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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 36)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(36) by Samantha Young
  • That had seemed to be the end of the discussion as Susan started chatting about her cousin Fallon’s obvious crush on Charlie. Rolling her eyes, Ari had quietly slipped from the room and had slumped down in an armchair at the fireplace, the sounds of the twins playing the game console soothing to her over anxious ears.

    “Did you hear about that Scottish Guild member?” Callum asked quietly, the hushed tone of his voice catching Ari’s attention.

    Matt shook his head, frowning at the game. “No. What Guild member?”

    “I heard Scott and Gerard talking about it this morning. Michael called this morning to say they had found out stuff about those kidnappings and would call back later when they had the info confirmed. He also told Gerard that some important Guild hunter in Scotland had just been sentenced to death in the Jinn courts.”

    Ari’s eyes widened, and totally appalled she leaned in further to listen.

    Matt stilled too, looking at his brother with sadness in his eyes. “What happened?”

    “He killed a Ghulah. The thing was munching on one of his Guild and he just lost it and killed it. He was taken to court, but apparently his defense wasn’t strong enough and there wasn’t a full-blooded Jinn to speak for him so he was sentenced to death.”

    “Shit.” Matt shook his head angrily now. “If it had been someone like Jai he would have gotten off with a slap on the wrist or a castration or something like that. But no… the tiniest bit of human blood and you got no chance of a fair trial.”

    “Yup.” Callum battered his control with his fingers. “There’s no escaping fate in the Jinn world.”

    His words pounded into Ari like bullets, propelling her back in her chair with a muffled gasp. Her chest constricted and she felt a panic attack come on for the first time in weeks. Her brain grew fuzzy and her breathing labored. There was no escaping fate. There was no escaping her own fate. Her future was hopeless. She knew that. She’d always known it. But for some reason today she couldn’t cope with it. Not wanting the guys to see her meltdown, Ari hurried from the main sitting room into the study, her feet coming to a halt when she saw Jai sitting at the desk, staring out at the rain. He twisted around to look at her and his eyes narrowed at her expression.

    “What’s going on?” he asked softly, standing up swiftly and striding towards her.

    Ari’s whole body buzzed with emotion at being the focus of his attention and she licked her lips unconsciously as his power washed over her. For a moment the panic had eased. Exhausted, Ari found herself giving in. “I’m calling a ceasefire on Ari’s Bitchfest 2011.”

    Jai smirked, his green eyes sparking with laughter. “Why?”

    She exhaled heavily, her hands and knees trembling. “Because I really need a friend.”

    Her skin tingled as Jai gently took hold of her hand and led her over to the leather sofa. He let go as they sat down next to each other and she felt the loss of his warmth within her supposed-to-be-temperate body. “What’s going on?” he asked quietly, his concern no longer irritating but needed. Wanted.

    “I’m not going to make it,” Ari told him, her voice shaking with the confession. “We’re chasing after Dalí and dodging my father, but I’m not going to make it out of this, Jai. Azazil has to have something planned. And with the kind of power I have it won’t be long before the entire Jinn world finds out about me and then what? I’m a goner. I’m so dead,” she choked, fear squeezing her lungs and numbing her legs.

    Recognizing the panic attack, Jai grabbed a hold of both of her hands, his rough touch drawing her panic out like he was sucking poison from a snake bite. “I am not going to let that happen,” he promised her fiercely, his eyes intense and voice low with emotion. “You need to believe that.”

    “I don’t want you to get hurt.” And she knew she was breaking her own promise, letting her feelings for him shine out of her eyes. But it seemed even after a few weeks of trying to put distance between them, even after the confusion and hurt she’d felt when he’d told her about Yasmin and how he had treated the young Ginnaye, Ari couldn’t let go. She knew she should. She knew it was the right thing to do.

    But she just… couldn’t.

    Jai swallowed and Ari knew if his hands were free they would be rubbing over his hair with discomfort. “I don’t want you to get hurt either,” he whispered the confession, his eyes falling to her mouth. His gaze sharpened as her lips trembled and she heard his breath catch. God, that sound was hot. The air charged instantly between them and their breathing grew shallow, their bodies tense. Jai leaned forward, his grip tightening around her hands.

    “There you are,” Gerard called, striding into the room and breaking Jai and Ari apart. Completely oblivious to the moment he’d ruined, Gerard stood over them. “We have word. Reports have been coming in over the last few weeks. Get this… missing girls around Ari’s age, all lesser human-living Jinn. Eight girls in total. The last two taken from Philadelphia. However, there was an attempt in Columbus, Ohio four days ago, but the girl got away.”

    Ari shivered. “He was in Ohio for me.”

    Gerard nodded, his face grave. “I imagine so. He might still be there. It was his last attempt and it is your home state.”

    “Yeah, but he had Jai and I attacked in L.A.”

    “Yeah, but that time there was no magical presence,” Jai mused. “In Sandford Ridge there was.”

    “Well, we know what kind of commercial buildings he rents out. His preferred locations, the clubs he visits, restaurants etc. We’ve got his patterns worked out. He likes a metropolis so we’re starting with Cleveland.”

    “So you don’t think he’ll be in Sandford?” Ari asked, worrying for the friends she’d left behind.

    “No, he hates small towns.”

    “So when do we leave?”

    Gerard made a clucking noise with his tongue as a regretful look fell over his face. “Well… before we go I’ve been asked by my Guild leader to deal with some business in Phoenix.”

    Jai frowned, shifting forward. “Business?”

    “One of our hunters got in a fight with an Utukku Jinn he was tracking and the bastard took off into Phoenix. The hunter is wounded but managed to track him to St. Francis Cemetery. It’s not too far from here. He needs back up.”

    Confused, Ari held up a hand. “Wait a minute. What the hell is an Utukka?

    “Utukku,” Jai corrected. “There are benevolent ones and wicked ones. The benevolent Utukku are called Shedu and they watch over the dead, taking up residence in graveyards, scaring off vandals etc, and the bad ones are called Edimmu and they haunt graveyards, attacking anyone who dares to enter.” He glanced up at Gerard with a weariness that was becoming too familiar to Ari. She wanted to hug her friend no matter how bitter that word tasted on her tongue. “I’m getting the impression you guys have to handle it before we can leave.”

    Annoyance ripped through Ari as Gerard nodded. They’d already been waiting so long (or at least it felt that way) to go after Dalí. She was desperate to be done with it so she could prepare herself for the next challenge that faced her.

    “Jai, I’d like you on the team,” Gerard said softly. “I promised Anabeth she could get a shot at the next big hunt, but she said she’d feel better if you accompanied her when she meets up with our Guild Member.”

    With a horrible feeling rising within her, Ari watched as Jai responded, “Of course.”

    “His name is Brett McConnell. He’ll be waiting at the entrance to the cemetery for you. Here are the directions.” Gerard handed Jai a piece of paper just as Anabeth strolled into the room. She looked excited as her eyes sought out Jai.

    “You ready to do this?” she asked, ignoring Ari as she had done the entire time Ari had been with The Guild.

    Jai nodded and glanced back at Ari. “I won’t be long.”

    Ari gave him a brittle nod, her eyes narrowing on Anabeth. True, she didn’t like the way the girl flirted with Jai, but there was something off about her energy today. She was bristling with it and her eyes kept darting around as if she were jacked up on drugs. “Be careful,” Ari murmured to her guardian, that ominous feeling inside her coiling into a tight ball. Something was off about this whole thing.

    Ari sighed, rubbing a hand down her face as the two of them left the room. You’re so paranoid.

    “He’ll be fine, Ari,” Gerard assured her, making her jolt. She’d forgotten he was there. “He’s one of the best.”

    23 - I’d stop my Heart to give yours the Beat

    The doors were locked, the windows sealed, the room dark except for one large candle on the floor between the two chaises. She lay across from The Red King, her long beautiful figure draped in a red dress that matched his hair. Her exquisite features were illuminated by the flickering flame and Red felt the familiar pull of longing. It was not often he got to gaze upon her. It was such a pity she was so pissed off at him.

    “You promised,” she reminded him softly, too afraid to raise her voice and be heard. Her strange eyes glittered with disappointment and fiery anger.

    Red shrugged, pretending to be unaffected. It was their way. Their game. Pretending while underneath both knowing how much they really felt. So much to feel. Any consequences were worth it to feel this way. “I’m doing what I can.”

    “You sent in your brother. The Glass King. Red, he feels nothing. Why him?”

    Frowning, Red tutted in disapproval. “Remember what he did for you. For us. And Glass feels much. Mostly loyalty. He is doing what has been asked of him.”

    “By you.” She glowered, her long curling dark locks falling across her silken shoulder as she huffed in annoyance.

    Shifting in his seat, Red had to force himself not to be distracted. “You know how it is. I am doing what I can.”

    “But Charlie?” her eyes narrowed with frustration. “As much as the boy irritates me, Ari cares for him. She has lost too much. And you are deliberately trying to push them apart. I’m beginning to suspect you sent that Marid to him, the one that granted his wish to be a sorcerer.” When he said nothing, unable to be deceive her, she shook her head. “Must she lose Charlie too?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire