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  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(54) by Anne Bishop
  • Numbed by the sheer quantity of purchases, she watched the proprietor tally up the cost and wondered how many years of tithes had just been eliminated.

    Then the proprietor turned to the smaller stack of items on the counter.

    "No," Marian said. "Those don't go on Prince Yaslana's account. Those are my purchases."

    As he tallied up her purchases, she called in the wallet she'd bought on her last shopping trip. Most of her wages were tucked in the back of the dresser drawer that held her underthings.The wallet held the funds she allowed herself to spend freely. She opened it and riffled the copper marks just as the proprietor finished his tally.

    Heat flooded her face. Not enough. She hadn't come to the village to shop for herself and hadn't checked to see how much was in her wallet before she left the eyrie. And she hadn't expected to find that wonderful, soft wool material that she wanted to make into a robe for Lucivar as a Winsol gift. She could still afford the material, but…

    After a wistful look at the two books she'd selected, she cleared her throat. "I'm sorry. I didn't bring enough with me."

    "Perhaps the Lady would like to open an account?" the proprietor asked.

    She just stared at him. Why would he give a housekeeper an account when he wouldn't open one for Roxie, who came from an aristo family?

    "That's practical," Jaenelle said.

    That settled it—at least as far as Jaenelle and the proprietor were concerned.

    "Thank you," Marian said, after she reviewed the neatly written list and had initialed the paper next to the last item.

    "It is my pleasure, Lady," the proprietor replied.

    "So,"Jaenelle said. "Are you going home to play with your new toys?"

    "They're not toys, they're tools," Marian replied as she vanished the material and books. Before she could deal with the rest of the purchases, they vanished.

    Jaenelle smiled at her. "I'll come back with you. Then you can tell me what all of those things do."

    "Do?"

    "I'm not allowed in the kitchen at the Hall, so I don't see most of the things you bought."

    "You don't know how to cook? Not at all?"

    "No," Jaenelle said sadly.

    Marian couldn't believe it. Lucivar could put together an acceptable meal, and he'd mentioned a few times that his father was quite a good cook when the High Lord felt inclined. Why hadn't either of them taught Jaenelle how to put together a simple meal?

    "I can teach you," Marian said. "But we'll have to start with something very simple."

    Jaenelle beamed. "Simple is good." The proprietor looked amused.

    As she and Jaenelle walked out of the shop, Marian wondered how long it would take for the rest of the village to hear that Prince Yaslana's housekeeper was giving the Queen of Ebon Askavi a cooking lesson.

    Since he'd been greeted by grinning merchants when he stopped in Riada on his way home, Lucivar expected to find Marian in the kitchen playing with her new toys. The counter was stacked with things, but his little hearth witch was just sitting at the table, frowning at two bowls filled with eggs. After studying the bottle on the table and considering the glazed look in her eyes, he doubted the two fingers of brandy in the glass near her hand was the first drink she'd poured.

    Figuring he wasn't going to see dinner anytime soon, he pointed at the eggs. "Are those cooked?"

    "Mmm," Marian said.

    He took one from the nearest bowl and peeled off the shell. Just as he punched his thumb into the center to break the egg in half, Marian said, "No! Not…"

    Raw yolk fountained up and flowed over his hands. Lucivar looked at Marian. Marian looked at him. "You let my sister play in the kitchen, didn't you?" Which explained why his little hearth witch had indulged in several glasses of brandy. Marian stared at the egg dripping off his hands. "She's the Queen of Ebon Askavi. She's the most powerful witch in Kaeleer. And she can't boil an egg."

    "I know. That's why we don't let her play in the kitchen."

    Marian shook her head. "How can she not be able to boil an egg? You don't even need Craft for it. All she did was put the eggs in the water." She blew out a breath. "How can you end up with eggs that have the whites fully cooked and the yolks still raw?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire