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Hearts on Fire 9: Her Shadows of Light

By:Dixie Lynn Dwyer


“We call you when we need your services. You don’t call us and demand more work. You don’t like it, then tough. We need to make this move and slow down so more red flags don’t pop up,” Lenny told him over the phone.

“Those red flags aren’t my fault. They’re yours,” Stark replied.

“Mine? I don’t think so, guy. No one was supposed to get killed. The old lady was supposed to live. You fucked up, and we need to make some changes. Now don’t call me again. I’ll call you when I need another job done,” Lenny said to him and then hung up.

Stark was pissed off. When he’d first started working for Lenny, things had been different. They knew to never ask his name or to meet in person. Once he performed a few small jobs for them, they’d started giving him bigger ones. It was all good, and it helped him deal with his anger, his obsession.

He clenched his teeth. Why did Lucie have to be such a nag? Why had she walked in on him talking about that next job? Why had she been nagging him about getting engaged and getting married? That wasn’t what he wanted. Years ago he’d thought that was what his future would entail, but given the circumstances of his childhood and the evaluations the doctors had come up with, it seemed he wasn’t normal.

It hadn’t taken much to silence Lucie’s threats of going to the police and reporting him as an arsonist. Killing her so easily made him feel powerful, whole, and on the top of his game. He’d stared at the flame as he lit the match, holding it against the wall as the sunlight penetrated through the window. It didn’t cause a shadow of the flame to appear.

He found that to be so interesting. He’d inhaled the scent of burning wood and tossed the match into the fire he’d started. His mind no longer obsessed over his loss or over the several other women who had become his symbols. They were gone. Dead. Worthless to anyone now, especially to him. They’d served their purpose by serving him, by lying on the table, begging for mercy, and ultimately begging for death.

That somber, gut-wrenching emotion of killing Lucie and the other women, women he believed could be his hold on sanity, had now been replaced by something even greater. It was the adrenaline rush, the soulful, magical power of fire. The need for his talent, his capability, brought him things he’d never thought he would ever be able to have. Money, meaning, power, and all because of the ability to make fire that destroyed. Fire that annihilated everything, every ounce of evidence, every possible culprit or fingerprint, footstep, creation that he made in order to succeed. He was a fire starter, a paid arsonist, for lack of a more suitable title. He wasn’t a loser, a psychologically imbalanced threat to society as the doctors all tried to label him. No. He was more than they gave him credit for, and that was why they all suffered, too. But he didn’t mind those memories and hurtful reminders of the past anymore because the trick was on them, not him.

The others, the ones seeking to manipulate the system and get filthy rich by breaking the law, bought into his practice, his capabilities, and they made money, too. He wanted more. He desired more, and them moving their business wouldn’t stop him. He sought something with even greater meaning and feelings of accomplishment. He took every job Lenny and Ray gave to him because he was searching for that missing aspect. Even setting this latest fire and causing the death of the older woman could have been avoided, but he was seeking that urge, that itch. Her dying didn’t do a thing for his needs and desires. In fact, it made him think about what could replace that empty gap or fill it. How would he know what it was? What if he missed it?

He rocked back and forth in his chair and reached out to press the key on the laptop. He loved reading inspirational quotes, even sayings from the Bible that he felt reflected what was in his mind or his agenda. Today was no different, just that the urge for more was beginning to really eat at his insides.

The words appeared on the computer screen. His power, his direction, his motivation. He wasn’t a monster. He wasn’t evil per se. He was highly motivated to feel, to succeed in being one with the light and no longer a shadow, a mere presence taking up space. He wanted to feel renewed, alive, all powerful, and have meaning.

He continued to rock back and forth as he scanned the words and felt their energy, their meaning to his heart.

“The Bible says, ‘God is Light, in him there is no darkness at all.’ 1 John 1:5.

“I am a prophet of God, and fire is my weapon to lay down an assault on those who stand in the way of my greatness. I shall battle through the fires of hell to find what is missing and what is mine. It’s out there. I just need to keep the light burning bright so that it can find me or I can find it.”

Chapter 1

Brighid Murphy was laughing along with her friends Jenny and Anna as they stood by the crowded bar. It was nearly eleven when a group of strapping, sexy guys entered the bar lounge. At least ten invaded the place, catching the attention of not only her and her other friends but also that of every female with clear enough vision to see they were eye candy and a half. She actually felt her body react to the good-looking men.

“Holy shit, look at that guy’s ass in those jeans and all those muscles on his arms. Someone get me some ice. I feel a hot flash coming over me big time.” Anna waved her hand in front of her face, fanning herself.

“I’ll take three of those and maybe a fourth. I’m feeling extra special tonight,” Jenny said to the bartender, who chuckled and then set out three shots of tequila for them.

“Oh no, I don’t think I should. I have work Monday, and I’ll need more then Saturday and Sunday to recover.” Brighid glanced at the men who’d walked in and were now moving closer toward the bar and all the ladies hanging around it.

The bachelorette party had been sort of lame, especially since the bride-to-be only lasted an hour and got so drunk she had to be carried to her room. At least the party still continued, and it was the maid of honor who had to babysit, not them. Brighid wasn’t even friends with the woman. Jenny was, but Jenny hated most of the crowd so she’d dragged Brighid and Anna along to enjoy the night.

“Good evening, ladies, could we squeeze in here to grab a few beers?” one deep, sexy voice said over Brighid’s shoulder. As she turned to look up, way up, she locked gazes with one hell of a sexy man. He had dark hair and big brown eyes, and he seemed really intrigued by her lips, if how he stared at them was any indication.

“Sure thing, doll. You can sit on my lap if you need a spot.” Jenny winked.

He chuckled, and so did his buddy, who eased right next to Brighid on her other side, moving her friends out of the way. But Jenny and Anna didn’t seem to care, as a few other men joined them and began conversing.

“Two Heinekens please,” one guy asked the bartender. Then he looked back at her.

“What’s your name?” he asked.


“I’m Rusty, and this is my brother, Reece.”

He stuck out his hand for her to shake. She reached out, and when their hands touched, his eyes widened and she felt something, a low, trembling hum of awareness, an instant attraction. She pulled her hand back, and his brother smiled as he checked her out. He reached his hand out, held her gaze, and gave her the once-over as she shook his hand.

“You live around here?” Reece asked her.

She was mesmerized by Reece’s dark blue eyes and both the very intricate, black tattoo on his arm and the other colorful one on the inside of his wrist.

“No, just attending a bachelorette party with some friends.”

“Not yours, I hope,” Rusty teased and winked then passed the beer bottle to his brother before taking a sip from his own.

She felt her cheeks warm. He was pretty flirty. “Not me. I actually don’t even know the bride to be. My friends dragged me along. How about you? Do you two brothers live around here?”

For some reason, as she looked from one brother to the other, she imagined what it would be like to be squeezed between them, with both men touching her at once. A ménage encounter was something she’d fantasized about, but it was more out of the desire to have a man or men that would really care about her and not just want to fuck her because of her body. She worked out a lot, and she had a sexy figure. Getting dates wasn’t the problem. It was accepting them, needing more than just a sexual encounter. She’d had three separate lovers over the years, and none of them had really done it for her. The need for more, to feel a depth she’d only read about, ruled her mind and her decision to stop dating for a while.

Why was she thinking about this right now and with these two brothers?

She knew why, because her friends had been hounding her to have a great time tonight, to forget about the past and the fact that she was transferring to a new job location with the company she worked for. It hadn’t been what she expected, but her bosses, Lenny and Ray, said it was necessary. They offered her a great salary, full benefits, and flexible hours. Tonight was a last hurrah to let go and embrace the future and the professional career she had worked hard for.

“We came out to visit some friends of ours. One of our buddies is getting married in a few months, but this is a pre-bachelor party,” Reece told her.