A Shades of the Stars teaser - the epic anthology companion to Light of the Moon.
from The Enchanter's Fire
A smile would have cut my face if not for our kiss, that sweet surrender from him to me. Lips touching. Eyes closed. I felt my hair rise around me from the heat of our kiss. Felt the warm comfort of the world fall away in the wake of our joined elements.
When fire met fire, red and orange and yellow took over my heart, my world.
I opened my eyes and saw Derik engulfed in brightness. His bronze skin was like an ocean reflecting a noon sun. His almond eyes, as gold as sand at sunset, burned. His smile was proud, set hard against the bones that shaped his face in sharp angles.
Derik Cruz was my heart.
He was my reason to smile, until he said, “I am afraid of you, Lily Woods.”
So cold was the fear that dripped down my heart that an unnatural chill tickled my spine. My eyes searched my arms as my hands did; pale spotlights on snow trying to find the missing piece of reason. And even though I knew the answer, I asked, “Why?”
His breath was hot against my lips, but all I knew was the cold loss of his touch, a feeling I wasn’t used to. I wondered if Derik felt the same, if his element was keeping him warm like mine was failing to do.
Derik was so close that he felt impossibly far away. His eyes vanished and his features blurred until they were nearly nothing. I couldn’t see him like I used to.
He said, “Your fire. It’s wild, Lily.”
“It’s nothing,” I said, though I knew it wasn’t. “I can control it. You won’t even know it’s there.”
He smiled, sly and knowing. “You can’t just hide something like that, Lily. It’s who you are.”
“But it’s not who I want to be.”
He shrugged. “In the end, what we want never really matters does it? I want you, but here we stand.”
Alone, he meant.
We were standing alone.
“This is where it has to end,” Derik said. He smiled, and in two breaths of misery he broke my heart. “Goodbye, Lily.”
Against tears, I whispered, “I don’t know why you want to leave me like this. We’re the same, Derik. You are fire and so am I. We’re the same.”
He said, “You may be fire, Lily, but you are nothing like me. You never will be. When I was fifteen I could bend fire to do anything, and you can’t control any part of it. You’re too wild to be around. Even I understand that.”
He was gone before he left, and in the heavy moments between his words, the coldness that had been quietly building over my heart began to kindle. I felt the flames inside me burn away what love had been there.
“No,” I said. “I won’t. I will never be like you.”
As the sun rose and blinked away the darkness that once took the world in shades of black, a different kind of fire burned inside of me.
Fire as cold as ice.
His eyes, those burning golden suns saw through me, and yet Derik didn’t know me at all.
Love, they said, was everlasting.
Love could conquer all.
But this time, it seemed as though an infinite dark had taken my heart in ways fire never would again.
"A perfect read for fans of the Defy the Dark anthology and Lauren Oliver's Delirium Stories collection."