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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 40)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(40) by Samantha Young
  • “On the contrary,” his voice grew low and deep and Ari shivered at the feel of its caress across her skin, “I’m always intrigued by people like you.”


    “Because you remind me of how I once was.”

    Unwanted sympathy tugged at Ari’s chest and she tried to keep that emotion hidden from her voice as she replied, “Can’t you be that way again?”

    Asmodeus smirked. “So innocent. No, Ari. I cannot. Since I lost Lilif, I have done things that have changed my soul. There is no going back.”

    “No, there’s no going back,” she agreed. “But you could go forward. You could try to be more like the old Asmodeus. From what I saw, he was wise and

    sometimes even kind...”

    His dark gaze intensified, the silence between them thickening awkwardly. Ari wondered franticaly where Red was.

    “See,” Asmodeus murmured, taking another step toward her, “A complication.”

    Chest tightening with panic at his proximity, Ari held up a hand to halt his progress towards her. “What do you want, Asmodeus? Why are you here?”

    Those eyes of his flashed and Ari knew that look. She’d seen it before in the eyes of both Charlie and then Jai. Charlie’s look had been too late, and Jai’s had always been welcome. Asmodeus’ was definitely unwelcome despite the skittering of her heart and the strange flattery she felt that an immortal like Asmodeus could want her that way.

    “A little birdy told me you were leaving.” He grew closer stil. “Azazil is alowing you to return to the mortal realm. I didn’t want you to leave without a proper goodbye.” He stopped now, his chest inches from her face and Ari had to tip her head back to meet his gaze. His energy crackled al around her, and Ari couldn’t deny the unfaithful spark of attraction between them.

    But that was al it was, she reminded herself. It was al it would ever be.

    She cleared her throat. “Goodbye then, Asmodeus. I’d say it’s been a pleasure, but I think we both know I’d just be placating you.”

    He smirked at that and Ari flinched when he reached out to touch her cheek, his long fingers brushing along her jaw before stopping to clasp her chin a little too firmly. “That is not the kind of goodbye I had in mind.”

    Desperate to stop him, Ari blurted out the first thing that came to mind, “You know you’re technicaly my grandmother’s brother.”

    He laughed again. “There’s centuries of blood between you and Lilif. That distance means something to the Jinn, we don’t think like mortals do with their short lives and strange social structures, especialy when al I want is a kiss goodbye.”

    “You can forget it,” she snapped now, trying to pul away. But Asmodeus held firm, his eyes stil laughing at her.

    “It’s just one kiss, Ari. The Ginnaye need never know.”

    “I would know.” She yanked her chin out of his grasp, but he was quick, his arms banding around her back and pressing her flush to him.

    “So damn honorable.”

    “Let me go.”

    “Kiss me.”


    His eyes narrowed and Ari’s widened as the brass part of the Seal around his neck began to glow. No! The son-of-a-bitch! “I thought you said you didn’t need to force unwiling women, Lieutenant,” she bit out, her panic visible in her expression as she glared at the Seal.

    “I haven’t nearly just kiled most women I want in my bed, so I am thinking you might need a little push. Kiss me,” he commanded.

    Ari froze, disbelief chiling her blood.

    She felt… nothing.

    “Do that again?” she whispered and she felt Asmodeus’ arms relax from around her as his gaze grew shuttered with understanding.

    “Kiss me,” he commanded more forcefuly.

    Ari pushed at him and he stepped back in surprise.

    “It didn’t work.” She grinned triumphantly. “It doesn’t work on me.”

    Asmodeus made her jump with the abrupt snap of his fingers. Immediately folowing the gesture came a light tap at the door. It swung open at Asmodeus’ command to enter and a male Shaitan stepped inside. “Yes, Master?” he asked, not meeting the Lieutenant’s gaze. It was something al the servants did out of respect for the Sultan, his sons and Asmodeus.

    Asmodeus strode towards the Shaitan, his whole body tense and Ari suddenly felt very uneasy.

    Out of nowhere the Marid produced a short, curved dagger and handed it to the Shaitan. “Slit your throat with this,” he commanded.

    The Shaitan’s eyes widened with horror but with a trembling hand he reached for the dagger.

    “No!” Ari screamed, rushing towards him.

    It was too late.

    The blade sliced across skin, blood spiled, and the sickening thud of his body colapsing to the floor echoed around the room in the wake of Ari’s scream.

    Eyes blurry with shock, throat thick with helplessness, Ari watched Asmodeus turn to her with narrowed eyes. “Wel, we know the Seal is working.”

    “Why?” she spat in disgust. “You didn’t need to kil him!”

    He ignored her reproach and marched towards her with violence in his eyes. Even though her whole body was shuddering with fear and revulsion at what he’d just done, Ari stood her ground. He took hold of her left arm in a bruising grip, puling her body into his. “How is it possible?” he breathed angrily. “How can you withstand the command of the Seal?”

    “Maybe the same way you can,” she countered aggressively, hating him in that moment and longing to be far, far away from him. She longed to be near Jai’s

    comforting, protective presence. “You had the Seal around your neck for centuries, and I had it inside of me for eighteen years. Go figure.”

    His eyes glittered dangerously. “You are not leaving here now.”

    “What?” Ari hissed, puling at his grip. “No way!” They were not keeping her.

    The crackle of flames was a welcome sound as Red stepped out of the Peripatos. His expression darkened at the sight of Asmodeus accosting her.

    “Let her go, Asmodeus.”

    “The Seal does not work against her. She cannot leave until I know why.”

    “Wrong.” Red blurred across the room, his body coming back into focus beside them as he forcefuly pushed Asmodeus away from her, his own hand gentle around

    her wrist as he pressed her behind him. “Azazil has already given his word that her promise to stay has been fulfiled. You cannot keep her here unless she is wiling.”

    Red shot her a look over his shoulder. “Are you wiling?”

    “Hel no,” she growled.

    Smiling triumphantly, Red turned back to Asmodeus. “Sucks to be you right now.”

    Ari snorted, feeling a smal triumph over Asmodeus and his apparently limitless viciousness.

    “This isn’t over,” Asmodeus promised with his eyes pinning her to the wal. She felt a familiar dread in her gut. She’d honestly thought for a minute there that she was free from al this Jinn stuff.

    After another warning step from Red, the Marid blazed his way out of the room, the door crashing behind him. Red’s eyes dropped on the dead Shaitan.

    “I’m sorry,” Ari whispered. “I couldn’t stop him in time.”

    Red flicked a hand and the body just disappeared. He turned to Ari seeming unconcerned. They were al so calous, she thought hopelessly. That Shaitan’s life meant nothing to any of them. “Not your fault.” He studied her a moment. “You can withstand the Seal’s command?”

    “Yeah, looks like.”

    “Wel.” He frowned in concern. “We’l try to keep that quiet. It might carry its own problems. You ready to leave?”

    “Definitely.” She looked back where the Shaitan had been murdered. Is that what this life did to you? Made you so used to violence and death that a body was just that. A shel. Not a life at al?

    Red seemed uncomfortable al of sudden, his eyes finding it difficult to focus on hers. “My father hinted that Jai’s tribe might know how to find Jai.”

    Relief and hope crashed over her bringing her out of depressed thoughts. “That’s fantastic. Let’s go.”

    “Ari, wait.” Red pinched the bridge of his nose, his gaze almost anxious. “I puled Glass out of his assignment to help Charlie find the Labartu. We left him in a motel in Houston knowing he’d very likely not be able to find her on his own in time.”

    Stunned by the news, Ari replied softly, “I appreciate it. But it doesn’t mean I forgive you. Or trust you.”

    “I’m not…” he heaved an exasperated sigh, “That’s not what I’m trying to tel you. My father isn’t happy I didn’t complete the assignment. He’s arranging for Charlie to meet Akasha.”

    The fear was back.

    Ari took a shuddering breath. “As payback.”

    “It’s how he works.”


    “However… I’m also worried that White, if he finds out you’re no longer the Seal, wil take that news out on Jai in a bloody manner and my father has dropped his protection around him.”

    Vile, heart-wrenching understanding dawned. “You’re saying—you’re saying I have to choose who I’m going to rescue first, and that whichever one I choose to

    rescue second, might die before I get there?”

    He nodded, his blue eyes ful of regret. “I can’t help, Charlie, Ari. My father might do something worse in retaliation.”

    “Oh God,” Think. Think. “What about my mom?” she grasped desperately at the idea. “Couldn’t she help Charlie?”

    Red shook his head adamantly. “I can’t—I won’t—put her in that kind of danger. White might find her and if he does-”

    “Fine,” Ari whispered. “I get it.” She blew out a breath and nodded, coming to a sickening decision. “I need to get word to the Roes. Can you do that at least?

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