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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 22)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(22) by Anne Bishop
  • He stiffened as if she'd slapped him, then grabbed two plates from the counter, returned to the stove, and started dishing out the food. Every move he made radiated temper as he put the plates of food on the table, then dug out silverware from a drawer and dropped it on the table.

    As he pulled out his chair, she gathered her courage to ask, "May I have some cream and sugar?"

    He paused. "You didn't use any last night."

    True, but last night she hadn't known how bad this stuff tasted.

    A sugar bowl and a small glass bottle appeared above the table. They hovered for a moment before gently coming to rest within easy reach.

    She added two teaspoons of sugar…then added a heaping third when he turned away from the table for a moment…and as much cream as she could fit into the mug without having it spill over the rim. She stirred carefully and tasted cautiously. It was lighter and sweeter…and it was still terrible.

    He sat down, chose some silverware from the pile on the table, and said, "Eat."

    She stared mournfully at what could have been a very fine steak if it hadn't been slapped into a skillet with no regard for its potential. Suppressing a sigh she was sure would only irritate him further, she selected her silverware and began to eat. The fried potatoes were quite good, the scrambled eggs were bland but not bad, and the steak, despite its treatment, was still tender. But every bite she chewed and swallowed was an effort of will. She was too aware of the annoyed man sitting across from her, too aware that she hadn't yet performed her first task in her new position and he was already displeased with her.

    After a few bites, her aching stomach threatened to rebel if she forced

    another mouthful of food into it, so she pushed the food around, wish-

    ing the meal would end…and afraid to consider what might happen when it did.

    Suddenly, Yaslana set his knife and fork down and pushed back his chair, his half-eaten meal another silent criticism.

    "I have to go out for a few hours," he said. "I should be back by midday."

    As he moved toward the archway, she half turned in her chair but couldn't look at him. "What…What would you like me to do?"

    "Whatever hearth witches do."

    Defeated, she said, "Nothing important."

    She thought she'd said it quietly enough that he wouldn't hear, but he stopped in the archway and stared at her for a long moment. Then he was gone.

    She sat at the table for a long time, trying to convince herself that she had work to do. The dishes to wash at the very least, and the remains of the meal to store, and the midday meal to plan once she'd taken a look at what was available. The task of exploring her domain should have delighted her. Instead, she sat.

    She was a hearth witch whose Jewels weren't dark enough to give her any status worth mentioning, and her skills had no value. So what was the point of trying, always trying? The only time anyone had valued her was when those five Warlords wanted to kill her. What did that say about a woman who, being from one of the three long-lived races, had already lived thirteen centuries and would live many more…and would never do or be anything important?

    Maybe Lady Angelline didn't do me a favor when she rescued me. Maybe it would have been better if-…

    Marian shook her head. No. This was just another rough patch of road, just another part of the journey that she had to get through before she could turn the dream of having a place of her own into a reality.

    A whine made her turn toward the archway. The wolf was back, still looking woeful.

    Kindred. Blood. Warlord. Young.

    She finally realized why he made her think of a small boy. He was still young.

    "Good morning, Lord Tassle." When he didn't respond, she tried again. "I'm sorry I reacted badly. I… I've never talked to a wolf before."

    *We do not talk to many humans. Only friends.*

    She raised one hand. "Would you still like me to pet you?"

    *Pet?* He came forward, slipping his head under her hand. *Pet.*

    So she petted…and the wonder of touching a wild animal who was more than a wild animal began to fill her.

    She glanced at the unfinished meals. "Would you like some steak, Tassle?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire