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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 31)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(31) by Samantha Young
  • Scattered on the sofa and standing uncomfortably in many of the empty spaces of the overly large room was the team members. All fifteen of them. Heart pounding, Ari’s eyes washed over each one of them and felt her stomach begin to knot, those evil little gremlins taking up knitting inside of her just to torture her. The expressions on hunters’ faces varied from suspicion, unease and wariness.

    They are not happy to see me, Ari telepathed to Jai, trying to keep her nerves out of her voice.

    They’re just unsure. Give them a minute, he reassured her and she felt him step closer to her. Charlie followed suit and Ari hated how much their presence eased her.

    “Ari,” Gerard grabbed her attention, “Let me introduce you. Guys, this is Ari and…” he shot a questioning look at Charlie.

    “Oh, I’m Charlie.” He nodded coolly at them all. He jerked a thumb in Jai’s direction. “That’s Jai, Ari’s guardian.”

    “Jai.” Gerard held out a deferential hand to him and Jai shook it firmly. “I’ve heard all about you. You’re very well respected among your people. It’s a pleasure to have you here.”

    In her bad mood it took everything Ari had not to feel churlish that Jai was greeted so pleasantly. OK, maybe a little churlishness crept in.

    “Guys, this is Jai.” Gerard swept a hand out to the room. “Jai, Ari, Charlie, this is fifteen members of The Roe Guild of New Jersey. Starting on the far left of the sofa is Jack Hollis. Then Bryleigh and her husband Scott Becke. Jacob Ballendine, our elder and supervisor. He’s also Bryleigh’s father. Over by the dining table is Susan Roe and her brother Aidan — my cousins. Over there is James Becke, Scott’s brother, and beside him Ailidh Ballendine, Bryleigh’s older sister. Right here is Anabeth Hollis and her twin brothers Matt and Callum. They’re also Jack’s little cousins. And finally, standing next to my wife is Brechin Ballendine, Jacob’s nephew.”

    Did you get any of that? Ari asked Jai, completely overwhelmed.

    Yes, but I’m trained to note the details.

    Smart ass.

    As if sensing how overwhelmed she was, Fallon smirked at her. “There isn’t a test or anything. If one of us talks to you just politely ask, ‘who the hell are you again?’”

    Ari grinned at her gratefully. Fallon was the only one so far not acting like they’d just let a leper into their community. The girl’s dry sense of humor and ease around Ari made her feel more confident. These people were afraid of her, of what she was capable of. Well, they didn’t know squat about her and the new Ari was fed up of people trying to intimidate her into acting the way they wanted her to. She stepped forward away from the security of Jai and Charlie’s nearness and drew her shoulders back, eyeing the group of people whose ages ranged from late teens to early fifties. Sensing a particularly strong amount of power from Gerard and the older man called Jacob, Ari directed her words at them. “I need to find Dalí as soon as possible and I’ve heard you’ve run out of leads here in Phoenix. That’s probably because he’s changed his M.O. Dalí wants me, not money. And the only way to get me is to incapacitate me. We were attacked by his human lackeys.” Ari drew breath, taking her time, projecting control and calm. “They tried to take out my guardian with a drug containing harmal harnessed as a paralytic. The Red King believes Dalí had to be experimenting on real Jinn to perfect this drug and that he’d most likely choose human-living Jinn since they’re not as strong, thus easier to kidnap. I think you should start there. See if there have been any reports in the US lately — a pattern — that might lead us to him.”

    The Roe’s stared at her a moment too long, seeming a little stupefied by her take-charge attitude. Finally Jacob strode forward. “I’ll call it in, see what we can find.”

    “Thank you.”

    He nodded politely at her, the expression on his weather-beaten face now a war between wary and curiosity. “Fallon will show you to your rooms.”

    “I think there must be something about this outfit that says ‘Bellhop’,” Fallon complained lightly, easing past her aunt and crooking a finger at Ari and her companions to follow.

    You did good, Jai told her softly.

    They’re scared of me.

    They’ll come around.

    Not so sure and feeling more upset being around two people who knew her so well as to know how upsetting she’d find people not liking her before they even knew her, Ari was glad when Fallon dropped Charlie and Jai off at the room they’d be sharing with the twins and led her to a smaller room right at the back of the house. The room was small, but it had a gorgeous patio door that led right out to the pool.

    “You’re sharing with me.” Fallon collapsed back onto one of the twin beds. “I hope you don’t mind.”

    “No, it’s fine. It’s good.” Eyeing the pale walls and colorless bare room, it was any wonder that the collection of jewels and silver on the whitewashed dresser caught Ari’s attention. “You have a lot of jewelry.”

    Fallon bounced up off the bed and strode over to the necklaces and bracelets, fingering them lovingly. “They’re talismans. The metals and stones fuel my energy, my magic.”

    “Oh. That makes sense.”

    Fallon grinned wryly at her as Ari dumped her bag on the spare bed. “You’re not at all what I was expecting.”

    “Question mark?” It was something Rachel used to say in the tenth grade when she didn’t quite understand something. Ari had no idea what made her say it then. Homesickness maybe.

    Chuckling, Fallon shook her head, spikes of dark hair flying around her oval face. “When we were told about you, we were like whoa… so don’t mind the scaredy-cats out in the sitting room. I thought you’d be like… I don’t know… freaky-looking. Then you and those guys turn up looking like the cast of a hit vampire TV show and blew my preconceptions all to hell. You’re eighteen, right?”


    “Me too. Is the guy?”

    Ari frowned. “What guy?”

    “Silversuns t-shirt guy. He’s hot. I mean, so is the other guy — if you’re into that stern-faced, bad-ass reputation, outrageously good-looking type. I prefer the unkempt hottie with the tattoo.”

    At the thought of Fallon and Charlie hooking up, Ari’s stomach clenched. She didn’t know if it was just that her body was so used to reacting like that, or if a part of her was still jealous at the thought of Charlie being with another girl. Surely not.

    Her continued silence made Fallon frown. “Is there a thing there? Between you two?”

    “Not anymore. No.” Ari shook her head and at Fallon’s disbelieving look, she shrugged weakly. “It’s complicated.”

    “So I should back off?”

    If Ari told the girl to back off and that got back to Charlie, he’d surely get the wrong message. No. It was time to finally let him go. “No. Charlie’s free to date whoever he wants. He’s just going through something right now so tread carefully.”

    “The sorcerer thing?”

    Ari’s mouth fell open. “The Red King told you?”

    Fallon shrugged. “It’s no big deal. We’re just keeping an eye on him. Actually, when you think about it, he’s in the best place he can be. Here he can learn to control his abilities.”

    “I’m not sure that was the idea,” Ari argued, worry eating at her despite her promise not to care what Charlie did with his life. “It’s better if he doesn’t use his magic too much.”

    “Well, you’re the boss I guess, but I would have thought you’d want him controlling it not it controlling him.”

    Feeling annoyed at being questioned, Ari turned away to look out at the tranquil pool. It looked so inviting. “He’s learning to control his defensive magic. That should do for now.”

    “He should learn how to use talismans, Ari. Magic within someone who’s got human blood is a powerful thing. It can be a like a drug if you don’t learn to control the psychological effects of having it in your system.”

    “You don’t understand what he wants it for. If you did, you’d agree with me.”

    “Does he want to use his magic?”

    Ari curled a lip. “Of course he does. He made a wish to get it.”

    “Well, he looks like a big boy to me. He can make up his own mind.”

    Turning her head to stare impassively at Fallon, Ari was inwardly amazed by Fallon’s casualness towards the whole thing. And then she remembered it was because Fallon didn’t know Charlie enough to know he had an addictive nature. She didn’t know him well enough to care.

    And wasn’t that how Ari was supposed to be acting now. “You know what? You’re right.”

    Fallon smirked. “Enough hottie talk. Let’s eat.”

    “Now?” those nervous gremlins did synchronized knit right loops in her stomach. She’d only just gotten there and now she was expected to sit down for dinner with people who, if not actively disliked her, were afraid of her.

    “Relax. It’s not like we’re going to eat you.” Fallon strode from the room and Ari could do nothing but follow. Instead of sitting around the dining room in the main sitting room, Fallon led Ari into the biggest kitchen she’d ever seen. Crisp white units, stainless steel and slate tiling gave the room an ultra-modern, crisp, clean, but cold look. An island in the middle of the room was covered in chopped up vegetables, cutlery and a wok, and at the far end of the room was a huge kitchen table with benches. Seated around the table was the entire team, including Jai and Charlie. Jai was talking to a pretty girl around Ari’s age who was grinning so widely at him she reminded Ari of the Cheshire Cat. She giggled at something he said and Jai smirked. Ari eyed the girl’s red hair and decided there and then she no longer cared for red-heads.

    “Hey.” Charlie smiled warmly up at her as she approached the table with Fallon. Fallon took the empty space on his left so Ari squeezed in next to him on the right. “You OK?” he asked under his breath as she got settled.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire