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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 35)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(35) by Samantha Young
  • Hands shaking a little, Charlie slid the chunky ring onto the middle finger of his left hand. Strangely it felt right there.

    “What the hell is going on?”

    At the sound of the familiar and unwanted voice, Charlie briefly closed his eyes before turning to face Jai. The Jinn looked huge standing at the bottom of the staircase, his face dark with contained anger as his eyes swept over the table before blasting into Jack and Charlie.

    “Now, look, Jai.” Jack held up a warning hand. “I’m just doing what’s best for Charlie.”

    “He’s just a kid,” Jai snapped, taking a forceful step towards them. “And one you barely know. What the hell do you or him know what’s best for him?”

    Irritation flared through Charlie as it always did when Jai referred to him as a kid. He didn’t know if it was bred from some kind of competiveness for Ari or if Jai really saw him that way. He hoped not… because deep down… well, Charlie guessed he wanted Jai to respect him. “I’m not a damn kid,” he growled, taking a step towards to the guardian. Jai was only a couple of inches taller than him after all. He could take him. Charlie rubbed a finger over his new ring, amazed by how much more confident he felt with power at his fingertips.

    Jai narrowed his eyes on the ring and guffawed, “Don’t even try it.” Then Charlie watched as the guardian’s gaze turned inwards and a sick feeling churned in his gut. Was Jai using telepathy? To contact… Ari—

    Fire burst into the room beside Jai and Ari stepped out of her beautiful golden flames, flames that seemed so much brighter than the flames of other Jinn Charlie had seen using the Peripatos.“What’s going on?” she asked softly, and Charlie hated the way she sidled up to Jai, her body pressing unconsciously close to his. Charlie shoved down the thought that the two of them looked right together. They weren’t right together, he shook his head inwardly. After all this, he was still determined to show Ari that he was the one for her, not Jai. He still had time. Charlie had to believe that. And right now that time was being wasted when he could be learning more about the talismans.

    “Jack’s teaching Charlie to utilize talismans and seals and stones to power his magic.”

    Her beautiful features tightened instantly, her eyes darkening as they dropped to the table, to Jack and then to Charlie. Her lashes lowered as she eyed the necklace he wore. Her body had completely tensed and Charlie could almost taste her fear. Guilt trickled into his conscience and he shifted uneasily. This wasn’t easy on her, he knew that.

    But then, as if she literally shrugged the upset out of her, Ari’s limbs loosened and her expression smoothed out so that when she finally met his gaze there was nothing in her stunning eyes. A knot of apprehension formed in Charlie’s gut. That was the second time Ari had looked at him like that. Like she didn’t care anymore.

    “Do what you want.” And with that one sentence she stepped back into the Peripatos, the flames engulfing her and hissing her departure just as Fallon hurtled down the staircase. She stared at Jai and then Charlie, her cute pixie face alight with excitement. Fallon was forever complaining about boredom.

    “What? What did I miss?”

    Looking just as confused as Charlie, Jai rubbed the back of his neck. “Apparently nothing.” He sighed and glanced over at Jack. “Make sure he’s alright.”

    “I’m teaching him control,” Jack assured him.

    With another heavy sigh, Jai turned and tread silently up the stairs. Charlie frowned at the guardian’s light-footedness. That’s how they didn’t hear him creep up on them.

    Fallon stared after Jai with a look of bafflement on her face and then skipped down the last few steps, her short dark hair dancing up and down with her movement. She walked towards Charlie with a quiet sensuality that appealed to him. She was one of those girls that tried hard not to be girly but was innately graceful and feminine. She was the kind of girl Charlie would have been all over during his pre-Ari epiphany phase. Except… there was something about her that would have made it hard for Charlie to walk away. He liked her quick, smartass comments and her dry outlook on life. She didn’t take things too seriously like Ari did sometimes and she didn’t make Charlie feel bad about the whole sorcerer thing. It was also kind of nice that she hadn’t known Charlie before Mike. Always flirting with him and making him laugh, Fallon seemed to like who Charlie was now, and wasn’t always comparing him to who he had been before.

    “Ah, I see.” Fallon’s eyes washed over the table. “Jack’s teaching you how it’s done.”

    Charlie sighed. Fallon had also become pretty close to Ari over the last week. “You going to rag on me about it?”

    The young Guild hunter’s dark eyes widened. “Hell no.” She grabbed up a chunk of lapis lazuli. “I’m joining in.”

    Charlie grinned, watching as Fallon cast an enchantment with the rock, turning everything in the room the color of the stone, including herself. Only Jack and Charlie remained normal. The air was thick with the smell of wet paint.

    “Where did she go?” Charlie asked Jack, his eyes straining to find her. Suddenly he laughed as her eyes popped open against the forever blue. She had blended into the staircase.

    “This really has no purpose.” Fallon chuckled. “It’s just fun.”

    Jack exhaled heavily. “Fallon, I’m trying to teach him real things, not stupid parlor tricks. Not to mention you just drained who knows how many pots of paint of that color from every hardware store in the vicinity.”

    The blue began to drip from everything, flooding to the floor in a river that bubbled and popped until it was completely gone. Fallon stood before them blue-free. “Yeah, but the parlor tricks are a riot. And it’s only a little paint, it’s not like I stole gold or anything.”

    Her smile was infectious and Charlie’s blood heated with the excitement of having so much power in his control he could just use it to mess around when his revenge was over. A little voice in the back of his head whispered the words ‘consequences’. He pushed it back, not wanting anything to dampen his spirits.

    Together he and Fallon put their heads together over the table, listening as Jack taught him as much as he could. All thoughts of Ari’s earlier cold indifference melted out of existence, the knot in his stomach transforming to little moths of anticipation.

    Hours later, Ari stared into the fire as summer rainfall battered against the glass windows. The room was dark from the bleak sky outside and Ari’s eyes had automatically tracked to the fire that had been lit. It really hadn’t been needed, it was still warm outside, but Matt had decided a fire would be cozy. The twins were on the sofa playing the Wii. Ari was in the room with them but her mind was downstairs in the basement where Fallon and Jack were teaching Charlie to harness his gifts. She felt sick with worry and was exhausted pretending she didn’t. Fallon had assured her that teaching Charlie to control his gift was the best thing for him, but all Ari could think about was what the power and its addictive properties in a half-breed had done to someone like Dalí.

    Ari had been sitting with the women in the kitchen for a while before needing some solitude. Everyone was a lot more at ease with her and Ari had used the time to take her mind off Charlie. As Bryleigh had cooked dinner, Megan, Susan and Ailidh had sat around the breakfast table chatting away about this and that. Ari had found a break in the conversation to ask, “So when do you think we’ll get word about Dalí?”

    “Soon.” Megan had smiled at her sympathetically, seeming to understand Ari’s impatience and need for action. “I know it can get boring waiting around for new leads but we take turns, working in groups of three or four. Minimalizes the boredom.”

    “I think the rat bastard has definitely moved on,” Susan had added, swinging a carrot stick around to punctuate her words. “There’s no trace of him here. I was out yesterday with the twins, and Aidan, Brechin and Anabeth are out today. They called in to say… nada. Again.”

    “Well, if he’s upped his game from robbery to kidnapping and possibly murder, I don’t see why we should be left alone to deal with that?” Ailidh had glowered, clearly uneasy at the thought.

    Confused at her meaning, Ari had asked, “What do you mean?”

    Megan had explained. “Like all Jinn, we have different levels of power within our Guild. We categorize our targets so we can send the appropriate Guild hunter after it. With nasty, dangerous Jinn like Ghulah’s, Labartus, Nisnas, Marids, Shaitans etc we keep tabs on them once they cross our radar. We have hunters follow them, trying to prevent them, as much as possible, from inflicting damage on the human world. We can’t kill them without reprisal, so we just keep tracking them. When they flee the country, the hunter follows them until the next country has been alerted and can take over the hunt with one of their own Guild. With sorcerers it’s different. They’re more elusive because, like us, they’re part human so their energy is diluted. Since we can kill them without reprisal from the Jinn courts, we hunt them and when we find them we kill them. Again, if it’s a particularly brutish son-of-a-bitch we make sure the team hunting them has among them our most powerful.”

    “And you guys don’t have that person here?” Ari had asked, surprised.

    Bryleigh had shaken her head as she’d rolled out pastry for the pies she was baking. “Fallon’s father is the most powerful among our Guild. He usually deals with murderers etc. Fallon will be almost as strong as him one day, but she’s still very young.”

    “I don’t get it. You knew Dalí was the son of a King, right? So why didn’t you send Fallon’s dad after him?”

    “We didn’t know Dalí was the son of King,” Megan had disagreed with a frown. “It was just rumor. And considering every sorcerer on the planet claims to be related to the Sultan or a Jinn King, we didn’t really believe the rumors. But it doesn’t matter, because we do have strong hunters with us. Jacob.” Megan had nodded in assurance. “And my Gerard, and Jacob’s nephew, Brechin. Plus… we have a Ginnaye among us now. A full-blood. Jai’s more powerful than two of us put together.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire