Author Topic: EYES OF FIRE - YA Paranormal Romance  (Read 255 times)

Offline roseydreamerx

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EYES OF FIRE - YA Paranormal Romance
« on: April 02, 2022, 02:15:51 PM »
Hello reader, I have posted about this WIP on the forum before, but now as I head towards actually querying in the coming weeks, I thought I would post my revised opening. Welcoming any and all criticism. I am actively looking for beta readers/critique partners so if you are too feel free to send me a message and perhaps we can swap a few chapters.

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Chapter One - Enter the Warlock

There’s a man following me. Lights shine in every direction on the busy London street, people and cars rushing by in the chill night air. All the bustle makes it hard to focus but I’m sure the figure in a long, crushed velvet coat has been behind me for three blocks. I clutch my takeout bag tighter, though from the look of him I doubt he’s after my honey chicken.

The flat I share with my mum is to the left but I take a sharp right. I count to thirty, matching the pace of my breathing to the pounding of my boots against the sidewalk. This street is quieter and the lights aren’t as frequent. My stomach drops when I glance back; he’s still behind me. Heart slamming, I take the next right again. This isn’t my first time being followed. Another right takes me through a short alleyway and back to my original street. If he’s still there, he’s definitely following.

I steal another glimpse behind me. Dammit. Still there. Plenty of people are about — there’s a restaurant with outdoor seating ahead. Most of the tables are filled with a young crowd beginning a night of drinking. Witnesses if this turns sour. I swallow and spin around, marching towards the man.
He’s suddenly focused on a shop display window but I’m not buying it. I come to an abrupt stop in front of him, eyes narrow and head high. I’m sure attempting to make my five-foot frame intimidating is laughable, but I hold my ground. I have to tilt my head up to look at him.

“Why are you following me?”

My breath catches in my throat as the man turns; he’s ridiculously handsome. Strands of blond hair frame his chiselled cheekbones and rosy lips stand out against luminescent skin. His eyes are what captivates my attention the most — yellow irises that threaten to hypnotise if I stare too long. More than the unusual colour, the piercing intensity of them disorients me.

I stagger back a step, ice spreading through my insides.

“I’m not following you,” he purrs, brow furrowing as if I’m the rude one. His voice equally delights my ears and chills my blood. “I’m sorry if I’ve caused you alarm.”

His face makes me want to apologise which is stupid because I know he’s manipulating me. I recognise a warlock when I see one. There’s no feeling like the cold of their gaze. It’s my witch instincts telling me to run despite the warlock’s natural allure tempting me to stay.

I square my shoulders. “I don't believe you.”

A polite — and beautiful — smile spreads across his lips as if he finds this all amusing. I bite down on my tongue a little too hard. This is not the time for a short fuse.

“Perhaps you can help me then.”

“I doubt it.”

He chuckles. My palms flex into fists.

“I'm looking for a witch by the name Lucinda Wicks.”

The remaining warmth in my body evaporates, the world spinning slower. I glance at people walking past and the patrons drinking. Closest to me is a girl laughing over a half-empty glass of champagne. They won’t be witnesses. Not to a warlock’s hunt. They’ll be victims too. I can see the bloody scene in my mind.

His eyes glimmer with victory, pupils contracting into slits. The nape of my neck prickles.

“Why?” I ask. Fear chokes all the volume from my voice. The tips of my fingers are numb.

“Headmaster Kai Knightly of Knight Academy asked me to track her down.”

I scowl. He’s lying.

“The academy would never, ever, send a warlock,” I spit the word like poison from my mouth, “after a witch.”

Knight Academy is an elite school for witches. While they’re highly rated for all areas of arcane study, they’re known for one thing above all: Training Knightguards to hunt down warlocks. They don’t work with them.

“I wish you no harm. The Headmaster asked me to send his regards and remind you that his offer still stands.”

I take a deep breath, waiting for some of the terror to pass before speaking. “You're not his usual carrier pigeon.”

He chuckles. Instinctively I gravitate toward the velvety sound. I catch myself before I take a step forward.

“Meredith has been given... A vacation from this particular project.”

Part of me is relieved. Meredith has been tracking me across London for two years now, since right after I turned sixteen. The unpredictability of my powers means that mum and I move around a lot. We break leases, lose security deposits, and I often find myself on 'do not re-employ’ lists. Mum says it started when I was a baby — a tantrum would send books flying from shelves and light bulbs shattering overhead. One of many things I inherited from my father.

“Well, you can tell Headmaster Knightly and Meredith and everyone else at the academy that I want nothing to do with them,” I snap.

I turn on my heel to leave, but he steps around me, cutting off my path. “Lucinda—”

“Get out of my way!”

A sudden gust tears through the street, shaking nearby trees and sending my ginger hair whipping about my face. I seize the moment of surprise, shoulder checking him as I pass. Just keep it together until you're out of sight.

I keep my posture tall but my hands are shaking. I don’t dare look back at first; He doesn’t deserve the satisfaction. When I finally do, he’s gone. I duck into an alleyway, sinking to the cold, dirty ground.

Hot tears stream down my cheeks as I try to stop my shaking. I pull my knees up to my chest, silent sobs wracking through me. The last thing I want is to invite more magic into my life. If it wasn't for my occasional (if I’m honest, frequent) magical outbursts, mum and I would live normal lives.

I rub my eyes and finding the search for a tissue fruitless, wipe my snotty nose on my sleeve. I was going to do laundry tonight anyway.

Mum’s already home when I get in. I don’t tell her the academy found me again. She doesn’t need another reason to worry. Hopefully that’s the last I’ll see of that warlock anyway.

It isn’t.