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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 118)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(118) by Anne Bishop
  • "It's true, I tell you," one woman said.

    "I don't believe it," the other replied, sounding oddly defiant. "And accusing a man of infidelity without proof is irresponsible."

    "He was seen,in public, with the bitch he's bedding. How much more proof do you need?"

    "I'd heard she was his cousin."

    "Her being one thing doesn't exclude her being the other."

    A hesitation. "No. I'm certain this is all a dreadful misunderstanding. You only had to look at him last winter to see he was in love with his Queen. He wouldn't betray hernow ."

    "We'll see," the first woman said darkly.

    Her companion sighed. "Did you want a book from this section?"

    "No, I just wanted to get away from the shopkeeper to finish telling you what I'd heard. The way he kept shushing us was most annoying… and peculiar. I don't usually come to this shop, and I'm not sure I will again."

    "Then let's go. I already have my selections."

    When he no longer sensed the women's presence in the shop, Daemon stood up and took his books to the counter. As he waited for the shopkeeper to return from another part of the shop, he thought about what he'd overheard.

    Poor bastard. An accusation of infidelity could rip a man's life apart. Marriage was the prized partnership…a commitment of the heart rather than a contract for the body and sexual skills. Being branded unfaithful could not only cost a man his marriage, he could lose his children as well. A few hurtful words could destroy everything that mattered to him.

    "Prince." The shopkeeper approached the counter, gray-faced and trembling.

    "What's wrong?" Daemon asked. "Are you ill?"

    "No." The man swallowed hard. "Is this everything?"

    Since the man didn't want any assistance, at least from him, Daemon waited until the price of the books was tallied and added to his account. Then he initialed the account, vanished the books, and left the shop.

    As he walked to Banard's shop, bafflement shifted into irritation as male acquaintances he passed on the street avoided looking at him or responding to a greeting and the women gave him hostile stares before pointedly looking away, making it clear they didn't want any connection with him. When he walked into Banard's shop, the three people already there, including a Priestess who served in Lady Zhara's court, turned away from the display cases and walked out without saying a word.

    "What in the name of Hell is wrong with everyone today?" Daemon snarled as he approached the glass display case that served as a counter.

    "You've come for the rings?" Banard asked.

    "Yes, I've come for the rings."

    Banard cupped his hands over the display case. When he lifted his hands, two velvet-lined ring boxes rested on the glass.

    Everything else was forgotten as Daemon picked up what he hoped would be Jaenelle's wedding ring. Simple and fluid, it held a sapphire flanked by rubies.

    "It's perfect," he murmured, setting it back in its box before examining the other ring. Just a plain gold band. No etching in the gold or fancy embellishments. He didn't need those things, didn't want those things. All he wanted,everything he wanted, was what that ring would stand for when Jaenelle put it on his finger.

    Closing both boxes, he vanished them and smiled at Banard.

    Banard didn't return the smile. "Some distressing rumors have spread throughout Amdarh."

    Hearing a warning under the words, Daemon inclined his head. "I believe I heard a bit of it this morning. Do you think it's true?"

    "No."

    Banard's certainty surprised Daemon, but before he could phrase a question, the jeweler added, "You wouldn't have asked me to make those rings if the rumors were true."

    For a long moment, he just stared at Banard, unable to make sense of the words. Then cold rage flowed through him, sweet and deadly.

    "Thank you for telling me," Daemon said too softly.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire