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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Smokeless Fire (Page 24)     
  • Smokeless Fire(Fire Spirits #1)(24) by Samantha Young
  • Do better, Ari. Do better.

    It was hard though, especially when he put his hand on her lower back to guide her across the lot. She just couldn’t get it out of her head that there was a being inside Nick, controlling him, using him… and all to get into her pants! Trying not to shudder and give herself away, Ari relaxed into his touch and gave him a soft smile. His eyes glowed happily back at her and she had to look quickly away before she punched him in the face.

    “So, what are we watching?” Nick asked as they strolled inside, their eyes automatically reading the schedule.

    “I vote Vampires of Doom 4,” A.J. growled mockingly, bearing his teeth.

    Staci snorted. “And this from the film student. I vote The Apple. It’s supposed to be beautifully shot — it’s mostly hand-held, oblique angles, blue filter, with some great location shots. It was filmed in Budapest.”

    Nick looked at Ari questioningly. She didn’t particularly care because she wasn’t going to be watching the movie, but if she were going to be watching the movie a cheesy vampire horror film and a pretentious love story were not her thing. Her eyes flicked down the schedule and then lit up. “Ooh they’re reshowing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

    A.J. scowled. “A kid’s movie?”

    “No. Harry Potter.”

    “Yeah, a kid’s movie.”

    Ari made a face at him. “It’s a wonderful fantasy adventure for children and grown-ups alike.”

    “It’s got my vote.” Nick shrugged.

    Staci nodded, smiling sweetly up at A.J., her eyes glittering mischievously. “Mine too.”

    So it was with much grumbling from A.J. they bought tickets for the movie, some popcorn and drinks and wandered casually into the screening. Ari’s heart immediately began to race a little harder as she talked the guys into taking seats near the aisle so she wouldn’t have to shimmy by people when the time came for her to leave.

    Which should be pretty soon.

    Sure enough, just as they were settling in and Nick’s arm was casually sliding along the back of her seat, Ari’s cell beeped and she opened it to see the text she had been waiting on.

    I’m outside. Bring Emily Rose.

    Charlie

    Here goes.

    Pulling on her best acting chops, Ari muttered a curse and turned to Nick with big wide soulful eyes. “It’s Charlie.”

    “Charlie?” Staci squeaked, leaning over Nick. “What’s wrong?”

    “He’s outside. I told him I was coming here with Nick. He’s upset. He wants to talk.”

    “Oh God, no, Ari.” Staci shook her head. “I mean you know I like Charlie, but…” she glanced at Nick meaningfully. “Not now.”

    “I have to.” Ari grabbed her bag and then looked back at a scowling Nick. “Will you come with me? I just… I don’t want to leave him out there but I don’t want to go alone.”

    Nick’s expression cleared and he smoothed a hand down her back comfortingly. “Of course. Let’s go.”

    As they walked across the cinema foyer the sickly scent of popcorn made Ari’s already nervous stomach turn. She couldn’t believe they were doing this. They were actually doing this.

    “So what do you think he wants?” Nick asked, trying to appear casual, but she could see he was struggling not to ready himself for a fight.

    Ari shrugged. “I don’t know. He just said he wanted to talk, but last time we spoke we had a huge fight. I just don’t want to deal with him alone.”

    “You’re not alone.” He gripped her hand tight in his and she had to force herself to not tug it back out of his hold.

    Charlie was waiting way across the thankfully empty lot by Nick’s SUV. She noted his eyes flicker down at her hand clasped in Nick’s and she scowled back at the dark look he gave her.

    “What do you want, Creagh?” Nick dropped her hand, striding towards him aggressively.

    Great, he’s being a chump.

    Charlie nodded at her over Nick’s shoulders and she shoved a hand into her bag, pulling the pouch that Jai had given her out. While Nick squared up to Charlie, Ari opened the pouch and scrunched it down on her palm, revealing the glittering black dust inside. “Nick, don’t,” she said, tugging on his shoulder.

    “Ari—” He turned and as soon as he faced her Ari blew onto the pouch, the black dust coating Nick’s face. He flinched and then stiffened, his eyes rolling back in his head before his legs gave way. Jai hadn’t explained exactly what the dust in the pouch was, only that it would incapacitate someone without leaving any physical trace of injury. The incapacitating also only lasted on a possessed human for five, ten minutes tops. They had to move fast.

    Charlie gripped Nick’s collapsing body into his strong hands and together they shoved him into the back of the SUV. He dug in Nick’s jeans, pulling out the keys, his eyes darting around the lot to make sure no one had witnessed the attack. As they jumped into the front of the car, he turned his dark eyes on her, noting her trembling hands. “You OK?”

    She nodded, clenching her teeth together to stop them chattering. Her heart was racing out of all control.

    Charlie decimated the speed limit and they pulled off at a quiet spot in Vickers’ Woods where Jai was waiting at the edge of the trees for them. Together, he and Charlie dragged Nick’s lagging body into the woods to the clearing the Aissawa Brothers had taken up residence in. Ari watched from the sideline as Jai gestured for Charlie to get back. He stepped beside her and she tried to capture his attention but his eyes were glued to Jai, Nick and the Brothers. He seemed mesmerized by what was going on. Feeling a tingling of unease at his expression, Ari turned back to the group, watching as Jai tied Nick’s hands and feet and left him to lie on the dirty ground. He then stepped out of the circle the Brothers made around Nick’s body and took up his place on her other side.

    “What happens now?” she asked him, watching curiously as one of the Brothers produced a small drum and began beating on it. She winced, hoping it wouldn’t attract any attention.

    “Don’t worry,” Jai murmured in her ear and she couldn’t help but shiver at the feel of him so close, his dark, exotic scent tickling her every sense. “I’ve put up an enchantment to muffle the sound of what we’re doing. The Brothers will do their thing and probably make Nick drink an herb called Indian Costus. It repels Jinn from the possessed.”

    Ari frowned. “Couldn’t you have told me that? I could have just slipped the stuff into his Coke at the cinema or something.”

    Jai shook his head. “Doesn’t work like that. There’s a whole ritual. You’ll see.”

    And she did.

    The Brothers began to chant ominously in a language Ari couldn’t understand. The sound of it, however, made her shiver and shake, like she was coming down with the flu. When she threw a quick glance up at Jai she noticed he looked similarly affected, his skin pale, a bead of sweat forming on his forehead. She touched her own clammy forehead with a trembling palm and fought to keep upright. She wasn’t given much time to ponder the ill feeling that came over her so suddenly because at that moment the Brothers each produced a knife from their boots and drew the sharp blades over their wrists.

    Ari gasped at the horrifying action and looked up at Charlie to see what he was making of all this creepiness. She was terrified that what happened here would reflect badly on her and he would never want to speak to her again. But instead he watched in utter fascination, his eyes rapt on the scene, chewing on his lip, something he did when he was busy concentrating. Shaken, Ari looked back over at the Brothers only to feel her stomach turn as they drank from their own bloody wrists and began chanting again, thick blood slipping down their chins as they did. Nick’s body began to shudder on the ground, his eyes rolling back in his head.

    “No,” he croaked. “No, stop it. You can’t…”

    One of the Brothers stepped forward, a cup clasped in his hand. Carefully he tipped a vial of the herb Jai had spoken of into the cup and bent down next to Nick. He whispered something in that strange language that made Ari sweat cold sweats and then he pinched Nick’s nose closed, tilted his head back, and forced him to swallow the drink. When he was sure Nick had, he returned to the circle and the Brothers chanting grew louder. Nick’s body began shuddering harder until he was thrashing on the ground, groaning and choking on screams. Ari tensed, disturbed by the sight, and was glad for the warm hand Jai placed on her shoulder when she visibly flinched as some weird black stuff oozed out of Nick’s eyes and mouth and ears. “Oh God,” she breathed and Jai squeezed her shoulder harder.

    Finally, to Ari’s everlasting relief, Nick cried out one last time before flames burst from his body. One of the Brothers dropped to his knees, a bottle, like the one Sala was trapped in, clasped in his hands as he muttered frantically. The flames gave off a high-pitched hiss, almost like they were screaming, and then they spiraled tighter until they were sucked down into the bottle. The Brother promptly stoppered it and gasped out one last chant.

    The woods were deathly silent.

    The Brother with the bottle stood up and turned to Jai. “It is done.” He bowed formally at him and he and the Brothers began making their way past the three of them like they hadn’t just cut open their own wrists and exorcised an evil spirit from a teenage boy’s body. One of the Brothers stopped before Jai, who handed him over a wad of cash. Ari frowned. She hadn’t known this was going to cost Jai money. Great. Now she was even more in his debt. Literally and figuratively.

    “Thanks,” Jai said gruffly. “Appreciate it.”

    The Brother merely nodded and followed the others out of the woods.

    Ari gaped. “Where are they going?”

    “To call a cab back to the airport.”

    “But what about…” she trailed off, tentatively taking a step towards Nick who lay unconscious on the ground. She gulped down guilt. “Will he be OK?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire