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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 55)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(55) by Anne Bishop
  • 5—Hell

    Hekatah flowed into the parlor, the spider silk gown swirling around her small body, the diamonds sewn into the high neckline glittering like stars against a blood-red sky. She'd dressed with care for this well-thought-out "chance" meeting. Despite the plebeian gallantry that made him courteous to any woman, whether she was pretty or not, Saetan did appreciate a woman who displayed herself to advantage, and even past her prime, Hekatah had never wanted for men.

    But he, gutter-child bastard that he was, glanced at her over the half-moon glasses he'd begun wearing, marked the page in his book, and vanished the glasses before, finally, giving her his full attention.

    "Hekatah," he said with pleasant wariness.

    Biting back her fury, she strolled around the room. "It's wonderful to see the Hall refurbished," she said, her girlish voice full of the cooing warmth that had once made him cautiously open to her.

    "It was time to have it done."

    "Any special reason?"

    "I thought of giving a demon ball," he replied dryly.

    She tipped her chin down and looked up at him through her lashes, not realizing it was a parody of the sulky, sensuous young witch she'd been long centuries ago. "You didn't redo the south tower."

    "There was no need. It's been emptied and cleaned. That's all."

    "But the south tower has always been my apartment," she protested.

    "As I said, there was no need."

    She stared at the sheer ivory curtains beneath the tied-back red velvet drapes. "Well," she said, as if giving the matter slow consideration, "I suppose I could take a room in your wing."

    "No."

    "But, Saetan—"

    "My dear, you've forgotten. You've never had an apartment in the Hall in this Realm. You haven't lived in any house I own since I divorced you, and you never will again."

    Hekatah knelt beside his chair, pleased by the way the gown pooled around her, one shimmering wing of her sleeve draped across his legs. "I know we've had our differences in the past, but, Saetan, you need a woman here now." She could have shouted with triumph as his eyebrow rose in question and a definite spark of interest showed in his eyes.

    He raised one hand and stroked her still-black hair, flowing long and loose down her back. "Why do I need a woman now, Hekatah?" he asked in a gentle, husky voice.

    His lover's voice. The voice that always enraged her because it sounded so caring and weak. Not a man's voice. Not her father's voice. Her father would never have coaxed.He would never have allowed her to refuse him. Buthe had been a Hayllian Prince, one of the Hundred Families, as proud and arrogant as any Blood male, and not this . . .

    Hekatah lowered her eyes, hoping Saetan hadn't seen, again, what she thought of him. All that power. They could have ruled all of Terreille, and Kaeleer too, if he'd been the least bit ambitious. Even if he'd been too lazy,she could have done it. Who would havedared challenge her with the Black backing her? He wouldn't even do that. Wouldn't even support her in Dhemlan, his own Territory. Kept her leashed to Hayll, where her family had enough influence to make her the High Priestess. All that power wasted in athing that had to give himself a name because his sire didn't think the seed fit enough to claim. But Terreille would be hers yet, even if she had to use a weak little puppet like Dorothea to get it.

    "Why do I need a woman now?" Saetan's voice, less gentle now, called her back.

    "For the child, of course," she replied, turning her head to press a kiss into his palm.

    "The child?" Saetan lifted his hand and steepled his fingers. "One of our sons has been demon-dead for 50,000 years, and you, my dear, probably know better than anyone where the other one lies."

    Hekatah drew in her breath with a hiss and exhaled with a smile. "The girl child, High Lord. Your little pet."

    "I have no pets, Priestess."

    Hekatah hid her clenched fists in her lap. "Everyone knows you're training a girl child to serve you. All I'm trying to point out is she needs a woman's guidance in order to fulfill your needs."

    "What needs are those?"

    Hekatah smacked the arm of the chair. "Don't play word games with me. If the girl has any talent, she should be trained in the Craft by her Sisters. What you do with her afterward is your concern, but at least let me train her so she won't be an embarrassment."

    Saetan eased out of the chair, went to the long windows, and pulled the sheer curtains aside for a clear view of Hell's ever-twilight landscape. "This doesn't concern you, Hekatah," he said slowly, his voice whispering thunder. "It's true I've accepted a contract to tutor a young witch. I'm bored. It amuses me. If she's an embarrassment to someone, it's no concern of mine." He turned from the window to look at her. "And no concern of yours. Leave it that way. Because if you persist in making her your concern, a great many things I've overlooked in the past are going to become mine."

    Saetan dropped the edge of the curtain, flicked the folds back into place, and left the room.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire