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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 72)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(72) by Anne Bishop
  • 3—Terreille

    Daemon undid the silk tie and loosened his collar. After the morning walk, he'd gone shopping with Leland. Until now he hadn't cared what she wore, except to acknowledge to himself that the frilliness of her clothes and the frothiness of her personality irritated him. Today he saw her as Jaenelle's mother, and he'd coaxed and cajoled her into a blue silk dress with simple lines that suited her trim body. She'd been different after that, more at ease. Even her voice didn't scrape his nerves as it usually did.

    When Leland's shopping was done, he'd had the afternoon to himself. In any other court, he would have put the time to good use reviewing the papers his man of business sent to a post box in the city.

    They would be amazed, he thought with a chilly smile, if they knew how much of their little island he owned.

    Gambling at business was a mental game he excelled in. With the annual income he drew in from all corners of the Realm, he could have owned every plank of wood and every nail in Beldon Mor—and that didn't count the half dozen accounts in Hayll that Dorothea knew about and plundered occasionally when her lifestyle exceeded her own income. He always kept enough in those accounts to convince her that they were his total investments. For himself . . . Without the freedom to live as he chose, his personal indulgences were clothes and books, the books being the more personal acquisition since the clothes, like his body, were used to manipulate whomever he served.

    In any other court, he would have put a free afternoon to good use. Today he'd been bored, bored, bored, chafing because he was forbidden the nursery wing and whatever was going on there.

    The evening had been taken up with dinner and the theater. On the spur of the moment, Robert had decided to go with them, and Daemon had found the jockeying for seats in their private box and the tension between Philip and Robert more interesting than the play.

    So here he was at the end of the day, unable to stop his restless wandering. He walked past the Craft library and stopped, his attention caught by the faint light coming from beneath the door.

    The moment he opened the door, the light went out.

    Daemon slipped into the room and raised his hand. The candlelight in the far corner glowed dimly, but the light was sufficient.

    His golden eyes shone with pleasure as he wound his way through the cluttered room until he was standing by the bookcases, looking at a golden-haired head studiously looking at the floor. Her bare feet peeked out from beneath her nightgown.

    "It's late, little one." He chided himself for the purring, seductive throb in his voice, but there was nothing he could do about it. "Shouldn't you be in bed?"

    Jaenelle looked up. The distrust in her eyes was a cold slap in the face. That morning he'd been her playmate. Why was he suddenly a stranger and suspect?

    Trying to think of something to say, Daemon noticed a book on the top shelf that was pulled halfway out. Taking a hopeful guess about the reason for her sudden distrust, he pulled the book off the shelf and read the title, one eyebrow rising in surprise. If this was her idea of bedtime reading, it was no wonder she had no use for Graff's Craft lessons. Without a word, he gave her the book and reached up to brush the others on the top shelf. When he was done, the space where the book had been was no longer there, and anyone quickly glancing at the shelves wouldn't notice its absence.

    Well? He didn't say it. He didn't send it. Still, he was asking the question and waiting for an answer.

    Jaenelle's lips twitched. Beneath the wariness was amusement. Beneath that . . . perhaps the faintest glimmer of trust?

    "Thank you, Prince," Jaenelle said with laughter in her voice.

    "You're very welcome." He hesitated. "My name is Daemon."

    "It would be impolite to call you that. You are my elder."

    He snarled, frustrated.

    Laughing, she gave him an impudent curtsy and left the room.

    "Irritating chit," he growled as he left the library and returned to his room. But the gentle, hopeful smile wouldn't stop tugging at his lips.

    Alexandra sat on her bed, her arms wrapped around her knees. A bell cord hung on either side of her bed. The one on the left would summon her maid. The one on the right—she looked at it for the sixth time in fifteen minutes—would ring in the bedroom below hers.

    She rested her head on her arms and sighed.

    He had looked so damned elegant in those evening clothes so perfectly cut to show off that magnificent body and beautiful face. When he'd spoken to her, his voice had been such a sensual caress it had caused a fluttering in her stomach—a feeling no other man had ever produced. That voice and body were maddening because he seemed completely unaware of the effect he had. At the theater, there'd been more opera glasses focused on him than on the stage.

    There was his reputation to consider. However, outside of his being coolly civil, she had found nothing to fault him on. He answered when summoned, performed his duties as an escort with intuition and grace, was always courteous if never flattering—and produced so much sexual heat that every woman who had been in the theater was going to be looking for a consort or a lover tonight.

    And that was the problem, wasn't it?

    She hadn't had a steady lover since she'd asked Philip to take care of Leland's Virgin Night. She'd always known about Philip's passionate love for her daughter. It wouldn't have been fair to any of them to demand his presence in her bed after that night.

    While a part of her objected to keeping males solely for sexual purposes, her body hadn't given up craving a man's touch. Most of the time, she satisfied that craving whenever she was a guest at a lower Queen's court—or when she sneaked away to spend a night or two with a couple of Black Widow friends and feasted on and with the males who served that coven.

    Now, in the room below hers, there was a Warlord Prince who made her pulse race, a Warlord Prince who had centuries of training in providing sexual pleasure, a Warlord Prince who was hers to command.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire