Trial By Fire (Going Down in Flames)(8)

By: Chris Cannon

“Allow me to use my brilliant deductive skills to tell your future.” Clint put his hand to his forehead. “I see Jaxon and Rhianna having a life-long relationship. You might have to marry him, but she will be his true wife. Whenever your grandmother hints at grandchildren, Jaxon will whisk you away to a science lab where they’ll do that turkey baster thing so the two of you don’t have to get naked together. While all this lunacy is going on, you will carry on a torrid affair with your knight.” He dropped his hand. “See, it all works out in the end.”

Bryn put her hand to her own forehead. “If you ever mention my name and Jaxon’s in the same sentence with the word turkey baster ever again, you’ll be dodging fireballs.”

Ivy cracked up and then kissed her boyfriend on the cheek. “You have to give him points for coming up with a decent solution.”

“I guess,” Bryn said. “We could buy one of those obscenely large houses where we’d each have our own wing. Jaxon and Rhianna could live in one wing, while Valmont and I shack up in the other.” Not a bad plan, until you considered the whole living-a-lie thing. Best not to think about it. Who knew, maybe this uprising, or war, as her grandfather now referred to it, would end the Directorate’s reign, and everyone could be with who they wanted. Better yet, maybe she could find a community of nice hybrids who weren’t trying to kill everyone and she could live her life the way she wanted.

Chapter Three

After spending the evening hanging with her friends in Ivy’s room, in the Black dorm where she’d still rather live, Bryn flew back to her new and far less friendly home. Rather than deal with all the frosty stares from her Blue dorm mates when she entered the building by the front door, she opted to fly up to her terrace.

Rhianna had come up with the plan of tying an aqua scarf to a chair on the terrace, to make finding the right one easier. With the cold welcome both of them received from the Blue Clan, neither of them wanted to mistakenly land outside someone else’s room.

Bryn spotted the scarf, came in for a landing, and stumbled, knocking over the chair. Stupid landings…she always miscalculated. She shifted back to human form and righted the chair. When she tried to open the window to go inside, it wouldn’t budge.

What the heck? She knocked and nothing… Where was Rhianna? She should be home, unless she was with Jaxon. Now what? Flying around to the front of the dorm, dealing with the other Blues, and then climbing the stairs would be a pain in the butt.

Solution? Knock louder and peer inside. A pile of clothes lay in the hallway. That was weird. The hair on the back of her neck stood up. Something was wrong. Shifting to dragon form, she knocked out the top pane of glass and then shifted back so she could reach inside and unlock the window. Sliding the window open, she listened carefully for anyone moving about inside, but it was dead quiet. Producing a fireball in her left hand in case she came across some non-friendly types, she climbed into the hallway.

Creeping forward, she listened again for anything that would tell her another person was in the room. The silence stretched out. Now what?


No answer. Both the bedroom doors were closed, which was weird since she hadn’t closed her bedroom door when she’d left for class that morning. Right hand on the doorknob, she raised her left hand holding the fireball higher so she could blast anyone who might be inside. A twist of the knob, and she shoved the door open. Nothing was out of place. Her room appeared untouched.

What did that mean? Back out in the hall, she kicked the clothes strewn about on the hall floor. Some of them still on their hangers. And now that she really looked, she realized they were all Rhianna’s. Fireball in hand, she opened Rhianna’s door and let out an involuntary cry. Clothes were tossed about the room, like someone had reached into Rhianna’s closet and played a twisted version of fifty-two pick-up, scattering clothing far and wide. Red paint splattered the walls, floor, and bedding. Oh God. Please let it be paint. She sniffed a patch of red on the wall. It smelled of chemicals rather than the copper scent she associated with blood.

“Rhianna?” No answer. Where would she be? Bryn ran to the phone in the front room and dialed Jaxon’s number.