First Look: IGNITED, Donovan Circus #4

Hi friends! I’m stoked to say that last weekend I completed the first draft of IGNITED (Donovan Circus #4). I’m so excited about it that I simply have to share the first chapter with you! Keep in mind this is unedited so far, so be sure to check back when the real deal is finally published 😉 And just in case you haven’t read the third installment, I’ve edited so that you don’t know the major character death – so get to reading before this releases in the fall! 🙂

IGNITED, A Donovan Circus Novel (#4) – Chapter 1

I dodged to my right, avoiding the wave of cold water headed my way. Too late, my ankle twisted underneath me and I landed hard in the dirt, right on my butt. I looked up to see the waterball miss me by inches. It fell to the ground, spraying everywhere with the contact. Droplets splashed onto my skin, smoke rising from my arm.

“Graceful,” I muttered, massaging my foot to make sure it wasn’t broken.

A strong hand reached out before me, gesturing to get up fast. I grabbed hold and was hoisted back to two feet. I tested my weight and found my ankle to be okay.

“You good?” Sebastian asked, eyes darting around to assess our situation.

I gave him a sharp nod. “Let’s get back to knocking heads.”

We went to separate and found three men standing before us. A Telekinetic and Unbreakable stood on either side of a Waterbearer. Both of the Waterbearer’s palms held a sphere of ice cold water, ready to take out my flames.

Renata huffed beside me. Her blue eyes narrowed as she talked. “If this guy keeps raining on us, I’m going to chuck him down to the middle of the earth’s core.”

“I believe her,” Sebastian said to me under his breath. My lips twitched.

“I don’t see why not,” I said, raising my voice so the men could hear me. “Go ahead, crack the ground open and see how far they can jump.”

The Unbreakable and Waterbearer scowled at us, but the Telekinetic simply flicked his wrist. His gift launched Renata sideways and temporarily out of sight behind a row of bushes. She cursed as she hit the ground. I didn’t hesitate, chucking a hot flame at the distracted Telekinetic, so fast he couldn’t stop it. He lit up, his screams quickly fading. His cohorts didn’t budge, their faces only growing meaner and more determined. Sebastian and I tensed, bracing ourselves for their attack.

Sebastian glanced at each of the man, taking in our stances. “If you don’t mind, I’d rather take the Waterbearer. You’ll be done with the Unbreakable faster than I can do it.”

“Fair enough.” Without taking my eyes off the large opponent, I shuffled one step back for Sebastian to jump in front of the Waterbearer.

The man glared at Sebastian. “Cross.”

I could’ve sworn Sebastian smiled.

Before I could question how the Waterbearer knew my coworker, the Unbreakable lunged forward. His arms opened to wrap around and pin me, but I’d grown used to large men’s fighting maneuvers. I ducked, moving my feet to escape his clutches. I threw one, two, three fireballs at him and still he came again.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sebastian hook his fist into the Waterbearer’s jaw. The water spheres disappeared from his hands and Sebastian took the opportunity to let him have it. Blows rained down upon the Waterbearer and soon, he was on the ground attempting to stave off the pain.

Too late, the Unbreakable slammed into me, taking us both to the ground in a heap. His hands went to my throat and my body reacted instantly, heat flooding through me. His strong hands gripped my neck, cutting off oxygen, but still I fought. My face felt like it was on fire and finally I managed to summon enough flames for his clothes to catch. He didn’t notice until he was coated in them; when the pain hit him, his hold released as he rolled off me and around on the ground.

I sucked in air, my brain screaming at me to get up as fast as possible. I stumbled to my feet, preparing for another attack, but the Unbreakable hadn’t been able to save himself. Sebastian waved at me from a safe distance; I looked down to see I was still on fire.

“Turn it off,” he called out to me.

I nearly smiled, easing off the flames. When the heat no longer flooded off me, Sebastian came closer. He was not only a great fighter, but nice to look at, too. In his early twenties, he’d once told me he was born of Turkish descent. Sebastian had beautiful skin, with shorn hair and the brightest turquoise eyes I’d ever seen. His lean frame leaned in to take a look at me. His fingers gingerly touched a large knot on my temple.

He gave me a good-natured grin. “You’ll live.”

“You have way too much fun beating up bad guys.”

He laughed as I massaged my bruised throat. Giving the dead Unbreakable a dirty glare, I looked up to see Sebastian had knocked the Waterbearer out cold. I’d kind of forgotten about the Telekinetic, burnt to a crisp in the dirt.

A groan sounded from beyond the hedges. We turned to see Renata’s wild blond curls appear first, followed by her annoyed expression. She stood up, albeit it a bit wobbly, and came over to us. She also threw dirty looks at the intruders.

Footsteps pounded behind us and I pulled fire. Spinning on my heel, the fire died as Sophie, the young Lightbringer, slid to a halt in the grass. If I didn’t know any better, I almost wouldn’t recognize her in her dark blue uniform and tight bun. She spoke directly to me.

“I took care of the guy trying to get into Sheffield’s office. He’s a crispy critter, though Sheffield might need to replace his lightbulbs.”

“Shit, I forgot all about him,” Sebastian said with a grimace. We exchanged looks.

The fourth man had managed to use his gift and slip past our secured entrances. Sophie had followed my orders to go after and take care of him. I’d had trepidation about the idea, given her inexperience, but she’d proved to be capable of handling it.

“Well done, Sophie,” I said. The younger girl beamed at me and I couldn’t help but grin back. Her training was going even better than expected. “And Sheffield’s okay?”

Sophie shrugged. “He didn’t even poke his head out of the camper to see what all the fuss was, so I’m gonna go with yes.”

My mouth twisted in disapproval at my ringmaster’s behavior, but now wasn’t the time. “All right – Sebastian, you’re up.”

Sebastian’s tall form moved to our enemies. He knelt next to them, placing his hands just above the deceased. Energy left his hands and before our eyes, the bodies crumbled to dust.

Sebastian was a Degenerator, a gifted being who could disintegrate dead bodies. It was an unusual gift for sure, but had come in handy lately to prevent any curious police coming by with questions. Others with his gift could break down materials such as metals or fibers. He’d once mentioned a Degenerator who could make the living decay (which creeped me out), but he was the only one of his kind that could make the dead go away.

I watched a body turn to dust, indifferent at the image. I’d gotten used to Sebastian’s morbid gift. “This is the fourth set of losers we’ve fought off in the last three weeks. Not to mention the fact we only got here a couple days ago.”

“They’re getting braver,” he said grimly, dusting off his hands.

“I agree,” Renata said, dropping the inspection on her wounds. “They brought this to home turf, the closest they’ve been since…”

She trailed off and I bit my tongue, knowing where she’d been headed. This was the closest any of Alex’s men had been here since Alex himself attacked our grounds…since Alex had killed _______, our friend and family.

Sebastian read the look on my face and changed the subject. “In any case, it’s safe to say we held our ground.”

“You’re right. Though we should go check on the others,” I said, referring to our coworkers who guarded and kept watch on other checkpoints around the circus. “I’m hoping this little group got in without hurting anyone.”

Renata moved to leave, but Sophie nodded to the unconscious Waterbearer. “What do we do with him?”

Before I could speak, Sebastian answered. “We need to kill him.”

“No,” I said quickly, my hand going up as though to stop them, “keep him alive. Let’s keep his hands where we can see them and ask him a few questions.”

Sebastian shook his head. “He won’t say anything.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I know these men. They came for you.”

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