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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(69) by Anne Bishop
  • 1—Terreille

    "I just told you," Philip snapped. "You won't be needed today."

    "I heard what you—"

    A muscle in Philip's jaw twitched. "You have a free day. I realize Hayllians think we're a backward people, but we have museums and art galleries and theaters. There must besomething you could do for a day that wouldn't be beneath you."

    Daemon's eyes narrowed. At breakfast Leland had been skittish and unnaturally quiet, Alexandra had been unaccountably tense, Robert had been nowhere in sight, and now Philip was displaying this erratic anger and trying to force him out of the house for the day. "Very well."

    Accepting a curt dismissal, he requested a carriage to take him into the shop district of Beldon Mor and went to the kitchen to see if Cook knew what was going on. But that lady, too, was in a fine fit of temper, and he retreated before she saw him, wincing as she slammed a heavy roasting pan onto her worktable.

    He spent the morning wandering in and out of bookshops, gathering a variety of novels by Chaillot authors and puzzling over what could have put everyone in the household into such a state. Whatever it was, the answers weren't in the city.

    He returned to the Angelline estate by lunchtime, only to find out that the entire family had left on an errand.

    Annoyed at being thwarted, Daemon stacked the books on the writing desk, changed his clothes, and went to the stables.

    There, too, everyone was on edge. Guinness snapped at the stable lads while they struggled to control overwrought horses.

    "I'll take the stallion out if you want," Daemon offered.

    "You tired of living?" Guinness snapped. He took a deep breath and relented. "It would help to get that one out of the yard for a while."

    "Things are a bit tense around here."

    "Ayah."

    When Guinness offered nothing more, Daemon went to the stallion's box stall and waited for Andrew to saddle him. The boy's hands shook while he checked the girth. Tired of evasiveness, Daemon took the horse out of the yard and headed for the field.

    Once they were out of the yard, Demon was eager, responsive, and excited. Whatever was setting the humans on edge, the stallion felt it too, but it made that simpler mind happy.

    Not interested in a fight, Daemon turned them toward the tree.

    Demon stopped at the tree and watched the rise they'd just come over, patiently waiting. The horse stood that way for ten minutes before eagerness gave way to dejection. When Daemon turned the horse toward the path, there was no resistance, and the gallop was halfhearted at best.

    An hour later, Daemon handed the reins to Andrew and entered the house by a back door. He felt it as soon as he stepped through the doorway, and a rush of blazing anger crested and broke over him.

    Striding through the corridors, Daemon slammed into his room, hurriedly showered and dressed. If he had encountered Philip during that brief walk to his room, he would have killed him.

    How dare that Gray-Jeweled fool try to keep him away? Howdare he?

    Daemon knew his eyes were glazed with fury, but he didn't care. He tore out of his room and went hunting for the family.

    He spun around a corner and skidded to a halt.

    Wilhelmina looked pale but relieved. Graff scowled. Leland and Alexandra stared at him, startled and tense. Philip's shoulders straightened in obvious challenge.

    Daemon saw it all in an instant and ignored it. The other girl commanded his full attention.

    She looked emaciated, her arms and legs little more than sticks. Her head hung down, and lank strands of gold hair hid most of her face.

    "Have you forgotten your manners?" Graff's bony fingers poked the girl's shoulder.

    The girl's head snapped up at Graff's sharp prod, and her eyes, thoseeyes, locked onto his for a brief moment before she lowered her gaze, made a wobbly curtsy, and murmured, "Prince."

    Daemon's heart pounded and his mouth watered.

    Knowing he was out of control, he bowed curtly and harshly replied, "Lady." He nodded to Philip and the others, turned on his heel, and once out of sight, bolted for the library and locked the door.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire