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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 41)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(41) by Samantha Young
  • His hand slipped from Ari’s grasp and she shivered again, but this time from fear. He looked down at her, his expression careful and closed again. “We’ll walk you to your room where you have to promise to stay for the rest of the night.”

    “I promise.” Ari sighed heavily. “Just don’t do anything stupid like getting yourself killed. I’ll be majorly pissed.”

    26 - It was so Obvious Once I Knew

    Jai’s heart was banging against his ribs, the blood rushing in his ears, his whole body alive with the beat and adrenaline. He’d been this way since he’d spoken to Ari in the conference room. Watching her, watching the way her green/blue/gold/hazel/ eyes glimmered with worry for everyone, for him, as she listened to The Guild plan their attempts to catch Dalí without her, this overwhelming feeling had crashed over him, freezing him to his chair. Then she’d looked at him, her emotions open and bleeding on the table. Jai had never felt more wanted or needed in his life. And he knew then he would never want or need anyone the way he wanted and needed Ari. This whole time he had been trying to convince himself that he just cared about her as he would a friend. That he’d be happy as long he knew she was safe and alive somewhere, even if he didn’t get to see her. But that wasn’t true. The thought of some other guy getting to touch her, kiss her, protect her… it… it killed him. It physically hurt.

    He struggled with himself constantly, his emotions warring with the need to maintain his reputation with the Jinn world and with his father, and with wanting Ari in every way he could get her. He thought he’d been doing the right thing staying away from her, for surely she deserved someone who wanted her enough to give it all up for her. But her saving his life seemed to finally make sense of all his introspection of the last few weeks and finally Trey’s argument began to make sense. Was he really willing to lose her because of his reputation with a father who had never cared the way that she did? Ari had thrown herself into the line of actual fire to save him and her last words when she thought she was dying had been to protect him. How many girls in the world were that brave, passionate, smart and beautiful? How many girls were that extraordinary?

    And she wanted him.

    Trey was right. He’d be a dick to pass that up.

    “This place blows,” Fallon yelled over the music from the dark corner they stood in, drawing Jai’s thoughts back to the matter at hand.

    Before he could talk to Ari about the two of them he had to get rid of the son-of-a-bitch who was hunting her. Club A was a pretty large R&B club in the Warehouse District. So far, Jai hadn’t seen anything suspicious and didn’t feel the presence of Jinn. Then again, Dalí may have been powerful enough to harness the Cloak. Standing in the corner of the club was making them too inconspicuous.

    Jai nudged Fallon forward. “Well try and like it. You and Charlie are going to dance your way across that floor. You’re looking for a male, mid-to-late twenties, wearing a talisman… most probably an emerald. Eyes open.”

    Fallon held out a hand to Charlie and then quirked an eyebrow at him when he wouldn’t move. “I don’t have cooties.”

    Charlie relaxed, grinning back at her. “I’m just not a very good dancer.”

    “I don’t know.” Fallon bit her lip, pulling on Charlie’s t-shirt. “You look like you know what to do with your hips.”

    With a raised eyebrow, Jai watched in bemusement as Charlie chuckled, replying as he followed her, “You have no idea.”

    When did that happen? Jai wondered, watching the two of them dance intimately together, smiling down at each other every now and then before glancing casually around for their suspect. It wasn’t that Jai hadn’t noticed the chemistry between them, but he hadn’t thought Charlie would really take Fallon up on her obvious flirtations. What had changed his mind? Had Ari said something to him? Was it finally over between them? A little knot of worry twisted in Jai’s chest and he decided there and then that he had to discuss Ari’s feelings for Charlie once and for all before anything happened between them. The last thing he could handle right now was being burned by Ari.

    At a tingle of power, Jai cursed himself, pushing through the crowds to follow the feeling. He was too distracted. He needed to focus. Following the trail of power Jai stumbled to a stop and glowered at Fallon who was rubbing one of her talismans. Noting Jai’s presence she smiled sheepishly, realizing she’d misled him into thinking he’d found the suspect. “I just wanted to see better. It’s dark in here.”

    Noting Charlie’s glazed eyes and how glued they were to Fallon’s talisman, Jai exhaled. He didn’t know whether to be happy he’d been lumbered with the kid so he could watch over him or pissed off that he couldn’t get rid of him.

    “Is this your first hunt, Fallon?” Jai snapped, leaning closer and ignoring the way Charlie pushed Fallon back as if to protect her from Jai.

    She frowned and shrugged Charlie off, clearly needing no one to protect her. “No, Gorgeous, this isn’t. What’s your point?”

    “You shot up a flare using that talisman. That’s my point. Are you trying to give us away?”

    Blanching, Fallon blinked and shook her head. “No, sorry.”

    Rubbing a hand over his head in exasperation, Jai glanced around about to tell her to be careful when he saw movement in the back of the club. He sharpened his Jinn gaze and saw a door open, a girl’s face, a hand clamped over a mouth. The door slammed shut.

    “This way,” he growled and took off through the crowds, his power kindling between his fingertips. Assured that Fallon and Charlie were at his back, Jai slammed through the outer door and into a back alley that led out onto the main street.

    It was déjà vu. And Jai didn’t like that one bit.

    Standing before them was three guys and a woman, and one of the men had his arms wrapped around a young girl, an innocent clubber. One hand was clamped across her mouth and another held a knife to her throat.

    So Dalí was a coward, Jai mused, he kept sending humans to do his dirty work. Something niggled at him though. The way the attackers were standing. Like they had been waiting for them. It all screamed ‘trap!’

    “This isn’t right,” Fallon whispered, having come to the same conclusion he had.

    “No, it’s not,” Jai agreed, throwing up a shield that would drain him but would cloak the coming fight from the outsiders on the main street. His fighting would be sluggish but hopefully enough to take on humans. “But we can’t leave that girl with them. Let’s make it quick.” Before he’d even spoken the last words, Jai conjured a throwing knife from his collection back home, the cold metal filling a hand he kept behind his back.

    “You’ll never beat, Master Dalí,” the guy holding the girl said suddenly.

    “What is he paying you?” Jai asked softly, dangerously. “And is it really enough?” with that he let the throwing knife fly, the sharp implement making its intended target, slicing through the skin and bone of the leader’s wrist. He screamed, dropping the knife, letting the girl go as he tried to cradle his wounded hand. The girl took off for the end of the alley.

    Right, time to get the hell out of here, Jai thought now that the girl was OK.

    “What are you waiting for?” the leader yelled, falling to his knees in pain as he eyed the dagger that pierced straight through his hand. “Shoot them!”

    At the same time their guns were drawn Fallon took a step forward before Jai could stop her. Rubbing a heavy blue obsidian talisman Fallon waived her hand across the air, a shimmer of magic cascading across and out like a gentle wave crashing into the attackers. They stumbled back in confusion and looked at each other questioningly. The lone female among the attackers shrugged. Face pinched with concentration, she turned to pull the trigger on her Glock. Just as she did, Jai threw out a hand, swinging from the elbow like he was batting a baseball. Instead he batted the barrier of his defensive magic so it hit out like a rubber band stretching and snapping into the woman before pinging back at him. He staggered back as the woman soared through the air, her gun clicking but not shooting. When she crashed to the ground with a sickening and quiet thud, Fallon told him softly, “I filled their bullets with water.” She smirked, lifting the blue obsidian.

    Jai and Charlie grinned down at her. “Good thinking.”

    Charlie smirked. “Can I punch them now?”

    “They haven’t attacked yet.” Jai shook his head. “Your defensive magic will power up as soon as they attack.”

    After stunned amazement gave way to understanding as Jai, Charlie and Fallon strolled menacingly towards them, the two still standing tried to fire the bullets in their guns.

    When they misfired they dropped them and pulled out knives.

    Charlie raised a glowing fist. “Now can I punch them?”

    Jai gathered his own magic between his fingers and let it rip, melting the two knives. The humans yelled as ash and molten metal burned their hands. Their fear was palpable. It was nothing less than they deserved. “Yeah.” Jai nodded, taking a step back and giving Charlie his lead. “Now you can punch them.”

    Alone, with only Ms. Maggie to keep her company, Ari paced back and forth in her hotel room. The gremlins in her stomach were fighting worse than when she’d asked Charlie to their ninth grade dance. She’d left asking him to go with her so late he’d already said yes to Macy McGuire, a pretty girl in their grade who had moved back to Columbus a few weeks after the dance. Ari had wanted to hate Macy, but really she’d just been mad at herself for taking so long to get the courage up to ask him out. She’d stayed home that night instead of going to the dance even though she’d been asked by three different guys. But Ari hadn’t wanted to go unless it had been with Charlie. Ari smiled through her worry, remembering how Charlie had turned up at her house the next day with a corsage, asking her if she’d go to Homecoming Dance with him the next semester. They hadn’t gone because Charlie caught the flu. Then somehow they danced around one another that whole year up until Ari’s 16th birthday. By then it was too late. Life would have been so much easier these last two years if she had come to that realization much sooner.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire