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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 46)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(46) by Samantha Young
  • Akasha was nowhere in sight.

    The eerie quiet alowed his ears to give reign to his imagination. It wasn’t her he heard as he spun slowly around, his eyes drinking in every shadow. It was Falon’s laughter, her wicked chuckle echoing inside his head, the images of her, the smel of her, the sound… it al started to become confused with his memories of Mike.

    Falon was gone.

    Just like Mike, she was just a memory now too.

    Charlie grew stil, his face crumpling with pain as an icy anger bled into his veins. Letting out a roar of grief, he wrapped his hand around the emerald stil hidden in his pocket.

    What did he have left to lose? Right?

    He flinched back, raising an arm to protect his eyes against the blinding light that lit up the darkness as someone approached from the Peripatos. Or someones—plural. His chest tightened as the spots across his eyes faded and he found himself facing Ari, Jai and Trey.

    “Charlie.” Ari rushed at him and a voice far back in his head pleaded with him to let her wrap her arms around him and save him. The other voice, the one in control, shook that weakness off, and whatever Ari saw in his expression made her stop.

    “Charlie, you don’t want to do this,” she pleaded.

    At his silence, her eyes widened as though she’d just thought of something.

    Absentmindedly Charlie wondered how anyone could be so beautiful.

    “I can.” Ari nodded franticaly. “Yeah. I can do this for you. I won’t be tried. I’m a ful-blood.”

    Surprise squeezed his heart. “You’d kil her for me?”

    She nodded again, grasping anxiously at the idea. “She kiled Mike. She kiled Falon. I can do this.”

    The sight of her always made him catch his breath a little. He’d felt guilty, the whole time he was with Falon, that the sight of Ari walking into a room could stil make the hair on the back of his neck rise. For a moment, the warmth in her gaze broke through the haze around him and he felt like the Charlie he’d been before al this monstrous crap had happened. His eyes filed with tears as he drank her in. Those strange but beautiful eyes that couldn’t hide how good she was. He had lost Mike and Falon, but he stil had Ari. And God, he stil loved her so much. He loved her husky laugh and her quick quips, her loyalty, her ability to listen to any idiot’s problems with patience and sincerity.

    Charlie realized with a dawning sad acceptance that he loved how pure she was. So much had happened to her, so much had been stolen from her—people that she loved—and yet somehow she hadn’t let it poison her. Ari would never understand revenge. Justice, yes. But not revenge.

    Charlie couldn’t let her kil Akasha for him. It would change her. It would be another thing he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself for.

    The familiar sound of buckles brought his head around and his entire being tensed at the sight of Akasha smiling at him from her perch on the counter. The yelow-eyed bitch tilted her head to inspect Ari, Jai and Trey.

    “You brought back up.” She curled her lip in disappointment. “Figures.”

    Charlie glanced back at Ari, the emerald’s power warring with the way he felt for her as it had done these last few weeks. It had always won because it had been there and Ari hadn’t. But having her there in front of him, her eyes filed with love…

    … If he did this, he’d lose her too. First Mike. Then Falon.

    Could he handle losing Ari?

    “Charlie?” Jai’s voice cut through al the fog as the tal Ginnaye took a step towards him. It broke Charlie’s focus from Ari.

    His heart slowed as his eyes took in Jai and the emerald seemed to push images at him he didn’t want to see. Jai gazing at Ari when she wasn’t looking. Ari gazing back, looking at him in a way she had never looked at Charlie, even when she thought she was in love with him. Ari looked at Jai as though he would always take care of everything, that everything would be alright as long as he was around.

    And it probably would.

    Worse, most of the time, Ari looked at Charlie with a crease of concern between her brows. Just like now.

    Who was he kidding? He railed bitterly.

    He’d already lost her. He lost her two years ago when Akasha kiled his brother!

    With a roar of impotent rage, Charlie withdrew the emerald from his pocket and turned its power on Akasha.

    Her eyes had barely widened with shock before her body was torn apart—an explosion of guts, blood, innards and brain splattering the wals and floors around her.

    Disbelief.

    A disconnected sense of disappointment filed Charlie to the brim and his chest rose and fel rapidly as he tried to draw breath.

    The emerald pulsed in his hand and he calmed instantly, looking down at it with awe. Its sweet, exciting power soothed over him and Charlie sighed with relief as though he’d been in agony only to have someone administer a huge dose of mor**ine.

    He’d wanted to torture Akasha.

    To punish her.

    It had been over too quickly.

    He’d meant to drag it out.

    But the emerald—he needed to learn how to control his use of it.

    “Charlie?” Ari practicaly squeaked.

    Charlie glanced over his shoulder at her. One last bitter look. He didn’t have much time.

    “That’s got to be Mount Qaf emerald,” Trey pointed out hoarsely, gesturing at the rock in Charlie’s hand. His eyes flew up to Charlie’s face. “It was you. At the Roe’s. It was you. Glass lied. The son-of-a-bitch lied.”

    “What? What is going on?” Ari asked franticaly, her own eyes trained on the emerald.

    “Red,” Charlie responded quietly as he began to back away from her. When he looked at her the peace the emerald was giving him began to fade a little. He needed that peace. He needed it more than he needed her. She’d been unfaithful to their friendship. She’d falen so easily in love with someone else.

    Is she really that pure? An insidious voice whispered in his ear.

    “Red gave it to me.” He eyed the emerald adoringly. “To help me escape when al this was over.”

    “Charlie, no…” Ari started towards him but Jai reached out and grabbed her arm, holding her back, his gaze suspicious and uncertain upon Charlie.

    Charlie hated him for holding her back. For being able to. The things he could do to bring down the powerful Ginnaye who had Ari under his spel; the things he could do now that he had Mount Qaf emerald in his hand.

    “Charlie. Drop the emerald,” Ari demanded.

    “No.” He wasn’t a pawn anymore and al because he had the emerald.

    “Charlie.”

    The grief in her voice drew his gaze away from the emerald and he saw her eyes were filing with tears. For him. Something tried to crack its way through as his gaze dropped to her lush, trembling mouth. She had been his to protect before Mike died. She would have been stil, he had no doubt.

    One day, the soft voice in the back of his murmured, one day she might be mine to protect again.

    The emerald throbbed in his palm and he glanced back down at it. One day when had proven he was capable of it, he’d come back to protect her—but not today

    when just the sight of her ripped him apart and filed him with uncertainty, regret and hatred.

    “Goodbye, Ari,” he whispered and then he stepped back summoning the flames of the Peripatos as though he had been born to do it al of his life. The sound of Ari’s grief stricken cries drew a grin to his face, and he tightened his fist around the emerald wondering where it would take him next.

    Epilogue - The Right Jinn for the Job

    Ari was glad for the feel of Jai’s hand in hers as they walked down Michael Roe’s staircase towards his office. She’d felt so helpless these last few days, so useless—her position among the Jinn so unstable. She needed a sense of purpose.

    Going back to school, starting her education might have been an option. Ari wasn’t sure she could go back to living a normal life, being a normal colege girl. The fact was that it might not even be an option for her yet.

    Al she had was her love for Jai, and although they were crazy about one another and Ari was so grateful for him, the two of them weren’t stupid enough to think they didn’t need something else in their lives. Especialy Jai, who was used to being in action al the time.

    Ari glanced up at his strong profile and felt a familiar kick to her heart. She was worried about him. It was taking him a while to get over what his father had done to him, and no matter how much he tried to pretend that it was irrelevant because he had Ari now, she knew he was stil hurting.

    She squeezed his hand and he gave her a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

    She understood.

    He was concerned.

    Ari was too. There was stil so much up in the air.

    After Charlie had disappeared, leaving Ari a bubbling mess as she tried to come to terms with losing her mom, Falon and her best friend al within a twenty four hour period, Jai had insisted they return to The Guild. They both knew that the Charlie who’d kiled Akasha, who had looked back at her before stepping into the Peripatos, wasn’t her friend anymore. Like Dalí, Charlie had been poisoned by the emerald’s power.

    He’d had a substance abuse problem. How could Red possibly have thought someone with an addiction to dangerous coping mechanisms would be able to handle

    that much power? No. Charlie was gone. She didn’t know if she’d ever see him again. The Guild was the only place that was familiar and safe to her now. Michael hadn’t exactly welcomed them with open arms, especialy after discovering Charlie had succeeded in kiling Akasha and had in his possession a rare piece of Mount Qaf emerald that apparently could make Jinn explode at wil.

    But Michael had let them stay.

    Trying to be useful, to be helpful, Ari had wanted to be there for Caroline in any way she could. But she was surrounded by family and friends from The Guild who helped with Falon’s funeral arrangements and taking care of the house. Ari was pushed to the side. She got it. They were closer. They were family.

    Before and just after Falon’s funeral the house had been filed to the brim with people coming and going.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire