Fire Within (Romance in Moonspell 2)
Jessica Coulter Smith
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Copyright ©2013 Jessica Coulter Smith
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"Truth or dare?" Maya said.
Reika narrowed her eyes and bit her lip. "Dare, I think." She took a sip of her margarita. "Yes, definitely a dare."
Maya gave her a Cheshire grin, her eyes glinting in a mischievous manner. "I dare you to set off the fire alarm."
Reika nearly choked on her drink. She knew exactly what her friend was up to. Why had she confided in Maya about the super hot fireman? Reika had seen him outside of the fire station just last week and had all but wrecked her car as her head had swiveled in a near 180-degree turn to get a better look. With his navy blue M.F.D. tee fit so snug, every muscle in his arms and chest had been clearly outlined. She'd wanted to reach out and touch him to see if he was as strong as he looked. It had taken everything in her to keep driving and not turn around and go introduce herself.
She'd driven past the fire station more than once since then, in hopes of seeing him again. She'd only seen him one time, and only at a distance. Since then, he'd been scarce, or maybe he just hadn't been at work. Whatever the case, she hadn't seen him, and oh how she'd wanted to!
"All right, but it has to look like an accident."
Maya gave her a gleeful look. "What do you suggest?"
"Well, you know how horrible I am with potions. Who's to say I don't accidentally mix the wrong things and KABLOOM! Instant fire starter. Or maybe just something to create a lot of smoke. I don't care to actually set fire to my home."
"I should make you set if off without props," Maya said. "It's kind of like cheating, doing it your way."
Reika wrinkled her nose. "I want the guy to actually speak to me. If he finds out I set off the alarm on a dare, he'll never talk to me. I'll just be another flighty fairy to him."
"All right, fair enough. We do it your way." Maya rubbed her hands together. "So, what are we going to mix?"
Reika tucked her wings away, the green and violet shimmering appendages folding away neatly, and stared at the different vials out on the counter. Some were blue, some green, a few were purple or pink. Only one was yellow and she had yet to figure out what it did. She'd mixed it quite by mistake the other day. No time like the present, she supposed.
Grabbing the yellow vial, she paused. She could barely remember the ingredients in the tube. How was she going to pick something that would react with it? Preferably without blowing her up. With a hesitant hand, she selected a blue vial and a green one. Mixing the three together in an empty test tube, she watched the mixture roiling, with bubbles foaming up the sides of the glass. The liquid turned colors, from yellow, to green, to pink, to orange. Smoke started pouring from the tube and billowing up toward the ceiling. An acrid stench filled the room, causing Reika to cover her nose and bat at the air.
A loud beeping began as her fire alarm sounded, one she knew had a direct link to the fire department, courtesy of a local security company. She knew it could take the Moonspell Fire Department anywhere from three minutes to thirteen minutes to respond. It just depended on how busy they were, or how prepared. She imagined they spent a great deal of time sitting around playing cards while they waited on the alarms to go off around town. With Moonspell being so small, they probably responded to more calls about cats in trees than actual fires.
Maya tugged her out of the kitchen and out the back door. They stepped through the gate and walked around to the front yard to await Reika's hunky fireman. Oh God! She hadn't even thought about it, but what if he wasn't working tonight? She would be so embarrassed if all of this was for naught.
A minute or two later, she heard the sirens coming, and soon the street was bathed in the red glow of the flashing lights of the fire truck. The first man to jump off the truck and head their way was tall with a lean build. The greenish tinge to his skin told of his elven heritage. His dark hair spiked about his head and he wore a concerned expression on his rather handsome face. If she hadn't already set her sights on the other fireman, she might've been tempted.
"Are you both okay?" he asked.
"We're fine," Reika said. "It's just a lot of smoke, no fire."
"My name's Elm. Bevin Elm. Me and the guys are going to just take a sweep through the house and make sure everything's okay before we let you go back in, okay?"
She nodded and watched as he and the others went through the front door. It seemed like they were gone forever, but several minutes later, they returned, smoke drifting out through the front door on their heels. A certain set of broad shoulders in the group caught her eye and her breath caught in her throat as she realized he was here. The man in question turned her way, his gaze capturing hers. From a distance, she could tell his eyes were light, but not the color. He lingered a moment, as if he wanted to come to her side, she willed him to move toward her. Her blood sizzled in her veins under that intense stare, she even took a step forward, more than happy to make the first move. But one of the men slapped him on the back and broke the spell. With a shake of his head, he followed his men to the truck, but not before glancing over his shoulder one last time.
The elf returned to her side.
"Woods. Reika Woods."
He smiled. "Miss Woods, everything looks safe now. Might I suggest in future turning on the vent over the stove before working with potions? Or better yet, bringing them outside?"
"Yes, of course, Mr. Elm."
The elf tipped his head to them and walked off. Maya, still at her side, snickered.
"What's so funny?" Reika demanded. "I still don't know who that scrumptious fireman is. Or what he is."
"Elm and Wood." She snorted.
"Only you could find something humorous about this situation. Mr. Tall, Dark and Gorgeous was right there, mere feet away from me, and I still don't know anything about him, other than the fact that he makes my heart race. But I knew that before he got here. So much for your great plan, oh devious one."
Maya's lips tipped up in a smile. "Who said we're finished? Just because you didn't get to talk to him this time doesn't mean --"
"This time?" Reika interrupted. "What do you mean, this time? I'm not setting off my alarm again."
"How else are you going to get to know him?"
"I don't know, but I'm not going to keep triggering my alarm just for a glimpse of the man. Besides, they're going to think I'm some whack job if they have to run out here every night to rescue me from potions gone bad. That isn't exactly the reputation I want."
"Oh, please. Everyone in the fae community knows how wretched you are at potions, or spells, or magick in general. You're like the anti-fairy fairy. I've never seen someone so bad at being fae as you are."
Reika stuck out her tongue. "Not all of us can be as gifted as you."
"Come on, let's see what we can do about the smoke, then let's order a pizza or something. All of this excitement, or near excitement, has made me hungry."
Reika sighed. "He was rather dreamy, wasn't he?"
Maya snickered. "Yes, sunshine, he was. And if that look he gave you was anything to go by, I think he was rather taken with you, as well. Now we just have to get him to act on it."