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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 20)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(20) by Anne Bishop
  • "I think it's Arcerian cat."

    "Arcerian cat?" That couldn't be right. Most Glacians wouldn't hunt in Arceria because the cats were big, fierce predators, and the odds of a hunter not becoming the prey were less than fifty-fifty. Besides, there was somethingwrong with that fur. She could feel it even at this distance. "I'm going to pay my respects."

    "Karla." There was no mistaking the warning in Morton's voice.

    "Kiss kiss." She gave him a wicked smile and an affectionate squeeze before making her way to the group of women admiring the coat.

    It was easy to slip in among them. Some of the women noticed her, but most were intent on the girl's—Karla couldn't bring herself to call her a Sister—hushed gossip.

    "—hunters from a faraway place," the girl said.

    "I've got a collar made from Arcerian fur, but it's not as luxurious as this," one of the women said enviously.

    "These hunters have found a new way of harvesting the fur. Hobie told me after we'd—" She giggled.

    "How?"

    "It's a secret."

    Coaxing murmurs.

    Mesmerized by the fur, Karla touched it at the same moment the girl giggled again, and said, "They skin the catalive."

    She jerked her hand away, shocked numb.Alive.

    And some of the power of the one who had lived in that fur was still there. That's what made it so luxurious.

    A witch. One of the Blood Jaenelle had called kindred.

    Karla swayed. They had butchered a witch.

    She shoved her way out of the group of women and stumbled toward the door. A moment later, Morton was beside her, one arm around her waist. "Outside," she gasped. "I think I'm going to be sick."

    As soon as they were outside, she gulped the sharp winter air and started to cry.

    "Karla," Morton murmured, holding her close.

    "She was a witch," Karla sobbed. "She was a witch and they skinned her alive so that little bitch could—"

    She felt a shudder go through Morton. Then his arms tightened, as if he could protect her. And hewould try to protect her, which is why she couldn't tell him about the danger she sensed every time Uncle Hobart looked at her. At sixteen, Morton had just begun his formal court training.

    He was the only real family she had left—and the only friend she had left.

    The bitter anger boiled over without warning.

    "It's been two years!" She pushed at Morton until he released her. "She's been in Kaeleer for two years, and she hasn't come to visit once!" She began pacing furiously.

    "People change, Karla," Morton said cautiously. "Friends don't always remain friends."

    "Not Jaenelle. Not with me. That malevolent bastard at SaDiablo Hall is keeping her chained somehow. I know it, Morton." She thumped her chest hard enough to make Morton wince. "In here, I know it."

    "The Dark Council appointed him her legal guardian—"

    Karla turned on him. "Don't talk to me about guardians, Lord Morton," she hissed. "I know all about 'guardians.' "

    "Karla," Morton said weakly.

    " 'Karla,' " she mimicked bitterly. "It's always 'Karla.' Karla's the one who's out of control. Karla's the one who's becoming emotionally unstable because of her apprenticeship in the Hourglass coven. Karla's the one who's become too excitable, too hostile, too intractable. Karla's the one who's cast aside all those delightful simpering manners that males find appealing."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire