meant the world to him, and he hoped to one day make her his wife.

She smiled at him as she gave a sassy look over her tan, bare shoulder. Her purple sundress hugged her figure and accentuated her curves. Curves he’d enjoyed exploring only an hour ago.

“What is that look for?” she teased as he grabbed her hips and guided her into the club. The multilevel dance floor with six bars and three private lounges was the hottest spot on the boardwalk. With the ocean views off the upper balconies, it was the perfect setting to enjoy such a beautiful summer evening at the shore.

He didn’t want to leave her tomorrow morning for work. He wanted to spend the next few days in bed with her, but duty called, and being a firefighter was his calling.

She pushed her long brown hair over her shoulder as he watched her wave to a group of guys and two girls. His heart hammered in his chest, and the instant jealous feeling ate at his gut. He tried not to show Serefina that side of him. She was sweet, a caring, empathetic person who helped out at their local church with community affairs and she was a freelance writer as well. She was perfection, and she was all his.

Holding her by her small waist, he towered over her five feet three inches, standing at six feet tall. She paused with him on the second floor.

“Still kind of crowded for you? Do you want to go higher?” she asked him. He glanced around, noticing the limited spots to stand or enjoy the bar or the music. He nodded.

“Go up to the top, maybe we can look out over the balcony. It’s a clear, beautiful night,” he suggested, and she smiled, her big green eyes sparkling as she shyly headed toward the next flight of stairs. It was so crowded. He took the lead, holding her hand while passing people on the staircase. He felt her stop a moment, as she looked down over the railing, and some guy whispered to her and smiled. Matt’s gut clenched as he squeezed her hand and gave the guy a mean look. She was his woman, and no other man was going to try and flirt with her or check her out. The guy was a moron. Didn’t he see Matt holding Serefina’s hand? Some guys just didn’t care.

They made it to the highest floor, the music loud, the crowds not so big, and they headed toward a space near the balcony. He pulled her close and kissed her. “I’m the luckiest man in this place.”

She smiled shyly, turning toward the view and balcony. “Oh wow, this view is amazing,” she whispered, and he wrapped his arms around her from behind. He squeezed her to him, and she lifted her hands backward to place over his forearms.

“You’re more beautiful than this view, Serefina.” He kissed the top of her head.

“Hey, love birds, where the hell have you two been the last two days?” Frankie asked as he and Curtis showed up next to them. “We tried calling.”

They looked at Serefina and smiled. Both of his fellow firefighting buddies thought she was gorgeous. They were there when Matt met Serefina at a local charity event. She had caught the eye of many of the guys, but she chose him, and he hadn’t been the same since.

They kissed her cheek hello, and he felt the twinge of something in his gut. He was feeling pretty damn possessive of her, and wondered if it was because they made love for the first time today? It was probably a natural thing to feel. But he didn’t know. She was his first love. Being a firefighter he did have his share of one-night stands. The uniform and the danger always seemed to attract some fire buffs. But Serefina was different. She came from a family of firefighters back home in New Jersey. She understood what it was like to do this job, and she respected him for it. In fact, it had taken some serious flirting and persistent calling to get her to accept going on a date.

“Well, we’re going to go downstairs and check out the prospects on the dance floor. There are some exceptionally hot women here tonight,” Frankie said, and then Curtis raised his palm up for Frankie to slap.

“Oh yeah. You two love birds have fun.” He winked and they walked away.

Serefina shook her head and smiled.

She turned around to face Matt and ran the palms of her hands up his chest. “So, O’Reilly, how long do you want to stay here? You have work tomorrow, right?” she asked.

He smiled as he reached up and cupped her cheek. “Baby, I’ll leave here right now with you.” He leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips. That kiss grew deeper, and he maneuvered one hand along her waist, up her ribs to her breast and squeezed.

“Matt!” she reprimanded, pushing his hand down and looking around, afraid someone might see.

He followed her line of sight. “You’re mine. Spread the word because no other man will ever have you again.” She blushed and then lowered her forehead to his chest.

“Hey.” He reached under her chin and tilted it up toward him. Her green eyes sparkled as they locked with his blue ones.

“I’m never gonna let you go. I love you, Serefina.”

Her eyes widened and he could see them fill with emotion.

“I love you, too, O’Reilly. Let’s have a drink, mingle a little, and then get out of here.”

He smiled.

“My place or your place?” he asked and winked.

“I don’t care, just as long as we’re together.”



* * * *



Serefina was standing near the staircase waiting for Matt to bring back some drinks for them. The club was really very crowded tonight. There was supposed to be some special appearance by some famous movie stars, or at least that was what the gossip was. As the night went on and the crowds grew bigger and rowdier, she wondered if it were all a scam to get more patrons to come to the club.

She turned around to see where Matt was, and her heart raced at the sight of him standing by the bar. The man had a perfect body. His ass was a work of art, and his blond hair and blue eyes made him stand out in a crowd. As one woman rubbed by him, Serefina felt that jealous feeling hit her in the gut. She wondered since the day they met why Matt was interested in dating her. He was so outgoing and suave and she was quiet, shy, and didn’t flaunt her assets like the other young women his friends seemed to constantly hook up with.

She was only twenty-three, had graduated from college out here in North Carolina, and had anticipated heading back home to New Jersey after her senior year. But then she was offered a job working for a local magazine, and of course she made some friends and kept pushing it off. Now, after meeting Matt, she wondered what the future might bring.

Serefina felt the floor move and she grabbed for the railing on the stairs.

Looking around her, wondering if what she felt really happened, she saw other people looking around and then go back to dancing and talking.

She immediately sought out Matt and his eyes widened as he held two drinks in his hand.

As their gazes locked, the first explosion rocked the building.

Serefina screamed as the floor shook, nearly knocking her to her feet. She spotted Matt. He dropped the glasses and was running toward her when the ball of smoke and flames erupted from the center of the floors below and shot up between the levels. People by the railings overlooking the multilevel dance floor were screaming as they fell back.

She was scared, and froze in place until she felt Matt’s hand grab her upper arm.

“We need to get out of here,” he told her as he spoke into his cell phone. Another explosion occurred and the stairs they stood by erupted into flames from the landing below. She scanned the area. People were running, stampeding over one another to find the exits.

She looked for the sign as Matt pulled her and spoke into the phone. He was calling for help.

He closed the phone up and held her close as he took in their surroundings.

The screaming, the heat of the flames that now blocked the exits and staircases brought fear like no other through her entire body.

“Matt? Oh my God, what do we do?” She felt the rumbling and the sound of the floor creaking.

“Fuck. Move, Serefina. Move!” he yelled as he pulled her, running toward the exit to the farthest right and further, deeper into the club.

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