Soul of Flame (Imdalind Series #4)

Written By: Rebecca Ethington

Soul of Flame (Imdalind Series #4)

Rebecca Ethington


One



I had never kissed someone before. Yes, I had been kissed, but to make that last move—the final step before lips pressed against lips and warmth and wet blended together in an orchestra of emotions, need and magic—I had never done that before.

I had never wanted it so much that I would fight against my own insecurities to do it.

I had never been brave enough.

Not until Ilyan.

His hand was a soft pressure through the blanket on my leg, his magic a strong presence through the ?tít in my chest. I felt the connection, felt the warmth as I ran my fingers over his face, tracing the canyons of his laughs and the valleys of his sorrows.

We sat on the cold stone of the balcony outside our room as he asked me what was beyond my anger. Except all I felt was anger; all I felt was the mad desire to hunt Ryland down and make him pay for what he had done to me, for every bone he had broken. Even through my exhaustion from healing Wyn minutes before, the anger still consumed me. I didn’t want to let go of my rage. It was all I had after the hell Ilyan had saved me from, and I wasn’t quite sure what was on the other side. I wasn’t sure what would be left of me if I released it.

That was wrong, however. I knew what was on the other side. I could feel it in the pressure of Ilyan’s hand against my leg. I could feel it in the warmth of his magic as it comforted me.

“Ilyan.” His name flowed off my tongue, heavy and strong. It felt so right to utter his name, to hear my voice without a stutter. His eyes opened as I spoke, my fingers frozen against his lips. “You are behind my anger.”

The lights of the fireflies that surrounded us erupted as I spoke the words, the truth of them rocking through me. I knew beyond anything that he was there, hidden behind the madness that consumed me, just as I had been for him. He was my rock, and he somehow made everything clear.

I looked up to him, my breath catching at the look he was giving me. The tenderness in his face calmed me while the ocean of his eyes devoured the last of my nerves and insecurities. I let myself get lost in him, and for the first time in months, I felt like me.

Just Joclyn Despain. Not the girl who had lost everything. Not the girl who had been hunted and tortured and broken. Just me.

My nerves loosened like an iron band had been shattered, and my magic stretched away from me; the power that my anger had restrained flooded the world like a tsunami. I had never felt so much strength. The force of it scared me; the normalcy of it terrified me. I could feel everything, the strong waves of Ilyan’s emotions as well as the gentle tug of his thoughts. I could feel the nervous magic of the earth as it trembled in fear. I could feel where everyone stood within the old stone walls of the abbey that provided our security for the moment. Wyn was sleeping in her bed, Sain and Thom were tucked away with Ryland, and even though I could feel him, I no longer wanted to hurt him. Ilyan had somehow taken that away.

If only for a moment.

I understood everything.

Everything that had happened, that was going to happen. It all stretched before me like a welcome mat to what could be. In the golden-flecked blue of Ilyan’s eyes, I could see every good, every bad, and in that look I knew I wanted it. Every bit of it.

I wanted him.

“I always will be,” he whispered, his breath tepid against my fingers, the warmth surging through me. My muscles tensed. My heart beat faster.

He was right; he always would be. I had seen it. I just hadn’t accepted it, but now, feeling my emotions so strong and clear for the first time, I knew. My own emotions mirrored his, my heart slowed to beat in time with his, and I couldn’t help it, I kissed him.

I leaned forward and pressed my lips to his, the skin hot and moist as we connected. I could never have prepared myself for the strength of my connection with Ilyan. My heart beat faster at the touch, my magic heating as it rushed through me, wild and uncontrollable. I would have fought for control. I would have calmed. But I couldn’t focus beyond the feel of Ilyan’s lips against mine, the way everything inside me burned. I waited for the earth-shattering explosion that had come when Ryland had kissed me, and while the flash never came, everything else around us seemed to glow.

The earth’s magic surged as if someone had awakened it, the green glow of the fireflies twinkling around us in excitement. Tiny pops of jewel-bright color joined in, the sparks of Ilyan’s magic mixing with my own and igniting in the air like a million Christmas lights.

Ilyan didn’t even seem to notice. He wound his arm around my waist as he pulled me off the cold stone of the balcony and onto his lap, pressing me against him. He held me there, his lips moving with mine in a fevered heat. He held me as if he were afraid I would disappear, as if this wasn’t real. In a way, it didn’t feel real, and I was thankful for the pressure, the promise that this wasn’t all a dream. The certainty that Ilyan was here and he was kissing me back.

He pressed his lips against mine roughly, moving in perfect harmony as he deepened the kiss, as he moved into me, became part of me. The deep connection rocked through me again as his magic reacted, flaring in a white hot spark of passion.

Passion.

It was different, so much different than before.

My magic pushed through me, right to the point where my hands made contact with Ilyan’s skin. It bubbled and grew in a turbulent movement that shook my nerves. It flowed through me like Ilyan was calling it home, and I realized that, in a way, he was.