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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 136)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(136) by Anne Bishop
  • Of course, a few genuinely disturbed girls were also admitted. That little tart Rose had been one. And Sadi's whey-faced bitch.

    Kartane shivered as he stepped into the "playpen," that guarded room where the girls selected for that evening waited in their lacy nighties for the uncles. The girls didn't seem to notice the cold, but the attendant had his shoulders hunched and kept rubbing his hands to warm them. It was like this sometimes. Not always, but sometimes.

    Kartane's perusal of the girls stopped when he met a glazed, unblinking sapphire stare.

    The attendant followed Kartane's gaze, shivered, and looked away. "They topped that one up after bringing her in, but something went queer. She oughtta be panting and rubbing against anything that'll come near her, but she just got real quiet." He shrugged.

    She was nothing to look at, Kartane thought. What was it about her that intrigued Sadi? What was so special about this one that he would risk Dorothea's vengeance?

    Kartane lifted his chin in Jaenelle's direction. "Have her in my room in ten minutes."

    The attendant flinched but nodded his head.

    While he waited, Kartane fortified himself with brandy. He was curious, that was all. If Daemon had taught the girl bedplay, she must know a few amusing tricks. Not that he would actually play with her after Sadi had warned him off. People could disappear so mysteriously after being around the Sadist. And Cornelia's room . . .

    The brandy churned in Kartane's stomach. No, he was just curious. He wanted a few minutes alone with her to see if he could understand Daemon's interest, and he wouldn't do anything that would provoke the Sadist's temper.

    The finger locks on the cubicles were set high in the wall both in the corridor and in the room itself. That kept anxious little girls from escaping at inconvenient moments. Kartane let himself into the room. Once inside, however, he couldn't stop shivering.

    She was sitting on the bed, staring at the wall like a stiff doll someone had tried to arrange in a realistic pose. Kartane sat on the chair. After studying her for several minutes, he said sharply, "Look at me."

    Jaenelle's head turned slowly until her eyes locked onto his face.

    Kartane licked his lips. "I understand Sadi is your friend."

    No answer.

    "Did he show you how to be a good girl?"

    No answer.

    Kartane frowned. Had they given her something besidessafframate! He'd had the shyest, most distraught girls crawling all over him, whimpering and begging, doing anything he wanted when they were dosed with that aphrodisiac. She shouldn't be able to sit on the bed like that. She shouldn't be able to sit still.

    Kartane's frown smoothed into a smile. He had decided not to touch her body, but that didn't mean he couldn't touch her at all. He wore a Red Jewel. She wore nothing.

    He sent a probing link to her mind, intending to at least force open the first barrier and find out what it was Sadi found so intriguing. The first barrier opened almost before he touched it, and he found . . .

    Nothing.

    Nothing but a black mist filled with lightning. Kartane had the sensation of standing on the edge of a deep chasm, not sure if stepping forward or back would plunge him into the abyss. He hung there, uncertain while the mist coiled around him, slithering along the psychic link toward his mind.

    The mist wasn't empty.

    Far, far below him, he sensed something dark, something terrifying and savage slowly turning toward him, drawn by his presence. He was caught in a beast's lair, blind and uncertain whether the attack would come from in front of him or behind. Whatever it was, it was slowly spiraling up out of the mist. If he actually saw it, he'd . . .

    Kartane broke the link. His hands were in front of him, trying to hold an invisible something at bay. His shirt was soaked with sweat. Drawing in ragged breaths, he forced himself to lower his hands.

    Jaenelle smiled.

    Kartane leaped from the chair and pressed his back against the wall, too frightened to remember how to unlock the door.

    "You're one of us," Jaenelle said in a hollow, pleased voice. "That's why you hate us so. You're one of us."

    "I'm not!" He couldn't unlock the door without turning around, and he didn't dare turn around.

    "You do to us what was done to you. She lets you be her tool. Even now, though you hate her as much as you fear her, you serve Dorothea."

    "NO!"

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