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  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(62) by Anne Bishop
  • He stumbled around the piano, aching for her clean, loving embrace. Menzar was a fresh scar on his soul, one that would be with him forever, like so many others, but he no longer feared to hold her, no longer doubted the kind of love he felt for her.

    He stroked her hair for a long time before gathering his courage to ask, "How did you know about this music?"

    She pressed her face deeper into his shoulder. Finally she whispered, "It's part of what I am."

    He felt the beginning of an inward retreat, a protective distancing between himself and her.

    No, my Queen. You say "It's part of what I am" with conviction, but your retreat screams your doubt of acceptance. That I will not permit.

    He gently rapped her nose. "Do you know what else you are?"

    "What?"

    "A very tired little witch."

    She started to laugh and had to stifle a yawn. "Since daylight is so draining for Mephis, we did most of our wandering after sunset, but I didn't want to waste the daytime sleeping, so . . ." She yawned again.

    "Youdid get some sleep, didn't you?"

    "Mephis made me take naps," she grumbled. "He said it was the only way he'd get any rest. I didn't think demons needed to rest."

    It was better not to answer that.

    She was half-asleep by the time he guided her to her room. As he removed her shoes and socks, she assured him she was still awake enough to get ready for bed by herself and he didn't need to fuss. She was sound asleep before he reached her bedroom door.

    He, on the other hand, was wide-awake and restless.

    Letting himself out one of the Hall's back doors, Saetan wandered across the carefully trimmed lawn, down a short flight of wide stone steps, and followed the paths into the wilder gardens. Leaves whispered in the light breeze. A rabbit hopped across the path a body length in front of him, watchful but not terribly concerned.

    "You should be more wary, fluffball," Saetan said softly. "You or some other member of your family has been eating Mrs. Beale's young beans. If you cross her path, you're going to end up the main dish one of these nights."

    The rabbit swiveled its ears before disappearing under a fire bush.

    Saetan brushed his fingers against the orange-red leaves. The fire bush was full of swollen buds almost ready to bloom. Soon it would be covered with yellow flowers, like flames rising above hot embers.

    He took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. There was still a desk full of paperwork waiting for him.

    Comfortably protected from the cool summer night, his hands warm in the sweater's deep pockets, Saetan strolled back to the Hall. Just as he was climbing the stone steps below the lawn, he stopped, listened.

    Beyond the wild gardens was the north woods.

    He shook his head and resumed walking. "Damn dog."

    Chapter five

    1 / Kaeleer

    Luthvian studied her reflection. The new dress hugged her trim figure but still didn't look deliberately provocative. Maybe letting her hair flow down her back looked too youthful. Maybe she should have done something about that white streak that made her look older.

    Well, shewas youthful, a little over 2,200 years old. And that white streak had been there since she was a small child, a reminder of her father's fists. Besides, Saetan would know if she tried to conceal it, and she certainly wasn't dressing up forhim. She just wanted that daughter of his to recognize the caliber of witch who had agreed to train her.

    With a last nervous glance at her dress, Luthvian went downstairs.

    He was punctual, as usual.

    Roxie pulled the door open at the first knock.

    Luthvian wasn't sure if Roxie's alacrity was curiosity about the daughter or her desire to prove to the other girls that she had the skill to flirt with a dark-Jeweled Warlord Prince. Either way, it saved Luthvian from opening the door herself.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire