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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 24)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(24) by Samantha Young
  • What about the photographers? My picture? That shouldn’t get out right? Dalí will know where I am. Why hadn’t she thought of that?

    Clearly Jai had. His assuring voice echoed in reply in her head, Don’t worry. I’m deleting them as we speak.

    Ari shot a look at him over her shoulder and felt the extra buzz of energy around him as he used his magic. He frowned at her and Ari winced inwardly. Jai had been right… she shouldn’t have come; she’d just given him extra work. It suddenly occurred to her that making her come was maybe just Luca’s way of adding to Jai’s responsibility. He didn’t want his son to fail, did he? No, she didn’t think so. Ari reckoned it was more about pushing Jai to his limits. Confused and annoyed at herself for accepting the assignment, Ari was glad when they finally made it in to the dim light of the club. They were instantly greeted by a tall, slick looking woman in a business suit. Ari noted Jai’s hawk-like gaze as they washed over the woman.

    “Ms. Hadley,” she had to shout a little over the music. “We have a private area roped off for you and your guests. I’ll have a waiter take your order.”

    Wow, Ari quirked an eyebrow as they threaded through the crowds, noting familiar faces of the rich and famous. Jennifer must have paid a fortune to get a V.I.P. section in a V.I.P club. Trying not to enjoy the throbbing pulse of Rihanna pounding around the club with its high vaulted ceilings and fake stain glass windows, Ari watched everyone around them surreptitiously as they moved through the crowds. They were led up a couple of steps to a plush, curved seating area where heavy damask curtains hung down the back of the couch. A beautiful rot-iron railing cut them off from the dance floor but still allowed them to watch everything that was going on. Politely allowing Jenn and Chris into the area first, Ari held back with Jai and almost jumped at the touch of his hand on her lower back as he pressed her gently forward.

    Once seated, a waiter appeared before them. “What can I get you?”

    “I’ll have Glenlivet and ginger ale.” Jennifer smiled up at him and Ari wondered what the hell that was.

    “Same here,” Chris added.

    Jai leaned back, appearing relaxed and unconcerned to the casual observer as his arm draped over the back of Ari’s seat. “Water for us.”

    If the waiter thought that was weird he didn’t say anything. He hurried away and Jennifer immediately turned to Ari and Jai, snuggling back into Chris’ side with a warm look in her blue eyes. “So, how did you two get into the security business? You look so young.”

    “Family business,” Jai replied, his tone clipped and business-like. Ari couldn’t help but frown at him.

    “Oh.” Jenn’s eyebrows puckered together in confusion. “You two are siblings?”

    “No.” Ari shook her head, appalled at the idea.

    Jai gave her a look before turning back to Jenn with patient but cool politeness. “Our fathers are friends and colleagues,” he lied.

    “How long have you been security officers?”

    “A while.”

    “Do you like it?”

    “Yes, Ma’am.”

    Ari had to stop herself from rolling her eyes as Jenn asked a few more questions before eventually giving up. She’d finally realized she wasn’t going to get much of a conversation out of Jai. With a shrug Jenn turned back to Chris and the two of them began talking quietly to one another.

    Scanning the room, Ari tried to pretend she was in fact a security officer for Bitar Security. What should she be looking out for? Crap. Why hadn’t she asked Jai this before they left? Wait. Why hadn’t Jai told her? Of course, Ari stiffened. He didn’t want her along in the first place and he’d rather keep her ignorant so that if anything did happen he could take care of it on his own without fear of her getting in the way.

    Bored ten minutes later, Ari wondered if Jai would think it was rude if she asked Jenn if she was working on any new films. Deciding it couldn’t hurt, she looked over at Jenn and flushed inwardly, forgetting her question. Jenn and Chris were making out. Heavily. There were hands everywhere. Squirming uncomfortably but glad she didn’t feel the heat of the club with her weird Jinn temperature, Ari threw a quick look at Jai to see if he’d noticed their clients were chewing on one another. Her heart stopped as her eyes clashed with Jai’s. He’d been watching her and he had this knowing smirk on his face that she wanted to smack right off.

    “Hey!”

    Their heads swiveled toward the voice. A tall guy who didn’t look old enough to be in the club grinned at them through the bars of the railing. He eyed Ari, his eyes glittering flirtatiously. Ari thought he looked vaguely familiar.

    “You wanna dance, pretty girl?” he asked, yelling over the music.

    A heavy arm came around Ari’s shoulders before she could respond and she felt herself drawn back into Jai’s chest. Her breathing faltered. “Beat it,” he growled at the guy. Ari didn’t know if the guy heard or not but he certainly understood the intent. He gave Jai a wary look and disappeared back into the crowds on the dance floor.

    The arm slid from her shoulders and Ari turned to Jai wide-eyed, her heart thudding at his possessiveness. Her guardian shrugged at her. “We can’t leave our post.”

    Ari contemplated punching him as that irritating little thing called hope deflated instantly. Slumping a little, she looked away from him only to catch Jennifer’s eyes. Jenn gave her a sympathetic smile, as if she saw right through her. Ari smiled sadly back at her. Boys sucked.

    “You know,” Jenn said loudly, grabbing a hold of Chris’ hand. “I want to dance.” She stood up and grinned down at Jai. “I guess that means you two better join us.”

    Damn every single matchmaker in this world. Ari closed her eyes briefly, hearing Jai’s reluctant sigh beside her. Feeling the breeze of movement as he stood too, Ari slowly rose to her feet, unable to meet his gaze. This was perfect. Just perfect.

    Jai grabbed her hand in his and before she could react he was pulling her ahead of Jenn and Chris, his eyes constantly checking behind him for his clients and then around them to make sure there was no one bothering them. With his black scowl he cleared a space on the floor for them and positioned Ari close to Jenn and Chris. She stared stupidly at him as his hands fell lightly on her waist. There was a whole body worth of space between them. It was as if the clock had turned back and she had ‘cooties’ all over again. Ari slapped her hands hard down on his shoulders drawing his startled gaze. They looked like they were in the fifth grade for God’s sakes.

    An indiscreet chuckle caught her ears and Ari glared at Jenn who smothered a laugh in Chris’ neck. When she looked back at Jai he was frowning down at her.

    “What?” he asked.

    Feeling annoyed and frustrated and bold all at once, Ari tugged his head down and brought her mouth to his ear. “Dance with me properly or I’m going to kick you in the nuts.”

    Relaxing at the sound of Jai’s choked laughter, Ari melted into him as he drew her closer. Much closer. His arms wrapped around her waist and she laid her head against his shoulder, her hands around his neck, fingers stroking his nape with a mind of their own. “We’re here to work,” Jai’s voice rumbled in her ear and she tried not shiver. “Not dance.”

    We can do both, she insisted.

    I’ll keep an eye on the happy couple, Jai replied, You watch the crowds.

    Yes, sir.

    He snorted at her insolence but didn’t push her away.

    At first… it was fine. Ari watched the crowds around them and Jai was watching Jenn and Chris. But as the music slowed, she felt Jai unconsciously pull her closer until their bodies were no longer just brushing together, but pressed tight. One of his hands slid slowly down her back to cup her hip, his other tracing lazy circles on her lower back. The breath whooshed out of Ari as all of her awareness focused on Jai — the feel of his chest under her head, the strong shoulders under her arms, the powerful arms holding her close, the unknown exotic scent mixed with sandalwood and rich musk that was all his own. If Ari turned just slightly she could nuzzle her nose against his throat. The heat built from deep within her as images of them together, kissing, touching… more… rioted around in her not so innocent mind, and as if he’d heard those thoughts Jai tensed against her, the hand on her hip gripping her hard. His heavy exhalation blew against her ear, sounding more like a groan of frustration than annoyance.

    “You ready for another drink?” Jenn’s voice peeled them apart and they separated quickly as though they had been caught doing something they shouldn’t.

    Ari’s heart pounded in her chest as Jenn grinned at them knowingly. Wow. OK, there was no denying the chemistry between them. “Water,” she managed.

    Back at the table the tension didn’t leave. It just grew worse. She could tell by the closed look on Jai’s face that he was angry at himself and possibly her. They were supposed to be on a job after all. A mass of nerves, Ari gulped down two glasses of water before she realized what a bad idea that was. After holding in the need to pee until she was in pain, Ari finally sighed to catch Jai’s attention.

    I need to go to the bathroom.

    He frowned and glanced around them before he looked back at her face. Seeing the discomfort in her eyes he nodded reluctantly. Be quick. I don’t like the idea of you wandering alone.

    I have Ms. Maggie, she assured him.

    Ari gazed at her flushed face in the mirror, glad to have the bathroom to herself. She’d locked the main door and would probably hear a pounding on it any minute but she needed just a moment alone to gather her wits. Her eyes were sparkling with excitement, green pushing at blue pushing at amber as they fought for some kind of exact coloring.

    “I am so unprofessional,” she muttered, goosebumps exploding across her arms at the memory of dancing in Jai’s arms. “Oh God.”

    Flames exploded behind her sending Ari careening into the mirror in shock. Acid burned in the back of her throat from fear as her father, The White King, stepped out of the Peripatos. She blinked, not quite sure it was real, that he was really there behind her and not her wicked imagination playing tricks on her. His implacable eyes met hers in the mirror and reality slammed into her with the force of a shotgun bullet. No, not here. She breathed, glancing quickly at the locked door. Ms. Maggie’s energy slipped out of the room and Ari frowned. The Ifrit had left her alone with him? Shock rang through her as she calculated whether or not she could make it out of the room before he got to her.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire