Sixteen-year-old Kadren has been a criminal since the day he was born. It isn’t his fault he inherited fire magic, but according to the law, mages belong to the king. Kadren’s secret—the fires that flash from his skin—is difficult to keep. He makes one mistake and finds himself carted off as the king’s newest slave.
During his captivity, the voice of a charming water mage fills Kadren’s mind. Somehow, they’ve Bonded. The connection is maddening, yet irresistible. He knows her thoughts and fears. When she receives punishments, the pain lances through his back as if he were being whipped instead of her.
The fool girl has been enslaved her entire life and accepts her captivity as if it were normal. She worships the king and believes he has every right to order the mages beaten or killed. She is delusional and obnoxious—everything Kadren shouldn’t like, but he cannot suppress his fascination for her. Her face sweeps through his thoughts like flames, consuming his every protest.
When the chance to escape arises, Kadren should leave without her, but the Bond’s lasting connection gives the king a means to torture him through her. If he makes the wrong choice, it could very well mean her death.
First 150 Words:
Fire bells rang out in the clear mountain air and, for once, it wasn’t Kadren's fault.
He frowned but ignored the ringing. Probably one of the village children had caught a field on fire trying to be like him. They would never be like him. They used torches. As a mage, Kadren could make fire explode from his skin.
He needed to concentrate.
A flickering ball of flames hovered above his head. He focused and the orange flare spun. It weaved around Kadren. A smile formed on his lips as his skin tingled from the warmth. His hair fell into his eyes, obscuring his vision. He brushed it away.
Leaves rustled as birds fled from his fire. He stood next to a large fallen tree in the only patch of sunlight on the shadowy forest floor.
He did not always have control over the flames, so it was best if he didn't practice right under the branches.