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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(108) by Anne Bishop
  • Daemon closed his eyes and leaned his head against the glass as he ascended to the Red. No one else here would be able to hear it. No one else would know.

    He'd known since he met her that she was Witch—and Witch wore the Black Jewels. He'd known, but he'd been able to deceive himself into believing she'd wear the Black at maturity, notnow. In all the Blood's long history, only a handful of witches had worn the Black, and they had been gifted with it after the Offering to the Darkness.No one had ever worn the Black as their Birthright.

    It had been a foolish deceit, especially when the evidence was right in front of him. She could do things the rest of the Blood had never dreamed of. She had sought out the High Lord of Hell to be her mentor. There were facets of her that were breathtaking and terrifying.

    Birthright Black. She wore Birthright Black. Sweet Darkness, what would become of her when she made the Offering?

    Daemon opened his eyes and saw a small white figure moving slowly along the garden path. He opened his window and was instantly soaked by the cold rain, but he didn't notice. He whistled once, softly, sharply, sending it on an auditory thread directed toward the figure.

    It turned toward him, resigned, and made its way to his window.

    Daemon leaned over as Jaenelle floated up to him, grasped her beneath the arms, and pulled her in. He set her on the floor, closed and locked the window, pulled the curtains together. Then he looked at her, and his heart squeezed with pain.

    She stood there, shivering, dripping on the rug, her eyes glazed and pain-filled. Her nightgown, bare feet, and hands were muddy.

    Daemon picked her up, took her into the bathroom, and filled the tub with hot water. She'd been unnaturally quiet all day, and he'd feared she was becoming ill. Now he feared she was in shock. There were dark smudges beneath her eyes, and she didn't seem to know where she was.

    She struggled when he tried to lift the nightgown over her head. "No," she said feebly as she attempted to hold the garment down.

    "I know what girls look like," Daemon snapped as he pulled off the nightgown and lifted her into the tub. "Sit there." He pointed a finger at her. She stopped trying to get out of the tub.

    Daemon went into the bedroom and got the brandy and glass he kept tucked in the bottom drawer of the nightstand. Returning to the bathroom, he sat on the edge of the tub, poured a healthy dose into the glass, and handed it to her.

    "Drink this." He watched her take a small taste and grimace before he put the bottle to his own lips and took a long swallow. "Drink it," he said angrily when she tried to hand him the glass.

    "I don't like it." It was the first time he'd ever heard her sound so young and vulnerable. He wanted to scream.

    "What—" He knew. Suddenly, all too clearly, he knew. The mud, the dirge, her hands cut up from digging in the hard ground, the dirt beneath her fingernails. He knew.

    Daemon took another long swallow of brandy. "Who?"

    "Rose," Jaenelle replied in a hollow voice. "He killed my friend Rose." Then a savage light burned in her eyes and her lips curled in a small, bitter smile. "He slit her throat because she wouldn't lick the lollipop." Her eyes slid to his groin before drifting up to his face. "Is that what you call it, Prince?"

    Daemon's throat closed. His blood pounded in him, pounded him, angry surf against rock. It was so very, very hard to breathe.

    The sepulchral voice. The midnight, cavernous, ancient, raging voice that held a whisper of madness. He hadn't imagined it, that other time. Hadn't imagined it.

    Birthright Black.

    Witch.

    She wanted to kill him because he was male. Accepting that made it easier to be calm.

    "It's called a penis, Lady. I have no use for euphemisms." He paused. "Who killed her?"

    Jaenelle sipped the brandy. "Uncle Bobby," she whispered. She rocked back and forth as tears slid down her cheeks. "Uncle Bobby."

    Daemon took the glass from her and set it aside. It didn't matter if she killed him, didn't matter if she hated him for touching her. He lifted her out of the tub and cradled her in his arms, letting her cry until there were no tears left.

    When he felt her breathing even out and knew she was falling into exhausted sleep, he wrapped her in a towel, carried her to her room, found a clean nightgown, and tucked her into bed. He watched her for a few minutes to be sure she was asleep before returning to his room.

    He paced, gulping brandy, feeling the walls close in on him.

    Uncle Bobby. Rose. Lollipop. How did she know? All day she must have known, must have waited for the night so she could plant her living memento mori. All day, while Robert Benedict had been so conspicuously at home.

    If you sing to them correctly, they'll tell you the names of the ones who are gone.

    He snarled quietly. His pacing slowed as cold rage filled him.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire