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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(35) by Anne Bishop
  • "Bitch," he whispered, his voice shaking with pain. He splashed yarbarah into his glass, drank it cold, and grimaced at the taste.

    Cassandra dropped into a chair by the table, too weary to stand. "Bitch I may be, but your love is a luxury she may not be able to afford. She has deliberately kept all of us out, and she doesn't come around anymore. Doesn't that tell you something? You haven't seen her, no one's seen her for the past three months." She gave him a wavering smile. "Maybe we were just a phase she was going through."

    A muscle twitched in Saetan's jaw. There was a queer, sleepy look in his eyes. When he finally spoke, his words were soft and venomous. "I'm not a phase, Lady. I'm her anchor, her sword, and her shield."

    "You sound as though you serve her."

    "Ido serve her, Cassandra. I served you once, and I served you well, but no longer. I'm a Warlord Prince. I understand the Blood Laws that apply when my kind serve, and the first law is not to serve, it's to protect."

    "And if she doesn't want your protection?"

    Saetan sat down opposite her, his hands tightly clasped. "When she forms her own court, she can toss me out on my ass if that's what she wants. Until then . . ." The words trailed away.

    "There may be another reason to let her go." Cassandra took a deep breath. "Hekatah came to see me a few days ago." She flinched at Saetan's hiss of anger but continued in a sassy voice, "On the surface, she came to see your newest amusement."

    Saetan stared at her. She was inviting him to make light of it, to dismiss Hekatah's appearance as if it meant nothing! No, she understood the danger. She just didn't want to deal with his rage.

    "Go on," he said too softly. That blend of fear and wariness in her eyes was too familiar. He'd seen that look in every woman he'd ever bedded after he began wearing the Black. Even Hekatah, although she had hidden it well for her own purposes. But Cassandra was Witch. She wore the Black. At that moment he hated her for being afraid of him. "Go on," he said again.

    "I don't think she was very impressed," Cassandra said hurriedly, "and I doubt she knew who I was. But she was disconcerted when she realized I was a Guardian. Anyway, she seemed more interested in finding out if I knew of a child that might be of interest to you, a 'young feast,' as she put it."

    Saetan swore viciously.

    Cassandra flinched. "She went out of her way to tell me about your interest in young flesh, hoping, I suppose, to create sufficient jealousy to make me an ally."

    "And what did you tell her?"

    "That your interest here was the restoration of the Dark Altar that was named in honor of the Queen you once served, and while I was flattered that she thought you might find me amusing, it was, unfortunately, not true."

    "Perhaps I should rectify that impression."

    Cassandra gave him a saucy smile, but there was panic in her eyes. "I don't tumble with just anyone, Prince. What are your credentials?"

    Out of spite, Saetan walked around the table, drew Cassandra to her feet, and gave her a gentle, lingering kiss. "My credentials are the best, Lady," he whispered when he finally lifted his lips from hers. He released her, stepped away, and settled his cape over his shoulders. "Unfortunately, I'm required elsewhere."

    "How long are you going to wait for her?"

    How long? Dark witches, strong witches, powerful witches. Always willing to take what he offered, in bed and out, but they had never liked him, never trusted him, always feared him. And then there was Jaenelle. How long would he wait?

    "Until she returns."

    6—Hell

    It tingled his nerves, persistent and grating.

    Growling in his sleep, Saetan rolled over and pulled the bedcovers up around his shoulders.

    The tingling continued. A calling. A summons.

    Along the Black.

    Saetan opened his eyes to the night-dark room, listening with inner as well as outer senses.

    A shrill cry of fury and despair flooded his mind.

    "Jaenelle," he whispered, shivering as his bare feet touched the cold floor. Pulling on a dressing robe, he hurried into the corridor, then stopped, unsure where to go. Gathering himself, he sent one thunderous summons along the Black. "Jaenelle!"

    No answer. Just that tingling laced with fear, despair, and fury.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire