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  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(89) by Anne Bishop
  • "And it is a reasonable compromise, High Lord. You get to spend time with her and we get to spend time with her. Besides, the Hall is the only place big enough for all of us. And, as my uncle pointed out, having all of us in one place would surely drive a man to drink, and that being the case, he'd rather it be you than him."

    Saetan made a weak gesture of dismissal and waited until the door was safely closed before bracing his head in his hands. "Mother Night."

    Chapter seven

    1 / Kaeleer

    Saetan steepled his fingers and stared at Sylvia. "I beg your pardon?"

    "You have to talk to Tersa," Sylvia said again.

    Damn her. Why was she being so insistent?

    With difficulty, he leashed his temper. It wasn't Sylvia's fault. She had no way of knowing how he and Tersa were connected.

    "Would you like some wine?" he finally asked, his deep voice betraying too much of his heart.

    Sylvia eyed the decanter on the corner of his desk. "If that's brandy, why don't you pour yourself a glass and hand me the decanter."

    Saetan filled two brandy snifters and floated one to her.

    Sylvia took a generous swallow and choked a little.

    "That's not exactly the way to drink good brandy," he said dryly, but he slugged back a good portion of his own glass, despite the headache he knew it would give him. "All right. Tell me about Tersa."

    Sylvia leaned forward, her arms braced on the chair, both hands cupped around the snifter. "I'm not a child, Saetan. I understand that some people slip into the Twisted Kingdom and some people are shoved—and a very brave few make a deliberate choice. And I know most Black Widows who become lost in the Twisted Kingdom aren't harmful to others. In their own way, they're extraordinarily wise."

    "But?"

    Sylvia pressed her lips together. "Mikal, my youngest son, spends quite a bit of time with her. He thinks she's wonderful." She finished the brandy and held out her glass for a refill. "Lately she's been calling him Daemon."

    Her voice was so low, so husky he had to strain to hear her. He wished, bitterly, that he hadn't heard.

    "Mikal shrugs it off," Sylvia continued after taking another large swallow of brandy. "He says anyone stuffed that full of interesting things to say could easily get confused about everyday things, and she'd probably known a boy named Daemon and used to tell him the same kind of interesting stuff."

    She never got the chance. He was already lost, to both of us, by the time he was Mikal's age."But?"

    "The last couple of times Mikal's gone to see her, she keeps telling him to be careful." Sylvia closed her eyes and frowned in concentration. "She says the bridge is very fragile, and she'll keep sending the sticks." She opened her eyes and poured herself another brandy. "Sometimes she just holds Mikal and cries. She keeps sticks she's collected from every yard in the village in a big basket in her kitchen and panics if anyone goes near them. But she can't, or won't, tell Mikal or me why the sticks are important. I've had every bridge around Halaway checked and they're all sound, even the smallest footbridge. I thought maybe she'd tell you."

    Would she tell him? Would she let him broach the one subject she refused to discuss with him? When he went to see her, one hour each week, Tersa talked about her garden; she told him what she'd had for dinner; she showed him a piece of needlepoint she was working on; she talked about Jaenelle. But she wouldn't talk about their son.

    "I'll try," he said quietly.

    Sylvia put her empty glass on the desk and stood up, swaying.

    Saetan went around the desk, cupped his hand under her elbow, and led her to the door. "You should go home and take a nap."

    "I never take naps."

    "After that much brandy, I doubt you'll have a choice."

    "My metabolism will burn it up fast enough." Sylvia hiccupped.

    "Uh-huh. Did you realize you called me Saetan?"

    She turned so fast she fell against him. He liked the feel of her. It disturbed him that he liked the feel of her.

    "I'm sorry, High Lord. I'm sorry."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire