Alma Ember arrives on the scene as a romantic prospect for Cullen—even though she seems a bit too mature for him. After all, he's a seventeen-year-old boy, and she is older, has gone to college (outside of Lily), and has just finalized her divorce. That's a lot of personal experience that he just can't match up to. As Cullen puts it:
What I noticed about Alma Ember is that she didn't seem nervous at all. I guess that is what the world does to you. Or what growing up does, anyway. She seemed quite comfortable to be riding in the backseat of a seventeen-year-old's car with a bunch of high schoolers who I'm sure she'd told herself she'd never see again. (5.61)
Things don't work out between Alma and Cullen, but she's still an important character. She's the entire reason—you might even say she's the spark… or ember—Cabot comes into Cullen's life and steals Gabriel. Cabot is still hung up on his ex-wife and wants to get her back through any means possible. She's lit a fire in his heart, it seems, that refuses to go out.