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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(28) by Anne Bishop
  • Saetan's eyes held a mixture of relief and sadness. "No." He shut the box and held it out.

    Daemon's hand closed over it convulsively.

    "Come on, boyo," Saetan said as he handed the brandy snifter to Lucivar and helped Daemon stand up. "I'll show you to your room. Beale will bring a tray up in a few minutes. Try to eat and get some sleep. We'll talk again in the morning."

    Opening the glass door, Daemon stepped out onto the balcony. The silk robe was too thin and couldn't stop the night air from leaching the warmth he'd gained from a long bath, but he needed to be outside for a moment, needed to listen to the water singing over stone in the natural-looking fountain at the center of the garden below. There were only a couple of rooms surrounding the garden that showed a soft glow of light. Guest rooms? Or did Aaron and Khardeen occupy those rooms?

    Saetan had said no man had worn the Consort's ring, but ...

    Daemon took a deep breath, let it out slowly. She was a Queen, and a Queen was entitled to any pleasure the males in her court could provide.

    And he was here now.

    Shivering, he went into his room, secured the glass door, and drew the curtains. He slipped out of the robe, got into bed, then pulled the covers up over his naked body. Shifting to his side, he stared for several minutes at the jeweler's box he'd set on the bedside table.

    He was here now. The choice was his now.

    He took the Consort's ring out of the box and slipped it on the ring finger of his left hand.

    6 / Kaeleer

    As Surreal placed the last of her toiletries in the bathroom cabinet, she paused, listening. Yes, someone had entered her bedroom. Had the maid returned for another polite verbal struggle? She'dtold the woman she didn't need help unpacking—and had wondered about the maid's muttered comment.No question about it, you're a SaDiablo.

    So maybe she'd been a little hasty. After all, she didn't want to have to launder her own clothes for however long she would be there.

    Moving toward the bathroom door, Surreal sent a cautious psychic probe into the bedroom. Her lips curled into a snarl. Not the maid back for another round, but amale making himself comfortable in her room. Then she paused. The psychic scent was definitely male—but there was something about it that was just a little off.

    Calling in her favorite stiletto, she used Craft to place a sight shield around it. With her arms down and her right hand curled loosely around the hilt, no one would suspect she had a weapon ready—unless they knew she was an assassin. More than likely, it was a male who had heard of her former profession and figured she'd be delighted to accommodate him—like those balless pricks at the service fair who kept pushing her to sign a contract to serve in an "aristo" Red Moon house.

    Well, if this male was expecting a jolly, she would just inform him that she would have to talk to the Steward first about compensation. Unless itwas the Steward. Did he really expect her to buy her way out of a contract she hadn't wanted to sign in the first place?

    With her temper simmering, Surreal strode into the bedroom—and stopped short, not sure if she wanted to yell or laugh.

    A large gray dog had his head buried in her open trunk. The tip of his tail wagged like a brisk metronome as he sniffed her clothes.

    "Find anything interesting?" Surreal asked.

    The dog leaped away from the trunk, heading for the door. Then he stopped, a nervous quiver running through his body as his brown eyes stared at her. His tail gave a couple of hopefultock-tocks before it curled between his legs.

    Surreal vanished the stiletto. Keeping one eye on the dog, she checked the trunk. If he'd done anything disgusting on her clothes... Seeing that he hadn't done more than sniff, she relaxed and turned to face him.

    "You're big," she said pleasantly. "Are you allowed inside?"

    "Rrrf."

    "You're right. Considering the size of this place, that was a silly question." She held out her hand in a loose fist.

    Accepting the invitation, he eagerly sniffed her hand, sniffed her feet, sniffed her knees, sniffed...

    "Get your nose out of my crotch," Surreal growled.

    He took two steps back and sneezed.

    "Well, that's your opinion."

    His mouth opened in a doggy grin. "Rrrf."

    Laughing, Surreal put her clothes away in the tall wardrobe and mirrored dresser. After hanging the last piece, she closed the trunk.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire