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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(32) by Anne Bishop
  • "I wouldn't be too concerned. When Jaenelle formally set up her court, the Consort's ring was set aside for him, by her decree. So whatever happened between them couldn't have been that distressing. At least for her," he added solemnly. Rising, he came around the desk. "I still have to meet with several of the Eyriens tonight as well as get the reports from Aaron, Khardeen, and Lucivar. If you need any help understanding the Blood here, please come and talk to me."

    Accepting dismissal, Surreal rose and glanced at the door. "There is one other thing."

    Saetan studied the closed door. "I see you've met Lord Graysfang."

    Surreal choked back a laugh.

    "I know. Their names sound as strange to us as ours do to them. Although they may have more reason to think so. When kindred young are born, a Black Widow makes that mental sidestep into the dreams and visions. Sometimes she sees nothing. Sometimes she names one of the young according to the visions."

    "Well," Surreal said, smiling, "he is gray, and he does have fangs. Aaron said he was in the Hall because he's looking for a friend."

    Saetan gave her an odd look. "I'd say that's accurate. The kindred dogs and horses relate well to the human Blood since they've lived among them for so long, although, until eight years ago, in secret. The rest of the kindred tend to stay away from most humans. But whenever they come across a human who is compatible with them, they try to form a bond, to better understand us."

    "Why me?" Surreal asked, intrigued.

    "The Queens here have strong courts, and the males in the First Circle are entitled to the first share of their time and attention. A youngster like Graysfang has to wait for his turn and then has to share that time with other young males in the same position. But you're a Gray-Jeweled witch who does not, as yet, have any other male claims."

    "Except the males in the family," Surreal said sourly.

    "Except the males in the family," Saetan agreed. "On both sides."

    She sputtered.

    "But that claim isn't quite the same thing. You're not a Queen, whose courts are set up by a different Protocol. So if you accept Graysfang before the other males realize you're here, he will hold the dominant position over any male except your mate, even if the other male wears darker Jewels. Since he's not old enough to make the Offering to the Darkness and still wears his Birthright Purple Dusk Jewel, the odds of a darker-Jeweled male becoming interested in you are rather high."

    "Which still doesn't explain why he's interested in me in the first place."

    Saetan reached out slowly. His left index finger hooked the gold chain around her neck and drew it out of her shirt until her Gray Jewel hung between them.

    At first, she thought the caress accompanying that movement was a subtle kind of seduction. Then she realized that, for him, it wasn't meant to be seductive at all. It was simply a gesture that was as natural to him as breathing.

    Which wasn't doingher breathing a whole lot of good.

    "Consider this," he said. "He may not have been given that name because he's gray and has fangs but because he is Gray's fang."

    "Mother Night," Surreal said, looking down at her Jewel.

    He lowered her Jewel until it rested above her br**sts. "The decision about him is yours, and I'll support any decision you make. But think carefully, Surreal. A Black Widow's visions should not be dismissed in haste."

    Nodding, she savored the feel of his hand on her lower back as he guided her to the door. When he reached for the doorknob, she put her hand on the door to keep it shut. "What's your connection with Daemon?"

    "He and Lucivar are my sons."

    That figured.

    "Daemon inherited your looks," she said.

    "He also inherited my temper."

    Hearing the warning in his voice, she noticed, at the back of his golden eyes, the same wariness she had seen in Aaron's. Hell's fire, she was going to have to find someone to talk to soon who could explain the male-female rules in Kaeleer. Being wary of her as an assassin was one thing. Being wary of her as a woman... She didn't like it. Not coming from him. She didn't like it at all.

    "I'd like to meet my mother," she said abruptly.

    Saetan nodded. "The court's coming in this evening, and I can't leave until the Queen approves the new arrivals, but I'll see that a message gets to Titian."

    "Thank you."Damn it, stop delaying. Get out of here. She bolted from the room as soon as he opened the door.

    As Graysfang anxiously trotted beside her, she kept feeling that odd psychic brush against her inner barriers.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire