Read Jinni's Wish, Book 4 Kingdom Series Online

Authors: Marie Hall

Tags: #paranormal romance, #fantasy romance, #ghost romance, #fairytale romance, #fairytale retelling, #marie hall, #kingdom series, #gerards beauty, #her mad hatter, #red and her wolf

Jinni's Wish, Book 4 Kingdom Series (5 page)

BOOK: Jinni's Wish, Book 4 Kingdom Series
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Oh, before I forget
,” the nurse
clapped the door frame, “
we’ve found your brother. Says he’s
headed here tomorrow! Exciting, huh
?”

Then she was gone and her smell of vanilla
went with her.

Suddenly cold, depressed, Paz hugged her
middle.

“Where are you, Jinni?”

She didn’t know him. But he’d seen her. She’d
seen him.

“I need you.” A solitary tear tracked like a
cool pinprick of ice down her cheek.

A loud beeping sound blared through the busy
corridor. Suddenly an explosion of bodies ran toward a room two
doors down from hers. Curious, Paz glided to the doorway, shivering
each time a body walked through her.

“Damn air’s too low again,” someone muttered,
but never glanced back. Never stopped to think they’d walked right
through her.

Her nurse was at the head of a bed. A very
small body lay hidden within the deep folds of the blankets.
Flowers were strewn all across the room, get well cards bedecked
the walls. Children’s pictures graced every square inch of the
place.

Hands were ripping the sheets off.

“Code Blue. Code Blue,” was repeated over and
over and over, until the room seemed crammed with bodies
desperately trying to revive the child.

Squeezing her eyes shut, Paz walked away. She
couldn’t watch this. Death wasn’t as painful as she’d always feared
(if this even was death), but watching a child transition from
there to here wasn’t something she relished either.

She moved away, not really paying any mind to
where she walked. So long as she stayed away from the end of the
corridor she was fine.

She’d already seen a few bodies not make it.
But not once had she seen someone else like her. Except for Jinni,
and he hadn’t returned since she’d talked to him last.

Suddenly she stopped, gripped with a
desperate desire to turn around. Heart thundering, or at least the
memory of that emotion, flickered like a bright flame inside her.
She turned and frowned.

A body lay in there. But this one wasn’t
bruised, swollen, or dead looking. Without realizing it, somehow
she’d found her way to his side, and stared at the face that she’d
almost forgotten.

“My Todd,” she whispered, feeling the first
faint echo of a smile tug at her lips.

She traced his face, hissing at the warmth of
it, reveling in the texture of firm skin for as long as she
possibly could before she became too tired and had to pull
away.

“You are so beautiful.” The words spilled
from the depths of her soul.

Thick black brows shaded a pair of eyes that
were closed, but that when opened sparkled deep whiskey brown. His
strong nose and square jaw covered in bristle made her pulse
flutter for the merest second in time.

“Look at me,” she pleaded, feeling a hard
lump work its way up her throat when he failed to do so. “Please,
look at me. I’m so lonely.”

An awareness of something reached out-- like
the gentle touch of a lover’s hand-- across the nape of her neck.
Paz turned and then smiled a huge, wide grin.

“Where have you been?!” she demanded,
uncaring that she sounded like a jealous girlfriend. Jinni was
back, staring at her with his soulful black eyes, liquid blue face
creased with a gentle frown. She rushed to meet him. “Why did you
leave me?”

He stared at her, only stared. And for a
moment she worried that he could no longer hear her either. Fear
gnawed at her gut, but then pleasure blossomed like a rose opening
up to morning dew when he shrugged.

“I did not know if you would want me around.
I did not wish to bother you.”

The lyrical inflections of his voice did
strange things to her spirit. She tingled, every inch of her. Even
her lips burned, as if she’d been kissed, and kissed
thoroughly.

“Why would you think that? You’re the only
one who can see me. The only one who knows I even exist.”

Everywhere his eyes touched her face, it was
like a feather light caress.

“I am sorry, Paz. I just did not know what to
do.”

She swallowed, glancing down at her bare
toes. In this form she still had her toenails, though they were no
longer painted. The hospital gown draped across her body, flapping
as she walked like a ghost moving through a still graveyard at
night.

She laughed.

He frowned. “What is so funny?”

Shaking her head, she threw up her hands. “I
was just comparing my hospital gown to a ghost. Which is ironic,
right? All things considered.”

It took a second, but a flicker of emotion
ticked swiftly across his brow. Then his lips curved at the very
corners and she knew he smiled with her. “Ironic indeed,” he
drawled.

She sighed. “You have such a nice voice.”

He did smile then. A fully fleshed out one
and she couldn’t help but return it.

“So do you,” his deep voice made her breath
hitch.

“Really?”

He drifted closer, so close she felt the pop
and buzz of his energy roll through hers.

Breathless, she asked, “What does mine sound
like?”

“What does
mine
sound like?” he asked
back, cocking his head. He had black curls, thick and sleek,
glinting like onyx in flame. Her fingers twitched, wishing she
could touch it.

“Like the blue of the ocean floor, or the
inky black of a midnight sky.”

His eyes narrowed ever so slightly. “You
think in color?”

“I’m an artist.” She remembered the body with
the bloated face and her shoulders sagged. “Or I was.”

A burst of static traced the line of her jaw.
She glanced up as he pulled his hand away.

“You sound like my Kingdom. Like the golden
brush of fairy light dancing through the night, the iridescent jade
of a beetle’s shell in the moonlight.” His eyes searched hers.

“Where are you from that you see fairy
light?”

“A place not of Earth. A place of fairy tales
and magic.” His smile was self-effacing. “But I’m sure you do not
believe me.”

“I’m half dead, Jinni. It’s not so hard for
me to believe in the impossible anymore.”

His face was calm, nearly devoid of any type
of emotion, save for the briefest twitch of his eyelid.

“Where did you go before?” she asked again.
“Why did you leave me? Aren’t you bound to this place like I
am?”

He shook his head. “I am not dead.”

She cocked her head. “Then why can I see you?
Why can you see me?”

For a moment she didn’t think he’d answer.
Taking a deep breath, he said slowly, “Because I am not bound by
this world’s rules, I am a being made of magic. Though there is one
similarity between us.”

“What?”

“I am dying. Just like you.”

 

Chapter 5

 

Jinni paced the length of his cave. The
constant howl of the winds outside, normally so soothing, now
irritated him like the constant drip of a leaky pipe.

He was angry.

But he didn’t know why.

He stared at his empty cave, at the pit of
fire that burned perpetually in the center of the dirt floor. He
stoked the flames, never letting them die, knowing they wouldn’t--
couldn’t-- warm him. That nothing could ease the icy chill that
encased his soul. That nothing could break his antipathy. Each day
an unbearable torture because it wouldn’t end. Because he was still
here. Still existing in a realm outside of happiness, joy,
life.

Back and forth.

Back and forth.

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

He gnashed his teeth. She called to him,
wakened something in him. A sleeping dragon with claws that’d
slumbered for an eternity, now opening languid eyes with curiosity…
and maybe something more.

Something volatile and violent.

“Why are you here?” the shrill voice of
she
interrupted his internalizations.

“Go away, Danika,” Jinni glared at the
miniature, innocent looking fae.

She
. His nightmare, his bondage, and
constant reminder of what he’d lost. What he’d sacrificed so long
ago. And for what?

For something as fleeting and inconstant as a
vapor.

Danika quirked a pale blonde brow. She
preferred the guise of a frail old woman. Doddering, and well past
her prime. Most godmother’s did. He could never understand why. Did
they assume it was because you’d trust them more that way?

But he was as dangerous as
she
.
There’d once been a time, when his might could have quashed even
hers. He could see the monster lurking beneath the mask of civility
she’d worked so hard to cultivate, because he’d once worn one
himself. For a time.

His soul trembled.

Danika’s blonde curls bobbed gracefully
around her head as her lips twitched, as if she knew a secret he
did not. A frothing swirl of fury burned his gut.

“What?!” he demanded louder.

Her grin only grew wider. “My, my, my… is
that… anger?” She tapped her jaw, the silver tips of her nails
glinting like jewels as the fire reflected off it. “Surely not
my
Jinni. Why, I thought antipathy was your friend now. Now
tell me truth, honestly, why are you here and not there?” She
flitted closer, dragonfly wings shimmering with pale threads of
blue.

“I did all you commanded of me,
master
,” he sneered the last. “You told me to stay until the
girl arrived. I’ve done that.” Forcing a grim smile to his tight
lips, he sidled closer, until the electricity of his form crackled
like static against her magic. “Are you here to demand I
return?”

She licked her lips, then with a loud sigh
crossed her arms and legs and floated before him, looking as
dangerous as a gnat. “I’ve never demanded a thing from you. Not one
thing, Jinni. I’ve always wondered about you?”

It was bait and he knew it, but he couldn’t
help but ask, “How so?”

Danika toyed with the edge of her fingernail.
“Why you hate me. Why you direct such venom at me when I never
asked to take you.” She paused for a moment, as if waiting for him
to speak, say something. But there’d be no words from him.

What could he say anymore? Though the
memories were fresh and sometimes painful, it’d happened so long
ago that it seemed pointless to care. Most days, he didn’t.

She shrugged. “I asked Betty,” she supplied,
“and I’m fairly certain she’s got you dead to rights, as my Alice
would say.”

Scoffing, Jinni laughed. “Betty? Gerard’s
woman? Gerard has the mental capacity of vermin, what could she
possibly--”

Danika narrowed her eyes, a terrible blue
glow infused the depths of her cobalt orbs and her lips set into a
tight grimace. “Mind your tongue,” she hissed, “I’ll not hear a
foul word uttered against the girl. And aye, she did have some most
insightful thoughts as to
our
,” she stressed, “current state
of affairs.”

“Then by all means,” he genuflected, “do
share, starflower.”

Refusing to rise to the bait, she ignored
him. “You’re not mad at me. You’re mad at yourself. Mad at what you
did. What you allowed to happen.”

Each uttered phrase was worse than a blow to
his heart. Jinni couldn’t help but flinch, nostrils flaring as the
horrible truth clawed at his skull. He did not know Betty. How
could she have such insight into his psyche? Just who were these
women Danika had found for them?

Who was Paz?

His soul thumped as if it were the fluttering
beat of a skipping heart.

Danika nodded. “Your silence is answer
enough. She is correct.”

Jinni turned his face aside as the memories,
those awful, hated memories, tried to break free of the darkness
he’d stuffed them in the night he’d been banished from his Eastern
realms.

A cool ripple of power brushed against his
cheek. He turned to look at Danika, allowing his plea, his pain,
his grief, but mostly his fear, to reflect in his gaze.

“Betty is a doctor of the mind.
Feelings.”

It was hard for him to refrain from snorting,
but Gerard’s Belle had exposed him. Somehow, she’d exposed him
without ever meeting him.

“She said you have to let the girl in.”

He closed his eyes. The girl. Paz. The
dark-haired, dark-skinned beauty who shimmered with a pearlescent
splendor. How was it that being in her presence could bring him
such fear and excitement?

In centuries he hadn’t felt much of anything.
Then he saw her, a strange woman in a strange land, and something
terrible inside him quaked. A demon he thought he’d buried long
ago.

“How can you say that to me?” he whispered.
“You, who knows why I was ousted. I cannot trust again, Danika. I
cannot allow her close. The last one cost me everything,” the last
tailed off in a whisper so low he wasn’t sure he’d spoken it
aloud.

He felt raw, like a jagged exposed nerve.
Part of him wanted to rail and roar, demand his way. But another
part, a shameful one, wanted to roll up into a ball in the corner
and die. Jerking out of her reach, he once again paced the length
of his cavernous chamber. If he continued to look her in the eye,
continued to see the sorrow in her bright blue gaze, he’d do one or
both.

“I will not go back to her. I will not go
down this path again.”

Danika flitted in front of him, halting him
with her hand. He didn’t have to stop. He could phase right through
her now.

“You must. She is dying, Jinni.”

“Why? Tell me why? I am not a good man,
Danika. You know my past. You know why I am here. Why subject her
to me? Let her die. There is peace in death. I only envy that she
can feel it so quickly.”

Her eyes were like cleavers, ripping through
his words and exposing them for the wicked lie they were. To think
of Paz dead, to think of that beautiful smile forever gone, made
his insides hurt. He didn’t know her, but already he felt
something. Curiosity, pleasure…

BOOK: Jinni's Wish, Book 4 Kingdom Series
4.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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