by Laurel Richards
Elementals Book Two
After losing his parents and suffering abuse at the hands of his human stepfather, Matthew Drake has lost his grip on reality. He is well aware that there is something wrong with him, but he must stay on the move to keep ahead of his past. Wandering the streets of Paradise City, Matthew uses his power as a Fire Elemental to avoid or kill those who threaten him.
It isn’t until Lucius Brant, a powerful healer and fellow Fire Elemental, enters his life that Matthew starts to feel like he can think more clearly. But Lucius isn’t the only one taking an interest in him. A killer is on the loose somewhere in the city and is trying to frame him. Can Matthew trust Lucius to heal his mind? Can he find out who the real killer is and clear his name? He has to survive long enough to find out.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content/Theme(s): Elementals, Dragons, Magic, Paranormal
Release Date: October 1, 2016
Excerpt & More
Matthew continued to walk down Coconut Drive. The night sky was dark and slightly clouded, and the air around him was humid. It had rained earlier in the evening, and the streets and sidewalks were damp, though they no longer held standing puddles. All of the shops and restaurants around here were one or two stories tall, but it felt like they were crowding the street. He slipped along in the shadows and only stopped to listen to the music pouring out from some of the open doorways.
Then one of the stores up ahead caught his eye. Tucked in between a liquor store and a novelty shop, the place was a small tattoo parlor near the far end of the block. He had peeked inside about a million times before, but his timing was usually off. Tonight, he seemed to have gotten lucky. It sounded like someone was getting some ink done.
Most of the windows of the shop were blacked out or filled with sketches, but the glass front door was clear. Since it was dark outside, he was able to look in and see what was happening in the back. Getting a tattoo didn’t look like a pleasant process, and he couldn’t figure out why the humans did it. By engraving these pictures on their skin, maybe they thought they could call on the power of the beast like Elementals did? He wasn’t sure.
Matthew glanced at the selection of designs in the window and spied a small sketch of a dragon. “Friend of yours?” he teased his mark.
His dragon snorted. “I’m much better looking.”
Forgetting their recent argument, Matthew smiled. He was about to make some snide rebuttal when he was interrupted by a group of men behind him. There were five humans approaching the shop, and although none of them looked much older than he did, they were clearly drunk. Their cheeks and noses were red, and their gait was wobbly.
A quick glimpse at their thoughts revealed that they had convinced one of their buddies to go in and get a tattoo. Apparently it was the man’s twenty-first birthday. Matthew turned to leave, but one of the guys noticed him.
“Hey, you,” the fellow said as they came closer. “Did they just finish with you?”
At least, that’s what Matthew thought the human asked him, but his words were slurred and open to interpretation. The guy assumed that he had come out of the tattoo shop. This could be fun.
“All finished,” Matthew answered. Why not mess with them a bit? After all, people were bugging him all the time.
The whole group of them stopped and stared at him.
“Oh yeah?” one of the other fellows said. “What did you get?”
Matthew smirked. “A dragon. I’m very fond of dragons.”
Although he didn’t know why this was funny, a couple of them snickered.
“Did it hurt?” the birthday boy asked.
“Pain is relative.” He was quite certain these humans knew nothing of pain.
They looked a little uncomfortable, but they didn’t back up.
“Well, come on,” the first guy said. “Let’s see it. You didn’t put it somewhere nasty, did you?”
Matthew raised one eyebrow in amusement. Usually he kept his mark to himself, but this was too good to pass up. They’d asked for it. If they really wanted to see his dragon, he’d show them.
He could tell he and his dragon were on the same page. With a grin, he rolled up his sleeve to grant their request. He felt a creepy-crawly sensation run up his back as his mark clawed its way over his shoulder and down his arm. The beast added a dramatic flourish by snapping its jaws and whipping its tail once it reached his bicep. His dragon really wanted to charbroil these obnoxious humans, but its threat display proved sufficient.
The men gaped at him, and one of them actually fell over. Matthew laughed at their expense and dropped his sleeve again as he turned and walked away. Before he slipped through the narrow alleyway between the buildings, he looked back and saw them hurry away from the shop. Apparently none of them wanted a living tattoo.
“Ah, well,” his dragon chortled as it returned to its usual spot on his back. “It’s just as well. I am, after all, one of a kind. They might have ended up with a flying salamander.”
“That’s true.” Actually, now that Matthew thought about it, he had probably performed a public service. It never hurt to do a good deed once in a while.
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Be on the lookout for Laurel Richards' future release(s): Passion Fire coming November 2016
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