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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 103)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(103) by Anne Bishop
  • "I think he commissioned Banard to make something special… probably for that stupid cripple, Jaenelle. But hedid buy a bracelet. 'A special gift for a special Lady.' " As she described the bracelet, Lektra s gold eyes gleamed with delight.

    "We can go to another jeweler and get a duplicate made," Lektra said excitedly. "It doesn't have to be exact, just have all the right elements, so when someone sees me wearing it, they'll think it's the one Banard made. And since Jaenelle Angelline isn't likely to be coming to Amdarh anytime soon, no one will know the difference."

    "What about the brooch?" Roxie asked.

    "While he was in Amdarh last time, Daemon attended several parties. There's always dozens of them just before the actual thirteen days of Winsol. Some of the theater folk attended one of them, and I heard Daemon spent some time with one of the actresses. Danced with her a couple of times. Even stood as her escort for dinner." Lektra pouted.

    "So maybe he's not as chaste as everyone thinks."

    "Don't be a fool. Of course he's chaste. Hell's fire! Any hint that he's been unfaithful to precious Jaenelle would have everyone worth knowing shunning him…which is the whole point, remember?" Lektra smiled. "That's why using this actress is the perfect starting point to freeing Daemon from Jaenelle's control. Peopledid notice the attention he paid the bitch. If she receives a gift from a secret admirer…a 'special gift for a special Lady'…she's going to wear it, and she's going to tell people it's from a secret admirer. So all we have to do is mention that someone had seen Daemon in Banard's shop buying a 'special gift' and people will tie the knot between those two bits of information themselves."

    Lektra tapped her lips with a fingertip and looked thoughtful. "Maybe I won't have another bracelet made after all. It will be so much nicer when Daemon takes me to Banard's shop to buy one for me."

    "What do I get out of this?" Roxie muttered.

    "You get to share the prize, just as I promised," Lektra said coolly. "And you get to pay the SaDiablo family back for the way Lucivar Yaslana treated you. And as my friend and guest, you get to attend parties and dances you'd never be invited to on your own…not to mention the lovers who come home with us."

    Lektra's seconds, that's what she got. But what Lektra said was true: being exiled from Ebon Rih six years ago had cost her almost all her social status. It had gotten so bad in Askavi, no man wanted to dance with her, let alone do something more interesting. So she had moved to Dhemlan, but it wouldn't have been any better if Lektra hadn't befriended her.

    So she put up with the reminders that she owed what social standing she had in Amdarh to Lektra's efforts on her behalf, and she put up with men who wanted Lektra but made do with her.

    Now that Lektra's interest in Daemon Sadi had ripened into obsession, the Dhemlan witch needed her help, and that worked in her favor. Besides, if they wonthis prize, she wouldn't mind taking whatever crumbs were left over.

    "Oh, Daemon. It's beautiful."

    The delight in Jaenelle's sapphire eyes as she picked up the bracelet warmed him and gave him hope. There was so little these days that delighted her.

    "Try it on." He took the bracelet and fastened it around her wrist, painfully careful not to touch the fragile skin…skin he wanted to caress, kiss, lick. The memory of how even the gentlest touch had left hideous bruises whenever he'd helped her move still made him ill. So he didn't let his fingers brush her skin as he fastened the bracelet, then eased back.

    As she held out her arm to admire the bracelet, he no longer saw something beautiful. He saw the shadow the bracelet cast on her skin. Or was it something else?

    He stiffened. "It's not too heavy, is it?" Fool. Idiot. It hadn't occurred to him when he bought it that having the metal resting against her skin would bruise her. And it should have occurred to him. When he'd brought her back to the Hall last autumn, she couldn't wear anything but the lightest-weight fabrics, couldn't have more than a sheet over her in bed. Anything more had left her covered in bruises…and had left him terrified that the constant effort to keep healing the bleeding under the skin would interfere with her overall healing…or even make it impossible for her to ever completely heal.

    "No, it's not too heavy," Jaenelle said as she lowered her arm.

    Daemon winced. By reminding her of how frail she was, he'd spoiled her pleasure in the gift.

    When she looked at him, the delight that had been in her eyes was gone.She was gone. She still sat beside him on the couch, but there was a distance between them again that he didn't know how to bridge.

    He looked at the table in front of him, and his heart sank a little more. The book he'd given her at Winsol lay on the table, the bookmark indicating she'd barely gotten halfway through it.

    "The story doesn't appeal to you?" he asked, wondering if any of the new books he'd brought her would please her. Wondering if there wasanything he could do anymore that would please her.

    Jaenelle looked away, but not before he saw pain and sadness in her eyes. "I guess I've lost my taste for love stories," she said. Then she tried to smile. "I'm feeling a little tired. I think I'll get some sleep now."

    He recognized a dismissal when he heard one. "I'll help you to bed," he said as he rose.

    He waited until she slowly, painfully got to her feet. Then he used Craft to float her from the sitting room to the bedroom. With exquisite care, he removed the soft wool robe Marian had made for her and tucked the sheet and blanket she could now tolerate around her once she was settled in bed.

    "Good night, sweetheart," he said. "I'll come to bed in a little while."Unless you want me to stay. Please want me to stay.

    "Good night, Daemon."

    Idly swirling the brandy in the glass, Daemon stared out the window of the bedroom that adjoined Jaenelle's. The Consort's room. Since she no longer ruled a court, technically he was no longer her Consort. Since he couldn't touch her, he wasn't technically her lover either.

    Didn't matter. He was still her lover. Would always be her lover. He suppressed that thought before his body responded to it. After he brought her home and realized how frail she was, how little it would take to overwhelm the healing taking place inside her and have it fail, which would leave her permanently imprisoned in a body that wouldn't allow her to do more than exist, his desire for sex had vanished. Not surprising. Despite the centuries of being a pleasure slave, he'd been a virgin until he gave himself to Jaenelle. No other woman had aroused him, no other woman had filled him with hungry need.

    That was still true. When he attended the dinners or parties in Amdarh, he danced with women because he enjoyed dancing. But none of them stirred any interest for her company beyond the dance. Only Jaenelle. Always Jaenelle.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire