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  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(54) by Anne Bishop
  • "Warlord."

    She saw a tremor of fear in his eyes before he masked it. That she could identify his caste so easily, despite his efforts to hide it, told him that she was strong enough to win any dispute with him.

    "That basket looks heavy," he said, still cautious.

    "A couple of novels and tonight's dinner."

    "I could carry it up for you ... in a few minutes."

    She understood the warning. Someone was waiting for her. If she survived the meeting, the Warlord would bring up the basket. If she didn't, he would divide the spoils among a select few in his building, thus buying a little help if he should need it in the future.

    Surreal set the basket on the sidewalk and stepped back. "Ten minutes." When he nodded, she swiftly climbed the building's front steps. Then she paused long enough to put two Gray protective shields around herself and a Green shield over them. Hopefully whoever was waiting for her would respond to the lesser Green shield first. She also called in her largest hunting knife. If the attack was physical, the knife's blade would give her a little extra reach.

    With her hand on the doorknob, she made a quick psychic probe of the entryway. No one. Nothing unusual.

    A fast twist of the knob and she was inside, turning toward the back of the door. She kicked the door shut, keeping her back against a wall pocked with rusty letter boxes. Her large, gold-green eyes adjusted quickly to the gloomy entryway and equally dim stairwell. No sounds. And no obvious feel of danger.

    Up the stairs quickly, keeping her mind open to eddies of mood or thought that might slip from an enemy's mind.

    Up to the third floor, the fourth. Finally to the fifth.

    Pressed in the opposite corner from her own door, Surreal probed once more—and finally felt it.

    A dark psychic scent. Muted, altered somehow, but familiar.

    Relieved—and a little annoyed—that there wouldn't be a fight, Surreal vanished the knife, unlocked her door, and went inside.

    She hadn't seen him since he'd left Deje's Red Moon house more than two years ago. It didn't look like they'd been easy years. His black hair was long and raggedly cut. His clothes were dirty and torn. When he didn't respond to her briskly closing the door and just continued to stare at the sketch she'd recently purchased, she began to feel uneasy.

    That lack of response was wrong. Very wrong. Reaching back, Surreal opened the door just enough not to have to fumble with locks.


    He finally turned around. The golden eyes held no recognition, but they held something else that was familiar, if only she could remember where she'd seen that look before.


    He continued to stare at her, as if he were struggling to remember. Then his expression cleared. "It's little Surreal." His voice—that beautiful, deep, seductive voice—was hoarse, rusty.

    Little Surreal?

    "You're not here alone, are you?" Daemon asked uneasily.

    Starting across the room, she said sharply, "Of course I'm here alone. Who else would be here?"

    "Where's your mother?"

    Surreal froze. "My mother?"

    "You're too young to be here alone."

    Titian had been dead for centuries. Heknew that. It was centuries ago that he and Tersa . . .

    Tersa's eyes. Eyes that strained to make out the ghostly, gray shapes of reality through the mist of the Twisted Kingdom.

    Mother Night, what had happened to him?

    Keeping his distance, Daemon began edging toward the door. "I can't stay here. Not without your mother. I won't ... I can't . . ."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire