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Tropes n' things
- Fire magi
- Sweet romance
- Set in England
- academy fantasy
- action & adventure
- full length novle
In love with one twin, bonded by fire to the other. Welcome back to Arcturus Academy.
I survived my first semester, but it's not getting easier. I adore Gage, so why do I share a mage-bond with Ryan, a bully who keeps trying to blackmail me and might get both of us killed? He's like a hydra. Whenever I diffuse one plot, another springs up in its place. How long can this go on before he gets what he wants?
Fire Trap is the second book in the Arcturus Academy YA fantasy series.
Read Fire Trap and let the sparks fly!
Arcturus Academy is an action-adventure series of five books by a USA Today and Amazon best-selling author. Saxony is a strong female heroine swept into a world of dizzying plot twists, sweet romance and intriguing mythology, all woven against a backdrop of elemental magic. If you like magical power plays, page-turning action, and the high of first love, then you’ll adore A.L. Knorr’s explosive series.
Intro to Chapter 1
Intro to Chapter 1
“Come on in, Saxony.” Basil beckoned me into his office with a wave. “How are you? How was your holiday?”
Sneakers quiet on the ornate rug, I approached and took the nearest of the two wingback chairs in front of his desk. “It was great, thank you. I don’t mind telling you it was good to have a break from…everything.”
Truthfully it had been a much needed escape from the stress and drama of last semester. To be able to eat Mom’s Christmas baking, and to chat with RJ about his mundane life—work at the salt mine beneath Saltford and his studies to become a mechanic—was pure escapism. Chatting with my younger brother Jack was slightly less normal, given that he was a powerful empath and was in grade ten; mired in the morass of hormone-addled teens at the collection of portable buildings that passed for Saltford High. It would be another year before a new high school was built to replace the one destroyed by a supernatural storm.
Basil rubbed his hands together and peered at me over his glasses. “I can imagine, but I hope you’ve returned rested and raring to go?”
“Sure.” I gave him a side-eye, knowing that his look meant he had something up his sleeve. My talks with Basil often seemed to end up with a surprise imperative.
The headmaster smacked his palms down on the arms of his chair, oblivious to my suspicious restraint. “Excellent. Because you did such a wonderful job with April Brown last semester, I wondered if you might be interested in offering private coaching to a few others who may need some help?”
I blinked at him. “Um.”
“Come now, don’t be modest.” His chest lifted—if he’d had feathers, they would have puffed out. “April’s performance at the skills exam in December, while a little unsteady and unorthodox at times, was a monumental testament to your ability to get the best out of her.”
“Ah.” I shrank into my chair as little darts of guilt pricked at my heart. What I’d done with April had been cheating. If Basil knew... I wouldn’t be able to bear the look of disappointment on his face if he ever found out, and I’d find myself back at Saltford before I could say the word endowment. No chance at the Agency, and no opportunity to finish my time here at Arcturus. I pressed my lips together and cast my eyes down. The threats Ryan made if I didn’t help him attempt a Burning rang in my memory like the peal of funeral bells: If you think you were an outsider this semester, it’s nothing compared to what you’ll be if you don’t do as I ask.
My heart recoiled at the prospect unfolding before me, like it was a tidal wave I knew I wouldn’t be able to outrun. “But, the whole point of the exercise last semester was to nurture compassion in me. You wouldn’t let me forget that. It wasn’t about April’s skills.”
He nodded, head bobbing with enthusiasm. “Indeed, indeed! And while it does appear you are out of danger,” he paused and lifted a hand, “if you agree?”
“What? Oh. Yes.”
“Good, so we surmise you are out of danger from treading the paths of Palumbo, but we’ve also unearthed a rare talent. There are several other students in the school—not all of them first-years—who could use a guiding hand such as yours.” He shuffled through some folders on his desk, finding one and flipping it open. He scanned a page through his specs.
“I thought I’d be able to focus on myself this semester, Basil,” I replied. “Do you mind if I take a little time to think about it?”
“No, you can let me know by the end of the week.” If he had looked up he would have seen a frown. He stuck out his lower lip as he perused the pages. “Ms. Jade Alcott is in particular need.”
I gave a startled laugh.
He looked up, brows pinched. “Something funny?”
I tried to keep my expression from being too scathing. “Jade hates me, has since day one. She’ll never accept help from me.”
Basil glowered. “Well, she earned the lowest score in the skills exam last semester and didn’t shine in her theoreticals either. After seeing what you were able to coax from April, I daresay Ms. Alcott will deign to swallow her pride.”
I doubted that, but I didn’t say so. I hadn’t realized she’d done so poorly but I wasn’t concerned about Jade. I had a bigger foe to deal with. The ever-present thorn in my side.
As Basil chatted about my schedule and objectives for the semester my mind turned the problem with Ryan over and over like a Rubik’s Cube, twisting it this way and that, shifting it to view it from the bottom. How might I disabuse him of the crazy notion that I was the only one who could help him survive a Burning? How could I either force or coerce him into retracting his threat?
While no solution which didn’t involve braining him and hoping to give him amnesia presented itself, a new idea took nebulous form; the busier I was, the less available I would be and the less likely he’d be able to corner me. First he’d have to find me, then he’d have to get me alone while I wasn’t expected somewhere. If he couldn’t do either of those things, then he wouldn’t be able to force arrangements on me.
I sat up straight as this light bulb went off in my brain. “I’ll do it. Give me as many incompetent students as you can find.”
Basil stopped scrolling through his tablet. “Excuse me?”
“The tutoring.” I put on an eager smile. “I’m in. Stack my schedule, I want as little free time as possible.”
A line appeared between his brows as he looked up from my file. “I appreciate your sudden enthusiasm, but let’s not exhaust you. You’ll want to wake refreshed and ready every morning, not like a pony that’s been ridden hard and put away wet.”
“May I see that?” I held out a hand.
“Certainly.” He passed the tablet over.
Scrolling through my schedule, I pointed at the empty squares. “Here. I have four spares running Monday through Thursday. Open those for students who need coaching.” I handed the tablet back.
He took it, eyes on mine. “You’ll need those for studying and homework. The spares are given for that purpose. I was thinking you might take a student on two evenings a week for one hour before dinner. Experience has also shown me that those students who use some of their spares for social time do not suffer for it, in fact they greatly benefit from spending time with their peers. You missed out on too much of that last semester. Don’t you agree?”
I wilted again. Yes, I had missed out on socialization last semester, and when Ryan had baited me into a fight, I had suffered for it. Everything was on the up and up with Gage now too and if I had no free time, when would I see him? I already had one semester under my belt, I knew how exhausting it was. Sitting back in my chair, I just nodded, not sure what to say.
“Yes? Keep the spares for yourself?”
“Yes,” I said. “You’re right, they are important.” Under normal circumstances I would glory in spare time, but nothing about my circumstance was normal, not until Ryan and his stupid ideas about attempting to become Burned went away. I hoped Ryan’s schedule and my schedule had no spares at the same time. I could further help myself by booking spares with Gage or Tomio or April or anyone other than Ryan. If I was expected by somebody, I couldn’t be helping Ryan burn himself to death and ruining my own life in the process.
“Good.” Basil flipped through the screen on the tablet. “Then let’s discuss your skills class...”