Authors: Kelly Hashway
Out Of The Ashes
Into the Fire Trilogy, Book 2
Out Of The Ashes
Copyright © 2016 by Kelly Hashway.
All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: March 2016
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
To Ayla with love
Table of Contents
“Who are you?”
Her words hit me like knives to my heart.
“Cara, it’s me, Logan.”
This can’t happen. She can’t forget me. Not after all we’ve been through.
“You have to remember me. I love you. Please…try to remember.”
Her eyes narrow, and she shakes her head, like she’s fishing for memories that aren’t there. She backs away from me, taking what’s left of my pulverized heart with her.
Flashing lights flood the chem lab windows. Wonderful. The police and the fire department will be in here any minute. As if I’m not already in Hell, let’s make this situation worse.
“How am I going to explain this? You don’t remember anything.”
What? Who the hell is Garret? “No. My name is
.” My entire body shakes, unable to process how any of this is real. Cara’s a Phoenix, a mythical bird-human hybrid. No one is going to believe this.
“Garret Monroe.” Cara’s voice is scratchy and dry, but considering she just burned to ashes and rose out of them, that’s about right.
“The police officer?”
She nods. “He knows me. He knows what I am.”
she remembers? How the hell is that fair? Maybe that’s a good thing though. If he knows what she is, then he’ll believe me about Nick trying to hurt Cara with that knife and Cara bursting into flames. God, Cara died. This is all so insane.
Cara tries to stand and stumbles a little. I reach for her, taking her hands in mine. How can she not remember me? How can she not feel what I feel? Right from the start, we were attracted to each other. Things moved so fast. And now…
“I need to see Garret. He’ll know what to do.” She takes her hands from mine and walks toward the door, stepping over my burned leather jacket, the only thing I had left of Mom.
I bend to pick up what’s left of it, but stop. Do I want reminders of what I’ve lost? First Mom and now Cara. How am I supposed to deal with this? No, I can’t think about that now. I have to get out of this situation, get Cara to someone who can help her, and convince everyone I didn’t try to burn down the school.
“We don’t know if Garret is here. We should wait for the police and fire department to come into the school.”
“And tell them what?” She whips around and stares at me. I can’t help thinking of the look she had the first time we met, when she thought I was some perv gawking at her in her bikini. Yeah, I was gawking, but I’m not a perv. I’m the guy she’s in love with. Or at least she
in love with me.
“I don’t know. Maybe you should call Garret.”
She rubs her forehead. “I don’t remember his number.”
Officer Monroe bursts into the chem lab, his eyes immediately going to Cara. He looks her over from head to toe and nods. “I’ll handle it from here.” His gaze quickly falls to the floor where Nick’s knife is. Officer Monroe bends down, studying it like it’s radioactive. He doesn’t say a word for a minute, and then he snatches the phone on his belt and starts dialing. “This is Officer Monroe. I’m at the high school. There was an explosion in the chemistry lab, but I have everything under control. Nothing toxic, so there’s no need to send backup. I’ll get this cleaned up and write a full report.” He hangs up without even waiting for a reply.
He pockets the knife and points to me, his eyes burning into me with hatred. “Don’t move. Cara, come with me. We have to get the fire department out of here. Fast.”
Cara rushes to him, and I reach for her arm. “Cara, wait!”
Officer Monroe lunges at me, grabbing me by my shirt and slamming me against the cabinet on the wall. “Don’t touch her.” His hot breath smacks me in the face. “I’ll deal with you in a second,
“Hunter?” What is he talking about? I’ve never gone hunting in my life. I’m a frickin’ city boy.
He pushes Cara out the door. Instead of following her, he pauses and grips the edge of the door. He must be squeezing the hell out of it because his entire hand turns bright red. He meets my gaze long enough to say, “Just shut up and stay put.” He walks out of the room and closes the door behind him.
Like hell I’ll shut up and stay put. I reach for the hole where the doorknob used to be, but it’s scorching hot. “Damn!” I jerk my hand away and examine the blisters already forming on my palm.
What the hell?
I stare through the window in the door. Officer Monroe must be like Cara. It’s the only explanation for what he did to this door. I’m about to yell a slew of curses at him when I see the firemen.
“No need for hoses or anything like that,” Officer Monroe says. “I’ve already put out the fire. Cara here was working on a project she needed to make up for summer school. She waited until the last minute and got a little hasty with the Bunsen burner. It’s all taken care of.”
The firemen nod to Officer Monroe and leave. I stay quiet, listening while he talks to Cara.
“What really happened here? Did Logan corner you? Attack you with the Phoenix dagger?”
Does he mean Nick’s knife?
Cara rubs her head again. “I don’t remember anything. I—”
“You went through your rebirth. Of course, you don’t remember.” He puts his arm around her shoulder and she shies away. He clears his throat and steps back. “We should get you home. We’ll sort this out later.”
She looks back at me. Her eyes meet mine, but there’s no recognition in them. “What about him?”
“My guess is
our Hunter. It makes sense. Everything started when he and his father moved into town. We’ll have to bring his dad in too. I’m willing to bet he’s the one who taught Logan everything he knows about Phoenixes.”
“I don’t know squat!” I slam the door with the open palm of my good hand, but all it gets me is another burn. “If you’d listen to me, I’d tell you exactly what happened.”
Officer Monroe walks over, his eyes mere slits. He pushes the door open and gets close enough that I can smell his aftershave. “I’m sure you have a story all worked out already, Hunter.”
“Stop calling me that! I don’t even know what the hell that is. Cara called me because she was trapped here with Nick. He was trying to burn her.”
“Do you take me for an idiot? A Hunter wouldn’t try to burn a Phoenix, and Nick was no Hunter. I knew him well.”
“Not well enough, apparently. He was trying to kill Cara with that knife—what did you call it? A Phoenix dagger?”
“Playing dumb isn’t going to save your ass, so you might as well shut up.” Officer Monroe removes the handcuffs from his belt and comes at me.
I dodge him. “Like hell you’re cuffing me. I didn’t
“Only because I got here in time to stop you.”
“Stop me from what? I’d never hurt Cara. I love her.” It’s painful to say the words, because I know she doesn’t love me anymore. How can she if she has no idea who I am?
“You had everyone here fooled. But not me.” He steps closer, getting in my face. “I suspected you from the start. The way you followed Cara around. The way all the killings coincided with you coming to Ashlan Falls. You made Cara fall for you. You even made her use her powers to heal you.”
The cuffs click around my wrists.
He distracted me long enough to cuff me. “I never made Cara do anything! Cara, tell him. Please!” My eyes plead with her, but she stares blankly back.
“Let’s go,” Officer Monroe says. “We need to figure out what to do with you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? You don’t have anything to charge me with.”
“How about attempted murder? That should stick.” Officer Monroe grabs my shoulder and shoves me down the hall.
Normally, I would put up a fight, but Cara is staring at me like I’m a criminal. I don’t want to give her any reason to believe what this asshole is saying about me is true.
We get into the patrol car, but Officer Monroe puts Cara up front with him. Still, I don’t complain. I’ll wait until we get to the station and call my dad. For once, having a lawyer for a father will come in handy.
When we pull onto the road, I notice we aren’t heading in the direction of the police station. We’re going to Cara’s house. Officer Monroe probably wants to get Cara home and far away from me. He pulls into the driveway and cuts the engine.
“What’s going on?” I lean forward toward the metal cage confining me to the back seat like a hardened criminal.
Instead of answering, Officer Monroe gets out and walks around to Cara’s door, opens it for her, and escorts her inside. I guess he’s planning to leave me locked in the car while he talks to Cara’s mom. I lean back in the seat and try to reach my cell in my back pocket. Doing anything with handcuffs on is damn near impossible, and having burns on both hands makes it even worse. I finally get the phone out of my pocket, dropping it onto the seat in the process. I snatch it up, but then I change my mind about who to call. Dad doesn’t give me the time of day. He might not even answer my call, and if he did, there’s a good chance he won’t believe a word I say. Anton knows Cara was in trouble and that I tried to help her. He’s the one I need to talk to. He can explain things to Dad. I press two on speed dial.
“Hey, man. Did the cops get there in time? Is Cara okay?” Anton’s words come rushing out.
“She’s okay, I think, but I’m handcuffed in the back of a squad car.”
“You live in New York City all your life and never end up getting arrested, but a month in the country and you’re already handcuffed?”
“I don’t have time to explain. The cop took Cara inside her house. I don’t know when he’ll be back.”
“How did you manage to get you and Cara in trouble?” Anton laughs. “Don’t even tell me you two got out of that school and got caught going at it in public.”
“Damn it, Anton! Would you shut up and listen to me? I need you to call my dad. Tell him Officer Monroe is taking me in. He thinks I tried to hurt Cara, but I didn’t. It was her friend Nick. Except Cara doesn’t remember anything, and I have no way to prove it because Nick is dead.”
Anton is silent on the other end, and I’m really hoping he’s jotting this down.
“Did you get that?”
The door jerks open, and Officer Monroe yanks the phone away from me.
He pockets my cell. “No calls.”
“Why not? You haven’t read me my rights, so I can’t be under arrest. And besides, even if I were, I’m entitled to a phone call.”
“As far as I’m concerned, all you’re entitled to is a dagger to your heart.” He reaches in and grabs my cuffed wrists. The metal digs into me, and I slide out of the car to avoid having my hands cut up.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, and when my father finds out about this, you’ll be lucky if you can find work as a mall cop.”
He grabs my shirt and yanks me to my feet. “Not what I would expect from a Hunter, but I’m guessing you’re new at this. You couldn’t even handle a newborn Phoenix. I’m thinking your father is a different story, though. Is he the one who killed those other people? Did he murder Henry Baker?”
“My dad’s an ass, but he’s not a killer. You have no idea what you’re talking about.” It’s taking all my self-control not to spit in this guy’s face.
“We’ll see about that.” He pulls his gun from its holster and motions toward the house. “Get inside.”
I stare at him, not sure how any of this happened. Somehow, I’d been safer in New York City than the backwoods town of Ashlan Falls.
I step into the house, and Officer Monroe leads me to the living room. Cara’s mom meets me with a look that could burn me to the ground. Jeremy puts his hand on her shoulder, like he’s trying to keep her from lunging at me. Behind them, two people are sitting on the couch. I’m surprised when Monique gets up and walks toward me. She gives me a look that’s a combination of pity and disgust. I can barely stomach all their glares, but I nearly gasp when Linette stands up and faces me. What’s my housekeeper doing here?
Cara walks out of the kitchen on my left and pauses with a cup of hot tea in her hands. She looks at me briefly before walking to her mother. I want to say something to her, tell her not to believe what they all think of me, that I’d never hurt her. I can’t form the words, because things are becoming frighteningly clear.
Everyone in this room knows about Cara and what she is. And there’s only one explanation for it. Cara, Mrs. Tillman, Jeremy, Officer Monroe, Monique, and even Linette are all Phoenixes.
Where the hell did I move to?