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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 21)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(21) by Samantha Young
  • He shot a quick glance out of the corner of his eye to see what Ari was getting up to with Trey and was relieved to see they were sparring like normal. She was so pissed at him. And rightly so. Hell, he regretted telling Ari about Yasmin. It wasn’t that he wanted to be with Ari — he couldn’t be with her, it would cost him too much — but the thought of her thinking less of him really killed him. What the hell had he been thinking to blurt all that stuff out? What an idiot.

    Charlie’s punch connecting with his gut dragged Jai’s attention back to where it ought to be. As they fought on, Jai watched as Charlie grew lighter on his feet, his eyes blazing with excitement. For the most part he’d seemed happier these last two days than Jai had ever seen him, and unfortunately he thought he knew why that was. Stopping abruptly, Jai held a hand up to ward Charlie off. He squinted at him and sighed. “You sure you’ve got your magic under control, Charlie. You’re not… I don’t know… thirsty for more?”

    At his question the excitement dimmed in Charlie’s eyes and he scrubbed at the short hair he was clearly unused to. “I don’t need more or anything. But I would like to know about the talismans. About how to use them?”

    “That’s not even up for discussion.” Jai shook his head, worried and wondering how he could explain to Charlie that the magic could warp him, change him. It didn’t seem to be sinking in so far. “Listen-”

    “Jai!” his father’s voice boomed around the room as he marched into the training room, thankfully alone this time. Luca nodded at Ari and Trey as he headed towards Jai. Trey gestured to Ari to follow the Ginnaye leader. Jai snorted. His friend was such a nosy bastard. Surprisingly, Luca waited until all of them were clustered together before he spoke. “No word on The Guild yet,” he said and Jai felt his stomach sink. He’d really been hoping to get Ari the hell out of his father’s house as soon as possible. “However,” Luca eyed Jai carefully, “I have a client looking for one night security. A British actress is in L.A. and she’s been having difficulty… some death threats have been made against her. Now she and her boyfriend are only here for a few nights and tonight they’d like to go to a club without an entire security detail. I suggested I could provide a male and female security officer to go undercover as another couple with them as their security. It gives them security without it feeling like security, you know. Anyway, they liked the idea, but I have a problem.”

    Yeah, Jai didn’t like where this was going.

    “All my guardian’s young enough to pull this off are on assignment. If you take the job I will make sure Ari is protected here tonight. Yasmin is already good to go. I’d consider it a favor,” Luca said with an astonishing amount of politeness.

    The thought of being with Yasmin set Jai’s teeth on edge and he didn’t miss the way Ari’s face clouded over at the mention of the Ginnaye. However, his father rarely asked him nicely for anything. “Fine, I’ll do it.”

    Trey took an apologetic step forward. “Dude, I’d do it but I have a case tonight. But… uh, hey,” he glanced at Ari and Jai tensed at the mischievous glitter in his friend’s eyes, “I think you should take Ari instead. She’s come along great in these sessions and uh, I think this would be good defense practice for her.”

    “You, uh, think too much,” Jai snapped back at him.

    “No, now wait.” Luca was nodding along making Jai’s eyes narrow. “Would you be up for it, Ms. Johnson?”

    Don’t even think about saying yes, Jai telepathed and then cursed himself for a dumbass when her eyes flashed defiantly at him.

    “Sure.” She smiled at Luca. “I’d be happy to.”

    Jai glared at her. “No way.”

    “Ari’s more powerful than Yasmin,” Trey argued, seriously asking for Jai’s fist to meet his face. “Give her a chance to prove that to not only you, but to herself. I think she needs to know she can take care of herself, man.”

    “And if the Jinn come after her? The White King?”

    “No one knows she’s here. And I doubt anyone will be expecting her to go to an L.A. club.”

    Charlie was the only one who seemed unsure of the idea, but with three against him and one of them his own damn father, Jai sighed. “Fine.”

    “You’re not serious are you?” Charlie spun on him, his dark eyes blazing. “She could get killed.”

    “Don’t be so dramatic, Charlie,” Ari shooed him off and Jai almost felt bad for the guy.

    Charlie turned his glower on her. “I’m coming too.”

    “No you’re not,” Luca snapped.

    Ever the peacemaker Trey stepped around Jai and slung an arm across Charlie’s shoulders. “Dude, why don’t you come with me tonight? I’m guarding a hot singer at an awards ceremony. Lots of food, drink, and eye candy going around.”

    The idea was shot down by everyone but Charlie. Disgusted at being treated like a child, Jai was surprised Charlie didn’t take off for his room in fury. If he’d been in his shoes he probably would have for fear he’d end up hitting one of them.

    Crap, now he was sympathizing with Charlie. What the hell was happening to him?

    The details reluctantly decided, Luca and Trey left, Luca asking Jai to come see him about the security arrangements as soon as possible. That left Jai in a room with Charlie and Ari. Not comfortable.

    “I could have gone with Trey tonight,” Charlie argued suddenly. “The guy clearly wanted a hand.”

    Ari snorted. “I don’t think it’s your fighting skills Trey is interested in.”

    Jai shot her a look. Trey’s sexuality wasn’t something they talked openly about around here. If Luca knew (and it wouldn’t have surprised Jai if word had gotten back to him), he’d never told Trey’s father, Rik. Rik would go ballistic if he knew the truth.

    Ari threw his look back at him before turning to Charlie to answer his ‘Huh?’ “Trey might have a little bit of a crush on you.”

    Charlie’s eyebrows hit his hairline. “He’s gay?”

    “Bisexual,” Jai clarified a little defensively. “And he thinks everyone is hot so get over it.”

    Answering to Jai’s aggressive loyalty, Charlie raised his hands in the air, “I didn’t say anything.”

    Ari grunted. “Don’t take it personally, Charlie. Jai is just pissed to be lumbered with me tonight.”

    Ignoring the hurt in her eyes, Jai cursed under his breath, heading out of the training room and towards his father’s office. He could lie to himself and say he was just following Luca’s orders but the truth was he was running as fast and as far from Ari as he could. He needed all the distance he could get from her before they were crushed together on this stupid assignment.

    15 - Flameless Fire Still Burns All the Same

    Ari chewed on her lower lip as she stared at her reflection in the mirror anxiously. Having conjured a dress from her wardrobe back in Ohio, Ari was wondering if it was a little too much. The club was for over 21’s but ID wasn’t a problem since the Ginnaye had a ‘guy’. She’d have a fake ID printed up by the time they were ready to leave. Still, she wanted to at least look twenty one and this dress was the only one she owned that was a little more daring. It was a red strapless dress that came to mid-thigh and clung to everything. To lessen the impact, Ari was wearing little flats rather than heels, thankfully tall enough to get away with it. This had been a secret dress she’d kept from her dad. He would have killed her if he ever saw her in it. She remembered that one time in ninth grade she’d come back from a shopping trip with Mrs. Creagh wearing a brand new mini-skirt. Her dad had gone purple when he’d seen her in it. He’d driven her back to the mall the next day and replaced the skirt with a knee-length one she’d deliberately ruined in the wash. A gasp escaped Ari as pain exploded in her chest, like someone had punched their fist right through her. She stumbled back, the unexpected hit of grief consuming her entire body. Tears spilled over her eyelids and the burning stopper in the back of her throat unplugged, letting sobbing gasps sputter out of her. He’s gone. He’s really gone. Ari couldn’t stop picturing his smile. The way his arms felt wrapped around her. His deep rumbling laugh. She could have sworn she could even smell the scent of his cologne in the air. A box of tissues fell off the bedside cabinet to her feet where she’d crumpled. With blurry vision Ari grabbed at the tissues, giving a muffled thanks to Ms. Maggie for looking out for her.

    After the tears subsided, Ari sat on the floor for a while feeling utterly exhausted and not at all in the frame of mind to take on a security job. Really, what was Trey and Luca thinking? Well, she guessed Luca thought it might be good experience for her, but Trey was just playing matchmaker. If Jai hadn’t stubbornly telepathed to her to say no to taking on the assignment, Ari might have turned it down. But… she did so hate to be told what to do by that guy.

    Realizing she’d have to abandon her usual au-natural look because of the crying jag, Ari conjured her small make-up bag from home and went about trying to fix her puffy eyes and blotched cheeks with grief-stricken, trembling fingers. When she was done she tousled her long hair leaving it loose down her back and gave a sad nod to the mirror. She’d do, she guessed. Glancing down at the short hem, she pulled at it a little. Had it always been that short? Nervous gremlins awoke in Ari’s stomach as she wondered how Jai would react to the dress. The nerves weren’t just for his reaction though. The British actress they were ‘hanging out with’ tonight was none other than Jennifer Hadley, a rom-com sweetheart and all-round big deal. And Ari was to help protect her and her ‘civilian’ boyfriend Chris. Chris was just an ordinary guy — a construction worker — but he and Jennifer had been together for ten years, since before Jennifer became famous. Despite the massive changes in their lives and all the gorgeous men Jennifer worked with, she and Chris were still together. Ari thought it was pretty romantic.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire