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  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(76) by Anne Bishop
  • "Did you think you could hide it from me? Did you think I would

    have let those men into our home, would have left you alone with them when you're vulnerable?"

    "I wasn't vulnerable," she protested. "It just started." And she hadn't thought he'd be able to catch the scent of moon's blood when there was barely a hint of it yet. Before he could start roaring, she spun around, opened a drawer, withdrew the six pieces of parchment she'd prepared as a joke, and held them out. "Here."

    He took the pieces of parchment and looked at them, then frowned in puzzlement. "A certificate for fussing? What's…" He read it through. His eyes still held the heat of temper when he looked at her, but his mouth was curving into that lazy, arrogant smile. "This entitles me to twenty minutes of fussing with no snarls or grumbles from you?"

    "Yes," Marian said warily, wondering if she should mention it was intended as a joke. A fluttery feeling filled her stomach when his smile got lazier, more arrogant.

    He handed back one piece of parchment and vanished the other five. "I'll redeem this one now."

    "What? But—"

    "Uh-uh," he said, leading her over to a chair. "No snarls, no grumbles. Says so in your very own handwriting."

    "But…"

    His mouth covered hers. When he finally stepped back, whatever she'd been about to say didn't seem important anymore.

    He laughed. "You should see your face. Such a grumpy little witch."

    Well, she thought as she watched him put together their evening meal, at least she'd given him something to laugh about.

    Sitting alone at her kitchen table, Luthvian poured another glass of wine and continued brooding.

    Roxie was a bitch and a thorn in everyone's side. She couldn't argue with Lucivar about that. But she was an educated bitch from a good family. An aristo family. Lucivar just refused to see thatsome leniency had to be given for the Blood who ruled society and, more often than not, made up the courts that ruled in every other way.

    She'd kept an eye on him since he'd become the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih. He was her son, after all. Just as she knew his father had been keeping a close eye on him. But his father…

    Luthvian gulped wine. Poured more. Better not to think of his father.

    The point was, Saetan wasn't doing a thing to encourage Lucivar to associate with Blood who were his social equals. He should have been escorting the daughter of another Warlord Prince to dinner or the theater, should have been attending dinner parties where the guests were among the elite. Instead, he was still stopping at a tavern for an ale or a meal. And who did he escort to the theater? His housekeeper.

    He was becoming too attached to the hearth witch. Oh, Marian had been useful enough cooking his meals and washing his clothes. And there was no arguing that his temper had mellowed a little since she'd started spreading her legs for him. But he wasn't treating her as a favorite servant or even a temporary lover. He was starting to treat her like a… wife.

    And that wouldn't do. No matter what Saetan said, it simply would not do. She wasn't going to have some Purple Dusk witch from a nothing family dilute the SaDiablo-Yaslana bloodline. Marian didn't have the education, the culture, the background. She would never encourage Lucivar to move in the social circles he should simply becauseshe would never be comfortable in those circles. He'd never live up to his potential. His children would be less than they should be.

    He needed exposure to women who wouldn't set his back up the way Roxie did. Oh, not that Roxie would have been acceptable. A Rih-lander, a witch from one of the short-lived races, as Lucivar's wife? No. Not in a thousand lifetimes. But a dark-Jeweled Dhemlan witch from an aristo family? A woman like that would be perfect. Same coloring as an Eyrien but without those damned wings. The daughters from a union like that could become Priestesses, Healers, maybe even Black Widows. Maybe there would even be a Queen among them. And the sons would be something more than fighters, something more than arrogance and temper riding a cock.

    Luthvian poured the last of the wine, studied the deep red color.

    But Lucivar would never listen to her, would never yield to her wishes, would never even look at a different kind of woman while Marian was there making his favorite meals and keeping his c**k sheathed.

    Which meant she had to convince Marian it was in her own best interest to leave.

    TWENTY-TWO

    "They're lovely."

    Marian turned away from the bed of spring flowers, wary of the friendly tone in Luthvian's voice. "Lucivar isn't here right now."

    "I know." Luthvian opened the gate and stepped into the garden, looking around as if she'd never seen it before. "I came to see you."

    "Why?" Marian pressed her lips together, struggling for enough composure to offer hospitality. Luthvian's opinion of her, disapproval of her, always pulsed in the air. So this unexpected warmth in the Black Widow's demeanor made her uneasy.

    "You do care about Lucivar, don't you?" Luthvian asked, suddenly sounding anxious.

    "Yes, I"…love him…"care for him very much."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire