Tempted - Jai's P.O.V. Chapter 25 Smokeless FIre (Fire Spirits #1)

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Tempted

Smokeless Fire (Fire Spirits #1): Scene at the end of Chapter 25 from Jai’s P.O.V

As soon as the door shut behind Charlie, Jai’s eyes zeroed in on Ari’s face. She was staring at the front door, looking utterly lost.

The urge to comfort her, as easily as Charlie had tried to, was overwhelming.  To hold her close and promise her that everything with Derek would be okay—that she would be okay.

But you didn’t treat a client like that, especially one as important as Ari. That would blur the lines between them even more than he’d already let them blur. He would just have to offer her comfort in the only way he knew how.

When she turned back to look at him, her strange eyes glittering in the dark hallway, the inescapable beauty of her winded him.

Time to go.

Jai strolled towards her, keeping his expression carefully blank. When he stopped before her, the fight to remain impassive was almost as great as the fight he’d just had with Pazuzu. Voice soft, expression tight, he told her, “Well… I’d better go. Just use your mind if you need me okay,” and then because he couldn’t bear the absolute forlornness in the tremble of her mouth and limpid pools of her eyes, he added, “and I’ll be back tomorrow. You still have a lot of decisions to make.” This was only the beginning, Jai realized with a knot in his gut for her. “This isn’t over, Ari.”

Her body shifted infinitesimally, softening towards him the way a girl’s body did when they wanted you to kiss them. His heart lurched and then kicked into super speed as she let the walls behind her eyes down, the light in them— the light in them that she felt for him— pouring out of her. “I want to thank you for coming for me, for protecting me.”

Shit.

Heart pounding against his ribs, Jai took an unconscious step back, as if physical distance could halt the confession in her eyes.

She wanted him.

Ari Johnson wanted him, giving truth to all the suspicions he’d had that her feelings for him were changing.

Beautiful and exotic she may be, but the one thing Ari wasn’t was enigmatic and mysterious. She was transparent and honest and too young to mask her emotions. She wore her heart on her sleeve and suddenly Jai was angry at her for putting him in the position where he’d end up stomping all over it.

If he were honest with himself, he was angry that she had put him the position of being completely and utterly tempted, despite his better judgment.

Clearing his throat and all his conflictions out of it, Jai replied with perfect control, “Just doing my job.” Leave it that, Ari, leave it.

The strength in her grip as she reached out and hauled him by the arm toward her, took Jai by surprise. He found himself close enough to breathe in her sweetness, to feel the heat of her warm, supple body so close to his.

Damn it, she was trying to kill him.

Hadn’t they been through enough for one day? He opened his mouth to speak but the hurt pleading in her eyes stalled him. “Don’t,” she whispered, her lush lips trembling in the most distracting way. “Don’t act like you’re not my friend, Jai. After everything… you are my friend.”

Jai felt a pang of pain in his chest and had to resist the urge to rub a hand over the spot. He had to say something, something reassuring, friendly, but also something that clarified exactly what they were to each other in professional terms.

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