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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(107) by Anne Bishop
  • "The other thing to be aware of is that, when the shield wakes, the only people who will be able to reach you if you physically need help are the rest of the First Circle," Jaenelle said.

    Karla nodded. "In that case, I'd better always wear it. It wouldn't do to have someone else slip it on and have that kind of protection."

    "No one else can wear this ring. It was made for you. If anyone else tried to activate the shield, the results would be ... unpleasant."

    "I see." She didn't ask Jaenelle to define "unpleasant."

    Jaenelle studied Karla for a moment. "Wear it well, Sister."

    "Thank you. I will."

    "I'd better see that the rest of the coven gets their rings." Jaenelle picked up the bag that held the other ring boxes, then hesitated. "Do you really have to leave tomorrow?" she asked a little plaintively.

    "Duty calls," Karla said with a smile. She waited until Jaenelle left the room before adding, "And Uncle Saetan made it quite clear that no excuse for staying would be considered acceptable."

    All the Queens were returning to their home Territories. So were the First Circle males. Lucivar was taking his family and the other Eyriens to Ebon Rih. Surreal and Wilhelmina would go with him as well. Andulvar and Prothvar were already on their way to Askavi, and Mephis had left for his town house in Amdarh.

    She understood why Saetan was clearing the Hall. They all did. By tomorrow afternoon, all the friends Jaenelle had used as buffers would be gone. Her only human companions would be the High Lord, who, Karla was sure, was going to make himself scarce, and Daemon. The Consort would have a clear field in which to woo his Lady.

    "May the Darkness help us," Karla muttered as she strode to the door and threw it open. Then she stood in the doorway and stared.

    Lucivar, Aaron, Chaosti, Khardeen, and Morton smiled at her.

    "Well, well, well," Lucivar crooned. "Look who we found."

    Trying to return the smile, Karla said weakly, "Kiss kiss," and sincerely hoped it wouldn't take Jaenelle long to activate the other rings.

    Chapter Ten

    1 / Kaeleer

    After spending two weeks in Ebon Rih, Surreal returned to the Hall, took one look at Daemon, and went hunting for Jaenelle.

    She finally tracked Jaenelle down—actually, Graysfang tracked down Ladvarian, who was with Jaenelle—in a part of the Hall so far away from the family's living quarters that it practically guaranteed no one would think to look there.

    Jaenelle stepped out of a room and noticed Surreal striding down the corridor. Her face lit up with pleasure. "Surreal! I didn't expect you back so—"

    Surreal grabbed Jaenelle's arm and hauled the younger woman back into the room. "This is girl talk," she growled at Graysfang and Ladvarian. "Go water some bushes." Then she slammed the door on two startled, furry faces.

    "Surreal," Jaenelle said, shaking free of the hard grip, "did something happen in—"

    "What in the name of Hell are you doing?" Surreal shouted.

    Jaenelle looked wary and baffled. "I was reading."

    "I'm not talking about what you were doing five minutes ago. I'm talking about Daemon. Why are you doing this to him?"

    Jaenelle flinched and said defensively, "I'm not doing anything to him."

    "That's exactly the point. Damn it, Jaenelle, he's yourConsort. Whyaren't you using him?"

    In the flick of a moment, she saw a defensive young woman change into an angry Queen.

    "He's been used enough, don't you think?" Jaenelle said quietly in her midnight voice. "And I amnot going to be the next in a long list of women who have forced him into physical intimacy."

    "But—" Surreal took a mental step back. She hadn't expected this to be the reason for Jaenelle's resistance— and she was sure Daemon had no idea this was why he was getting locked out of the bedroom.Ah, sugar, she thought sadly.You made all the wrong moves for all the right reasons. "That was different. He was a pleasure slave then, not a Consort."

    "Isthere that much difference, Surreal?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire