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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 104)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(104) by Anne Bishop
  • "You have to reallyfeel the bench."

    "Lady," Daemon said dryly, "I reallyfeel the bench."

    Jaenelle wrinkled her nose at him. "Well, all you have to do is extend the bench all the way across the alcove. You step"—she placed one foot forward and it looked as if she was stepping on something solid—"and you continue to feel the bench. Like this." She brought the other foot forward so that she was standing on the air at exactly the same height as the bench. She looked at him over her shoulder.

    Daemon took a deep breath, puffed it out. "Right." He imagined the bench extending before him, put one foot out, placed it on the air, and pitched forward since there was nothing beneath him. His foot squarely hit the hard ground, jarring him from his ankle to his ears.

    He brought his other foot to the ground and gingerly tested his ankle. It would be a little sore, but it was still sound. He kept his back half turned from her as he ground his teeth, waiting for the insolent giggle he'd heard in so many other courts when he'd been maneuvered into looking foolish. He was furious for failing, furious because of the sudden despair he felt that she would think him an inadequate companion.

    He had forgotten that Jaenelle was Jaenelle.

    "I'm sorry, Daemon," said a wavering, whispery voice behind him. "I'm sorry. Are you hurt?"

    "Only my pride," Daemon said as he turned around, his lips set in a rueful smile. "Lady?" Then, alarmed. "Lady! Jaenelle, no, darling, don't cry." He gathered her into his arms while her shoulders shuddered with the effort not to make a sound. "Don't cry," Daemon crooned as he stroked her hair. "Please don't cry. I'm not hurt. Honestly I'm not." Since her face was buried against his chest, he allowed himself a pained smile as he kissed her hair. "I guess I'm too much of a grown-up to learn magic."

    "No, you're not," Jaenelle said, pushing away from him and scrubbing the tears off her face with the backs of her hands. "I've just never tried to explain it to anyone before."

    "Well, there you are," he said too brightly. "If you've never shown anyone—"

    "Oh, I'veshown lots of my other friends," Jaenelle said brusquely. "I've just never tried to explain it."

    Daemon was puzzled. "How did you show them?"

    Instantly he felt her pull away from him. Not physically—she hadn't moved—but within.

    Jaenelle glanced at him nervously before ducking behind her veil of hair. "I . . . touched . . . them so they could understand."

    The ember in his loins that had been warming him ever since the first time he saw her flared briefly and subsided. To touch her, mind to mind, to get beneath the shadows . . . He would never have dared suggest it, would never have dared make the first overture until she was much, much older. But now. Even to connect with her, just briefly, inside the first inner barrier—ah, to touch Jaenelle.

    Daemon's mouth watered.

    There was the risk, of course. Even if she initiated the touch, it might be too soon. He was what he was, and even at the first barrier there was the swirl of anger and predatory cunning that was the Warlord Prince called Daemon Sadi. And he was male, full grown. That, too, would be evident.

    Daemon took a deep breath. "If you're afraid of hurting me by the touch, I—"

    "No," she said quickly. She closed her eyes, and he could sense her hurting. "It's just that I'm . . . different . . . and some people, when I've touched them . . ." Her voice trailed away, and he understood.

    Wilhelmina. Wilhelmina, who loved her sister and was glad to have her back, had, for some reason, rejected that oh-so-personal touch.

    "Just because some people think you're different—"

    "No, Daemon," Jaenelle said gently, looking up at him with her ancient, wistful, haunted eyes. "Everyoneknows I'm different. It just doesn't matter to some—and it matters a lot to others." A tear slipped down her cheek. "Why am I different?"

    Daemon looked away. Oh, child. How could he explain that she was dreams made flesh? That for some of them, she made the blood in their veins sing? That she was a kind of magic the Blood hadn't seen in so very, very long? "What does the Priest say?"

    Jaenelle sniffed. "He says growing up is hard work."

    Daemon smiled sympathetically. "It is that."

    "He says every living thing struggles to emerge from its cocoon or shell in order to be what it was meant to be. He says to dance for the glory of Witch is to celebrate life. He says it's a good thing we'reall different or Hell would be a dreadfully boring place."

    Daemon laughed, but he wasn't about to be sidetracked. "Teach me." It was an arrogant command softened only by the gentle way he said it.

    She was there. Instantly. But in a way he'd never experienced before. He felt her sense his confusion, felt her cry of despair at his reaction.

    "Wait," Daemon said sharply, raising one hand. "Wait."

    Jaenelle was still linked to him. He felt the quick beating of her heart, the nervous breathing. Cautiously, he explored.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire