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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 89)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(89) by Anne Bishop
  • Cook knew about her ability to heal. So did Andrew. So did a young parlor maid who'd had her lip split by the senior footman when she refused his amorous advances. Daemon had seen her that particular morning with her lip still leaking blood. An hour later she had passed him in the hallway, her lip slightly swollen but otherwise undamaged, a stunned, awed expression in her eyes. So did one of the old gardeners, who now had a salve for his aching knees. So did he.

    But Philip, Alexandra, Leland, Robert, and Graff didn't know.

    Wilhelmina knew her sister disappeared for hours at a time to visit unnamed friends and an unknown mentor, knew how the witchblood had come to grow in that alcove.

    He knew about her midnight wandering and her secret reading of the ancient Craft texts, knew there was something terrifying and beautiful within the child cocoon that, when it came of age and finally emerged, would no longer be able to live with these people.

    But Philip, Alexandra, Leland, Robert, and Graff didn't know. They saw a child who couldn't learn simple Craft, a child they considered eccentric, strange, and fanciful, a child willing to speak brutal truths that adults would never speak and didn't want to know, a child they couldn't love enough to accept, a child who was like a pin hidden in a garment that constantly scratched the skin and yet could never be found.

    How many beyond Chaillot knew what she was?

    But not Philip or Alexandra or Leland or Robert or Graff. Not the people who should protect her, keep her safe. They were the ones she wasn't safe from. They were the ones who had the power to harm her, to lock her away, to destroy her. They, the ones who should have kept her safe, were her enemies.

    And, therefore, they were his.

    Daemon studied his cold reflection one last time to make sure nothing was out of place, then joined the family for dinner.

    6—Terreille

    Leland smiled nervously and glanced at the clock in her brightly lit sitting room. Instead of cards, the table held a bottle of chilled wine and two glasses. The bedroom door stood partially open, and soft light spilled out.

    Daemon's stomach tightened, and he welcomed the familiar chill that began to ice his veins. "You requested my presence, Lady Benedict."

    Leland's smile slipped. "Um . . . yes . . . well . . . you look tired. I mean, we've all kept you so busy these last few days and, well . . . maybe you should go to your room now and get a good night's sleep. Yes. You do look tired. Why don't you just go to your room? Youwill just go to your room, won't you? I mean . . ."

    Daemon smiled.

    Leland glanced at the bedroom door and blanched. "It's just. . . I'm feeling a bit off tonight. I really don't want to play cards."

    "Nor do I." Daemon reached for the wine bottle and corkscrew.

    "You don't have to do that!"

    Daemon narrowed his eyes, studying her.

    Leland scurried behind a chair.

    He set the bottle and corkscrew down and slipped his hands into his pockets. "You're quite right, Lady. I am tired. With your kind permission, I'll retire now." But not to his room. Not yet.

    Leland smiled weakly but stayed behind the chair.

    Daemon left the room, walked down the corridor, turned the corner, and stopped. He counted to ten and then took two steps backward.

    Philip stood outside Leland's door, frozen by Daemon's appearance at the end of the corridor. They stared at each other for the space of eight heartbeats before Daemon nodded in courteous greeting and stepped out of sight. He stopped and listened. After a long pause, Leland's door quietly opened, closed, and locked.

    Daemon smiled. So that was their game. A pity they hadn't come to it sooner. It would have spared him all those interminable hours of playing cards with Leland. Still, he'd never been adverse to using the knowledge he gathered about the people he served, and this was just the kind of quiet leverage he needed to keep Philip out of his way. Oh, he would be a splendid silent partner in their game. He had always been a splendid partner, sympathetic and ever so helpful—unless someone crossed him. Then . . . Well, he wasn't called the Sadist for nothing.

    He found it strangely flattering that she didn't look up when he slipped into the library and locked the door. She sat cross-legged on the couch, absorbed in the book tucked in her lap, her right hand fluffing her hair as she read.

    He glided around the furniture, his smile becoming warmer with each step. When he reached the couch, he bowed formally. "Lady Benedict."

    "Angelline," Jaenelle replied absently.

    Daemon said nothing. He had discovered that if he kept his voice quiet and neutral when she was distracted with something else, she usually spoke without considering her words, responding with a simple, brutal honesty that always left him feeling as though the ground was cracking beneath his feet.

    "Witch follows the matriarchal bloodline," Jaenelle said, turning a page. "Besides, Uncle Bobby isn't my father."

    "Then who is your father?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire