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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 32)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(32) by Samantha Young
  • Aghast at the thought of leaving everyone, Ari shook her head. “No. What about Charlie? Trey? We can’t just leave them!”

    Expression implacable, Jai walked tentatively towards her as if approaching a wounded animal. He reached up to brush her hair gently off her face, his fingers trailing down her cheek until his thumb rested on the cut on her lip. Slowly, his mouth lowered to hers and he pressed the softest kiss to her wound. When he puled back, his eyes were inches from her, boring into hers with heat and dark emotion. “Al that matters is protecting you. If Sala hadn’t arrived I don’t know what I would have done.

    We tried living our lives as normaly as possible, and I tried to give you what you want by agreeing to let you work for The Guild. But it almost got you taken, Ari.

    Connections… connections right now are going to get you kiled. We’l try and get word to Charlie and Trey, but they’re on their own just now. So are we.”

    The part of her that wanted to cry was fighting the darkness of the Seal. Her throat clogged with fear and exhaustion and while she didn’t want to appear fragile, Ari thought it best to let the tears win over the Seal. They flooded down her cheeks and Jai cursed softly under his breath as he puled her into him, his arms wrapped so tight around her she could barely breathe as she soaked his t-shirt with her tears. “I want to be strong, Jai. I want to fight back, but the reality of every Jinn in the world knowing what I am is so much scarier than I thought it would be.”

    Gently, he pushed her away from him, his hands gripping her upper arms as he leaned down with fierce love in his eyes. “You did fight and you were strong. It was scary, Ari, but you fought. You didn’t just stand there and take it. You fought. And you have to promise me, no matter what happens, that you wil always fight.”

    She nodded, sucking back tears brought on by shock. “I promise.”

    Jai’s shoulders sagged in relief and he leaned over to place a gentle kiss on her forehead. Ari sighed. At least she stil had Jai.

    “What now?” she asked again as he strode into the sitting area of the open-plan cabin. She absentmindedly looked for a glass, desperate for some water, as she waited on his reply.

    “We’l crash here for a few hours, plan our next move. But we have to leave soon before someone starts checking out my father’s safe-houses.”

    Ari’s glass slipped from her hands and shattered into the sink as she heard the familiar hiss of flames behind her. She spun around, heart pounding, eyes wide with trepidation as they watched The White King’s face burn at her through the flames of the Peripatos. He didn’t even step out of it and Ari had no time to think, let alone act, before his long hand reached out, clutched hold of Jai and wrenched him into the flames with him. “Too late.” He glared at her, her roar of disbelief folowing in the wake of their disappearance.

    Silence reigned in the cabin except for the echoes of her own scream throbbing in her ears and the thuddity, thuddity, thuddity thud of her racing heartbeat.

    White had taken Jai.

    Tears spiled down Ari’s cheeks as she bent over, trying to catch her breath. A strange keening noise escaped her as exhaustion and rage tried to take over. He knew. White knew about her and Jai.

    He knew.

    She colapsed to her knees, trying to draw breath, trying to shove the panic attack down. A panic attack would do her no good. It would do Jai no good.

    Hands clenched into fists, Ari looked around for inspiration. Think. Think. Think!

    White had Jai. He was going to use him to get to her. He would hurt him. And there was no saying how long he’d take to make his move. Ari had to get Jai back.

    She was not sitting around waiting for White to come to her. No ‘effing way! No matter what, she was getting Jai back.

    Red! She screamed telepathicaly. I need you!

    She waited.

    Nothing.

    Shit.

    Was Red not talking to her now? Was she truly on her own? How could he not be talking to her? He was the one who had betrayed her?

    Red! She yeled harder, pushing more energy into the cal. Help! I need you! Now!

    Seconds…

    Minutes…

    Nothing.

    Furious tears pooled in the corner of Ari’s eyes and she thrust al that emotion into her energy, sweat roling down her forehead. RED! I NEED YOU NOW!

    The crackle of fire brought Ari to her feet in relief, the sight of The Red King stepping out of the Peripatos a far more welcome sight than she’d thought it would ever be again.

    “Ari.” He sighed in relief as he came to a stop before her. “I’ve been looking for you.”

    “Yeah, wel your brother found me first,” she spat out her hatred and was satisfied by his look of surprise as he took in her violent expression.

    His lips pinched together. “What happened?”

    Her mouth trembled, belying her fragility in that moment. “White took Jai.”

    “He found out about you,” Red whispered, seeming almost sympathetic.

    Ari didn’t trust him for a second. “Was it you? You knew about me and Jai, I know you did. So did you tel Azazil? Did he tel White because he was bored?”

    Red’s face darkened and he took one menacing step towards her. “You’l remember who you’re talking to, young lady. I kept your secret love affair with your

    guardian to myself. I even kept it from my father, and believe me he is a little bit displeased to know I’m keeping things from him.”

    Not sure she believed him or not, and feeling stupid for the niggling tickle of hope she felt at the thought of Red being an aly again, Ari shrugged. “You or someone else, the result is al the same. White knows. And I can’t promise that I won’t do anything he wants to get Jai back— so we have to steal Jai back. And then Jai and I need to run.”

    “Run?” Red’s brow furrowed in confusion.

    “Al the Jinn know about me now.”

    “No. No they don’t.”

    Heart lurching, Ari moved slowly towards her uncle as if she could pul those words out of him again. “What do you mean?”

    “The Jinn that attacked at the school and the Jinn that attacked the Roes-”

    “Attacked the Roes? What are you talking about? Charlie? Trey-”

    “Are fine.” Red held up his hands in calming gesture. “Everyone is fine. The Shadow King and White set the attacks up as a distraction so that Jai would lead you somewhere White could take him without fear of interference. He needed to be able to get in and out with Jai before you could use the Seal against him. I imagine the attack was also meant to piss off me and my father.”

    “So the Jinn don’t know about me?”

    “No. There are stil those curious about you, but as far as I’m aware, you’re stil safe from them. For now at least.”

    Ari wished she could enjoy the feeling of relief but al her thoughts were centered on Jai. “I stil don’t trust you. But I need your help.”

    “I don’t know where White is, Ari. It could take weeks to find him.” Red sighed, his eyebrows drawn together in displeasure. “Your best bet is to wait it out—wait for him to send you his demand. And we al know what that wil be—that you wilingly come to him in Mount Qaf, and in return he’l promise Jai wil come to no more harm until you’ve done whatever it is he wants you to do.”

    A rainstorm of anger was lashing inside Ari. “And what about Jai? In the time we take to wait here like puppets, what wil he be doing to Jai?” she shook her head.

    “No. White wil get part of his wish. Me in Mount Qaf.” She glared up at Red, her energy crackling at her fingertips. “Take me to Azazil. He’l know where White is.”

    “You understand what you’re asking me to do?”

    She nodded, fuly aware that Azazil would want something in return.

    Her uncle opened his mouth as if to argue and then slammed his lips shut into a pinch, his whole face glowering at her. Then he sighed, nodding in acquiescence.

    “Take me there now.”

    “Ari.” He reached out to touch her arm, an almost affectionate gesture. “If I do this, you must promise me to remember that you have nothing to fear from Asmodeus or my father. No matter what they say or alude to, they won’t hurt you. They can’t.”

    Confused and suspicious of Red’s cryptic plea, Ari jutted her chin out defiantly. “What are you talking about? What aren’t you teling me?”

    He shook his head, his mouth curved into a bitter smirk. “I can’t tel you what you want me to tel you. You must understand, Ari. I am bound in loyalty to my father, but I promised Sala that I would do whatever I could to protect you. So al I can say is that you can walk into my father’s palace without fear that he wil harm you…

    personaly.”

    “So he could stil hurt the people around me, right?” Ari answered sadly, wearily. “He could stil hurt you?”

    Red blinked, seeming astonished. That astonishment transformed into a slow smile that lit up his handsome face. “No, kid, he won’t hurt me. But does that mean you care?”

    Shrugging enigmaticaly, Ari replied, “About as much as you do.”

    With a very un-royal snort, Red took her hand and whispered to her to prepare herself.

    20 - There are Toys Willing to be Played with.

    And Others Who’d Rather Remain in the Box.

    The urgency had dissipated; their kisses lazy, comforting. Charlie held Falon loosely, his hands on her hips, her legs wrapped around his waist as she sat propped up on the pool table in her parent’s library. She felt warm and lithe, incredibly alive and sweet. She smeled of some kind of flower, but it must have been from her shampoo because Falon couldn’t be bothered with things like perfume. Not like Ari who always smeled faintly like vanila.

    Charlie immediately tried to push Ari from his thoughts. Only seconds ago he’d felt calm as he had done since Falon had returned home, safe and sound. Falon had that effect on him. It had been a huge relief to see the team she was with pul up at the house after driving directly home from Connecticut. Thankfuly, they’d gotten out of the attacks completely unscathed. Announcing that she’d promised Jai she’d wait for them, Falon hadn’t wanted to leave the house in Connecticut until he and Ari returned to them. Then Red had shown up to give her the news and Falon had fled to Jersey to give The Guild the news: The White King had taken Jai and in a bid to get him back, Ari had fled to Mount Qaf to seek help from Azazil.

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