She leaned into me and sobbed.
I didn’t know her but damn if I didn’t suddenly feel responsible for her. How in the hell had that happened? Because I lost my mother too? Because this poor kid had big blue eyes and pleaded for me to help her? Damned if I knew.
She wiped her face on her shirt. “We should probably get some groceries.”
And we did. While she did buy some junk food, I was a little surprised at how much healthy stuff she put in the cart. She even claimed she knew what to do with it.
When she grabbed a box of Earl Grey tea, I laughed. “You liar!”
She looked slightly embarrassed. “My mom drinks it,” she looked down at the box, “she drank it.”
I snatched it out of her hand and threw it in the cart. “If nothing else, we’ll brew it just to sniff.”
She blinked back tears before grabbing a bag of coffee. “Sounds good.”
The bill at checkout nearly gave me hives. Did teenagers eat this much every week? The paperwork the attorney left did show a nice monthly allowance for necessities, but if the grocery bill was this much each week, I’m not sure how much would be left.
I tried to hide the shock from Elaina. My poker face must not be as good as I thought, however.
“Don’t worry, we had to get a lot of staple items this week. We won’t need this much each time.”
Smiling, I started piling bags in my truck. “You noticed my mini-stroke?”
She laughed. “I’ve never seen a mage turn white like that. It was like a vampire had sucked you dry.”
After returning home, she helped me put all the groceries away then volunteered to start making dinner. I poured a glass of wine and leaned against the counter, watching her. Something was niggling at the back of my head.
“I wanted to ask you about that awesome fireball you made earlier.”
I noticed the pause in her movements before she went back to work. That spoke volumes.
“Cool, huh,” she said, keeping her back to me.
“What kind of magic is that?” I asked. “I’ve never seen a witch make a fireball.” I studied her movements while she worked. Her hands started to shake a little. The topic made her nervous. Interesting.
Her shoulders rose and fell as she took a deep breath. “As it turns out, I’m not a witch. I turned twelve and mom put me through all of the usual tests. Nothing.” She shook spices on the meat in the pan.
“Wow, that must have sucked.” I was trying to stay on her level to keep her comfortable.
“Not really. She didn’t make a big deal out of it. I helped her with her projects, learned about ingredients, spells, and relics. Last year, I felt something.”
She turned and looked at me. “I don’t know how to explain it. It was like a switch flipped and I could feel something here,” she said pointing just below her sternum.
“Warm and kind of moving?” I asked.
She nodded. “Exactly, except sometimes it feels icy too.”
Warm and cold? Was this kid defective?
“Anyway, I told my mom. We were close and she was just, awesome. I always knew I could tell her anything. She said it was excellent. So, we went into the woods and tried several things.
Nothing I tried worked. Then she said to do what felt naturally. That’s when I cupped my hands and made a tiny light ball. It was the size of a marble.”This made no sense. It didn’t sound like any magic I knew.
Blood and Fire is a wonderful first book in a new urban fantasy series. Maia is a mid-twenties mage who spends her days and nights as a bounty hunter. After being summoned by the Mageri, Maia is now also guardian of a young girl. Recently orphaned, Elaina has grown up in a coven surrounded by witches. Now, with Maia as her only blood relative, Elaina has to leave the only place and group of people she's known and move in with a stranger.
The world created by Kim Mullican is well constructed. I was able to visualize the story, the characters, and the setting. The characters were properly developed. I enjoyed Maia and Elaina. Tossed together abruptly, their relationship was strained at times, and complicated, yet comfortable.
I was pulled into Blood and Fire and firmly seated, engaged throughout the entire book. Captivated, if you will. I'm a sucker for a good urban fantasy - one of my favorite genres - and this book did not disappoint.
I was provided a copy of this book to read.
About the Author:
Kim Mullican is a cross-genre author with over 20 novels under her belt. She enjoys the farm life in Northwest Indiana with her husband. Between chasing chickens and herding cats, she and her husband enjoy gardening and old episodes of Top Chef.