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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 32)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(32) by Samantha Young
  • She glanced up from under her lashes to eyes shifting warily back and forth between the people they were talking to and her. A hush fell over the table as they all stopped talking, their bodies stiff with tension. A scowl found a place on her forehead but she managed a nod to ease Charlie’s concerns.

    “I hope you like stir-fry.” A young woman with dark hair and blue eyes smiled weakly down at Ari as she passed plates along the table.

    “Well if I don’t, I’ll just command you to make something else,” she answered dryly, too exhausted to play nice.

    Fallon choked on her gulp of water as everyone froze.

    Ari rolled her eyes. “Kidding.”

    “She is kidding,” Jai assured them, casting an admonishing look her way. “Ari has never used her ability against an innocent.”

    “Well, there was that baby who wouldn’t stop drooling on me.”

    Someone gasped.

    Jai sighed heavily and turned fully towards her, leaning around one of the guys. “What has gotten in to you?”

    Feeling as if he’d slapped her, Ari’s cheeks burned with humiliation. “Don’t talk to me like I’m a child.”

    “Stop acting like one.”

    “Jai, back off,” Charlie intervened. “Not here.”

    Jai snapped back in his seat. “She’s not usually like this,” he assured the team.

    Irritation at his constant high-handedness flashed through her. “Don’t apologize for me,” she growled. “They’re acting like I’m going to hurt them or something. It’s been a really long couple of weeks.” Stupid, weak tears began to burn her eyes. “I’ve lost a lot and yes it’s inadvertently my fault but I am not a bad person and I won’t be treated like some escaped mass murderer.”

    “Well said.” Fallon grinned, her eyes washing over her companions. “You can all stop acting like dufus’ now. Straight from the horse’s mouth — she’s not going to use her ability against us. Bread roll?” she offered a basket of them to Ari and Charlie.

    Ari smiled gratefully and took one. “I’m sorry.” She sighed, looking back up at the group who were shifting around uncomfortably now, traces of guilt in some (but not all) of their eyes. “I’m not usually… so vocal… I’m just… I just really want to find this guy.”

    “Right there with you.” Jacob nodded from the head of the table. “I phoned Michael.” Ari felt Charlie stiffen next to her at the name. “Michael is Fallon’s father and The Roe Guild leader. He’s going to look into the kidnappings for us and get back to us as soon as possible. For now, eat, get some rest, and tomorrow will be a brand new day.”

    Grateful for the reassuring smile the elder gave her, Ari nodded her thanks and held her plate up to the young woman who’d asked about the stir-fry.

    “Bryleigh is our best cook.” Fallon nodded at the blue-eyed woman.

    “Thank you.” Ari took her now full plate back from Bryleigh and waited for everyone else to get served. As soon as everyone was seated they all began to eat, the noise of conversation growing louder as they talked and laughed among one another, shouting down the table, and relaxing more as they forgot to be afraid of Ari. An ache of longing rippled across Ari’s chest as she watched them, a creeping hollow feeling ripping open in its wake as she thought about Derek. Neither of them had had that growing up — the big family. It might have been nice. As her gaze slowly drifted over the group it finally snagged on Jai’s eyes. He was staring at her, his expression seeming to say he was sorry and that he understood. Hating his mind-reading skills and his earlier behavior, Ari frowned at him and he looked away, returning to the distracting girl next to him who Ari had discovered was called Anabeth. She was the twins’ sister. Anabeth flashed her pearly whites at Jai again and placed a hand on his forearm as she leaned in to tell him something.

    Thinking unkind thoughts, Ari glanced quickly away only to stumble inwardly over Jack Hollis. An older member of the team, Jack ate his meal quietly, not looking up to engage in conversation but happy to remain withdrawn from the rest of the group. Ari felt a tug on the back of her shirt and glanced around Charlie’s back to find Fallon leaning around him.

    “Jack doesn’t talk much,” Fallon whispered, clearly having been aware of Ari’s people watching. “He distanced himself since his wife was killed by a Ghulah.”

    Flinching, Ari remembered her own fight with a Ghulah in Roswell a few weeks back.

    The Jinn’s female façade smiled up at her sweetly, her mouth covered in gore from where she’d been eating the boys. To Ari’s horror, her jaw elongated unnaturally, revealing huge sharp teeth. Ari closed her eyes, shutting out the image of blood and flesh dripping from the Ghulah’s mouth.

    “That’s awful,” Ari murmured, feeling instant empathy for the man.

    “Yeah,” Fallon agreed and for once the hint of irony she managed to attach to every word was missing. “He’s a good hunter though.” She slid back in her seat and asked Charlie something in a low voice. Whatever he said made her grin and he chuckled at her impish smile. When he reached for a glass of water, Ari caught his expression and was surprised by the look in his eyes. It was a look of appreciation for a pretty girl. It was a look of happy relaxation. Warmth flooded Ari, a strange mix of jealousy and relief taking hold of her as she imagined him moving on and being content with life. She so wanted that for him. Not this. Not a doomed relationship/fragile friendship, blood and revenge.

    Sighing inwardly, Ari reached for another bread roll, her fingers colliding with one of the twins’. She didn’t have time to wonder whether it was Callum or Matt. She was too busy yelping in pain as a blast of magic flew up her arm like an electric shock. Cradling her injured arm and biting back pain, Ari barely registered Jai crashing to his feet, plates clattering and a few glasses spilling with the movement. However, through the pain Ari felt the crackle of power surge in the air, a glow the color of ember radiating out from Jai’s hand into a swiftly moving arc that rippled the air. Everyone but Ari and Charlie were pushed back from the enchantment, their bodies bumping against the now invisible force. Ari’s stunned eyes lifted to Jai. He was trembling with fury, his own gaze on her cradled arm.

    “I’m fine,” she told him quietly, almost frightened by his intensity and the power he had at his fingertips. Somehow she tended to forget he was a full-blooded and very strong Jinn. Swallowing loudly Ari chanced a glance at the twins who glared at her with fear in their eyes. “I don’t think he meant it.”

    “I didn’t,” the twin who’d blasted her insisted, his wary eyes flickering between Jai and Ari before stopping on Jacob who looked as furious as Jai. “She just startled me. She makes me nervous.”

    “She has a name,” Charlie growled from beside her and she felt his hand press protectively on the base of her spine.

    “It’s OK.” Ari pulled away from him. Perhaps her sarcastic jokes earlier really had pushed these guys too far. They hated her. “He didn’t mean it.” The rest of the family looked unsure. Some glared at the young man, including Fallon, while others held sympathy in their expressions. “I really am sorry if I make you nervous. I don’t know how else to assure you that I have no intention of using my particular ability against you. The Seal isn’t something anyone should meddle with which is exactly why I’m here…To stop a dangerous person from attempting to use it. A dark sorcerer. So.” She winced, flexing her fingers and checking her arm was still functioning. “I’d really appreciate it if you all stopped looking at me like I just pulled a shotgun on you. Last time I’m saying it.”

    Gerard Roe stepped back from his place at the table, drawing all attention to him. “It won’t happen again, I promise. Callum apologize.”

    So it was Callum who’d hurt her. His face softened even though his brother Matt still gazed at her with half-lidded, paranoid eyes. “I really am sorry. It definitely won’t happen again.”

    “Jai, if you’d care to drop the enchantment?” Gerard eyed him with unquestionable respect and admiration. Ari tried to mask similar feelings as her guardian looked at her again.

    We can leave if you want.

    Warmed by the suggestion Ari gave a slight shake of her head. No. We need them. And I’m OK, really. Thank you.

    Jai’s jaw unclenched and the whole room seemed to slump as he withdrew his magic and slowly settled back into his seat. Anabeth began cleaning up the spills around them with simpering flirtatiousness that set Ari’s teeth on edge.

    “You’re such an idiot,” Fallon said, drawing Ari’s attention as she threw a roll at Callum. “Nervy much?”

    Callum blushed. “Shut up.”

    And just like that the team resumed their meal, skirmish and magical use over.

    Ari’s arm still burned for the next few hours but at least when she got up to help clear the table she was rewarded with a warm smile from Bryleigh and conversation from Megan.

    21 - No Ordinary Cowboys Herding Me to Revenge

    It was in moments like these The Red King found himself annoyed, and that annoyance was directed solely within. As he stood in the dead of night by his brother, The Glass King, both of them looking upon the lifeless body of Jack Hollis, Red was perturbed by his own pretentious musings. How could he, a being possible of great feeling, feel absolutely nothing after helping aid in the murder of an innocent, and an innocent with Jinn ancestry? Often beguiled by humans, Red at once admired and sneered at their ability to feel pain at the loss of people they did not even know. To be capable of such feeling must be a wondrous but stupid thing indeed for surely you would feel constantly helpless in the face of so much tragedy.

    Glancing up at his brother whose vibrant blue hair blew softly in the breeze, Red frowned. “You understand what is to be done?”

    Glass gazed back at him with those cerulean blue eyes of his, his face so stern in its perfection it was as if it had been carved from marble. His deep voice rumbled into the deserted night. “I told you I would do whatever you needed me to; whatever I can to help you and father.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire