Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

Light My Fire

Katie MacAlister

  Praise for the novels of Katie MacAlister

  Fire Me Up

  “[A] wickedly witty, wildly inventive, and fiendishly fun adventure in the paranormal world.”


  “Who knows where she will take us next!…[A] fascinating and fun writer.”

  —The Best Reviews

  “Fresh, funny and fabulous…Fire Me Up will crack you up. With so many intriguing, intelligently drawn, distinctive characters, it is no wonder [Katie MacAlister] is soaring to the top.”

  —A Romance Review

  “MacAlister’s ability to combine adventure, thrills, passion, and outlandish humor is fast making her a superstar. Unstoppable fun!”

  —Romantic Times BOOKclub

  You Slay Me

  “Smart, sexy, and laugh-out-loud funny!”

  —Christine Feehan

  “Amusing romantic fantasy…. Fans will appreciate this warm, humorous tale that slays readers with laughter.”

  —The Best Reviews

  “Katie MacAlister creates an entertaining world of demons, dragons and the people who control them…. Intriguing and funny.”

  —A Romance Review

  “Graced with MacAlister’s signature sharp wit and fabulously fun characters, this paranormal romance is wickedly sensual and irresistibly amusing.”


  “In the first of what I hope are many Aisling Grey novels, MacAlister shoots straight for the paranormal funny bone. Her outlandish sense of humor is the perfect complement to her sexy stories.”

  —Romantic Times (Top Pick, 4½ Stars)

  “Humor, suspense, and intriguing characters…a real winner.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  Blow Me Down

  “Known for her wicked sense of humor, Katie MacAlister steps up to the plate once again with yet another winner…. Pick up Blow Me Down for a surefire giggle and an excellent read. You won’t want to miss this one!”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  “A new spin on the classic swashbuckler romance, made even better with MacAlister’s trademark sense of humor.”

  —A Romance Review

  “A great try-it book for readers who say they don’t read romances with a sci-fi twist. If that doesn’t hook them, most likely the charming humor of an almost-midlife-crisis mom and a not-so-alpha hero falling head over buckles for each other will do the trick.”


  “Outlandishly sexy and hilarious high seas high jinks…. Today’s world can always use more humor and, lucky for us, MacAlister is there to deliver.”

  —Romantic Times BOOKclub

  A Girl’s Guide to Vampires

  “With its superb characterization and writing that manages to be both sexy and humorous, this contemporary paranormal love story is an absolute delight.”

  —Booklist (starred review)

  “Fantastic! It’s sensual, it’s hilarious, and it’s a winner! Ms. MacAlister is my favorite new author.”

  —Reader to Reader Reviews

  “A book rich with humor, loaded with sexual tension, and packed with interesting, if sometimes slightly offbeat, characters.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  “Hysterically funny paranormal romance, oh my!”

  —The Best Reviews

  The Corset Diaries

  “Reality TV has never been more entertaining than here as the wickedly funny MacAlister has her heroine record her hilarious experiences with a quirky cast of characters and her passionate encounters with Max in a laughter-laced diary that is a saucy, sexy delight.”


  “An enjoyable contemporary romance…. The story line is fun to follow…. Fans will enjoy this entertaining anachronistic look at displacement as the modern crowd struggles with life just over a century ago.”

  —The Best Reviews

  Men in Kilts

  “With its wickedly witty writing, wonderfully snappy dialogue, and uniquely amusing characters, MacAlister’s latest is perfect for any reader seeking a deliciously sexy yet also subtly sweet contemporary romance.”


  “A fun, fast-paced, and witty adventure…Men in Kilts is so utterly delightful, I read this book nearly all in one sitting.”

  —Roundtable Reviews

  “Katie MacAlister sparkles, intrigues and is one of the freshest voices to hit romance…. So buckle up, for Katie gives you romance, love, and the whole damn thing—sheep included.”

  —The Best Reviews

  “Men in Kilts is filled with warm, intriguing characters and situations, and the atmosphere is fiery as Katie and her silent Ian irresistibly draw you into their story.”


  “Wonderfully witty, funny, and romantic, Men in Kilts had me laughing out loud from the first page…a definite winner.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  “This book hooked me from the first paragraph and kept me smiling—and sometimes laughing out loud—to the last page…. I thoroughly enjoyed Men in Kilts and recommend it highly.”

  —Affaire de Coeur

  Katie MacAlister

  Light My Fire

  An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel



  Published by New American Library, a division of

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

  New York, New York 10014, USA

  Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

  Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

  Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,

  Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

  Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,

  Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

  Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,

  New Delhi-110 017, India

  Penguin Group (NZ), cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany,

  Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

  Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,

  Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

  Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

  80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,

  a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  Copyright © Marthe Arends, 2006

  All rights reserved

  ISBN: 978-1-1012-1987-4

  SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

  The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but all of the readers who have written to let me know they’ve enjoyed Aisling’s stories have left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling of happiness. I created the Dragon Septs Web site ( to keep Ais
ling’s friends going between books—as well as to answer the many questions they had about her and the dragons—and it is to all the dragon fans that this book is dedicated, with much appreciation and gratitude for all the support.


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24


  “Just leave everything to me.”

  “Famous last words, Ash. Your record hasn’t been too good so far, has it?”

  The burly black shape in front of me that tossed the words over its furry shoulder didn’t stop, but I did, frowning. Jim, my demon in Newfoundland dog form, might not be Little Mary Sunshine, but it didn’t normally say things that it knew were deliberately cruel.

  Around us in Green Park, people were flaked out in the rented park chairs or lying on the ground sunbathing, everyone happily enjoying the English September sunshine…everyone but my crabby demon.

  “I have, if you haven’t noticed, been rather busy these last three weeks getting moved from Oregon to London. But I said I’d find someone to dremel your toenails, and I meant it. There have to be dog groomers in England who grind away nails with a dremel rather than clip them.”

  “That last woman you took me to was nothing more than a butcher,” Jim snapped, marching forward with enough force to get me moving again. “I’m lucky I have all my toes. Minus the two you enchanted away, that is.”

  “I said I’m sorry fifteen times already—I’ll say it for a sixteenth if it gets you out of this grouchy mood. I’m sorry she nicked your quick and made your toenails bleed. And that other toenail issue is so two months ago.”

  “Too little, too late,” was the grumpy answer.

  “Right.” I stopped near a tree that was relatively private. “That’s it. I’ve put up with your snarky comments the last couple of weeks because I know that transitions like the one we’re making aren’t easy for anyone. Lord knows I’ve heard nothing but horror stories from my family about Americans living abroad, but I expected better from you, Jim. You like Nora! You were looking forward to coming here. Why are you being so unpleasant about everything now?”

  Jim turned to face me. I hadn’t thought it possible for a Newfie’s face to look sour, but Jim had pulled it off. “My heart is broken, in case you’ve forgotten! You shouldn’t have, since you’re the one who stomped all over it.”

  “Oh, that.” I sighed and rubbed the back of my neck, stiff with tension.

  “Yes, that.”

  “Well, I know it’s no substitute for a corgi, but you’ve got a dog for companionship. You’ve got Paco now.”

  “Paco isn’t a dog. Paco is a snack.”

  Secretly, I agreed with Jim. Nora’s Chihuahua was nice enough but was a little light in the character department. Then again, Jim could have ruined me for all normal dogs. “I told you I’d take you to Paris to see Amelie and Cecile just as soon as I know…” The words trailed off to an awkward stop.

  “As soon as you’re sure that Drake is gone; yes, I know. But since he lives there, that’s not likely to be for a long time, now, is it? And Cecile isn’t getting any younger. I’d like to see her before she’s dead, my lord.”

  I sighed again, leaving the slight shade of the tree to brave the crowds filling the park. During the four days I’d been in London, I’d learned to avoid the edge that borders Buckingham Palace. It was always packed with tourists, and the last thing I needed was for one of them to notice that the dog who marched so determinedly in front of me was speaking. “I hate it when you call me that, but we both know you know that, so I won’t humor your bad mood by arguing about you trying to get in a few ‘you’re a demon lord now, Ash’ digs. And since you’ve apparently forgotten, I’ll remind you that Drake also has homes in Hungary and the Cayman Islands, and probably a couple other places that never came up during our short time together.”

  “Short because you walked out on him. Again.”

  I ground my teeth. The park was too public a place to have it out with Jim. Nonetheless, I lowered my voice and whispered with as much threat as was possible, “I am not going to discuss my relationship with Drake.”

  “Ha! Relationship. Is that what you’re calling it now? You two get together; you break it off. You get together again; you agree to be his mate; you take an oath of fealty to the sept; you get pissy; you leave him. Doesn’t sound like much relationship is going on there.”

  Now, that stung. Jim knew full well the circumstances of my breakup with Drake. It had even agreed with me at the time that Drake had pulled a nasty on me and that I was fully justified in walking away from him.

  “Demon, I command thee to zip thy lips until you get over your case of the grumps,” I said instead of the gazillions of snappy comebacks that I knew would occur to me hours later. “I’m not going to defend myself or my actions. We’re here, we’re going to stay here, and I’ll get you to Paris just as soon as I know the coast is clear. I’m sorry if that’s broken your heart, not that demons have a heart to break, but it’s the best I can do. Now, if you’re done watering everything, let’s get back to the apartment. Our stuff should be arriving today, and I want to get everything put away before Nora comes back from Liverpool.”

  Jim glared at me over its shoulder for a moment, but one of the fringe benefits of being a demon lord was that a demon in my control couldn’t disobey a direct command, so we had a silent trip as we headed back to the three-room apartment that Nora had inherited from an elderly relative. Located above a chic combination bakery and bookstore, the apartment was a rare find in a city of overpriced, undersized housing.

  “After I get the stuff unpacked, I’ll call Amelie and let you talk to Cecile if you like,” I said as we skirted a group of tourists gawking in an expensive shop’s window. We took advantage of a break in traffic to hurry across the street. “Not that you deserve it. Honestly, Jim, you’re just about the most aggravating demon I’ve ever had the pleasure to—bloody hell!”

  I jerked Jim back as a black taxi ignored the laws regarding pedestrians in a crosswalk and screeched to a halt just millimeters away from my demon.

  “That sounded very English. You are adapting well, yes?”

  The oaths that I was about to crack over the idiot driver’s head dried up on my lips as I peered through the window at the man behind the wheel. His voice was smooth, thick with a French accent…and very familiar.


  “Mais oui. C’est moi. Good morning, Jim. You look well. Did you have any trouble getting through customs?”

  I stared at the pleasant-looking fifty-something man in the taxi, not sure I was really seeing him, my brain grinding to a halt at the sight. It couldn’t be Rene. It just couldn’t. Could it?

  Jim glared at me in answer to the question asked of it.

  “Ah,” Rene said, tipping his head to the side as he blithely ignored the honking of horns from the cars stopped behind him. “She has ordered you to silence, eh?”

ne, what in the he—Abaddon are you doing here?” I asked, finally able to kick-start my brain into functioning.

  He smiled and reached behind him to open the door. “I will take you to where you are going.”

  “Nuh-uh.” I could ignore the backed-up traffic just as easily as he could. “Not until you tell me what you’re doing here, in London, in a taxi. And it had better be good, because you showing up in Budapest a few weeks ago was really pushing the coincidence line.”

  “Get in, and I shall tell you all.”

  I gave him a long look to warn him he had better mean it and opened the door to the taxi, herding Jim in before I followed.

  “Now, spill,” I said as the taxi started to move. “Oh, I’m going to 15 Warlock Close. That’s located—”

  “I know where it is. North of Bury Street, yes?”

  “Yes. How do you know where it is? How do you know London that well? And what in god’s name are you doing here? Why aren’t you home in Paris?”

  Rene’s brown eyes twinkled at me in the mirror. I stiffened my immunity to his charm, sure something was going on for him to show up in yet another country driving yet another taxi. “You remember my cousin in Budapest, the one I was helping out during the week you were there?”

  “Yes,” I said suspiciously. “What about him? You’re not going to tell me that he also drives a taxi here, in London?”

  “No,” Rene said, cutting across two lanes of traffic to turn left onto the short dead-end street where Nora’s apartment was located. “His brother, my cousin Pavel, does, but that is not why I am here.”

  “Your cousin Pavel drives an English taxi?” I asked, refusing to budge when Rene pulled up with a flourish in front of our building.

  “Oui. He is most good at it, as are all the men in my family.” Rene didn’t even bother trying to look modest; he just grinned at me in the mirror as he backed the taxi into a tiny loading area so it was no longer blocking the road.