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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 2)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(2) by Samantha Young
  • The ache flared across her chest in a jagged shot of lightning and Ari gasped, a release of anger pouring out of her in heartbreak. Everything had changed with Charlie. She couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was or what it meant, but everything had changed. Whatever it did mean, Ari knew there was no going back for them. Willing the pain out of her, Ari concentrated on the patch of sky above her and forced the clouds to grow dark and heavy with water until they burst, pounding into the ground and slapping against her skin in symphony with her hurt.

    Ari, stop.

    Wincing at the commanding voice echoing around in her mind, Ari twisted around to find Jai standing tense in the doorway, his fists curled tightly together, his vivid gaze burning through her. His jaw was taut and she knew he was annoyed. Yeah, well, she was annoyed too. He’d been kind of A.W.O.L after throwing Charlie out for her and he’d been unable to meet her gaze whenever he did decide to grace her with his presence. She felt her cheeks stain red as she remembered the night at her front door when he’d rejected her. She wasn’t stupid. He was completely uncomfortable around her now. Yay.

    Disappointed in him, but not wanting to analyze anything else, Ari shrugged nonchalantly and turned to look back up at the sky. It’s making me feel better.

    Stop it. Now.

    What is it? she sighed wearily. What’s wrong?

    A growl rumbled behind her, “I said stop it now, Ari.”

    She turned around at his agitation, her own eyes flashing angrily in response to his commanding tone. Taking a second, Ari drew in a deep breath, letting the rain run in rivulets down her cheeks and onto her lips. Noting Jai’s increasing impatience, Ari concentrated, willing the rain off and the clouds to return to normal. The shadows bled from the garden and once again the sun beamed down upon them. “What is your problem?” she snapped.

    He exhaled heavily and Ari felt a prickle of worry when she spotted the dark circles under his eyes. Watching him rub his hand familiarly over his short hair, she let her eyes wander before she could stop them, drinking in his gorgeous face, strong forearm, and the tiny diamond in his right ear that was winking in the sun. Her eyes focused in on it. That was new.

    Jai cleared his throat and she drew her gaze back to his. He rubbed the ear stud self-consciously between his index finger and thumb. “My friend, Trey. A gift. I didn’t want to say no. He means well.”

    His crooked, uncertain smile hit her in the gut with a bolt of pure lust, and right then she hated him for making her all gooey inside. She sighed, shifting her feet uneasily. That wasn’t really his fault though. “It looks good.” She smiled despite herself. The stud was so small, it was barely even noticeable. It was tasteful. Still, she felt like teasing him a little. “Very genie of you.”

    “Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of.”

    “I promise, it looks good,” she reassured him and immediately wished the words hadn’t come out like that. Had her voice gone all low and… flirty? She felt blood rush into her cheeks again as his eyes darkened on her, a strange tension springing up between them as they stared wordlessly at one another. Yes, her voice had gotten flirty. Yes, Jai was once again reminded she was hot for him. She couldn’t break away from his gaze. It was like his eyes were a fish hook. All he needed to do now was reel her in.

    Reel me in. Please reel me in.

    Realizing her thoughts could so easily have echoed into his mind, Ari bit her lip, wishing someone would just throw something at the space between them so it would get shocked by the electricity sparking there and break the damn tension.

    What was she doing? Deliberately setting herself up to be rejected again? He was in love with someone else. Shaking her head, Ari let her eyes drop. “What’s with the attitude? The rain?”

    Jai’s face instantly changed, becoming blank again as she reminded him why he’d come out here in the first place. “It’s time we talked about the magic,” his voice was surprisingly quiet and unsure. “Honestly, this time.”

    Ari frowned at the word choice. “Honestly?”

    “Will you come inside?”

    Her heart picking up speed, Ari nodded, not liking the sound of this one bit. She followed him into the house, taking great care not to check out his butt in his worn blue jeans. Her eyes travelled the width of his shoulders, however, feeling a pang of longing at the sight of his physical strength. She wondered what it would be like to hug him. She bet it felt wonderful. Safe. She wondered what it would be like to nuzzle her face into the crook of his warm neck and inhale him, his arms holding her so tight against him. When Jai turned around to take a seat in the sitting room, Ari dropped her gaze again, not wanting him to read what so clearly must have shown in her eyes. Letting the longing ease out from her limbs (a much harder feat than she’d assumed), Ari sank down into the chair opposite and once she was sure she could stare at him blankly, she lifted her eyes. “What’s going on?”

    “There are consequences to magic.”

    His blunt response made her blink a few times in confusion. “Uh… what?”

    Jai sighed, looking uncomfortable again. He couldn’t meet her eyes. Great. “Before… when I was teaching you, The Red King ordered me not to tell you everything there was to know about magic. In case you decided not to attempt to use it. We needed you to use it. Your dad needed you to use it.”

    Her pulse throbbed. “Consequences? What consequences, Jai?”

    “When you made it rain… you caused a drought somewhere else.”

    Ari’s jaw dropped. “OK. What are you talking about?”

    “Jinn magic — like everything about us — has a balance. The only magic truly our own, is that which helps us defend ourselves or aids others in their destiny. We can create enchantments to protect us and anyone who happens to be with us when we need protecting. The Peripatos, like the defense, is part of us, as is flying and the telepathy. Granting wishes, and creating paths for life journeys is something that’s also natural to Marids, Shaitans, and even some Ifrits. And as you know, Ifrits tend to have something individual within their magic that makes them special. It’s all the genetic make-up stuff so it’s free. It’s who we are. The other stuff — well, it can be powered by charms and talismans; that’s why sorcerers use them.”

    “The other stuff?” Ari asked between clenched teeth, suddenly hating where this was going.

    “The unnecessary stuff — food, clothes, money — it all comes from somewhere else. It already exists, it doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It was in someone’s wallet or it was in a store…”

    Ari’s eyes widened. “The leather jacket I conjured? I basically stole it from the store?”

    Clearly ignoring the rising annoyance in her tone Jai nodded calmly, “Yeah.”

    Her mind was whirling with the news. She’d stolen something! She glared at him. “What about everything you conjure?”

    “I own what I conjure…. For the most part. Clean clothes come from my wardrobe. Money from my bank account. But stupid things like pineapple juice for the Aissawa Brotherhood… well, that came from somewhere else.”

    “Where else?”

    “Someone’s fridge probably. A neighbor’s. It usually comes from somewhere as close as possible in location.”

    “Essentially, you stole it then,” Ari snapped.

    He shrugged at her again and she wanted to throw the remote at him.

    “Why didn’t you tell me?” an ugly knot was forming in her gut. Not Jai. He might not return her feelings but she at least thought she could count on him. “You had me thinking that the cool magic trick part of this nightmare was a little bright spot in a very crappy and dark situation.”

    “Your uncle commanded me not to, Ari. I told you, he knew you wouldn’t use your magic if you thought it was unethical and he needed you to in order to trigger your heritage as the Seal.”

    “But couldn’t you have told me and I would have just conjured stuff I already owned?”

    He shook his head at her impatiently. “You needed to stretch your magical muscles and do things that required an almost full scope of power.”

    The knot was sprinkled with a heavy dose of bitterness and she felt the emotion bleeding into her words. “You should have told me. I thought you were my friend.”

    If she wasn’t mistaken she saw his eyes flash with an unnamed emotion before he quickly blinked, vivid but flat, green eyes staring back at her once again. “An assignment from The Red King is a huge deal. I didn’t want to mess it up.”

    “You gave me that book when you weren’t supposed to,” she argued.

    “That was different. That was to educate you about important things you really needed to know.”

    “This is important! I needed to know this.”

    “All I can say is I’m sorry. I had to follow those orders.”

    He did sound sorry but Ari was too mad to care. “Good to know where your priorities lie.”

    “Ari, come on—”

    “What else are you hiding from me?” she cut him off, her eyes narrowed on him in suspicion. Before he could answer, the sound of her father’s heavy footsteps pounding down the stairs shot her off the couch in surprise. She whirled around to see him storming across the hall, grabbing up his car keys. He looked like hell. “Dad?” she rushed toward him, the blood whooshing in her ears.

    “I need to get out,” he muttered without looking at her, not even aware of Jai’s presence behind Ari.

    “No, Dad, we need to talk.”

    “Not now, Ari.” And before she could even blink he was outside, the door slamming shut behind him. Utter shock and pent up fury held her immobilized for a second as she listened to his car door open and shut and the engine flare to life. That familiar growl finally knocked her back to reality and she spun around to glare at Jai who didn’t have time to mask his soft, sympathetic eyes. “No.” She shook her head, her teeth grinding together. “I don’t think so.” She thought of her car keys and the metal dropped heavily into her open palm.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire