With the struggle to hone her powers as an elemental half-breed, Kirsi learns what it means to protect her heart all while keeping the town of Relic safe.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Frigid (The Elemental Trials #1)
Being a child of one of the most powerful sancti in the world came with great responsibility and consequences. So when the city of Relic was at risk, I knew I had to step up and fight for my kind.
I glanced over my shoulder while I ran, my hand grasping at my side. The stitches there were tearing at my skin, the wound a painful reminder of last week’s run-in, and the heeled boots I wore tonight weren’t doing me any favors. I had no idea why I decided to put them on. I should’ve known better than to assume I’d have a normal night.
When was anything in my life normal?
The n-word was clearly not in my vocabulary.
I huffed and continued, practically holding myself together as I ran through the streets of Relic toward the forest. I didn’t care one little bit about the looks I was getting from mortali bystanders. I needed to make it to the perimeter of my land, and that was my only focus. Once I hit the border, the wards I set would automatically protect me, keeping out anyone I didn’t choose to let in.
My date had been a disaster, ending with this God-forsaken chase. I could still feel the asshole’s slimy hands lingering on my skin. Just the memory sent chills up my spine. The fact I couldn’t pin down who—or what—it was had my insides coiling like I’d just swallowed a gulp of sour milk.
The malus approached me just outside the restaurant, its breath seeping into my sinuses like a poison, yet no verbal demand came from it. Regardless of its physical human male appearance, I could tell by the look in its eyes and the stench on its skin that it was anything but.
It didn’t take a genius to know I had to get far away and fast.
I dodged people on the busy street, my heels pounding the grimy pavement with each stride. Brick by brick, I kept on trucking, never needing to look back to know it was close behind. When I passed by the shop where I’d bought some crystals, I couldn’t help but remember the overwhelming sense I was being tracked like a deer ever since.
Whether I knew what was on my tail or not, I still had the feeling that if I didn’t run, I’d be sorry, not to mention I didn’t have the energy right now to take it on. Getting the hell away from this dickhead was best. I just wanted to go home and sulk about my disastrous evening, alone, with a glass of wine, a carton of ice cream, and who knew how many loads of laundry. What I didn’t want to do was play Buffy to some random Big Bad.
No matter how far I ran, it continued to hunt me—even after skirting the shops in downtown Relic, entering the forest, and nearing the boundaries of my land—it was right on my heels. I suddenly wished I hadn’t planned the blind date so late at night. But what choice did I have? Even though I wasn’t closing tonight, my shift at the bar didn’t end early by any means. Then again, there was no telling how long this malus had been waiting for me.
I didn’t dare look back to see how close my stalker was. With no time to spare, I wished I could kick off my damn heels, and I cursed whoever made such a torturous contraption. I also had a sneaking suspicion that whoever was after me could use them as a catalyst of misery if I’d dared to leave them—a personal item—behind. Of course, hanging around witches too often would lend to such suspicions. They were cautious for a reason.
Once I ducked into the protection of the forest, the booming footsteps of the malus stomped close behind me, still chasing me. I took some comfort in knowing it was keeping its physical appearance and not turning into a spectral entity. With a solid body, it would be way more vulnerable if I chose to unleash my powers, so I kept them at bay until I knew for sure I needed to open on the bastard.
The border of my land glowed like a beacon on the horizon, clear as day, despite the darkness of the clouds rolling in overhead. Thankfully, I had a connection to the crystals used to create the protective wall around my home. It was like they called to me—a visible signal in the dark of night. The view of my property should have put a metaphorical fire under my backside to speed the hell up before I was caught.
I had to keep moving, despite the shadows of his massive form gaining speed on me. The feel of hands raking over my shoulder was a clear indication I wasn’t fast enough.
I held back a scream as I pushed on, forcing my feet to move faster than they had tonight. I didn’t dare look back—not yet. I was too close to stop now.
A loud roar echoed through the trees shortly after my sore feet crossed the border into my territory.
I couldn’t help but stop to catch my breath. Inside these borders, I was safe… for now.
Leaning against a tree, I praised each heartbeat I felt thrum through my chest. A heartbeat meant I was alive.
The blood pumping through my veins was a definite concern, especially since the icy liquid was now seeping onto my fingers… the fingers that held my excruciatingly painful side.
I pulled the hand away, enamored with my purple blood glistening beneath the moonlight that peeked through the clouds of an overcast sky.
“Well, that’s gonna leave a mark,” I said to the empty forest around me, another roar echoing in response. The malus had heard me.
A half-smile tugged at my lips. “Try and get me now, sucker.”
I bet it was pretty damn furious it couldn’t get through, which meant my wards worked. I needed to remember to thank my friend, Dean, for the spells. But first, I wanted some sleep.
Of course, I’d have to get these damn stitches mended before I could do much else.
The rest of the walk home wasn’t bad and allowed me to calm my breathing, the sounds of my stalker fading into the distance as I walked farther away. I couldn’t help but wonder why it hadn’t given up as soon as it slammed into my protective barriers. Surely it knew getting through was a lost cause… unless it was a total moron of a malus.
Another question for another day. Curses, if it weren’t for the bar, I’d likely keep myself holed up in the house for all eternity just so I didn’t have to deal with evil.
My house—my home—man, I loved this place.
It wasn’t considered large by any means, but it was a perfect place to relax, even if I did have to suffer through having a roommate in order to afford it.
The land was spacious though, and that was what I enjoyed the most. It gave me room to roam and to protect myself. The house was nothing to really write home about, even though I honestly did love every single square foot of it. With vaulted ceilings and wood floors, the entire place screamed rustic.
No one would even think that the daughter of one of the most powerful female entities on the planet lived here.
Needless to say, I felt safe and completely secure as soon as my feet crossed over the threshold.
Once I unlocked the door and stepped in, my body slumped, the full force of the night kicking in. But there was no rest for the weary. I still had to attend to my side. I could have called a family friend who was a supernatural healer, but I wasn’t really up for company, even of the medical type. Besides, it was just a few stitches. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t done before. Too bad I didn’t have healing magic, though—a few mumbled words and a wave of my hand would make my night so much easier.
With my hand held firmly against my side, I kicked at my bathroom door to open it, then reached gingerly under the sink for the ever-present first aid kit. It looked a little low, which meant I either needed to restock it or I needed to stop kicking asses.
I grimaced, thinking sourly, or stop getting my own ass kicked.
It could have been much worse, which was why I’d ran instead of confronting whatever decided to take a shot at me, anyway. I didn’t need another hole in my side before this one healed, and I just wasn’t in the fucking mood tonight.
I pulled my shirt off, groaning at the bloodstains. Yet another one of my favorites ruined. Frustrated, I tossed it at the trash can. I’d likely need to get a second job just to pay for the damn clothes I was going through.
While using gauze to wipe away the purple blood, I watched, still fascinated after all these years, as it crystallized on the pad, frozen into a shimmery amethyst design. It was too damn cool. It was also one of the reasons I couldn’t let anyone see me bleed who didn’t know what I was. Showing my vulnerabilities didn’t make life any easier.
After I threaded the needle, I held my breath and just did it. It only took four stitches to close it up, but the fact my blood was naturally chilled had numbed it up pretty good, so it wasn’t anything but the feeling of push and tug. I slapped a bandage over it, did a half-ass job of cleaning up, and walked shirtless up the stairs to my room, thanking the gods my roommate wasn’t home.
Once I grabbed a shirt off a chair, unsnapped my bloody bra and chucked it off, and pushed my arms into the sleeves, I remembered the load of laundry I put in the washer… two days ago. After I toed off my boots to relieve my aching feet, I stomped back down to the laundry room, buttoning the soft flannel over my bare breasts and cursing under my breath. The flannel might not match my leather pants, but it was comfortable, and that was all I wanted.
Lifting the washer lid, I inhaled a deep breath, sniffing nothing but a musty stench… blech! Of all the things I excelled at, laundry wasn’t one of them. As often as I’d done it, I still managed to leave my goddamn clothes in the washer for too long.
I could blame my hectic life, but in all honesty, it was me being completely non-observant and utterly lazy when it came to mundane chores.
My oversight was infuriating.
With jerky movements, I pulled the soap drawer open, slathered a shit-ton of detergent in the well, and slammed it closed, mashing the buttons until the stupid machine sang to me, noting the load was now washing again.
My dumbass would ultimately forget to put the load from the washer into the dryer in time yet again. It was inevitable.
I made a mental note to get my butt down to the laundry room in about forty minutes… sleep be damned. If I were smart, I would set an alarm on my phone. But that seemed like too much work.
More work than rewashing clothes?
My inner-voice needed to shut the hell up.
With sluggish feet, I stomped back up to my room, each stair a challenge as I struggled to make my muscles cooperate. Maybe I should set an alarm on my phone so I didn’t forget about the laundry again. I could already feel my body falling asleep before I even hit the bed.
As soon as I entered my room, my senses heightened. Someone had been here… or still was.
The atmosphere felt different… warmer. I wasn’t sure how it was even possible since I knew my wards worked earlier and my roommate was clearly not home, but it was obvious to me now that something had managed to cross them.
Something that had a pulse.
Like what you’ve read? Don’t miss FRIGID, now available in Heroines & Hellions!