• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 120)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(120) by Anne Bishop
  • fore explaining, but he figured he'd hear something closer to the truth if she remained captured on his lap.

    Finally giving up, she fluffed her hair and signed. "When I was twelve, I was hurt very badly—"

    Was that how they had explained the rape to her? Being hurt?

    "—and Papa became my legal guardian." She seemed to have a hard time breathing, and her voice thinned until, even sitting that close, he had to strain to hear her. "I woke up—came back to my body—two years later. I ... was different when I came back, but Papa helped me rebuild my life piece by piece. He found teachers for me and encouraged my old friends to visit and he u-understood me." Her voice turned bitter. "But the Dark Council didn't think Papa was a suitable guardian and they tried to take me away from him and the rest of the family, so I stopped them and they had to let me stay with Papa."

    Stopped them. Lucivar turned over the possibilities of how she could have stopped them. Apparently, she hadn't done quite enough.

    "To placate the Council, I agreed to spend one week each season socializing with the aristo families in Little Terreille."

    "Which doesn't explain why you came back in this condition," Lucivar said quietly. He rubbed her arm, trying to warm her up. He was sweating. She still shivered.

    "It's like living in Terreille again," she whispered. The haunted look filled her eyes. "No, worse than that. It's like living in—" She paused, puzzled.

    "Even aristos in Little Terreille have to eat," he said gently.

    Her eyes glazed over. Her voice sounded hollow. "Can't trust the food. Never trust the food. Even if you test it, you can't always sense the badness until it's too late. Can't sleep. Mustn't sleep. But they get to you anyway. Lies are true, and truth is punished. Bad girl. Sick-mind girl to make up such lies."

    An icy fist pressed into Lucivar's lower back as he wondered what nightmare in the inner landscape she was wandering through right now.

    Capturing her chin between his thumb and finger, Lucivar turned her head, forcing her to look at him. "You're not a bad girl, you're not sick, and you don't lie," he said firmly.

    She blinked. Confusion filled her eyes. "What?"

    Would she understand if he told her what she'd said? He doubted it. "So the food is lousy and you don't sleep well. That still doesn't explain why you came back in this shape. What did they do to you, Cat?"

    "Nothing," she whispered, closing her eyes. Her throat worked convulsively. "It's just that boys expect to be kissed and—"

    "They expectwhat?" Lucivar snarled.

    "—I'm f-f-frigid and—"

    "Frigid!" Lucivar roared, ignoring her frightened squeak. "You're seventeen years old. Those strutting little sons of whoring bitches shouldn't be tryinganything with you that would even bring up the question of whether or not you're 'frigid.' And where in the name of Hell were the chaperons?"

    He rocked furiously, petting her hair with one hand while his other arm tightened protectively around her. Her yip of pain when he accidentally pinched her arm snapped him out of a red haze. He muttered an apology, resettled her in his lap, and began rocking at a more soothing tempo. After a couple of minutes, he shook his head.

    "Frigid," he said with a snort of disgust. "Well, Cat, if objecting to having someone slobber on you or grope and squeeze you is their definition of frigid, then I'm frigid, too. They have no right to use you, no matter what they say. Any man who tells you otherwise deserves a knife between the ribs." He gave her a considering look, then shook his head. "You'd probably find it hard to gut a man. That's all right. I don't."

    Jaenelle stared at him, wide-eyed.

    He wrapped his hand around the back of her neck and massaged gently. "Listen to me, Cat, because I'll only say this once. You're the finest Lady I've ever met and the dearest friend I've ever had. Besides that, I love you like

    a brother, and any bastard who hurts my little sister is going to answer to me."

    "Y-you can't," she whispered. "The agreement—'" "I'm not part of that damn agreement." He gave her a little shake, wondering how he could get that frail, bruised look out of her eyes. Then he squelched a grin. He'd do what he'd do with any feline he wanted to spark—rub her the wrong way. "Besides, Lady," he said in a courteous snarl, "you broke a solemn promise to me, and breaking a promise to a Warlord Prince is a serious offense."

    Her eyes flashed fire. He could almost feel her back arch and the nonexistent fur stand on end. Maybe he wouldn't have to dig that hard to bring a little of her temper to the surface. "I never did!"

    "Yes, you did. I distinctly remember teaching you what to do—"

    "They weren't standing behind me!" Lucivar narrowed his eyes. "You don't have any human male friends?" "Of course I do!"

    "And not one of them has ever taken you behind the barn and taught you what to do with your knee?" Her fingernails suddenly required her attention. "That's what I thought," Lucivar said dryly. "So I'll give you a choice. If one of those fine, rutting aristo males does something you don't like, you can give him a hard knee in the balls or I can start with his feet and end with his neck and break every bone in between." "You couldn't."

    "It's not that difficult. I've done it before." He waited a minute, then tapped her chin. She closed her mouth.

    Then she seemed to shrink into herself. "But, Lucivar," she said weakly, "what if it's my fault that he's aroused and needs relief?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire