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I am working on this book! I have been for years! This year I want it done so I can stop getting pins poked in the voodoo doll that someone made of me! LOL

Cold Burn

“I’m going back.”
The statement silenced the people in the room. The expressions ran the gauntlet from shock to confusion. Spark’s face wore a frankly amazed look that perfectly mirrored his wife’s. Confusion showed plainly on herparent’s faces as they absorbed what she had said.
“Where dear? Back to school, back home, back to the future?” Kendall tried to laugh at her lame joke, even though everybody else looked t her as if she had a screw loose.
They were finishing up dinner before the family left The House to return to their normal lives. This family weekend was the first since Spark and Zanya wed nearly six months ago and Spark began his another career as the most erotic man alive.
The controversial and very explicit photographs of Spark dressed in leather in a variety of poses exceeded everyone’s expectations. Business at Flash and Flame picked up its bookings and Crystal Faces was sending out models to some of the top designers in the world. Zanya’s name, already famous in this country, was now known the world over as the ingenious artists with the ability to push the envelope and get results. Business for everyone was booming.
So now, it was rare that the family had the opportunity to meet together and bask in the warm companionship that surrounded this house and they all sorely missed the comforts of home.
“Kind of like the future, Mom,” Ember finally replied. Her gray eyes shied away from her mother’s gaze and connected with her fathers.
“I’m going home.”
The silence in the room was like an explosion.
“Home?” Kendall questioned. “I don’t understand.”
She had an inclining to what her daughter was referring to the minuet she opened her mouth, but Kendall began to resist the idea. She wanted her children safe, and that meant within easy access of family.
“It’s time, Mom. I feel like I have business there to settle.” She implored her mother to understand with her eyes. Her hands fisted in her lap, hidden beneath the table, but otherwise she appeared calm as assured.
“Business? What business could you have to settle there?”
Kendall was noticeably upset trying to blink back tears and fears. Tears because she knew that she was losing her only daughter and fears because she thought to never see her again. Her chest tightened as she automatically reached for Flame’s hand, his very presence helping her to regain a measure of control.
“I don’t know yet mama,” she implored, searching for some signs of understanding on her mothers face. “But it is calling me. Testrios is calling me. I have to go, mama, I have to go.”
“Oh Ember,” Kendall sighed, finally accepting that her daughter would do as she felt best. She had helped to raise her that way, confident in her own abilities and sure of herself. For a moment her head dropped in her sadness, then she proudly lifted her head. She had to plan. In true Kendall fashion, she began to mentally calculate provisions needed on the trip to her daughter’s home world.
“Are you sure, my daughter?” Flame’s calm voice filled the room, a signal for all to sit up and pay attention.
While Em read the anguish etched on her mother’s face, she tried her best not to feel like an ungrateful insensitive jerk. She sat in her chair and forced back the tears that were nearing the surface. She fought against the urge to throw herself at her mother’s feet and beg for forgiveness for wanting such a hurtful thing.
“Yes, father,” she replied, turning to meet a pair of eyes so identical to her own. “I am sure.”
“Then so be it,”
He rose to his feet, easing Kendall to his side, and turned to quite the room.
“Daddy?” Ember half rose from her seat, a look of panic on her face.
“Be at ease, daughter. There is much to discuss and plan. I will need time to supply you with all of what you need.”
“Yes, father.”
Flame turned to stare at his daughter and a small smile lifted to corners of his mouth.
“You are your mother’s daughter, ever impatient. But a journey like this needs planning.”
“That is not why I reacted.”
“I know,” he replied. “And I love you all the more for your reaction.”
There was utter and complete silence as the two proud parents left the room, although Kendall glanced back a time or two.
“You sure know how to break up a party.”
Spark smirked at his twin and suddenly stiff uncomfortable the silence was broken.
“Up yours, Sparkles,” Ember snorted, blinking back tears as she flipped her brother the middle finger.
“No, up yours, dear sister. Up yours if you actually think that I’m going to let you go flying all over the universe on your own.” He was in pure big brother mode now, stubborn and demanding.
“If you let me? I have you know that I have been a grown woman for quite some time now, Sparky! I do what I want to do!”
She rose up out of her seat and leaned towards her twin,
“And I can clean up after you get done screwing things up!”
He met her challenge dead on, glaring and forehead scrunched in anger.
“Spark!”
“Ember!”
“Shut up you two! God, you both give me such a headache! Stubbornness in red heads must be universal!”
Zanya rolled her eyes at the pair of tall combatants who in turn turned to glare at her.
“Zanya, this is important, baby!” Spark tried to explain. “I have been charged with my sisters protection from birth, and this is dangerous!”
“Zanya! This is about following destiny, my destiny! I have to do this! And the red hared ape over here will not keep me form what I own!”
“And what do you exactly own, Zan? Besides a big hard head?” Spark’s voice rang with sarcasm.
“I am a Queen, dear brother! And not only a Queen, a damn fine one at that!”
“Yes, look at the Queen of nothing! How you gonna rule, Ember? You have no people skills!”
“People skills!”
“Yes, people skills! Running a business and running a booth for a few months out of the year does not a ruler make!”
“I’ll show you people skills! If we were on Testrios right now, I’d send you for re-education!”
“You and what army?”
“The army that I would control as Mistress of the House of Ice!”
“And why they gonna follow you, Ember? To them you are just another usurp female trying to steal that house! People don’t follow you because of who you are, they die for you because of what you are!”
“And what am I?”
“A spoiled overindulged little brat!”
“All right! I’ve had it with the both of you!”
Two sparkling pairs of gray eyes turned towards Zan, who was calmly watching the two of them go back and forward, as if she were at a tennis match.
“Zan,” Spark began.
“Zanya,” Ember countered.
“Enough!” Zanya shouted, and Zanya rarely raised her voice. That was enough to silence them both.
“I don’t; believe you two! You are arguing like a fish monger and his over-opinionated wife, and I have yet to decide who is who!”
At her words, an embarrassed flush suffused both of their faces. They slowly took their seats, still shooting heated glances at each other.
“Now, I am going to say this one time. Act like a family. If you remember your family history and boy do I, you will do well to remember that anger between siblings started all of this mess. Your aunt was out to kill you and your father before you were born and he had to flee in order to keep you safe. That takes love and a strong love at that! A love that you too obviously lack/”
“No fair, Zan,” Spark interrupted. I love my sister almost as much as I love you. I am charged with her protection.”
“And I love Spark, it’s just that sometimes he is a bit overbearing.”
“Well them, I suggest you two start acting like you love each other, if we are going to do this thing right.”
“WE?” the twins asked in unison, as they sometimes did without thinking.
“Well, its obvious that you have to go, Ember. You will not be happy otherwise. And it is also clear to me that your brother will not be fit to live with if you go off all alone and unprotected. Your parents can’t go back because your father refuses to ever break his word and step foot on that planet again and the only person who can go and keep an eye on you is Spark. And I go to keep an eye on him.”
“But Zan, this will be dangerous,” Spark argued.
“So is making me mad, Spark. We are both due a vacation and I for one would love to get a little travel in.”
“This is no pleasure cruse, Zanya,” Ember reminded her beloved sister in law. “I may start a revolution.”
“Or a civil war,” Zanya added helpfully and watched as Ember blanched.
“I see you haven’t thought of the repercussions of your actions. Not the actions of a ruler, Ember. Do you honestly think that your aunt will hand the House of Ice over to you, no questions asked? Or that your grandmother will let her? Think girl! You need a plan! Your father was correct when he said that you needed time to plan. And since there will be no happiness until your brother and father know that you are protected, we all have time to learn before we depart.”
“But Zanya,” Ember said quietly, and the monstrosity of her idea settled on her shoulders. “This is really dangerous. I may never return home.”
“Well, dear, then we will have to plane so that I will make it back home with my Sparkles. I mean, on of those women may try and steal him! I can’t let that happen,” she joked.
“Zan,” Spark sighed. “This is no laughing matter.”
“I know that, Sparkles,” she added as she rose from her chair. “So I suggest we get to studying. There is a lot to learn and a little time to take it all in. We go as one and you will do what you have to do, Ember. But you will not go it alone. Settled?”
The twins stared at each other and then at the small general who had easily taken over the conversation as gave her orders.
“Understood,” they both chimed in.
“And can you teach me to do that?” Ember asked.
“What?” Zan tuned a sweet smile to her husbands’ twin.
“To run rough shod over everyone in the room and dominate a conversation?”
“Easily done! Comes form working with surly and childish models.”
“Hey!” Spark cried out, his voice raising as he took in her words.
“I didn’t; say you, dear,” Zanya placated, then turned to Ember and rolled her eyes.
“This is going to be some fun trip,” Ember sighed. But then she smiled. She had a Keeper of the Flame and a general on her side. Nothing could go wrong!”

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