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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(27) by Anne Bishop
  • He took another step, reaching for the hand that mirrored his own.

    Just before his fingers touched Saetan's, the room disappeared.

    "Keep your head down, boyo. Breathe, slow and easy. That's right."

    Calm strength and warmth flowed from the hand that stroked his head, his neck, his spine.

    The effort made him queasy, but after a moment Daemon got his brain and body working together enough to open his eyes. He stared at the carpet between his feet— earth-brown, with swirls of young green and burnt red. Obviously the carpet couldn't decide if it was representing spring or autumn.

    "Do you want some brandy or a basin?" Lucivar asked.

    Why would he want a basin?

    His stomach jumped. He swallowed carefully. "Brandy," he said, gritting his teeth and hoping it wasn't the wrong choice.

    When Lucivar returned, Daemon got a generously filled snifter shoved into his hand and a basin shoved between his feet.

    The hand rubbing Daemon's spine stopped moving. "Lucivar," Saetan said, his voice equally amused and annoyed.

    "Helene won't be pleased with him if he pukes on the carpet."

    Daemon didn't know the word Saetan used, but it sounded nasty. It was petty, but he felt childishly pleased that his father had taken his side.

    "Go to Hell," he said, sitting up enough to take a sip of brandy.

    "I'm not the one whose nose was heading for the floor a minute ago," Lucivar growled, rustling his wings.

    "Children," Saetan warned.

    Since his stomach didn't immediately reject the brandy, Daemon took another sip—and finally edged around the questions that needed answers. "She's really alive?"

    "She's really alive," Saetan replied gently.

    "She's lived here since..." He couldn't bring himself to say it.


    Daemon turned his head, needing to see the answer in Saetan's eyes as well as hear it. "And she healed?"


    But he saw the flicker of hesitation in those gold eyes.

    Taking another sip of brandy, he slowly realized that, while Jaenelle's dark psychic scent filled the room, it wasn't recent. "Where is she?"

    "She's making her autumn tour of the kindred Territories," Saetan said. "We try not to interrupt her during that time, but I could—"

    "No." Daemon closed his eyes. He needed some time to regain his balance before he met her again. "It can wait." It had already waited for thirteen years. A few more days wouldn't matter.

    Saetan hesitated, then glanced at Lucivar, who nodded. "There is something you need to think about before she returns." He called in a small jeweler's box, then pushed the lid open with his thumb.

    Daemon stared at the faceted ruby in the gold ring. A Consort's ring. He'd seen that ring in the Twisted Kingdom, circling the stem of a crystal chalice that had been shattered and carefully pieced together. Jaenelle's chalice. Jaenelle's promise.

    "That's not for you to offer," Daemon said. He gripped the brandy snifter to keep from reaching for the ring.

    "I'm not the one who's offering it, Prince. As the Steward of the Dak Court, it was given into my keeping."

    Daemon carefully licked his lips. "Has it ever been worn?" Jaenelle was twenty-five now. There was no reason to think—to hope—it had never circled another man's finger.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire