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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(99) by Anne Bishop
  • "Me . . ." Cassandra hesitated, took a deep breath. "And the Priest."

    Daemon's expression was a mixture of relief and pain. He licked his lips. "Does he . . . Doeshe think I mean her harm?" He shook his head. "No matter. I've wondered the same about him."

    Cassandra gasped, incensed. "How could—" She stopped herself. If they had presumed that about him, why would he not presume the same about them? She sat at the kitchen table. He hesitated and then sat across from her. "Listen to me," she said earnestly. "I can understand why you feel bitter toward him, but you don't feel half as bitter as he does. He never wanted to walk away from you, but he had no other choice. No matter what you think of him because of the way you've had to live, one thing is true: he adores her. With every breath, with every drop of his blood, he adores her."

    Daemon toyed with the wineglass. "Isn't he a little old for her?"

    "I'd say he was experienced," Cassandra replied tartly.

    "She'll be a powerful Queen and should have an older, experienced Steward."

    Daemon glanced at her, amused. "Steward?"

    "Of course." She studied him. "Do you have ambitions to wear the Steward's ring?"

    Daemon shook his head. His lips twitched. "No, I don't have any ambitions to wear theSteward's ring."

    "Well, then." Cassandra's eyes widened. Now that the chill was gone, now that he was a little more relaxed . . . "You really are your father's son," she said dryly and was startled by his immediate, warm laughter. Her eyes narrowed. "You thought—that's wicked!"

    "Is it?" His golden eyes caressed her with disturbing warmth. "Perhaps it is."

    Cassandra smiled. When the anger and cold were gone, he really was a delightful man. "What does she think of you?"

    "How in the name of Hell should I know?" he growled. His eyes narrowed as she laughed at him.

    "Does she try your patience to the breaking point? Exasperate you until you want to scream? Make you feel as if you can't tell from one step to the next if you're going to touch solid ground or fall into a bottomless pit?"

    He looked at her with interest. "Do you feel that way?"

    "Oh, no," Cassandra said lightly. "But then, I'm not male."

    Daemon growled.

    "That's a familiar sound." It was fun teasing him because, despite his strength, he didn't frighten her the way Saetan did. "You and the Priest might have more in common than you think where she's concerned."

    He laughed, and she knew it was the idea of Saetan being as bewildered as he that amused him, consoled him, linked him to them.

    Daemon finished his wine and stood up. "I'm . . . glad . . . to have met you, Cassandra. I hope it won't be the last time."

    She linked her arm through his and walked with him to the outer door of the Sanctuary. "You're welcome anytime, Prince."

    Daemon raised her hand to his lips and kissed it lightly.

    She watched him until he was out of sight before returning to the kitchen and washing the glasses.

    Now there was just the delicate little matter of explaining this meeting to his father.


    There are some things the body never forgets, Saetan thought wryly as Cassandra snuggled closer to him, her hand tracing anxious little circles up and down his chest. Before tonight he'd politely refused to stay with her, wary that she might want more from him than he was willing—or able—to give. But she, too, was a Guardian, and that kind of love was no longer part of her life. There were, after all, some penalties to the half-life. Still, it pleased him to feel skin against skin, to caress the curves of a feminine body. If only she'd get to the point and stop making those damn little circles, because he remembered only too well what they meant.

    He captured her hand and held it against his chest. "So?" As he turned his head and kissed her hair, he felt her frown. He pressed his lips together, annoyed. Had she forgotten how easy it was for him to read a woman's body, to pick up her subtlest moods? Was she going to deny what had screamed at him the moment he stepped into the kitchen?

    "So?" She lightly, teasingly, kissed his chest.

    Saetan took a deep breath. His patience frayed. "So when are you going to get around to telling me what happened this afternoon?"

    She tensed. "What happened this afternoon?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire