Above The Flames (The Flames Trilogy Book 1)

By: Cassandra Fear
The Flames Trilogy, Book 1



Dedication



I’d like to dedicate this book to quite a few people, all of whom are very important to me. Firstly, my husband. You are my rock, solid and unmoving—ahem! stubborn—and I love you more and more every day for it. Secondly, to my kids, Cole and Amber, for always telling me I’m their favorite mommy—even though I’m pretty sure I’m their only mommy. You both make me so happy to be part of your lives.

Next, to my mom. You are the hardest working person I have ever known. Pain has never slowed you down. Because of you, I learned the value of hard work. I couldn’t have done this without you! Also, to my step-daddy, for always being there for me even when I didn’t want you to be. Thank you for never pushing too hard. Even though I call you step-daddy, I think of you as another father.

And last but not least, to my dad. I know you’re watching me from Heaven, smiling down at me every step of the way. I miss you more than words can explain, but I know we’ll meet again someday.






Chapter 1





Changes



Jasmine



Jasmine’s skin crawled. She rubbed her palms up and down her arms as she peered out the back window of her parents’ SUV. It was dark, but the moon painted the old country road with a white glow, illuminating the faded concrete. The wooded area off to the right disappeared as fog rose from the pavement, wrapping around the vehicle. Dad eased on the brake.

“What’s going on out here tonight?” Dad’s tone was clear, but soft.

Jasmine shrugged, knowing he couldn’t see her.

The tires crawled forward, and Jasmine’s body heated with a familiar warmth. A warmth that brought power. She tamped it down; made sure the box was locked. Stay in there. It’s not safe for you to come out.

Dad’s cheery voice made her jump. “So, how does it feel to be sweet sixteen? I can’t believe my baby’s growing up so fast.”

“It kind of just feels the same, I guess.” She smiled. “But, you’ve got to quit calling me that, Dad. I haven’t been a baby for a long time.”

Dad peered through the rearview mirror, his eyes twinkling with humor. “Never going to happen.”

Jasmine shook her head, smiling. Even though she acted annoyed whenever he called her “his baby,” she really wasn’t. Secretly, she enjoyed it, and it made her feel loved…special, even.

Jasmine’s heart lightened as she met her dad’s eyes in the mirror. “I really love you, you know that?”

Mom huffed.

“Something wrong, Mom?”

Mom gazed over her shoulder, meeting Jasmine’s eyes with a coldness that could freeze a soul. “Nothing at all.”

Mom’s words were nothing but a contradiction to her tone of voice, and the look in her eyes. Jasmine had suspected for a long time that Mom was jealous of Dad’s love for her, but seeing it so in her face made her stomach drop. She’d never really been close with her mom, though. Not like she was with her dad. That’s just how it had always been.

“Mary!” Dad growled. “Don’t start.”

Mom pressed her lips together, and then opened her mouth. With one last hate-filled look toward Jasmine, Mom closed her mouth and faced the front again. Jasmine didn’t have a clue what was going on with Mom. She’d been so cold lately, so unfeeling. And then Jasmine had been hearing a lot of raised voices after she went to bed at night. She shrugged, not wanting to think about it right now. It was her birthday, after all.

Jasmine leaned against her car door, breathing in the fresh air through the slightly open window. The fog was thicker here, and it seeped in through the window, stretching into the car. Inky darkness surrounded them, and it was hard to see a thing. Her heart sped up as something red showed through the black, but it quickly disappeared. She blinked, opened her eyes wide, and tensely leaned forward. There it is. Something glowing red.

The car suddenly swerved to the left, sending Jasmine sprawling sideways, but her seatbelt held her in place, although it dug into her stomach a bit too much. “Dad, what’s going on?”

“I don’t know, Jazzy. I think something’s wrong with the car.”

Heat coursed through her veins, pumping power through her body, making her feel more alive than she had in a long time. She quickly squashed it down. I can’t let you out right now. I’m sorry, but I can’t! You are too uncontrollable.

The car jerked again. “All right, something is definitely wrong with the car. I’m pulling off the road. Maybe I can figure it out,” Dad said.

Jasmine didn’t think anything was wrong with the car. A strange feeling fell into her stomach, almost as if her heart was dropping into it. She gripped the top of the driver’s seat and looked out, seeing something red again, but this time there were two spots and they were moving closer and closer. She grasped Dad’s shoulder. “Do you see that?” She pointed out the front window. “Look!”

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