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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(32) by Anne Bishop
  • "I'm not sick," Jaenelle said softly, staring straight ahead.

    "Yes, you are." Philip kept his voice firm but gentle. "You can't tell the difference between make-believe and the real world."

    "I know the difference."

    "No, you don't," Philip insisted. He rubbed his forehead. "These friends, these places you visit . . . they aren't real. They werenever real. The only reason you see them is because you're not well."

    Pain, confusion, and doubt filled her summer-sky blue eyes. "But they feel so real," she whispered.

    Philip pulled her close to him, grateful that she didn't push him away. He hugged her as if that would cure what years of treatment hadn't. "I know they feel real to you, sweetheart. That's the problem, don't you see? Dr. Carvay is the leading healer for—"

    Jaenelle twisted out of his arms. "Carvay isnot a healer, he's—"

    "Jaenelle!" Philip took a deep breath. "That's exactly what we're talking about. Making up vicious stories about Dr. Carvay isn't going to help you. Making up stories about magical creatures—"

    "I don't talk about them anymore."

    Philip sighed, frustrated. That was true. She'd been cured or had outgrown those fantasies, but the stories she made up now were a different coat cut from the same cloth. A much more dangerous coat.

    Philip rose and straightened his jacket. "Maybe . . . maybe if you work hard and let Dr. Carvay help you, you'll be cured this time and will be able to come home for good. In time for your birthday."

    Jaenelle gave him a look he couldn't decipher.

    Philip guided her to the door. "The carriage is outside. Your father and grandmother will go with you, help you get settled."

    As he watched the carriage disappear down the long drive, Philip sincerely hoped that this time would be the last time.

    4—Kaeleer

    Saetan sat behind the blackwood desk in his public study, a half-empty wineglass in his hand, and looked around the refurbished room.

    Helene had worked her hearth-Craft well. Not only were the rooms he had requested to be refurbished done, but most of the public rooms and an entire wing of the living quarters as well. That she'd hired practically the whole village of Halaway to accomplish it . . . Well, they all needed a purpose. Even him. Especially him.

    A sharp rapping on the door finally drew his attention. "Come," he said, draining the wineglass.

    Helene gave the room a satisfied look before approaching the desk and squaring her shoulders. "Mrs. Beale wants to know how much longer she should hold dinner."

    "An excellent meal such as Mrs. Beale has prepared shouldn't be wasted. Why don't you and the others enjoy her efforts?"

    "Then your guest isn't coming?"

    "Apparently not."

    Helene put her hands on her hips. "A hoyden, that's what she is, not to have the manners at least to send her regrets when—"

    "You forget yourself, madam," Saetan snarled softly. There was no mistaking the anger in his words, or the threat.

    Helene shrank from the desk. "I . . . I beg your pardon, High Lord."

    Somewhat mollified, Saetan took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "If she couldn't come, she had her reasons. Don't judge her, Helene. If she's here and you have some complaint about serving her, then come to me and I'll do what I can to alleviate the problem. But don't judge." He slowly walked to the door. "Keep sufficient staff on hand to serve any guests who may arrive. And keep a record of who comes and goes—especially anyone who inquires about the Lady. No one enters here without identifying themselves beforehand. Is that clear?"

    "Yes, High Lord," Helene answered.

    "Enjoy your dinner, my dear." Then he was gone.

    Saetan walked the long stone corridor toward his private study deep beneath the Hall in the Dark Realm. He had abandoned the small apartment adjoining it, having returned to his suite several floors above, but as the days and weeks had passed, he found himself returning, and staying. Just in case.

    A slight figure stepped away from the shadows near the study door. Anxiety rolled out of the boy in waves as Saetan unhurriedly unlocked the door and beckoned him in. A glance at the candlelights produced a soft glow, blurring the room's edges and relieving the feeling of immense power that filled the room he'd occupied for so long.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire