• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Smokeless Fire (Page 31)     
  • Smokeless Fire(Fire Spirits #1)(31) by Samantha Young
  • “I displayed concern for a client I was supposed to be guarding over. That’s it. Ari Johnson is nothing more than an assignment,” his voice grew colder than ice, so cold it was a wonder his breath didn’t puff out after each word, “But let’s not forget, Dad, this is the biggest assignment Bitar Security has ever landed. I’m guarding The Red King’s niece. And we both know she’s so much more than that. If I have to endure migraines and vomiting to contact her uncle, or use the Peripatos to pick up some herb that will pull her father out of a coma then I will. Because it’s part of the assignment. The Red King isn’t pissed off I contacted him. I’m not pissed off and I’m the one feeling like I’ve been dragged fifty blocks by a mail truck. So why are you so pissed off?”

    Luca’s eyes narrowed. “You’re forgetting who you’re speaking to, boy.”

    Jai didn’t have time to reply. The air shimmered near the door and out of the flames stepped their healer, Kammi. She rushed over with a pouch in her hand and handed it to Jai. “Sorry, it took me so long, Jai,” Kammi apologized. “This stuff was hidden at the back of my stores. I’ll need to order more. I made up the entire remedy for you so all you need to do is apply it. Remember massage it into the head and chest.”

    “Thanks, Kammi.” He grinned wearily taking it from her.

    She nodded at Jai and then at Luca before Luca gave her the nod to leave.

    Before the last of her flames had even dissipated Jai turned back to his father. Fear still gnawed at him that his father would discover an inadequacy with his dealings in this assignment. And he knew the fear was born from the fact that there was some truth in what his father had said.

    He wasn’t treating Ari like every other client.

    Ari wasn’t like every other client.

    She was unlike anyone he’d ever met.

    But she was caught up in something huge. And she was in love with a basketcase. And she was only eighteen years old.

    And she was a client.

    He shouldn’t have told her all that stuff about his relationship with his father. He shouldn’t have let her in like that. Why did he do that? It was stupid. It was crossing the line. It was making her think he was some kind of friend. He wasn’t a friend.

    Determined to somehow put their relationship back into reverse, Jai’s blood ran cold and he poured the chill into his next words, “Your attempts to find a fault with my work in this assignment are transparent and beneath you. If we’re going to fight, Luca, try and base it on something real.”

    Leaving his father red-faced, Jai used the last vestiges of his strength to channel the Peripatos. He had a human to save.

    For forty five minutes Ari sat by Derek’s bed, her shoulders hunched to her ears, her dad’s cold hand clasped in both of hers as she waited on Jai’s return. She ignored the frequent looks Charlie and The Red King passed one another. She ignored the monitors beeping beside her dad’s bed and even somehow tried to ignore The Red King humming the theme song to the television show Pretty Little Liars . She tried to ignore that but… it was just too weird. Ari had shot him a stunned look, her eyebrows nearly hitting her hairline. The Red King, who sat across from her on a plastic chair with his right ankle caught casually on his opposite knee and his flame red hair draped across his shoulder, had grinned at her expression and winked. “Gotta love that Aria chick, no?”

    Bemoaning the weirdness of her life Ari had groaned, pressing her face to her dad’s hand. Not even Charlie’s comforting touch on her back helped. He was too close, too close smelling like yesterday’s laundry basket and cheap beer.

    The first hint at Jai’s arrival was the flicker of the lights. The space at the bottom of the hospital bed buzzed and glimmered before the flames appeared, swimming towards the ground like a jacket unzipping, unveiling Jai. Ari jumped to her feet, heart thudding in her chest at the thought of waking Derek up. The thump of her heart only strengthened when Jai had to catch onto the bed to keep himself on his feet. His face was pale, and there were dark purplish circles under his eyes where only an hour ago there had been none.

    Worry sliced through her. More worry than she expected to feel for him. Ari was by his side in seconds, her arm sliding around his shoulders as he coughed, a harsh wracking cough that only tightened the coil of panic in her chest. “Jai,” she murmured softly, bending down so they were eye to eye.

    He slanted a look at her, shrugging away from her touch. “I’m fine,” he told her coldly.

    Hurt by his inexplicable chilliness Ari pulled back only to catch Charlie’s suspicious gaze. His eyes flickered between her and Jai and, as if coming to some unpleasant conclusion, his expression darkened.

    “Don’t worry,” The Red King suddenly said before Ari could work out what Charlie’s damage was. “Jai will recover soon. He used telepathy to contact me while he was in the mortal realm and I was in Mount Qaf. Only the most powerful of Jinn can do that without it causing physical weakness.”

    Despite Jai’s coolness with her, Ari couldn’t help but place a hand on his shoulder as he straightened. He looked so drained, so young. “Are you sure you’re OK?”

    This time, as his green eyes flashed angrily at her, there was no mistaking his annoyance. “I’m fine,” he snapped, backing out of her touch before reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a pouch and opened it. Inside it was a greyish paste. Sighing heavily, not quite meeting her eyes, Jai’s tone returned to neutral. “My tribe healer made the mixture up for you. You have to massage it into Derek’s head and chest.”

    Still hurt, angry, Ari put her messed up feelings for all the conscious men in the room aside so she could concentrate on saving the one in the bed. Taking the pouch from Jai, Ari made sure she didn’t make contact with his skin. He noticed and Ari questioned the way his jaw flexed as she pulled away. Still he wouldn’t meet her eyes. Annoyed, Ari turned to Charlie. “Can you pull back the covers for me?”

    “Sure.” Charlie’s eyes brightened, seeming glad to be of use.

    After she’d massaged the paste into her dad’s skin, she watched as it miraculously dissolved, seeping into his flesh, journeying in to pull him back from the Jinn enchantment.

    “How long do we have to wait before it takes effect?” Ari asked The Red King, worrying about the nurses coming back in. Visiting Hours were going to be over soon.

    A sick feeling rose into her throat from her gut as The Red King and Jai shared a grim look. Finally, just before she was about to explode with impatience, her uncle turned to her gravely. “It should already have worked. He should be awake.”

    Panic began wriggling in her veins and Ari gripped the mattress of the bed, curling her nails into it in an effort to hold onto reality. “What… what does that mean?”

    “It means The White King has begun his campaign to get what he wants.”

    Confused, she shook her head. “No. I don’t understand. How is hurting my dad going to accomplish anything?”

    When silence fell over the room again and Jai and The Red King continued looking at each other, both their eyes narrowed in concentration, realization dawned on Ari and she slapped the metal bars on Derek’s bed, the ting of it echoing around the room with as much significance as a water gun. Still, it drew their attention. “You’re talking to each other with your minds. Stop it. Speak to me! What the hell is going on? Is this blackmail? Will The White King help my dad if I agree to go live with him or something?”

    When The Red King began to nod Ari was surprised by the outraged growl that ripped from Jai. It was so animalistic, so frightening.

    They all looked at him but his fierce eyes were glued to The Red King. “Tell her the truth.”

    Heart pounding so hard and loud, Ari was sure they all must hear it as she turned to her uncle, trembling. “Tell me what?”

    After shooting Jai a venomous look, The Red King sighed wearily, slumping back against the wall and gazing at her through shuttered lids. Drawing out the drama seemed to be a thing with the Jinn and Ari was this close to screaming at him when he finally asked, “Have you heard of King Solomon and the Seal of Solomon, Ari?”

    Glowering at him, wondering what evasive crap he was pulling, Ari nodded tightly. “Solomon was bestowed the Seal, a ring that enslaved the Jinn. It was made of brass and Iron and with each side — can’t remember what was what — he could stamp commands to the good Jinn and the evil Jinn. He was dethroned for it and Azazil’s right hand man, Asmodeus, took over his reign and was allowed to keep the Seal. He tried to hand it over to Azazil who tried to destroy it but it can’t be destroyed. He commanded Asmodeus to protect it and according to legend Asmodeus wears the ring around his neck.”

    The Red King looked astonished by her knowledge. His jaw locked and he stood up away from the wall, his height somehow magnified. She wondered if he was doing something magic to make him even more intimidating than usual. “How did you know that?”

    She shrugged. “Jai gave me a book about the Jinn.”

    Her uncle turned on Jai with an incredulous look. To Ari it seemed as if he was warring between wanting to kill him and being impressed by him. “You gave her a book?”

    Jai crossed his arms over his chest defiantly, looking ready to take whatever The Red King threw at him despite his weakened state. “She deserved to know the truth.”

    “You’re not contracted to tell her the truth. You are contracted because your tribe owes me.”

    “Wait, wait.” Ari tried to defuse a confusing but clearly dangerous situation. “What’s going on?”

    Jai barely looked at her. “I conjured that book so that when this day came you would have a better understanding. So maybe it… wouldn’t feel so confusing. So overwhelming.”

    “What the hell is going on?” Charlie snapped, coming up behind her, his hands clamping protectively down on her shoulders.

    Jai glared at him but refused to respond. Instead he turned back to The Red King who watched Ari with those calculating eyes.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire