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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 71)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(71) by Anne Bishop
  • I want…Nothing to do but ride the last crest that left her floating.

    She was vaguely aware of being lifted out of the pool, of being dried off and tucked into bed, but she couldn't rouse herself enough to shake the warm contentment that was pulling her down to a quiet, deep place.

    "You put a sleep spell on me, didn't you?" she grumbled.

    "You'll thank me for it later," Lucivar replied, kissing her temple.

    I love you.

    "That's good to hear, witchling, because I love you, too."

    She was dreaming. Of course she was dreaming. But she smiled and let the dream take her.

    Lucivar made a pot of coffee, then rummaged through the cold box for something to eat. Ah. There was the rest of the country casserole Marian had made for dinner last night. After putting the dish in the oven to heat, he started to look around for something to go with it, but the garden caught his attention, drawing him to the kitchen window.

    Still plenty of snow out there, but where the sun had melted the snow and warmed the earth, he could see the green shoots. She'd been so delighted when she'd seen that her spring bulbs had survived the winter.

    Jaenelle had reacted the same way.

    Was that why Marian pulled at him the way no other woman did? She and Jaenelle were so different in some ways and so similar in others. Hearth witch and Queen, but the same qualities that made them both exceptional women, each in her own way.

    And she loved him.

    Lucivar smiled.

    Did Marian realize she'd said it out loud? Had she heard his reply?

    He called in the jeweler's box, opened it, and studied the two rings inside. When he'd bought Marian the amber necklace for Winsol, he'd also had Banard make these rings. Amber and jade set in a gold band for Marian. A plain gold band for him.

    Marriage rings. He wanted to slide that ring on her finger, wanted to wear that gold band that was a symbol of commitment, partnership… and love.

    They'd been together almost a full turn of the seasons. She'd seen the worst of him…no, not the worst; she'd never seen him walk off a killing field, but she'd gone through a rut with him…and, hopefully, he'd also shown her the best, had shown her she could grow in a marriage with him, that she could be everything she wanted to be.

    Maybe it was time to ask her to share her life with him, not just as a lover but as a wife. He wanted, fiercely, to be her husband.

    He closed the box and vanished it. Soon. Very soon.

    First, he had to decide what to do about Roxie.


    Lucivar took a deep breath before knocking on the front door of Roxie's house. The street was too quiet for midday, even in the aristo part of Doun. He could almost feel all the eyes peering at him from behind sheer curtains. They would have heard some version of what happened yesterday, so they knew why he was here. To pass judgment. To draw a line between what would be accepted in Ebon Rih and what would not.

    Jaenelle had been right about that. It was more than his own life at stake in this decision. He'd let his dislike of Roxie color his sense of justice, had avoided her because she reminded him too much of the bitches who'd used him in Terreille…and hadn't gone after her for using other men as he'd done when he was a slave because, he'd told himself, those men had had a choice about being with her. He wasn't sure of that anymore, but the Queens in both Doun and Riada had informed him with wary formality that no complaints had been lodged, no man had come forward to say Roxie had mistreated him. Didn't mean much, although the Queens here could be naive enough to believe it did. As long as an aristo witch didn't play with an aristo male whose family would protest if his reputation was damaged, the Queens would never know about the others…youths, now ashamed that lust had overruled common sense, who were considered "sluts." Good enough when a woman wanted a warm body in bed, but too "experi-

    enced" to be considered for a public, long-term relationship…or a marriage.

    He didn't like Roxie, which is why he'd given himself a full day to think hard about what was just…and, thank the Darkness, his Queen had approved of his decision.

    That didn't mean the aristo families in Doun were going to find it easy to swallow. But everything had a price. Males who warmed too many beds sometimes paid dearly. Roxie would be the lesson…and the warning…that witches who used men would pay a price as well. He'd been too passive in dealing with Roxie. He wouldn't make that mistake again.

    A servant escorted him into the formal parlor where Roxie's father waited. The man rocked on his heels, all ruffled indignation and puffed-up anger. But there was fear in his eyes.

    "Warlord," Lucivar said.

    "Prince." Roxie's father bobbed his head sharply. "I hope you've dismissed that servant. Dreadful woman, accosting an innocent girl on a public street and then spreading lies about her."

    "If you're referring to Lady Marian…"

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