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The Crystal Flame

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 82,575
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Finn Hale has fire in his blood. He is its lord but not its master. If he can’t learn to control his power, he will go insane. For years, he has searched for someone who will restore the balance and peace he and his kingdom once had. Now Finn has found her. And she is more beautiful than he could have imagined.

Lyssa Jensen was born with a dangerous ability; she can create snow and ice. When she caused an unnatural winter to fall, she fled her fractured kingdom. Now known as the Snow Queen, Lyssa lives alone in her frozen mountain palace. Until he came, rash as he is handsome, with a mad proposal…

Fire melts ice and ice douses fire. Any feelings between them could have deadly consequences. How will Finn and Lyssa learn to control their powers when they can’t even control their own hearts?

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“I want to try something different,” Finn announced as soon as she entered the training room some days later.

“Oh.” She tried to hide her surprise and apprehension behind a neutral countenance, but had serious doubts about the effectiveness of her mask. While it was true her training had reached a plateau and her progress over the past week had been minimal, she was not certain how comfortable she was with a change in their routine. Still, he had been right before and she trusted him. Or at least she was starting to.

“Very well. What did you have in mind?”

“You’ve said on numerous occasions you are afraid that when under stress, when you’re around people again, you’ll lose control over your power and hurt someone. So let’s test that theory.”

“What? Finn, I’m not sure I’m ready to—” Her voice died away. He was suddenly there, invading her space. When he grasped her upper arm, his touch just this side of pain, the action shocked her to her core. Lyssa had to swallow several times before she could speak past the lump in her throat. “What are you doing?”

“Putting you under a bit of stress. You’ve got to stop trying to rein in your strength. Let your power run free again. Let yourself go.”

“Finn, no.”

“You can’t hold it back all the time and you shouldn’t. Damn it, Lyssa, that’s how people get hurt.”

His words had the exact opposite effect from what he’d intended. Instead of bolstering her courage, she remembered and feared her own power. She shook her head and tried to jerk her arm from his hold. “Finn, let me go.”

“Not yet. Show me first.”

“Show you what? You’ve seen my power before.”

“But not your full power. Show me. All of it, as much as you like, as much as you have. You can’t hurt me; you know that. You are safe here. Let your power do what it wants. Better still, do what you want.”

Goaded beyond reason and tempted beyond bearing, wrapped in fear and anger and an unfamiliar excitement, she did as he asked. Her ice burst from her hands to the floor, creating a small frozen wall about a foot high which encircled them both.

“Good. That’s a start anyway,” he murmured. “But there are other ways. It’s all right to touch me. It’s what you want. I know it is.”

Unable to resist his lure, she let sheer temptation rule her and stepped one inch closer. Close enough to touch.

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