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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(31) by Anne Bishop
  • "The staff is rather small, High Lord," Helene said hesitantly.

    "Then hire the help you need." Saetan strolled to the door that opened onto the great hall. "I'll meet you again at the end of the week. Is that sufficient time?"

    "Yes, High Lord." She curtsied again.

    Having been born in the slums of Draega, Hayll's capital, as the son of an indifferent whore, he'd never expected or wanted servants to grovel in his presence. He didn't mention this to Helene because, if he read her right, that was the last curtsy he would ever receive.

    At the end of the great hall, he hesitated before opening the door of his public study. He walked around the room, lightly touching the covered furniture, grimacing slightly at his dusty fingertips.

    He'd once ruled Dhemlan Kaeleer from this room. Still ruled, he reminded himself. He'd given Dhemlan Terreille to Mephis when he became a Guardian, but not her sister land in the Shadow Realm.

    Ah, Kaeleer. It had always been a sweet wine for him, with its deeper magic and its mysteries. Now those mysteries were coming out of the mist once more, and the magic was still strong. Strand by strand, Jaenelle was rebuilding the web, calling them all to the dance.

    He hoped she'd be pleased to have the use of this place. He hoped he'd be invited when she established her own court. He wanted to see whom she selected for her First Circle, wanted to see the faces attached to that list of names. Did they know about each other? Or him?

    Saetan shook his head and smiled.

    Whether she'd intended to or not, his fair-haired daughter of the soul had certainly thrown him back among the living.

    2—Terreille

    Surreal switched the basket of groceries from one hand to the other and fished her keys out of her trouser pocket as she climbed the stairs to her third-floor apartment. When she reached the landing and saw the dark shape curled up against her door, the keys vanished, replaced by her favorite stiletto.

    The woman pushed the matted black hair from her face and staggered to her feet.

    "Tersa," Surreal whispered, vanishing the stiletto as she leaped toward the swaying woman.

    "You must tell him," Tersa muttered.

    Surreal dropped the basket and wrapped her arm around Tersa's waist. After calling in her keys and unlocking the door, she half-carried the muttering woman to the sofa, swearing under her breath at the condition Tersa was in.

    She retrieved the basket and locked the door before returning to the sofa with a small glass of brandy.

    "You must tell him," Tersa muttered, weakly batting at the glass.

    "Drink this. You'll feel better," Surreal said sternly. "I haven't seen him in months. He doesn't have much use for me anymore."

    Tersa grabbed Surreal's wrist and said fiercely, "Tell him to beware of the High Priest of the Hourglass. He's not a forgiving man when someone threatens what is his. Tell him to beware of the Priest."

    Sighing, Surreal pulled Tersa to her feet and helped the older woman shuffle to the bathroom.

    Tell him? She didn't want to get anywherenear him.

    And what was she going to do with Tersa? There were only two beds in the place. She knew better than to give up her own, so Tersa would have to use Sadi's. But Hell's fire, he'd become so sensitive about having a woman in his room, he could tell if there had been a different cleaning woman, even if she came only once. Shit. He wasn't likely to show up—sweet Darkness, please don't let him show up—but if he did and he objected to Tersa's using his bed,he could throw her out.

    Surreal stripped off Tersa's tattered clothing. "Come on, Tersa. You need a hot bath, a decent meal, and a good night's sleep."

    "You must tell him."

    Surreal closed her eyes. She owed him. She never forgot that she owed him. "I'll tell him. Somehow, I'll tell him."

    3—Terreille

    After several minutes of uncomfortable silence, Philip Alexander shifted on the couch and faced his niece. He reached for her limp hand. She pulled away from his touch.

    Frustrated, Philip raked his fingers through his hair and tried, once more, to be reasonable.

    "Jaenelle, we're not doing this to be cruel. You're a sick little girl, and we want to help you get better."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire