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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 119)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(119) by Anne Bishop
  • He sincerely hoped they were right.

    He opened the cabin door and understood why the wolves were afraid.

    She sat in the rocking chair in front of the hearth, just staring.

    The psychic pain in the room staggered him. The psychic shield around her felt deceptively passive, as easy to brush aside as a cobweb. Beneath the passivity, however, lay something that, if unleashed, would extract a brutal price.

    Pulling his wings in tight, Lucivar carefully circled around the shield until he stood in front of her.

    The Black Jewel around her neck glowed with deadly fire.

    He shook, not sure if he was afraid for himself or for her. He closed his eyes and made rash promises to the Darkness to keep from being sick on the spot.

    Having lived in Terreille most of his life, he recognized someone who had been tortured. He didn't think she'd been physically harmed, but there were subtle kinds of abuse that were just as destructive. Certainly, her body had paid a terrible price over the past four days. The weight she'd put on had been consumed along with the muscle she'd built up by working with him. Her skin was stretched too tight over her face and looked fragile enough to tear. Her eyes . . .

    He couldn't stand what he saw in those eyes.

    She sat there, quietly bleeding to death from a soul wound, and he didn't know how to help her, didn't know if there was anything hecould do that would help her.

    "Cat?" he called softly. "Cat?"

    He felt her revulsion when she finally looked at him, saw the emotions writhing and twisting in those haunted, bottomless eyes.

    She blinked. Sank her teeth into her lower lip hard enough to draw blood. Blinked again. "Lucivar." Neither a question nor a statement, but an identification painfully drawn up from some deep well inside her. "Lucivar." Tears filled her eyes. "Lucivar?" A plea for comfort.

    "Drop the shield, Cat." He watched her struggle to understand him. Sweet Darkness, she was so young. "Drop the shield. Let me in."

    The shield dissolved. So did she. But she was in his arms before the first heart-tearing sob began. He settled them in the rocking chair and held her tight, murmuring soothing nothings, trying to rub warmth into icy limbs.

    When the sobs eased to sniffles, he rubbed his cheek against her hair. "Cat, I think I should take you to your father's house."

    "No!" She pushed at him, struggling to get free.

    Her nails could have opened him to the bone. The venom in her snake tooth could have killed him twice over. One surge of the Black Jewels could have blown apart his inner barriers and left him a drooling husk.

    Instead, she struggled futilely against a stronger body. That told him more about her temperament than anything else she might have done—and also explained why this had happened in the first place. Her temper had probably slipped once and the result had scared the shit out of her. Now she didn't trust herself to displayany anger—even in self-defense. Well, hecould do something aboutthat.

    "Cat—"

    "No." She gave one more push. Then, too weak to fight anymore, she collapsed against him.

    "Why?" He could think of one reason she was afraid to go home.

    The words spilled out of her. "I know I look bad. I know. That's why I can't go home now. If Papa saw me, he'd be upset. He'd want to know what happened, and I can't tell him that, Lucivar. I can't. He'd be so angry, and he'd have another fight with the Dark Council and they'd just cause more trouble for him."

    To Lucivar's way of thinking, having her father explode in a murderous rage over what had been done to her would be all to the good. Unfortunately, Jaenelle didn't share his way of thinking. She'd rather endure something that devastated her than cause trouble between her beloved papa and the Dark Council. That might suit her and the Dark Council and her papa, but it didn't suit him.

    "That's not good enough, Cat," he said, keeping his voice low. "Either you tell me what happened, or I bundle you up and take you to your father right now."

    Jaenelle sniffed. "You don't know where he is."

    "Oh, I'm sure if I create enough of a fuss, someone will be happy to tell me where to find the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan."

    Jaenelle studied his face. "You're a prick, Lucivar."

    He smiled that lazy, arrogant smile. "I told you that the first time we met." He waited a minute, hoping he wouldn't have to prod her and knowing he would. "Which is it going to be, Cat?"

    She squirmed. He could understand that. If someone had cornered him the way he'd cornered her, he'd squirm, too. He sensed she wanted physical distance between them be-

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire