I hope you’ve all been enjoying reading chapters 1 & 2 of Ignited! Maddy and MJ have been very busy and we’re only a few chapters in! Things get very heated in this one 😉
What were you thinking, MJ?” I demand as
thunder crashes, echoing through the pond.
“How could you do that?” he shouts, jumping to his
feet and pacing before me. “He was right there! I could
have saved him!”
I stop and stare at him. His hands twist into his hair
as he crouches down on the bridge, muttering something I
can’t hear. A tear rolls down his cheek. I knew it would be
hard for him to see that dream, but I didn’t expect it to be
this bad. And I didn’t expect him to try to interfere. When
he rushed at those men, I panicked. I knew the chunk of
wood would pass through that man’s head as if it were a
hand through vapor, but I didn’t want MJ to see that. I
didn’t want him to feel helpless.
“MJ, that wasn’t real, remember? I know it felt like it
was, but it wasn’t.” I reach for him, but he pulls away.
“Yes, it was! I don’t know how, but it was.”
“MJ, be reasonable. You’re letting emotions blind you
to the truth. What I did—where I sent us—was just like all
the times I sent us to that other bridge.”
“And what was that? What do you think you do?”
I pause, caught off guard by both his question and the
venom in his voice. I know he’s upset by what he saw—
he’s not really mad at me. But it still hurts. I only did what
he asked, and I didn’t expect it to work. So how did it
work? How did I take us there? What is my ability?
“The other bridge,” I begin, digging for the right words
to help him understand, “is like this safe space where I
know nothing bad will ever happen. And now that I know
a bit about how it works, I know it’ll always be there
whenever I need it, no matter what. And even though I
don’t fully understand it, I’m not sure I want to. Because
what if I find out my ability isn’t this ‘great gift’ you think
it is? That would make that place, that ability—and me—
bad. I’m not bad, MJ. So I know that dream place where I
sent us … it was fine.”
He shakes his head. “It wasn’t.”
“What was it then, huh? Where did we go?”
“Back? What do you mean?”
He mutters something. I can’t quite catch it, but it
sounds like “home.”
“MJ, you can’t honestly think—”
“Why were people not speaking English, then?” His
head snaps up, and he stares at me with wild eyes. “And
it should have ended once we didn’t go up the hill. We
should have only seen and heard what you did yesterday
in the original dream. But it was different. Why was it
He stares at me, watching and waiting for me to
answer. But I can’t. I don’t have answers for any of his
questions. But now that he’s asked them, I want to know
the answers too.
All I did was concentrate on the memory of what I
experienced inside Elizabeth’s fountain so I could recreate
it as a “place” and send us there. But what was that? He’s
right—how could we have seen and felt things I didn’t
“MJ, what did I—”
A twig snaps across the pond, and we both turn
toward it. MJ steps in front of me, shielding me—his pain
and our fight momentarily forgotten. I move out and stand
beside him as I search the trees, trying to see what made
the sound. I find nothing.
But it was loud, louder than any animal typically
found here. Someone’s watching us. Is it a human?
“Who’s there?” I whisper.
MJ doesn’t move as he stares at the empty space. I
move closer to MJ, placing my hand on his arm, desperate
to feel his essence and be reassured that we’re together. He
flinches as his essence rushes in, but instead of lingering to
reassure me, it zips back to him.
“Are we okay?” I whisper again.
His stance loosens, and he turns to me. The pain in his
eyes is gone, but with his furrowed brows, I know he’s still
worried. “It’s nothing.”
I glance back at the woods, still not finding anything.
“Are you sure?”
“Positive. If it were a mortal, I’d hear his or her heartbeat.
If it were an angel, demon, or any other paranormal
entity, I’d sense its essence. There is nothing there but
animals. We’re okay.”
I stare at the trees, not trusting my eyes. Nothing is
there. I can see that, and after what MJ just said, I believe
him. But why am I still afraid?
I hug myself and find my answer. It’s not the trees, and
it’s not from the noise. It’s what isn’t happening—MJ’s not
touching me. His essence isn’t coursing through my veins
and reducing my fear. Even when I touched him a moment
ago, his essence didn’t linger.
Why is he being so different?
A dark thought sparks in my mind, and even though I
know it’s ridiculous and insecure, I can’t shake it. Am I the
cause of his strange behavior?
I reach for his hand again. He pulls away as if I
might burn him. Thunder rumbles, shaking the bridge,
as a fear worse than even the ones I felt at Justin’s house
creeps over me.
“You’re afraid to touch me.”
“No, I’m not,” he quickly says.
“You are. How could you not be? We know I can use
this … ability only when you’re touching me, and I’m better
now at making sure I don’t send us anywhere when we
do. But now … you have no idea what’s going to happen
when we touch.”
He frowns and his eyes soften. “I’m not afraid to touch
you, Maddy. Nor am I afraid of that ability—any of your
abilities. You shouldn’t be either.”
He reaches for me, and this time I step back.
“If I weren’t sure, would I do this?”
His strong arms wrap around me. For a moment, our
eyes meet. Mine are wide, shocked by his sudden change
and unsure of what he’s going to do next. His eyes are
alight with a hint of mischief. He smirks. Then he bends
to kiss me.
My insides clench as I hold my breath—hoping I’m
not imagining this. But then all the dark pockets of fear
and worry that have twisted inside me all morning dissipate
as MJ’s essence works to unravel them. And with
all my troubles gone, I’m able to focus on what’s right in
front of me—MJ.
I close my eyes, eager to see what wonderfully strange
things will happen the moment our lips touch now that I’m
The air around us stills. The sounds from the water
and animals disappear. It’s as if nature is curious about the
effects an immortal kissing a … well, whatever I am …
will have on its delicate balance.
Our lips meet.
The softness and tenderness of his lips cause all
thoughts to disappear. His essence pulses from me to him,
uniting us again, which only deepens the kiss.
My heart races as my stomach quivers. Everything is
fine now. We’re fine.
A warm glow fills me. It drives me, making me want
more. More of MJ, more of the closeness, more of the heat.
His essence builds, stretching and filling all of me. It
grows until it seeps through my skin, causing it to tingle,
and my hairs stand on end. It isn’t painful. It’s …
I take a breath, breathing in MJ’s nature-inspired
scent. It’s perfect. Like fresh cut grass with fragrant flowers.
The air has that crisp, clean smell to it—the scent that
comes after a thunderstorm.
I reach up, grabbing fistfuls of his hair to hold him
closer. The wind picks up, howling in my ears as it swirls
around us, caressing my skin with a heated breeze reminding
me of the warmest days of summer.
MJ holds me tighter, gripping me to him as the heat
and wind intensify. Beads of sweat drip down my neck,
and my hair whips around us. In the back of my mind, I
know something is happening around us, but I don’t care. I
don’t want to stop kissing him.
Bright light dances through my closed eyes. It calls to
me—begging me to look. I try to resist, but I’m losing the
battle. It’s stronger than me. Stronger than MJ.
I peek, and the sight causes me to end our kiss.
Flames blend with water and dance in a cyclone that
begins in the pond, then reaches up to the sky. MJ and I
are centered within it, surrounded by a strange, silver bubble,
just as we were last night.
MJ’s body stills against mine, and I hear him suck in
his breath, but I can’t look away from the flames. They’re
so close. All I’d have to do is let go of him and reach out in
any direction and I’d touch it. We should be burning, but
we’re not. Why aren’t we? The air isn’t even choking me as
it did last night.
His essence slows, causing the silver glow around us
to shrink until it snaps back through me and into him.
We both stumble, but MJ manages to keep us away from
The fire suddenly extinguishes, leaving behind only
the water that had been caught up in it. The water is suspended
in the air for a moment, no longer spinning, then it plummets
from the sky, sending waves crashing along the
muddy shore and up onto the bridge, soaking our shoes.
MJ and I break away. Around us are scorch marks on
the bridge. They look like parentheses where the flames
blazed outside his bubble before extending out over
“What was that?” I ask in breathless wonder.
“I-I don’t know.” His voice is tense as he looks between
me, the burn marks, and the now-choppy water. Tight
lines appear by his mouth and forehead—he’s trying to
rein in his emotions.
If he doesn’t want me to see his reaction, it can’t be
good. Is he worried? Nervous? Afraid? That’s it, isn’t it?
Whatever just happened, he’s never experienced it before.
The sounds of nature resume, but at a fraction of the
volume prior to our kiss. Nature is giving us a wide berth.
Giving me a wide berth.
It’s afraid of me too.
Dark clouds claim the sky once more, and even though
I know how to remove them now, I just … can’t.
A twig snaps again across the pond, in the same area
as before. MJ squints at the trees as I move closer to him.
My skin tingles, and I get the sensation that someone’s
watching us. It’s not the first time I’ve felt that, and with
everything that’s been happening lately, I’m sure it won’t
be the last.
“Someone’s over there, right?” I ask.
He stares a few seconds longer before shaking his head.
“No. Come on. It’s time to go home.”
His fingers lace with mine, and he pulls me out of the
blackened markings. As we walk toward my house, I look
back at the woods, trying in vain to see someone. Just as
before, I see nothing, but the feeling of being watched is
I had that feeling the day I met MJ, and I was right
then. He had been watching me. He was in the Veil of
Shadows, though, so I wouldn’t see him. Is that what this
person is doing? If so, MJ would know someone is there.
Am I wrong, or is MJ lying?
Thank you for reading chapter 3! I’d love to hear what you think and/or predictions in the comments. If you’ve loved this story so far, and I hope you have, you can read more by purchasing it through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or right here on my site starting August 10th! Those who purchase through my site are able to have their copy autographed too and personalized.