Authors: Trisha Wolfe
Destiny’s Fire, Copyright © 2012 by Trisha Wolfe
All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher.
P.O. Box 793871, Dallas, TX 75379
First Omnific eBook edition, January 2012
First Omnific trade paperback edition, January 2012
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
Destiny’s Fire / Trisha Wolfe – 1st ed.
1. Young Adult—Fiction. 2. Paranormal—Fiction. 3. Romance—Fiction. 4. Action/Adventure—Fiction. I. Title
Cover Design by Micha Stone and Amy Brokaw
Interior Book Design by Coreen Montagna
To my son,
Discover your passion, and let nothing or no one stand in the way of your life’s goal.
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” Edgar Allen Poe
, becoming lightheaded and dizzy. If I could just wedge my fingers beneath his arm, maybe I’d loosen his hold from around my neck.
“Don’t fight it,” he breathed into my ear. “Just fall to the floor, Dez.”
I attempted shaking my head defiantly, but the movement only helped his arm squeeze tighter. Panic—squirming in my stomach like electric eels—enveloped me. The walls around me blurred.
Get a grip
. And then I did—right on the sleeve of his leather jerkin. I pulled it over his head and blinded him.
“I just knew you wanted to rip my clothes off,” he mocked, struggling to right his jacket.
I rolled my eyes. Finding a hold on his arm, I hauled him over my shoulder, and he landed on his back with a hard
I ran for my weapon, but he grabbed my ankle, tumbling me on top of him. I straddled either side of him and used my knees to anchor his arms to the floor. “Looks like you lose this time, Jace.”
I kept him pinned while reaching for my Charge Dagger. My fingertips grazed the bronze hilt, but Jace clutched my thighs, refusing to let me stretch far enough to grasp my weapon fully. With a grunt, he rolled on top of me and secured my arms to the cement floor.
“Why didn’t you go for it when you had me?” he asked, catching me off guard for a moment. I held my breath, staring into his blue eyes. Not blue like the color of water or sky, but electric blue—glowing. “You could have just snapped my neck, you know?” Jace let out an exasperated groan. “Tilt your head back. This time I’m teaching you a lesson about losing focus.”
His condescending tone pissed me off, and I squirmed beneath him. It was no use. I was trapped and not getting away. He clasped my hands above my head and nudged his face between my cheek and shoulder.
“No!” I screamed.
His hot breath fanned my neck as his lips parted against my skin. A tremor rocked my body, and I fought to free my hands. His teeth grazed my skin. I froze. I felt pressure, heat, and the slide of his tongue. I shivered and reminded myself this was Jace…
His hold on my wrists weakened for a second, and I took advantage, wiggling my wrist free and nailing him across the head with the back of my hand. He grunted and rolled to the side.
I got to my feet. “I can’t believe you guys let him mark me!” I cupped my neck, glancing around the room at the guilty faces.
My best friend Lana held back a laugh, audibly shaking with a scrunched up face. “Sorry,” she choked out. “It won’t be there for long.”
I rolled my eyes at her, then widened them at Nick. “And you? You couldn’t do anything about your brother?”
Nick held up his hands in defense. “Hey, you have to learn to take him. Maybe this will light a fire under you to kick his ass next time.”
I scowled and he averted his eyes, adjusting his faded brown double-lapel jacket and smoothing back his dark hair, ignoring my glare.
Whipping back around toward Jace, I flashed him a sardonic smile and then swept his legs out from underneath him. “Next time,” I warned, staring down at him.
Jace’s eyebrows furrowed. After quickly picking himself off the floor, he grabbed my arm and led me across the room. “Look, I got carried away, but…” His face reddened. Was he embarrassed now? Marking was a training method, a humiliation method rather, used to remind Kythan to guard their ink—their power. “I shouldn’t have gone that far, but what if I was Narcolym? You wouldn’t be sporting a hickey right now. Your throat would be ripped out.” He released a heavy breath. “I wanted it to be real so you could attempt to defend yourself. After your birthday, you’ll have your tatt and your power and…” He shook his head, backing off.
I witnessed the panic in his eyes, something I’d never seen from him before, and realized how scared he was. We were all scared, though. Hence the secret fight club. The Narcolym Council was about to invade our haven—under the Treaty Act, of course. But the thought of them in our city was disturbing.
Although we were all Kythan—shape-shifters descended from ancient guardians who had watched over Egyptian pharaohs—the Narcolym race had waged a war, taking out the only other Kythan race, and nearly wiping us—the Shythe—out completely. The Narcolyms’ bloodshed had been worse because all Kythan were endangered already before the centuries of warring. That’s why Jace was so adamant that we train, even while the Shythe Council ordered us not to. He believed the Treaty Act was bogus, and he wanted us to prepare for the worst.
After a long pause, considering his fear, I nodded. “I get it, Jace. It’s cool.”
The lines in his forehead relaxed, revealing the squinty-eyed gaze I’d become accustomed to over the years. He ran a hand through his disheveled, dirty-blond hair. “Yeah, well, at least for the next day or so that mark on your neck is a reminder of who won…again.”
I pushed against his hard chest. He didn’t budge. “Next time I’m going to make you eat those words.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “Come on. Devon will be closing the club soon. Let’s get out of here.”
Lana scooted up next to me and handed me my Charge Dagger. “Here, Dez.” She waggled her eyebrows. “Wow, I thought you guys were going to break into a hot make out session for a minute.”
I scoffed, glancing over at Jace. “Right.” I shook my head. “And eww. You’re talking about your brother like that?” I turned a gear on my weapon, and the Charge disabled as the blue glow surrounding the blade went dark. “Besides, Jace doesn’t care about things like that. He takes everything else way too seriously.”
Lana shrugged. “Whatever, come on. I want to get my dance on before we leave.” She grabbed my hand, threading her fingers through mine, and edged me toward the stairs.
I surveyed the basement one last time, making sure all the weapons were hidden away. I sheathed my dagger into its holder against my ankle, hidden beneath my leather breeches, and nodded to Nick. He climbed the stairs and lifted the hatch as I pulled the chain, outing the gas lamps.
As I ascended the rungs, the music that had been a low, hollow boom in the basement was now loud and deafening. I lowered the hatch, stomped on the floor door, and slid a brass barstool over it. Nick pulled back the heavy black curtains, revealing the club. A swaying and bopping crowd cluttered the dance floor. It was almost closing time, but the club was still at full tilt—Shythe and humans dancing. Though the humans were unaware of the shape-shifters in their presence.
Lana bounced up and down, her black and too-short mini-corset barely concealing, well, anything. She latched onto my hand and steered me toward the dance floor as Nick rolled his eyes at his sister. He cocked his head in the direction of the door, holding up five wriggling fingers, indicating he and Jace were stepping out for five minutes. I nodded back.
The beat abruptly changed as Lana batted her eyes at Devon, the lead singer of Current, the band working Cogs’ music scene. Devon was Shythe like us, and he also ran Cogs. Humans didn’t question how the bar operated with its high voltage chemical light show, or instruments that wailed out sounds from a steam pipe no violin or guitar could emulate. Devon boasted that most were all too happy to hide away in the club and dance, content to get lost in the industrial music and booze.
I marveled at all the disguised devices in the bar. Devon ran the majority of Cogs on Charge—Shythe power—secretly cloaking it behind pistons, gears, and makeshift contraptions, while the rest operated on steam power—the Narcolym-forged technology that had shaped our world.
He tipped his top hat and winked at Lana before adjusting the knobs on his guitar. Guys were putty in Lana’s hands when she wanted something, and Devon was no exception. For months now, when she made her way onto the floor, he’d play whatever song she deemed hers at the time. This week, it was a fast-paced urban melody. She squealed and grabbed my hands once again, pulling me along to join her in the jumping throng.
I shook my head, but couldn’t help being tempted to dance as the adrenaline from sparring coursed through my system. I stepped onto the slippery metallic floor and glanced around at the flailing bodies. A guy with long, dark dreads, wearing a black leather military jacket and gloves, turned toward me and gave me a slight nod. I bounced alongside him.
Brass and copper pipes decorated the walls, snaking above the bar and pumping out puffs of steam from the contraption Devon had built to dispense beer more efficiently. Low hanging chemical lamps were scattered along the rafters, and beams of blue, green, and purple jumped out of them in pulses that matched the beat of the synthesized music.
Lana’s long blond hair glowed white against the backdrop of the dark club, her two pink dreads becoming tangled as she whipped her head back and forth. Matching her rhythm, I tossed my head, my dark strands lashing my shoulders as I raised my hands above me. I closed my eyes and danced freely, caught up in the music.
Someone bumped into me—breaking the trance—and my eyes snapped open. My breath hitched as a pair of glowing red eyes caught my attention from across the room. Three Narcolym sauntered into the club through the side entrance, their heads held high.