Darkness, Kindled Page 1

Author: Samantha Young

Series: Fire Spirits #4

Genres: New Adult , Romance


Let the Realms Have Mercy on Us All

As Ari waited for his answer, she once again tried to ignore the blood splatter at the edge of her vision and the groans from the dying man strung up at the edge of the small room. Packed dirt was hard beneath her feet, the bare rock walls devoid of emeralds and glistening with dank moisture. Low light from candles scattered throughout gave it a gothic, sinister atmosphere. Damp earth, sweat, and the coppery scent of blood tingled Ari’s nose.

Her own blood rushed in her ears as she stared up at Azazil, awaiting his answer.

His black eyes narrowed on her, his thoughts impossible to discern. With a huge sigh, he looked away, his contemplation falling upon the man he had been torturing before Ari arrived.

The Sultan wore no jewelry and his usual ostentatious style was muted—he wore only dark leather trousers and leather bands around his wrists. His muscled, naked torso was covered in blood and little bits of torn flesh. Ari dropped her gaze, feeling her stomach turn.

“I’ve laid out the consequences, Ari.” Azazil looked back at her now and that fist of anxiety twisted in her chest. “Are you sure you understand what I’m saying?”

She nodded. “I understand. Are you saying you’ll grant me the favor you owe me?”

His lip curled at the corner, his eyes glittering. “I should either kill you or applaud you for using the oath of a favor against me. This is no ordinary favor. It will affect us all … and I am unusually blind to the consequences. I see vague images that I cannot make sense of.” His features hardened. “All I can feel is that if I grant you this favor, something of great immensity will come to pass. Something that will affect my realm and the mortal one, not just me and you.”

His prophecy made her stop. It was one thing to suggest the possible consequences and another to prophesize an actual gigantic change. “In what way?”

“I told you I cannot know for sure.”

“So it could be good or bad?”

“Is anything ever just good or bad?”

The man at her side groaned again, and Ari winced. “I don’t suppose you’d let this guy go too as part of the favor?”

Azazil scowled. “I grant you this favor and I might not be able to do much of anything for a while.”

That in itself was reason enough to do it. Ari nodded. “Do it.”

The Sultan crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t know whether to risk the consequences of breaking my oath to you or go along with this insanity.”

“I thought you liked insanity. It’s entertaining, right?”

That produced a slow, wicked grin from her grandfather. “This is true.” He dropped his arms and strode toward her, the majesty of his power threatening to blow her off her feet. “You win, Ari. I’ll grant you your favor.” He smirked. “Let the realms have mercy on us all.”



The Sky Is Grave in

This New World

Ari, duck!

Jai yelled telepathically, and Ari’s reflexes kicked in. She hit the floor, chin down, eyes raised as she watched the knife hiss through the air and embed itself in the wall inches from Jai’s head. Ari rolled onto her back and jarred her hands forward, palm outward, sending two bolts of defensive magic toward the Qarin. The nondescript Jinn whipped to the side to avoid Ari’s attack and stepped right into Jai’s magic. The handful of ember he’d sent, seconds after Ari’s, hit with the force of a freight train. The Qarin’s body lifted off the ground and slammed through the paper-thin wall of the house in small-town Milwaukee.

Ari scrambled to her feet.

“You okay?” Jai asked sharply. He strode past her, protectively placing his body in front of hers despite the countless times she’d asked him to stop doing that.

“I’m fine,” she muttered, brushing debris off her T-shirt.

Jai didn’t bother to spare her a look and Ari wasn’t surprised. Now wasn’t the time to try to figure out why his girlfriend was being pissy with him.

Michael told them his group hunting the doppelgänger Jinn of Sam Shepherd, the art teacher, had tracked him down after two months of searching. Ari and Jai had come after him and she’d used the time in close proximity to make it clear she was annoyed with her boyfriend. However, Jai hadn’t broached the subject of her one-word answers and heavy silence, and that only pissed her off more. That meant doppelgänger bitch was in for a world of pain if this didn’t end fast.

Ari and Jai had used the Peripatos to arrive at the coordinates the Guild Hunters had given them. That had been half an hour ago. With the human Sam Shepherd knocked out upstairs (Jai’s handiwork), they’d been playing hide, seek, and find, then hide, seek, and find again with the Qarin for too long, as far as Ari was concerned. She had two healing cuts—one on her forehead and a deeper cut along her ribs that hurt like hell. Jai, of course, was unscathed. The Qarin was playing with them, though, and Ari got the distinct feeling he was determined that Jai was going down with more than a simple cut.

Well, Ari was done playing.

She stopped alongside Jai to see the spot on the debris-littered floor where the Qarin should be.

It now lay empty.

“Shit,” Jai muttered, his jaw clenching. “I’m go—”

“Be quiet,” Ari snapped, ignoring Jai’s raised eyebrows. The excuuuse me? look on his face would’ve been comical if she weren’t so annoyed. Give me a minute, she tried to explain less tersely.

Ari closed her eyes. Back when she and Uncle Red had been on somewhat more stable ground, he’d told her that even without her abilities as the Seal, she was a powerful Jinn. Her mother, Sala, had been an old and potent Ifrit, and her father was the White King, one of the most powerful Jinn in existence. If Jinn were socialites, she’d be the Blair Waldorf of Mount Qaf, the Jinn Realm. Red had insinuated that it meant she hadn’t even tapped into the full scope of her abilities yet. Jai was trying to get her there with training. They’d been on a few hunts together where she’d discovered more and more about herself. It was time to unravel more, though.

She’d seen her uncle sense Jinn located in another state, for Christ’s sake.

Surely, she could find this jackass of a doppelgänger so she and Jai could do the unsavory task they’d come to do and get the hell out.

Ari focused. She felt the movement of the debris as it shifted against the soft breeze blowing in from an open window. She felt the air to her left dance sideways as Jai moved the tiniest bit; her senses latched onto his magic. She let the richness of his signature overwhelm her. Jai’s pull was unlike any other Jinn she’d ever felt. A full-blood and extremely strong guardian Ginnaye, Jai’s magic pulsed out in deep, throbbing waves. But unlike many, his had an all-encompassing, rich warmth that came from his natural protective instincts. He would either use that powerful energy to wrap you in its safety, or use it to destroy you.