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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 37)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(37) by Samantha Young
  • For two years the Labartu, Akasha, who had kiled Mikey and left the Creagh family to drown in their own devastation, had not left the United States. Ari’s strong aura of power when she’d turned sixteen and broken the protection magic Sala had placed around her, had drawn Akasha to Sandford Ridge when she’d been nearby with another victim. But after kiling Mikey, and hungry for new victims and new places, she’d quickly moved on.

    According to The Glass King, Akasha had been hopping from State to State for a number of years, although there had been a period of three months when she’d

    disappeared (his guess to Mount Qaf), leaving The Guild who had been tracking her to scramble to find her when she returned.

    Her hunger, her vile and wicked evil had led Charlie to this moment—to this motel room in Alief, Southwest Houston. The motel was situated just off of the

    Southwest Freeway, the constant flow of traffic buzzing in the near distance was the only thing to break the silence of Charlie’s despair.

    When Glass had told Charlie he’d found Akasha, Charlie had lied to Falon. He’d promised her that he wasn’t going anywhere until he knew that Ari was okay.

    Before Red had given him the emerald, that probably would have been true. He would have waited for word from her. He even might have attempted some stupid-ass rescue mission.

    But not now.

    Whatever fear he’d felt after using the emerald had begun to recede with its proximity again. It had begun to recede when Glass had come to him with news of Akasha’s whereabouts. He was on the cusp of his revenge and consumed with the need to use the emerald again; the lingering taste of its incredible power provocative and beckoning.

    So with Falon convinced he was going nowhere, Charlie had approached Glass and asked him to take him to the Labartu. They’d traveled using the dizzying rush that was the Peripatos to a smal, dark room off of Route 59 in Houston.

    Then The Red King had shown up to destroy everything, Charlie thought bitterly.

    No need for words of explanation, his face grim as he’d looked upon Glass, Red had simply said, “We’ve done what father wished of us. No more. We’re done

    here.”

    “But… what?” Charlie had asked in a rush, in a panic. “We’re in Houston, Texas. Houston! How the hel am I supposed to find Akasha in a city this huge by

    myself?”

    That was the point, Charlie had suddenly realized, taking in Red’s blank expression with absolute disbelief and bitter disappointment. Without their help, Charlie couldn’t find Akasha in time.

    Red was trying to keep his word to Ari.

    Before Charlie could try to argue his corner, the two Jinn Kings had disappeared into the flames.

    He would always just be a human kid who’d been granted some power from those guys. He couldn’t feel out Jinn yet from great distances. Al he had was an emerald and what Glass had taught him.

    And that would have to be enough.

    Damning the consequences, Charlie had conjured a credit card to pay for the room at the motel. He conjured food that didn’t belong to him after spending day in and day out troling the streets for Akasha, hoping that if he got close enough, he’d feel her. It was quite the task, annoying and frustrating as he had to avoid the worst neighborhoods. The last thing he wanted was to accidentaly kil a human bent on holding him at gunpoint for whatever was in his walet.

    The search felt pointless.

    Nothing.

    Stil nothing.

    But he couldn’t give up.

    He couldn’t leave.

    An impatient knock broke through Charlie’s miserable stupor, his heart suddenly pounding as he stared at the motel room door. Wary and clasping the emerald in his pocket, Charlie took slow steps towards to the door, peering through the peephole to see what kind of visitor he had.

    Shock and anger, mingled with a strange sense of relief shot through him as he ripped the door open.

    Falon glared up at him in the dim light.

    “How did you find me?”

    Pushing past him with a familiar huff, Falon threw her bag onto one of the twin beds and whirled around to face him, her spiky, short hair flying around her pretty face. “Glass told me. He’s stil watching over my guild and Trey.”

    Chin jutting out stubbornly, Charlie shook his head. “I’m not leaving until I find her.”

    Stil glowering at him, Falon nodded as she slowly sank down onto the bed. “I knew you’d say that, that’s why I brought snacks and enough talismans and stones to conjure more, and whatever else we need.”

    What? Charlie raised a questioning eyebrow.

    She huffed again. “I know you’re just trying to protect me by running off without a word and pissing me off, but I’m just trying to protect you too. I’m not going anywhere. If you’re going to find and take down this bitch, then I’m going to help you do it.”

    Attempting to ignore the ache in his chest and the way it seemed to constrict with way too much feeling, Charlie merely nodded. A little dumbstruck, he slowly closed the motel door and the rest of the world out, and successfuly closed himself in with this girl who had come out of nowhere and changed a big part of the game.

    “You said you would protect her.”

    Red spun around, torn from his own disbelief, his own musings, to face Sala. She stood in the entrance to his bedroom chamber, seeming uncaring that any Shaitan who passed may see her. With a furious flick of his hand, the door slammed shut behind her. Before he could admonish her, the pain in her eyes finaly registered along with her accusation.

    He’d done everything he could to protect Ari: skirting around his father’s orders, keeping things from him, investigating him… discovering the truth…

    Sighing and in no mood for a passionate argument with Sala, Red shrugged wearily. “I left Charlie to his own devices and I imagine Akasha wil be long gone before he ever finds her. As for Jai, yes, I cannot find him, but I am assured by my brother and father that he has come to no harm, nor wil he.”

    Sala’s eyes blazed at him now and Red almost flinched back from the hurt in them. “And what of Ari? You said you’d protect her!”

    Scowling, Red nodded. “I am protecting her. She is safer here in Mount Qaf with my father than she is anywhere else. The Seal, its properties, they are important to him. Azazil wil protect her.”

    “Then why do I feel like something is wrong?” she hissed angrily. “I think she is dying, Red. I’ve always felt her here.” She beat a fist against her chest. “But I feel like the rope that tethers me to her is fraying.”

    Shaking his head as dread settled over him, Red went with denial first. “No. Ari can’t be harmed. I know she can’t.”

    “A mother knows, Red.” Sala shook her head and a tear fel down her cheek, hammering the dread firmly around Red’s heart.

    Mind racing, he tried to think what to do. What could possibly have happened? Was it White? It couldn’t be Azazil?

    Asmodeus?

    Cursing, Red gave up guessing and strode determinedly towards Sala. He wiped the tears affectionately from her face and whispered, “Get back in the Cloak where I know you’l be safe. I’l cal on you when I know what’s happening.”

    “What are you going to do?”

    “Grab my healer and get to my father’s palace as soon as possible.”

    24 - The Night is Immune to the Day but Addicted to the Light

    “You really love what you do, don’t you,” Ari commented softly, sitting across from Jai in Michael’s small gymnasium. Fallon had disappeared on them

    and Jai had finally called their training day to an end.

    But instead of heading upstairs to shower before dinner like they always did, they both found themselves lingering, enjoying this rare moment alone. Jai was sitting down, leaning against the wall by the French doors, his strong hands dangling over his bent knees. He seemed relaxed for once. He had been

    working Ari pretty hard these last few weeks and she knew it was because he wanted her to be able to take care of herself, in case he couldn’t be there to protect her. Ari didn’t even want to dwell on that. It didn’t bear thinking about. But taking pleasure in being able to study him uninterrupted, Ari wished Jai would worry a little more about himself and less about her. His eyes were tired, he looked a little leaner and he hadn’t shaved in a few days. For the

    moment, he was just covered in bristly, sexy fuzz that made him look older, but in a few more days he’d have a full-on beard going on.

    “What do you mean?” he asked with a slight smile, seeming also to take pleasure in the sight of her lying on her side along the edge of the training mat, her bent arm holding her head up so she could drink him in.

    “Being Ginnaye. A protector. A guardian.”

    “It’s the only thing I was ever good at.”

    A sharp stab of regret bit into her. “And I’ve taken you away from it,” she murmured, her gaze dropping so she wouldn’t see his expression confirm it.

    “I’m still doing my job, Ari.”

    “You know what I mean.”

    At his silence, Ari couldn’t help but look back up at him. He was frowning at her, and Ari might have confused it for a scowl if it hadn’t been for the soft tilt on the left side of his mouth that told her he was bemused, not angry. “Ari, it’s just a job.”

    She guffawed at that. “You would never have said that two months ago. Two months ago it was your whole life.”

    Her melancholy must have shown on her face because Jai got up with a big sigh only to lower himself down beside her, her bent knees curving around his

    back. “Ari, the reason I loved my job was because I was looking for acceptance. I know that now.”

    Drawn by his proximity, addicted to it even, Ari sat up so their bodies were turned into one another. “So you’re really okay about being here?”

    He reached out to touch her cheek gently, and as if mesmerized by the feel of her, he forgot what he was about to say, his eyes following the rough tips of his fingers as they trailed a line down her cheek, across her neck, along her collarbone, before slowly drawing to a stop on her sternum. By now Ari’s

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire