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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Smokeless Fire (Page 5)     
  • Smokeless Fire(Fire Spirits #1)(5) by Samantha Young
  • “All Hail the Lord of the Obvious. Come on, dude, give me more than that.”

    Grinning he shook his head. “Trey, that’s all I know. I swear.”

    “OK. I believe you. Well congrats, Jai. You deserve this. It’ll show your old man what’s what, huh?”

    Lying, Jai replied, “Like I care.”

    Trey sighed. “Yeah. Yeah.” No matter how much Jai denied it, Trey knew he was continually fighting for Luca’s approval. It pissed his only friend off. They spoke for a little longer with Jai gazing up at the painting. Trey knew all about looking for a father’s approval. He hid a lot of things about himself from Rik. He was a great Ginnaye, strong, powerful, and Luca Bitar counted him among his best, but Trey was also an artist behind his father’s back. He painted under a pseudonym and did pretty well for himself. Not only that but… he was bisexual, something Rik would go ballistic over if he ever found out. The only person who knew any of it was Jai. Growing up, Trey had watched Jai get kicked to pieces, figuratively and literally, by his tribe. He’d stood up for him, befriended him, and taken crap from his dad for doing so. But they shared a bond and neither of them let anything come between it. Sometimes Jai wondered if he would ever have made it out sane growing up with the Bitars if he hadn’t had Trey by his side.

    When they hung up, Jai headed for the shower, his mind conjuring up all different kinds of scenarios for this job. It ranged from the disappointing to the fantastical. He was just about to kick back with a sci-fi novel (his weakness) when the doorbell to his condo rang. Frowning, he bookmarked Treason by Orson Scott Card and headed for the door, feeling for an energy on the other side.

    It was Jinn.

    When he yanked open the door, his mouth quirked up into a little cynical smirk.

    Yasmin. She raised an eyebrow at him before throwing one last look over her shoulder to make sure no one was watching. She pushed past him into the apartment, breezing in with confidence. Jai shut the door and turned to watch her. Yasmin Lenz was the daughter of his father’s best friend, Hugo Lenz. Luca and Hugo were pretty much the elders and leaders of their particular tribe here in California and Hugo was a nastier son-of-a-bitch than even Luca. Lenz despised what Jai was and never missed an opportunity to tell him or attempt to humiliate him in front of his peers.

    His beautiful daughter Yasmin had been in the class below Jai and had been warned repeatedly to stay away from him. Hugo liked to play matchmaker with her and David, and Jai knew for a fact that David would say yes to dating her in a heartbeat. He’d been after Yasmin Lenz since he’d seen her thrashing their younger brother Stephen on their family’s tennis court when Yasmin was sixteen. Pervy bastard. But Yasmin wasn’t interested in that particular Bitar. In public Yasmin treated Jai like he didn’t exist. Correction, in front of the tribe she was downright derogatory and hostile. Then something changed when she was eighteen. She started cornering him in private, giving him hot eyes, and pretty much making herself available to him. Jai had walked away each time. He wanted nothing to do with someone who treated him like crap in public. Then a year ago, Jai had witnessed something that had shocked him to his core. He had been at Bitar Security offices in a meeting with his father and David and second eldest Brother, Tarik. They’d been discussing a potential client and when Luca had asked for the files, David had realized he’d left them at the pool house. Like a dog, Jai had been sent to retrieve them using the Peripatos . He’d arrived outside the pool house and was just about to enter when he had heard noises . Bemused at the sounds of lovemaking, Jai had peered through the windows and nearly died of heart failure. Hugo Lenz had been with Nicki, his stepmother. It had shocked Jai because he’d thought Nicki was completely in love with Luca. He didn’t think she’d fallen out of love. Stuff happened. People got weird. Had mid-life crises and such, but Jai knew if Luca ever found out he’d be devastated. Something inside him had felt broken up for his father, despite the way he treated him. He couldn’t tell him. No one would believe him anyway. So instead he took his revenge out on Hugo.

    Yasmin.

    If Hugo ever found out his precious daughter had been banging the Bitar half-breed on and off for the last year he’d die of shame.

    Jai kept his expression blank as Yasmin spun around, unbuttoning her blouse. She had the same look in her eye she always did. She thought she was using Jai. She thought somehow she had power here because he continued to be with her despite how she treated him in public. But he was using her .

    He was using her to get back at them all.

    It wasn’t something he was proud of.

    It was dishonorable and the one thing Jai had always counted on was his honor.

    But then Yasmin wasn’t a sweet innocent girl who needed to be protected. She was a manipulative, powerful female Ginnaye who believed he was worthless. Strike that. She was attracted to him so he had worth as a ‘playmate’. But she’d rather die than let anyone else know that.

    Jai sighed, reaching to grasp her hands and stop her from undressing. He’d been waiting for a moment to end it. Dumping her was part of the whole revenge thing but there had never been an opportune time. Heading off for his big assignment meant he’d be gone for gods knew how long. It was perfect timing.

    He chuckled inwardly. He was going to enjoy this.

    “Stop.” He pulled back, watching her beautiful face darken. “It’s not going to happen, sweetheart.”

    “What are you talking about?” she hissed angrily, frantically trying to re-button her blouse.

    “I got a big assignment.” He shrugged. “Don’t know how long I’ll be gone.”

    “So what has that got to do with anything?”

    Jai narrowed his eyes on her and he watched the pulse jump in her throat. He couldn’t help but enjoy the fact that he had such an effect on her. “What was it you called me at that meeting with Hugo and my father two weeks ago? A useless piece of dog crap with poison for blood?”

    She shrugged, her dark eyes flashing. “It was a joke.”

    “Oh yeah, it felt like one.”

    “What’s this about, Jai? You’ve never been pissed off before.”

    “I’m not pissed off. I don’t do pissed off.” He ran a hand down her neck, watching her shiver. “I don’t care enough about you to do pissed off.” Exhaling heavily, he stood back, placing a mocking regretful look on his face. “It’s been nice, sweetheart, but I’m moving up and on. Time for you to hitch a ride back to your full-bloods.”

    It was hilarious, watching her jaw drop. Yasmin was not the kind of girl a guy broke up with. “Are you dumping me?”

    “How can I dump someone I was never with?”

    “You a**hole!” she screeched, pushing him out of the way. “Wait until I—”

    “Until you what, Yasmin?” he laughed now, eyeing her evilly. Yasmin was still that spoiled little girl who ran to her daddy when things didn’t go her way. Hugo had threatened a number of boyfriends in the past. “Tell your daddy on me?” He shook his head, making a tutting noise. “You can’t tell Hugo, sweetheart, ‘cause then he’d know just how naughty you’ve been this year.”

    Jai didn’t think her face could grow any redder with rage. “I was right about you. You are nothing. You are worthless, Jai! No one wants you. Not for anything real.”

    He shrugged, not letting her see her words had affected him. “You really think I care?”

    With a growl of rage, the air shimmered around her telling Jai she was about to use the Peripatos . Yasmin exploded into flames at the same time the vase on his phone table screamed, shattering into a million flying shards all directed at him. Jai cursed, wiping hand across the air in front of him. The shards sliced into his enchantment, turning into grains of sand before they could hit and cut him.

    He grunted, leaning down to scoop at the sand on his carpet. The rug was one of the few splashes of color and comfort in his condo and was a genuine Moroccan Berber. Handmade. Expensive. Irreplaceable. It would take him forever to get the sand out without damaging the wool. “Should have dumped the crazy bitch weeks ago.”

    ~3~

    Push and Pull Too Much, My Heart Will Fall Right Out

    The delicious, tingling impact of forceful sprays of hot water from her shower head woke Ari up in more ways than one. She frowned at herself, lathering coconut scented shampoo into her hair, her fingers digging into her scalp with frustration. She was not a negative, pessimistic person. She was… well… not exactly an optimist but she was not the depressed, ‘bemoaning her fate’ kind of girl she’d been projecting lately. No. She was a ‘quit whining and do something about it’ kind of girl. So OK, sure she didn’t know if she had made the right choice about college, but since she hadn’t a clue what she really wanted to do with her life, getting a degree seemed like the practical thing to do. So what if she wasn’t looking forward to it? Ari was not going to lounge around all summer being pissy. No. She had a task to complete. Operation Save Charlie. A whole summer stretched ahead of them and Ari was dedicating this summer to pulling Charlie back from whatever hell he had dug himself into. He could be alright. Ari had to believe that someone as smart and kind and funny as Charlie still had a long, bright future ahead of him.

    Determined to begin right away, Ari pulled her wet hair into a messy bun and threw on a light summer dress. Quickly checking her reflection before she left the bedroom, she noted the dark circles under her eyes and cursed. She took a couple of seconds to find some concealer and cover those bad boys up, her eyes washing over her reflection to make sure there was nothing horribly wrong. Usually she didn’t much care but this morning she was hunting down Charlie and wanted to look at least OK. The fact was… it was kind of easy for Ari to look OK. Whoever her mom had been she had been pretty and Ari had inherited her exotic looks. Her long hair was thick and dark brown, although when the sunlight hit it, it had a reddish tint to it. Her smooth skin looked permanently tanned all year round and she had soft, pretty features, the most distinctive of which were eyes that seemed to shift colors in different light. No one was able to really pin point Ari’s actual eye color, only that they were beautiful with thick, long lashes so dark Ari never wore mascara. She was pretty. It was a fact. But unlike other girls Ari didn’t pander to the pretty. She wasn’t vain, she wasn’t egotistical; she didn’t assume things would go her way because of her face. But what she was according to Rachel was even worse. Indifferent. She didn’t care. She knew she could throw on a pair of sweats and an old t-shirt and still pass for OK and according to Rachel that was an inverse vanity that bugged the hell out of her. Ari wasn’t quite sure what that meant so she’d politely told her best friend to stick her inverse vanity up her ass.

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