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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 2)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(2) by Samantha Young
  • Her uncle had begun to circle her and Ari hated that she stil felt intimidated when he did that. “You question my word? I assured you that he wil not be treated poorly. Don’t you believe me?” There was an edge to the questions and just as Red obviously disliked being questioned so did Ari.

    The dark knot in her chest unfurled and she whirled around to face him, eyes blazing. Didn’t he realize she could command him to his knees? How dare he try to intimidate her? How dare he deny her the right to see Charlie?

    How dare he—

    “Ari?” Red gripped her upper arms, shaking her out of the coiling mist of rage that had enveloped her. She shuddered, coming back to herself, her breathing uneven.

    Holy macaroons.

    She’d let herself get lost in the power of the Seal. She’d promised them al she wouldn’t do that and Ari had been so sure she could keep that promise. It’s just—

    “It’s getting stronger.” Red frowned, stepping back. “The Seal. It’s trying to push you to use it.”

    Ari nodded numbly. She didn’t need this crap right now. “I’l try harder,” she whispered.

    “You better. You need to have a handle on the darkness inside you, Ari. And the Seal is darkness. Never forget it.”

    Ari remembered her dream, of Lilif’s teling of what would happen if too many threads were puled in the fabric of the universe’s entire existence. The Seal could pul a milion threads and bring it al crashing down. She couldn’t let that happen. “I promise. I can handle this. I promise,” she insisted, her strange eyes blazing for a different reason now.

    Watching her carefuly, Red finaly nodded. “Fine. The trial wil begin in an hour. I’l come get you. You should probably make sure Jai is awake and then stay with him until I return.”

    Once he was gone, Ari slumped down onto the bed. The Seal had taken over her so quickly that time. There was no build up, no threat to her, no reason. She’d been angry because Red wouldn’t give her, her own way. What the hel was that about? Groaning, Ari buried her head in her hands. This was the last thing they needed right now. She had to be stronger than this.

    Shaking out her hands, Ari pushed up onto her feet and straightened her shoulders.

    She would be stronger than this.

    Telepathing Jai, Ari let him know she was coming to his room.

    Good. The deep rumble echoed around her head as she left her suite. Just that one word—the sound of his voice—and her pulse was jumping al over the place, the butterflies tickling her bely at the thought of seeing the face that went with the voice.

    His door opened across the hal and Ari darted inside. His room was almost a mirror image of hers, except Jai (surprisingly) hadn’t made his bed yet. Ari felt her cheeks heat at the thought of him lying under the rumpled covers without a stitch of clothing on. She felt her insides turn to mush and mentaly berated herself, wiling the fire out of her cheeks as she turned to face her guardian. Jai leaned back against the closed door, staring at her with this intense smolder that re-ignited al the heat that she was trying to douse. He was wearing his usual uniform of a plain black t-shirt that sculpted his awesome upper body, and black jeans and wel-worn, short biker boots. Jai was pure casual sexiness—he was hot without even trying, and al Ari wanted to do was to jump on him and let the heat set her alight.

    Guilt pricked her conscience as she remembered exactly why they were here.

    Good morning. Jai gave her a soft smile, his beautiful green eyes mesmerizing her. She felt dumbstruck for a moment. At her reaction, Jai’s soft smile turned into a cocky grin, bringing Ari out of her stupor.

    Ari made a face at him and he laughed. She couldn’t help but smile at that. Jai rarely laughed and when he did it felt as if she’d dipped her toes into the warmest, most soothing bath ever. Morning. They’d decided that while in Mount Qaf, it would be wiser to talk to one another telepathicaly whenever possible.

    He took a purposeful step towards her and Ari waited, her breathing growing shalow. The rich, exotic scent of him seemed to swim around her in heady waves, and she could have sworn she swayed a little just before he reached for her. There was barely space between them as she tilted her head back to meet his gaze. She felt the tentative touch of his large, strong hands on her hips, kneading softly as if testing the new ground they were on. Ari’s breath fled her body at the expression on Jai’s face. No one had ever looked at her like that before, like she was precious and extraordinary.

    Like she was everything.

    His hands slid slowly up her h*ps and around her waist. Ari couldn’t help the shivers that rippled over her—shivers that made Jai’s eyes flash and his lips part with his soft exhalation.

    Vaguely, Ari remembered that she shouldn’t be doing this. That there was something important to be done…

    Jai’s head dipped towards hers and Ari trembled again, thoughts on overload in her brain. Jai’s mouth, his taste, his heat, the bed, the rumpled covers, Jai’s abs, his hands, a trial, danger, Charlie.

    Oh crap, Charlie.

    She froze just as Jai’s lips were about to touch hers. He halted and puled back a little, a confused furrow between his eyebrows. What?

    Oh man, this wasn’t going to go over wel, but surely Jai wanted her to be honest with him? I don’t feel right about us… doing anything while Charlie is in

    trouble. Plus, The Red King said maybe we should keep our relationship under wraps for a while. I didn’t agree at first, but the more I think about it, I

    think he might be right. People might try to use my feelings for you against me and vice versa.

    Jai took a step back, letting go of her, and Ari immediately regretted speaking up. She wanted his lips back and his hands al over her. She wanted to pul his t-shirt off and put her hands al over him. But more than anything she wanted her possible boyfriend (oh God that word made her want to grin like an idiot) to stop looking at her like that. Like he was pissed. So, you want us to pretend we’re not together?

    Just in public.

    He narrowed his eyes on her, the thick lashes almost obscuring the vivid irises. We’re not in public.

    But Charlie…

    A dark cloud trembled over Jai’s face and he brushed past her, his anger trailing at the back of him like open flames. Ari winced and turned to face him. Okay, she wasn’t stupid. She knew that sounded bad. This isn’t about me and Charlie, if that’s what you’re thinking.

    Jai scoffed and refused to look at her, instead standing with his hands braced on the balcony railings as he looked out over the mountains. His brooding silence filed the room until Ari felt like she couldn’t breathe.

    Great. Their first day as… whatever they were, and she’d already hurt him.

    It’s not because I’m in love with him and feel like I’m betraying him, she tried to explain. It’s just, he’s here facing death because he saved someone’s

    life, and I don’t feel like I should be allowed to be happy until I know he’s safe. And being with you… well, it makes me happy. Even with all this

    going on.

    Jai sighed and slowly turned his head to look at her. You promise?

    The question caused an ache inside of her. This was a side to Jai she’d never seen before. He realy was insecure about Charlie, and he couldn’t hide it anymore. He was making himself vulnerable to her.

    Wow.

    A rush of overwhelming love caved in on Ari’s chest and she struggled a moment to catch her breath. She had to reassure him somehow. He had to know how she

    felt. Taking tentative steps toward him, Ari smiled with her eyes. I told you I don’t think of Charlie that way anymore. And I also made it clear to him how I

    feel about you.

    Surprise lit his eyes and Jai straightened to his ful height, turning to face her. Just as quickly as the surprise had hit him, the spark of hope she saw in his eyes faded.

    He glowered at her. You told Fallon you’d die trying to save him here.

    Realization dawned as she closed the distance between them. Ari had almost died to save Jai from an Haqeeqah—the essence of the emerald of Mount Qaf in its purest form, a weapon—and it was what had finaly made him realize how much Ari truly cared for him. Did he now think that, because she’d die for Charlie, it somehow meant the same thing?

    Shaking her head, Ari reached up to touch his face, something she’d wanted to do almost from the moment she’d met him. Her fingers gently stroked his cheek, tracing his high cheekbones and lower to the firm, hard cast of his jaw-line. Instead of leaning into her touch as she’d dreamed he would, Jai tensed. Jai, she pleaded quietly, if you hadn’t noticed, I’m a guts and glory kind of girl. I think I’d die trying to protect anyone I care about. It’s just the way I’m wired, I guess. I

    would die trying to protect Charlie because I love him. He’s my family, and I don’t want to lose any more family. She took another step so her body pressed flushed to him, her fingers faling to his lips. The sound of his shalow breathing emboldened her. But Jai… I would die a hundred deaths to save you…

    because the thought of being here without you now, the thought of losing you… is unimaginable. Their eyes locked and heat bloomed in her cheeks as Jai pressed closer to her, his hand sliding across her lower back and gently guiding her even more tightly against him. Jai, you have no idea how much I’ve fallen in

    love with you. I don’t think a person could fall any harder.

    His eyes widened, his lips parting with unspoken surprise. Suspended anticipation sprung between them and then immediately snapped at the sound of a loud knock at the door.

    He hadn’t responded to her declaration.

    Ari bit back a curse. Everyone was always interrupting them!

    The door banged open before Jai could answer the knock, and to Ari’s utter shock, The White King stroled casualy into the room, his emerald robes bilowing at the back of him. The snap of fabric barely missed the one-eyed face of his monstrous Nisnas, Vadit, who trotted awkwardly behind him with his one arm and one leg.

    Ari vividly remembered his attack with a wince…

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