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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 58)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(58) by Anne Bishop
  • quarter hour before the carriage pulled up to the steps. What had Mephis been thinking of when he'd decided to use the landing web at Halaway instead of the one a few yards from the Hall's front door?

    Grinding his teeth, he flipped through the report, seeing nothing.

    He was the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, the High Lord of Hell. He should set an example, should act with dignity.

    He dropped the report on his desk and left his study.

    Screw dignity.

    He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall at a point that was midway between his study and the front door. From there he could comfortably watch everything without being stepped on. Maybe.

    Fighting to keep a straight face, Saetan listened to Beale accept one implausible excuse after another for why this footman or that maid just had to be in the great hall at that moment.

    Intent on their busy chaos and excuses, no one noticed the front door open until a very rumpled Mephis said, "Beale, could you—Never mind, the footmen are already here. There are some packages—"

    Mephis glared at the footmen scrambling out the door before he spotted Saetan. Weaving his way through the maids, Mephis walked over to Saetan, braced himself against the wall, and sighed wearily. "She'll be here in a minute. She pounced on Tarl as soon as the carriage stopped to consult him on the state of her garden."

    "Lucky Tarl," Saetan murmured. When Mephis snorted, he studied his rumpled son. "A difficult trip?"

    Mephis snorted again. "I never realized one young girl could turn an entire city upside down in just five days." He puffed his cheeks. "Fortunately, I'll only have to help with the paperwork. The negotiations will fall squarely into your lap . . . where they belong."

    Saetan's eyebrow snapped up. "What negotiations? Mephis, what—"

    A few footmen returned, carrying Jaenelle's luggage. The others . . .

    Saetan watched with growing interest as smiling footmen

    brought in armloads of brown-paper packages and headed for the labyrinth of corridors that would eventually take them to Jaenelle's suite.

    "They aren't what you think," Mephis grumbled.

    Since Mephis knew he'd been hoping Jaenelle would buy more clothes, Saetan growled in disappointment. Sylvia's idea of appropriate girl clothes hadn't included a single dress, and the only concession she and Jaenelle had made to his insistence that everyone at the Hall dress for dinner wasone long black skirt and two blouses. When he had pointed out—and very reasonably, too—that trousers, shirts, and long sweaters weren't exactly feminine, Sylvia had given him a scalding lecture, the gist of it being that whatever a woman enjoyed wearing was feminine and anything she didn't enjoy wearing wasn't, and if he was too stubborn and old-fashioned to understand that, he could go soak his head in a bucket of cold water. He hadn't quite forgiven her yet for saying they would have to look hard to find a bucket big enough to fit his head into, but he admired the sass behind the remark.

    Then Jaenelle bounded through the open door, dazzling Beale and the rest of the staff with a smile before politely asking Helene if she could have a sandwich and a glass of fruit juice sent to her suite.

    She looks happy,Saetan thought, forgetting about everything else.

    After Helene hurried off to the kitchen and Beale herded the remaining staff back to their duties, Saetan pushed away from the wall, opened his arms . . . and fought the sudden nausea as Menzar's fantasies and memories flooded his mind. He cringed at the thought of touching Jaenelle, of somehow dirtying the warmth and high spirits that flowed from her. He started to lower his arms, but she walked into them, gave him a rib-squeezing hug, and said, "Hello, Papa."

    He held her tightly, breathing in her physical scent as well as the dark psychic scent he'd missed so keenly during the last few days.

    For a moment, that dark scent became swift and penetrating.

    But when she leaned back to look at him, her sapphire eyes told him nothing. He shivered with apprehension.

    Jaenelle kissed his cheek. "I'm going to unpack. Mephis needs to talk." She turned to Mephis, who was still leaning wearily against the wall. "Thank you, Mephis. I had a grand time, and I'm sorry I caused you so much trouble."

    Mephis gave her a warm hug. "It was a unique experience. Next time I'll be a little more prepared."

    Jaenelle laughed. "You'd take me back to Amdarh?"

    "Wouldn't dare let you go alone," Mephis grumped.

    As soon as she was gone, Saetan slid an arm around Mephis's shoulders. "Come to my study. You could use a glass of yarbarah."

    "I could use a year's sleep," Mephis grumbled.

    Saetan led his eldest son to the leather couch and warmed a glass of yarbarah for him. Sitting on a footstool, Saetan rested Mephis's right foot on his thigh, removed the shoe and sock, and began a soothing foot massage. After a few silent minutes, Mephis roused enough to remember the yarbarah and take a sip.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire