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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 14)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(14) by Samantha Young
  • She held up a hand to silence him. “I didn’t tell you to guilt trip you. I’m just…” she sighed. “I was hurt. It hurt a lot. But I didn’t… react really. And Rachel accused me of not being in love with you.”

    “Was she right?” he asked hoarsely and Ari almost wanted to punch him for being so selfish as to be worried that she didn’t care enough to be heartbroken over his drunken escapades.

    “Yes and no. I didn’t react. I didn’t react because by then I was kind of numb to you hurting me.”

    The color leached from Charlie’s face and he stood up, seeming not sure if he should reach for her. In the end he stopped inches from her, his eyes scanning her face as if desperately searching for something. Forgiveness? Ari inhaled the musky male scent that was all Charlie, his fragrance setting off sparks to her memories. To the pain of being in love with someone as selfishly messed up as he had been. Correction: as he was.

    “How screwed up must I be, Charlie? To let someone hurt me over and over and not even see that what he was doing to me was wrong?”

    “I told you I was trying to protect you, to keep you away from me. I didn’t want you pulled under with me.”

    “But you didn’t let me go!” she cried, all the frustration and sorrow bubbling out of her. “You pushed me away with one hand and pulled me back in with the other.”

    For a minute he looked like he might argue and then he shook his head, his expression desperate. “I… I know.” He reached for her now, his hand trailing up her bare arm sending shivers cascading down her spine. “It was selfish and it was cruel. But I love you, Ari. I wanted to protect you but I was too selfish to let you go. I kept hoping one day I would be OK, that I’d be OK for you. I didn’t want to wake up on that day and discover you were gone.”

    Those were words Ari had wanted to hear for two years.

    And they were two years too late.

    She stepped back out of his reach, hating that she could still want him when her mind had decided otherwise. “And now? What’s your excuse now, Charlie? I told you I didn’t want you to be a part of this twisted world and you strolled right up to it and handed your soul over to it!”

    Now his face clouded over with anger and he crossed his arms over his chest, seeming taller somehow, more intimidating, unmoving. “That’s nothing to do with us.”

    “It has everything to do with us! You know I didn’t want this. I wanted out, but you tied yourself to it. If you really wanted me why would you tie yourself to a world I hate?”

    “I-”

    “Don’t bother. I already know the answer.” She shook her head, trying not to let the ice crack, to let the pain of his not loving her enough do any more damage. “You want your revenge more than you’ll ever want me.”

    “That’s not true.” He shook his head furiously. “Not-” he cut off, his expression turning to determined but before Ari had a chance to react he snatched a strong hand out around the nape of her neck and pulled her roughly against him, his mouth claiming hers in a kiss so deep she literally felt her knees buckle. Disorientated and confused, Ari’s body let his hard kiss pull her in and melt her insides. She clung to him, his heart pounding beneath her palm, the muscle of his strong bicep beneath her other. He tightened his grip on her when she unconsciously kissed him back, pressing her flush to his hard chest, one hand cradling her head, the other gripping her hip. He groaned as Ari’s tongue flicked against his, responding to the ever deepening kiss. Every piece of her felt tight and overwhelmed, shaken and weak.

    I’m not weak!

    Ari made a startled noise as she realized what she was letting him do. Again! She shoved him back with all her might, her Jinn energy sparking in her fingertips, ready to use against him if need be.

    Charlie staggered back, his chest rising and falling hard as he tried to catch his breath. “Don’t tell me I don’t want you.”

    Ari’s eyes widened ever so slightly at the vehemence in his words but she shook her head determinedly. “I didn’t say you didn’t want me. I said you didn’t want me more than you want revenge.”

    “You and it are two completely separate things. I don’t even… you’re making this more complicated than it needs to be.”

    “No. You did that for me when you became a sorcerer.”

    “So what… that means…?” He shook his head, anger etching back into his features along with panic. “You… we’re really not…?”

    Ari shook her head, her heart pounding as she gathered herself to voice something she couldn’t take back; something she didn’t want to take back. “I don’t want to be with you, Charlie. I love you, but I think the boy I was in love with died a long time ago…”

    “No.” He shook his head. “You can’t just switch it off.”

    “I’m not switching anything off. You’ve done too much damage to me.” Her eyes filled with tears now as all her old insecurities flooded back at her, compounded now by her dad’s last words. “I don’t want to lose your friendship — I don’t. I’m just saying that romantically — I could never trust you with my feelings.”

    The devastation on his face echoed into the harsh silence of the room. At least five tense and cold minutes passed before he nodded tightly at her. “Too much has happened to you. The Jinn. Your dad. And me — I’m not saying what you said isn’t true. I’ll have to live with that. I will give you all the space you need. And I will still be here as your friend as you go through all this crap.” He took a deliberate step forward, his voice lowering to a husky purr that knotted her stomach, “But I’m not giving up. One day, maybe next week, maybe next year… maybe ten years from now… you’ll be ready to let me in again. And I’ll be waiting, Ari. I’ll wait forever to make it right with you.” He nodded once more and brushed past her, his touch making her shiver. Her bedroom door closed behind him and she was left in the dim, lonely silence, her heart pounding hard against her ribs.

    I’ll wait forever to make it right with you.

    “Forever is an awfully long time.”

    10 - Loyalty’s Betrayal

    “Brother, what a splendid surprise.” The Gleaming King smirked at Red as he approached the small dais.

    The Red King glanced around the dark, small throne room with mock hauteur, knowing his condescension would annoy him. He eyed the half-naked dancing girls at his brother’s feet and sneered. “I see your plebian tastes have not improved.”

    A whoosh of violent air rushed around The Red King as his brother flew from his throne to land noiselessly and inches from him. His brutal dark eyes bore into his and he felt a surge of excitement at the thought of fighting Gleaming — as he was called among his brothers. “Have you just come here to insult me, Red?” He spat, his muscles bulging in warning as he gripped his hands into readied fists.

    “No, Brother. I came here to question you about your son’s whereabouts.”

    Gleaming took a step back, his expression turning thoughtful. Which son? And why does he concern you? he telepathed for privacy.

    Dalí.

    The Red King was not surprised when his brother’s features softened at the mention of his son. In this realm and all the others, it was well known Gleaming was fond of only five people, and they were all his children. What has my brilliant boy been up to now?

    Not fooled by his placid smile, The Red King crossed his arms over his chest and widened his stance. I think you know, he growled, the anger he felt over Ari’s attack feeding into every word.

    Gleaming shrugged. I may have told him about the Seal. I didn’t know it was a secret.

    Do you like making yourself sound like a fool?

    Red… be careful. You are in my house now.

    Your son has attacked the Seal.

    Ah, Gleaming nodded, his eyes glittering with humor, I thought that was why he left here in such an excited rush. My boy thinks he can wield the Seal? Ha, he is splendid isn’t he?

    Fighting the impulse to eviscerate his brother, The Red King put his hands behind his back, missing the jeans he’d swapped for leather trousers when he entered Mount Qaf. He could have just slammed his hands into his jean’s pockets instead of physically having to restrain them from wrapping around Gleaming’s throat. This particular brother had always rubbed him the wrong way. All he had to do was smile and The Red King wanted to kill him. They’d had many fights in their younger years and The Red King was almost certain that Gleaming was the one who started interfering in days that were not his jurisdiction first.

    Where is he?

    I don’t know. He won’t answer my calls. He frowned now. That’s not like him. You’ll have a difficult time finding Dalí; he’s more powerful than even he knows, and like all half-breeds very elusive. He laughed. Little shit didn’t give me his correct address. Doesn’t even trust his own father. Could a father be any prouder than I?

    The Red King rolled his eyes. You’re so twisted.

    Thank you. Gleaming chuckled at his expression. Oh please, you know all about twisted, Red. If I didn’t know you for the cold, heartless, traitorous little bug you are, I would suspect you had grown fond of the Seal. Even if it were true you’d betray her in a second if Father told you to.

    Cold violence settled over The Red King and his eyes blazed an unnatural color. He attempted to ignore Gleaming’s chilling truths and decided to try and play on his loyalty. The White King will not be amused by Dalí’s pursuit of Ari.

    It didn’t receive the reaction he’d hoped. Instead of cowering at the thought, Gleaming shrugged. I cannot control my son just as White cannot control his daughter.

    Realizing Gleaming would be unmoving in this, The Red King stepped back, leaving through the Peripatos without another word. Frustrated and knowing he should discuss this with his Father, The Red King stepped out of the Peripatos and into Azazil’s private receiving rooms. He was surprised to find his father there instead of in the throne room. He was even more surprised to discover that Azazil had turned his cold but elegantly appointed sitting room into a dark dungeon of torture. Blinking against the low candlelight, The Red King gave a low bow to his father as he turned from towering over the human who looked so small next to the seven foot Sultan. In his large hand he gripped a blooded blade. Blood smeared his bare torso and dripped onto the silk of his tailored suit trousers. His long white hair had been tightly roped back into a braid so that it would not get in his way. By his side sat a towering instrument that looked a bit like a bird bath. Sniffing the air, The Red King knew it was hot tar. He only had to look at the small human strapped to a St. Andrews cross to know that it was hot tar. It had burned into the man’s flesh, playing connect the dots with knife cuts and an assortment of abrasions. His face was pale and his eyelashes fluttered against the crest of his cheeks. He’d passed out from the pain. From the torture. The Red King wondered dispassionately what crime the human had committed.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire