About The Fire Inside
Author: Julia Talbot
Word Count: 36800
Page Count (pdf): 139
Date Published: 03/08/2018 second edition
Publisher: Turtlehat Creatives
File Types available: pdf, mobi,
Nick is just a working man, trying to get his job done. When a routine job goes sour, though, he knows just who to blame; the guy who threw himself in front of Nick’s car. Ty. Ty’s in trouble, and he’s hoping Nick will help him. He’s not sure what forces brought them together, but he knows they’re meant to be, and he’s willing to use his talent for generating heat to keep Nick at his side, ready for more of his special gifts. And ready to defend him from anyone who wants to hurt him. Will these two be overcome by the fire inside?
This is a previously published story. The publisher has changed.
Goddamn it, Nick hated it when he was out on a job and it started fucking raining. All that moisture made the roads slick as snot, all the oil and grit beading up like little pond scum monsters, out to get his ass. The car slid around the corner and into the alley like a first baseman sliding into third, all steam with a lot of weight behind it.
The tinted window slid down at the barest touch of his finger, and Nick checked his target. Fucking perfect. All he had to do was pull the trigger. The target was in plain sight, and nothing blocked his aim. With any luck, everyone would think the guy was just a victim of a gang bang drive by.
Just as he took a deep breath and let half of it out, his finger starting to squeeze the trigger, something hit the hood of his car. Hard.
Nick stared through the rain-dappled windshield, right into scared eyes staring back at him.
“Help me, please?” the kid shouted, banging his hands on the hood again. “They’re gonna get me.”
Fuck a duck. Nick didn’t know who the kid was, and he didn’t give two shits who “they” were. All he knew was that the kid’s banging and screaming had sent his target skittering into the dark beyond the alley like a giant cockroach.
“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kick your ass, kid,” Nick growled through the open window.
“Because I need your help!” the kid replied, slip-sliding around to the window and reaching through to touch his arm.
The touch burned like fire. Literally. Nick felt blisters rise on his skin, the edge of his shirt sleeve smoking.
“Jesus!” He jerked his arm away from the hot touch, sticking it out to let the rain fall on it. “Look, I’ll give you a ride, okay? Just don’t touch me again.”
He got a panicky idiot look from big brown eyes before the kid nodded and slipped around to the passenger side. The kid buckled up and grabbed the ‘oh shit’ handle. “Can we go? Now?”
Nick spent a second studying the kid, who wasn’t as young as he’d thought originally. It was the shock of messy brown hair and big, almost black eyes that made the guy look like an underage anime character. Close up, though, the guy had to be in his mid-twenties, and hard up, from his too-skinny, rough clothes look.
Just in time, Nick saw the two men pop out of the back of the Chinese restaurant that dominated the alley. Throwing the car into reverse, he squealed away, the noise making a great harmony with the pop-pop-pop of two handguns going off. Right at them.
“Get out of here,” he said through gritted teeth as he sent the car into a spin so he could hurtle down the road nose first. “Sure. I guess I got nothing better to do…”
Ty watched Nick drive. How he knew Nick’s name was pretty much a mystery, but he knew it. Sometimes it was like that. Ty knew shit.
He shivered, curling in on himself, his skin breaking out in goose bumps.
Nick’s eyes flashed at him in a sideways glance, little slices of light blue in the darkness. “You okay, kid?”
“Huh? Oh. Yeah. Yeah, Nick. I’m good.”
The car skidded into a sharp swerve, coming to a shuddering halt on the side of the road. Nick turned on him, leaning into his space.
“How do you know my Goddamned name?”
“Huh?” Ty asked again, the whiplash action leaving him stunned and blinky.
“I asked how you knew my name.” Nick wasn’t a big guy, but he had hard, strong hands. One of them twisted up the front of Ty’s T-shirt, hauling him as far across the seat as the seat belt would allow.
“I just do?” What else could he say? It was the truth.
“Bullshit!” Nick snarled. “You ruined my setup and you know my fucking name. Who are you working for?” Hands moving to Ty’s shoulders, Nick shook him like a pit bull with a bone, getting right in his face. Those blue eyes had turned almost white.