Excerpt from Euphoria, book #7 in the Little Flame Series:
The stage curtain undulated between us and the murmuring roar. Yet, I could still hear the damn crickets. What was up with that?
“What is this thing?” I ran a finger over the blue tarp covering the big secret Max, Dee, and Brandon had been working on for the show.
“Fia, quit trying to change the subject,” Max said, gripping my elbow. His breath was warm against my cheek, and I stared down at my brown rawhide boots.
“I’m not,” I mumbled, but hey, who did I think I was kidding?
“Fiamette,” Max whispered in my ear. “Answer my question.”
I shivered, turned on and pissed off at the same time. I stubbed the toe of my boot against my hoop a few times, then looked up as Max stepped back. “Wouldn’t you? Do anything for someone you loved?”
Max ran his fingers through his long black hair, flipping it over his shoulder, revealing the shaved half of his head. “Yeah, I guess I would.”
The crowd’s noise level rose just before Warren’s voice buzzed in my ear. “Two minutes to show time, ladies.”
“So, that’s what I did.”
“You basically died.”
I nodded, slinging the hoops over my shoulder. “Yeah. Basically.”
“And you didn’t know Loti would bring you back, did you?”
I shook my head, watching him watching me. “No.” I pointed toward the metal hoop suspended two feet above the stage. Two stagehands waved frantically. “I have to get into position.”
Max grabbed my hand before I’d taken two steps, spun me around, and planted one of those toe-curling Max kisses on me I’d become addicted to. I gasped for breath when he suddenly jerked his lips from mine, holding my head firmly with both hands. His eyes glowed electric blue. “Don’t ever do that again.”
I stared for a second, then shook my head. “I can’t make that kind of promise.” People screamed as laser lights swung around the open festival grounds. A billion stars twinkled down on the excitement. “And don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same for Warren or Tati or—”
“Or you,” Max said.
Breaking free of Max’s grasp, I ran toward the impatient stagehands who boosted me up into the hoop swing. I settled my prop hoops around my waist, balancing them on my thighs as the swing rose steadily above the stage. My heart thudded against my ribs, Max’s whispered words drifting inside my head. Shouts and whistles echoed around me as I sat in the dark, waiting for the curtain to literally drop . . . and whatever was under the blue tarp to be revealed.
“Ten! Nine! Eight!” The throng chanted in unison. Max was already inside the secret stage prop, turning up the music slowly, gradually. By that time, I was thirty feet in the air, poised to swing out over the sea of humanity to a dance platform in the middle of the audience.
Enough people had made sacrifices for me over the long, long years. There was no way in hell I was going to let Max join their ill-fated club. The curtain billowed to the stage as pyrotechnics exploded behind the gigantic, hidden surprise. I reached into my leather bra top for the red lighter. I flicked it as Max took control of the music, bringing it up, up, up. I lit the detachable torch, then held it high in the air as I swung out over the crowd.“I can’t hear you!” Max screamed, and the blue tarp slid off his DJ stand. Red and blue and white lights flashed in stripes, outlining a massive, space-age looking Roman chariot flanked by two horses made of what looked like flames. How the hell did they do that?
Euphoria, book #7 in the Little Flame Series is available for download at these ebook retailers: