• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 16)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(16) by Samantha Young
  • “We’ll fly the old-fashioned way since Charlie can’t use the Peripatos,” Jai growled, not looking at either of them.

    “Well, say it like it’s my fault why don’t you,” Charlie grumbled.

    Ignoring him instead of punching him, Jai waved a hand over an empty space on the floor and conjured a bag of Charlie’s clothes from his bedroom. He then did the same for Ari. “You’re all packed. Let’s go.”

    He brushed past them, feeling their gaping stares on his back. He shook off a shiver, feeling vulnerable. Jai hated feeling vulnerable. “Hurry up,” he snarled, pulling the front door open.

    “What the hell is his problem?” he heard Charlie mutter behind him, the sound of bags being picked up the only thing cooling Jai’s growing temper.

    “Just leave him,” Ari replied quietly and the understanding in her voice made him turn around and glare at her as she walked towards him. He didn’t want her to understand. Why had he told her that stuff about his family? He was an idiot. Even worse, Ari didn’t return his glare. Her eyes were soft on him as she passed him, heading for the SUV in the driveway.

    Charlie nudged by him without a word, clearly taking Ari’s advice to heart.

    Ari’s quiet understanding on a day when she’d just buried her dad made Jai feel like the biggest a**hole. The burn inside him cooled a little and he took a deep breath. It wasn’t her fault his family was screwed up. Now was not the time to lose it. He wasn’t fourteen anymore. He was a grown man. He needed to act like it. Feeling a little calmer, Jai pulled the house door shut and locked it magically. When he turned around Ari still hadn’t gotten into the car. She was gazing at the house, her eyes glistening with tears. This might be the last time she ever saw it. Feeling even more of a tool, Jai walked slowly towards her. “Have you got everything you need from in there?”

    She nodded slowly. “If I remember something I can just conjure it, right?”

    “Right.”

    “And Ms. Maggie’s already in the car.”

    “What?” Charlie squawked from inside the SUV, glancing around for the invisible Ifrit like he was trying to shake off a spider.

    An unexpected chuckle was pulled out of Jai at Charlie’s comical frantic freakout and he caught Ari’s own reluctant smile.

    “You don’t mind Ms. Maggie tagging along, do you?”

    It wasn’t the greatest thing having a Jinn hiding around in the Cloak where he couldn’t see her. When he’d first attempted to get into Ari’s house using the Cloak himself, he’d stumbled into the invisible Ifrit. Both surprised to find another Jinn in the home, the Ifrit had begun screaming at him telepathically to get out. She was a shrew and she’d kept up a constant telepathic rant until he’d decided it best to wait outside until The Red King said it was alright to reveal himself to Ari. The Ifrit had seemed pretty protective of Ari and The Red King seemed certain of her, and despite Jai’s curiosity over who the Ifrit was and why she was so attached to Ari, he’d let it slide since the Jinn female made Ari feel safe. “Not if you need her.”

    Their eyes caught and held and that connection, that hold, that pull twanged between them for a moment too long. Clearing his throat, Jai opened the passenger door for her, breaking their gaze. He thought he heard her sigh in disappointment as she slid into the car and Jai wished like hell Ari wasn’t such an open book. This would be so much easier if she didn’t care. And somehow, knowing she no longer wanted Charlie romantically, made it even harder to ignore whatever this was between them.

    Psyching himself up, Jai jumped into the driver seat of the SUV. This was going to be interesting to say the least.

    12 - A Bitter Bitar will Break Your Heart

    It was impossible to believe all that had happened in a day. Had she really buried her dad only hours ago? Had she really been attacked by humans working for some dark sorcerer who was distantly related to her? Ari felt ripped apart. The plane ride to L.A. hadn’t helped. After calling his mom to pawn her off with a lie about how Ari really needed him and they’d decided to go on a road trip together to get away for a while, Charlie had grown quiet and wouldn’t even look at her. Ari didn’t know if he felt bad about lying to Mrs. Creagh (Ari sure did), but there was really nothing his mom could do about them taking off since they were both eighteen. He promised his mom he’d check in with her, but by the look on his face when he got off the phone, Mrs. Creagh was quite rightly not happy. As for the other guy still left in Ari’s life, Jai was obviously anxious about bringing Ari home to meet his family, and from what little he’d told her, she could understand that worry. His family treated him terribly. Too much had happened and now here she was standing on a black and white checkered entrance hall floor in a huge Spanish style mansion in the Palisades looking at an attractive man in his early fifties and wondering how the hell life had brought her here. The only comfort she had right now was the familiar hum of energy next to her that told her Ms. Maggie was right there beside her.

    The home was modern and airy and if Ari was being honest, a little cold. There was this weird abstract painting of a woman hanging over the door and brittle potted plants with no flowers dotted here and there.

    “Sir, this is Ari Johnson and her friend Charlie Creagh,” Jai introduced them and Ari frowned at his demeanor. He was super efficient, stoic guy times a hundred all over again, like he had been when they’d first met. She found herself having to wipe the little snarl from her mouth when she nodded a greeting at Luca Bitar. She didn’t like Luca on principal.

    Luca nodded briskly back. “Good to meet you both. His Highness arrived hours ago to let me know you were on the way. I’m sorry about your adoptive father, Ms. Johnson.”

    Her usual response would have been to tell him to call her Ari. Instead she acknowledged his sympathies with a polite nod.

    “And this is the sorcerer?” Luca now turned to Charlie, his eyes heavy with suspicion as they ran the length of him. Ari felt uneasiness settle into her stomach. She’d forgotten that the human-living Jinn, like the Ginnaye, believed all sorcerers to be dark. When Luca’s eyes narrowed and Charlie’s fists clenched at being looked upon in such a way, Ari felt her body moving towards Charlie to protect him.

    To her and Charlie’s surprise, Jai beat her to it. “Charlie is under my protection and guidance and is not to be harmed,” Jai’s voice boomed around the hall with authority and while she felt her insides melt at his proclamation (considering he and Charlie didn’t like one another), Ari almost missed the glitter in Luca’s eyes. That glint surprised her and she had to take a moment. Luca looked proud of Jai. Yes, proud. He cleared the expression from his handsome, rough-hewn face just as quickly as it had appeared but Ari was definitely not mistaken. She threw Jai a quizzical look. By the way his body bristled with tension she knew he hadn’t seen the look in his father’s eyes. Perhaps he was blind to the positive. Perhaps he misunderstood how Luca really felt about him. As Jai and Luca discussed what was happening and what they needed, Ari mused over this. Despite everything, she felt a need to fix this.

    No, her inner voice snapped at her, telling her to mind her own business. She was looking for a distraction from the grief, and messing with Jai’s family was not the way to go.

    Footsteps echoed down the hallway bringing Ari out of her thoughts and quieting the discussion between Jai and Luca. A tall woman rounded the wide spiraling staircase and drew to a stop at Luca’s side. She looked to be in early to mid-fifties and had masses of dark curling hair and was still very attractive. Her trim figure was wrapped in a tight denim shirt tucked into skinny jeans that looked painted on. Calf-length flat leather boots completed the outfit that screamed, ‘I’m tough but I’m hot too’. There was arrogance in her eyes as she looked the trio over.

    “This is my father’s wife, Nicki Bitar,” Jai introduced in a flat voice.

    The woman didn’t even look at Jai, and Ari felt her fists curl at her sides as she remembered what Jai had told her. What kind of woman could blame a baby for the actions of its parents?

    Bitch.

    Jai threw her a startled but amused look and Ari blanched realizing she’d telepathed that at him.

    Sorry, she apologized quickly.

    He smirked at her and looked back at his father. Don’t be.

    “The Seal and the Sorcerer,” Nicki murmured, the soft Irish lilt at odds with her demeanor. “It sounds like a fantasy novel. Can it be trusted?” she sneered at Charlie before her assessing gaze landed on Ari. She looked her over thoroughly, seeming annoyed by what she found.

    “Can you?” Ari snapped back and the woman’s eyes widened.

    Luca shot Nicki a quelling look and she made a huffing sound. “Fine. We must not upset The Red King’s Importants, must we?” her saccharine voice set Ari on edge. “I’ve had the maids prepare three guest bedrooms on the third floor, east. You know where they are, boy.” She made a vague gesture at Jai before turning on her heel and walking away.

    Boy? She called Jai ‘boy’? That now familiar ugliness built inside Ari, that little knot of blackness that seemed to detach itself from her, power crazy and reckless. Ari drew a deep breath, fighting it down. She could not use her powers against people unless it was a life or death situation. The Red King’s explanation of the consequences had been enough to scare her out of even thinking about it. Except for in moments like these. Exhaling, Ari tried to relax, letting her gaze flicker back to Luca. He was watching her carefully and his eyes seemed to say he knew exactly what she’d been thinking. Instead of flushing with embarrassment like she would have done before, Ari glowered back at him, her eyes saying ‘how dare you let her treat him like that’.

    Having got the message, Luca cleared his throat and turned back to his son. “I’ve put feelers out with my contacts within The Guilds but they’re a paranoid bunch. I hope to have word back within a day or two but they keep cross-checking with one another to make sure I am who I say I am and they are who they say they are and so forth and so on. In fact, a day or two is an optimistic timescale.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire