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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(5) by Anne Bishop
  • Instead, she froze.

    Lucivar laid his cheek against her head and sucked air. "You're a spitting little cat," he said quietly, fighting to keep the laughter out of his voice.

    "Why did you kill him?"

    Did he imagine it, or did her voice change? She still sounded like a young girl, but thunder, caverns, and midnight skies were in that voice. "He was suffering."

    "Couldn't you take him to a Healer?"

    "Healers don't bother with slaves," he snapped. "Besides, the rats didn't leave enough of him to heal." He pulled her tighter against his chest, hoping physical warmth would make her stop shuddering. She looked so pale against his light-brown skin, and he knew it wasn't simply because she was fair-skinned. "I'm sorry. That was cruel."

    When she started struggling against his hold, he raised his arms so that she could slip under the chain between his wrists. She scrambled out of reach, spun around, and dropped to her knees.

    They studied each other.

    "What's your name?" she finally asked.

    "I'm called Yasi." He laughed when she wrinkled her nose. "Don't blame me. I didn't choose it."

    "It's a silly word for someone like you. What's your real name?"

    Lucivar hesitated. Eyriens were one of the long-lived races. He'd had 1,700 years to gain a reputation for being vicious and violent. If she'd heard any of the stories about him . . .

    He took a deep breath and released it slowly. "Lucivar Yaslana."

    No reaction except a shy smile of approval.

    "What's your name, Cat?"

    "Jaenelle."

    He grinned. "Nice name, but I think Cat suits you just as well."

    She snarled.

    "See?" He hesitated, but he had to ask. Zuultah's guessing he'd killed that slave and knowing for sure would make a difference when he was stretched between the whipping posts. "Is your family visiting Lady Zuultah?"

    Jaenelle frowned. "Who?"

    Really, she did look like a kitten trying to figure out how to pounce on a large, hoppy bug. "Zuultah. The Queen of Pruul."

    "What's Pruul?"

    "This is Pruul." Lucivar waved a hand to indicate the land around them and then swore in Eyrien when the chains rattled. He swallowed the last curse when he noticed the intense, interested look on her face. "Since you're not from Pruul and your family isn't visiting, where are you from?" When she hesitated, he tipped his head toward the boat. "I can keep a secret."

    "I'm from Chaillot."

    "Chai—" Lucivar bit back another curse. "Do you understand Eyrien?"

    "No." Jaenelle grinned at him. "But now I know some Eyrien words."

    Should he laugh or strangle her? "How did you get here?"

    She fluffed her hair and frowned at the rocky ground between them. Finally she shrugged. "Same way I get to other places."

    "You ride the Winds?" he yelped.

    She raised a finger to test the air.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire