Fused in Fire Page 3

“Didn’t you see the rocks going through the walls?” I asked.

“Going through the walls, no. I saw the thing with the door and figured it was time to hide behind a tree. I’m glad we did.” He looked in through the door. “This is something.”

“Callie, did you ever meet Lucifer?” Darius asked.

Chapter Two

Shivers slid down my arms as I followed Darius out of the gaping doorway. The way he said my dad’s name was so blasé. Like it wasn’t a big deal that my father was the lord of the underworld, something magical people called the Dark Kingdom.

“I met him, yes.” Callie turned and followed us, leaving Dizzy inside. “Why? And I hope you’re putting on clothes now that the training is over. There is only so much skin a person needs to see.”

“Did you ever see him use his power?” Darius asked, ignoring her comment.

“He unraveled a couple of my better spells. At the time, I thought he was using a counter spell to do it. I assumed he was a mage, one of the more powerful ones I’d ever met, much like Reagan’s mom, Amorette. Other than that, he seemed like a completely normal man. It wasn’t until we tracked Amorette down after she tried to disappear that we learned the truth.”

Darius paused beside his extremely expensive sports car, staring at a dent in the passenger door. His gaze slid mournfully to the rock lying in the dirt below it, then to the hole in the warehouse that the rock had flown through.

“Sorry,” I said quickly.

His lips tightened as he gave me a flat stare. He might not care about any harm done to his person, but I happened to know that he did care about his cars. He took great pride in some of them.

Without a word, he crossed to the other side and took out his clothing. “Did Amorette ever describe how Lucifer acted after he used his power?” he asked.

“Let’s not throw his name around willy-nilly.” I glanced at the wide-open space around the warehouse. Two spots of light traveled along the highway in the distance, a car passing by. “Vampires have those cloaks that make them nearly invisible.”

“We are alone,” Darius said as he stepped into boxer briefs. “No one knows where I am. I was not followed here.”

“You might have a tracker on your car or something. Vlad is wily. You can’t trust him.”

“A great many vampires are wily,” Callie said. “And no, you can’t trust any of them.”

I heard her emphasis on any. That was why she’d never know I was dating Darius. The end result would probably be a dead vampire and a cover-up story.

“Yes. Exactly. His is not a name to throw around.” I pulled out the band holding my hair up so I could redo it. I probably looked like I’d been traveling through the briars.

“Using his name is no different than speaking of Eustace, the elf queen. The two are supreme to their kingdoms and hold both magical and species power, but they are not gods.” Darius grimaced as he lifted his right arm to thread it through the armhole of his button-down shirt.

My gaze shifted from Callie, tapping her finger against her chin, to Dizzy’s head, which had just appeared in one of the holes in the warehouse. “She didn’t describe him so much as marvel at what he could do,” Callie said. “I do remember her saying that everything was done with absolute ease. All the power at his disposal, and he didn’t exert much effort to wield it.”

“Would you view Reagan’s power similarly?” Darius moved to put on his blazer, but hesitated and then put it back in the car.

Callie surveyed me for a second. “When she is in the throes of it, her power is awesome, but her use of it is obvious. She fights it.”

Darius braced his hands on his hips and looked out into the nothingness beside the warehouse, land he’d bought to ensure I could practice without anyone witnessing it. “This form of training is doing more damage than good.”

“And how would you know that?” Callie countered. “Her mother thought it was the right way, and it seemed to work. Her mother would know over anyone. She saw his power in action.”

Darius’s honeyed gaze fell on Callie, and while his peepers were very pretty, the power and confidence in that hostile stare was not. “She saw it, yes, but she couldn’t be expected to know how it worked. How best to train a pupil. She was a mage—she thought like a mage—something Reagan could never be. If Reagan tried to create a spell, her magic would unravel its properties before the spell was realized. Because her father’s magic is ten times stronger than that of her mother’s. Than yours. No, this is wrong. This is embedding the fear deeper into her, I saw it in there. I could see her misery when she tried to kill me, and I see her guilt every time she thinks of it.”

Callie blinked for a moment in surprise at the “killing” bit before she charged back into the argument. “That’s just the thing. Despite the magic issue, she is half human. She isn’t okay with killing a…friend.”

“Lucifer is always described as a sound and just leader. His punishments are harsh, but his rewards plentiful.” Darius glanced to the warehouse as Dizzy shuffled out, his expression pensive. “He has an open invitation to the Realm, which includes the Golden Hall in the elves’ mansion. A rage-drowned killer would not be viewed in a positive light. Therefore, he can’t be consumed with that byproduct of his magic. Furthermore—”

“What is this, a verbal essay?” Callie crossed her arms over the HOT stenciled across her chest. I swore she ordered those sweats specially.

“—if Reagan’s mom, whom I can only assume was a strong woman, since Reagan is her daughter, saw Lucifer wield his power and stayed with him, he must be as charming as the rumors say.”

“Let’s not forget, he is the ruler of demons,” Callie said. Dizzy nodded, clearly on her side. “They aren’t a nice bunch. Or did you forget about the one in Seattle?”

“That is just one type of demon,” Darius said. “There are also demons who lust. Even some who love.”

“Okay, so what are you saying? How do we train her?” Callie asked.

“We could summon a demon,” Dizzy suggested.

“Um…” I raised my hand. “I realize I’m not integral to this conversation, despite it being about me and all, but I think we’ve seen what all can go wrong with calling demons. A lot, basically, not the least of which is that the shifters would reattach themselves to my ass and watch my every move. It’s rather nice being left alone. I’d like to stick with that.”

“Just having a demon in her proximity seems to bolster her magic,” Darius said thoughtfully, still looking at Dizzy. “From there, maybe she’ll push through the consuming need to wreak havoc and see what’s on the other side. I am confident she can come back from the brink of destruction.”

I waved them away. “Thanks for your help, everyone, but nope. Not going to happen. Time to head home. I have dinner to eat.”

Dizzy crossed his arms and looked down at his feet with a wrinkle between his brow. It was his problem-solving look. “My circles can easily hold a level-four demon. That should be enough to get her on the right track.”

“You can banish it with the command to remain silent about what it learned while on the surface?” Darius asked. “That is the most important piece.”

“Seriously, hello?” I rapped on Darius’s car. He flinched as though I’d stuck a sword through his gut. “This isn’t going to happen. Let’s go.”

“What do you take me for, a greenie?” Dizzy scoffed, ignoring me. “I know my way around a circle, thank you very much.”

“I will be there to double-check his efforts,” Callie said, eyes narrowed in thought.

“Callie, you too?” I ran my hand over my face. “Look, you guys, here’s the long and short of it. The only way I would show up to a demon-calling party was if the world was literally about to end and Superman was otherwise engaged. That, or if my dad sent me a letter telling me to prepare the guest room because he’s coming for a visit. That’s it. Okay? So let’s drop it. I’m hungry.”

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