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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(64) by Anne Bishop
  • "Yes," Karla said quietly. The protection spells, the Ebony shields Jaenelle added to the Rings, were the reason she wanted one.

    "Do you want the Rings linked just between the coven or linked to the boyos as well?"

    Karla hesitated. A typical Ring of Honor allowed a Queen to monitor the emotions of the males in her First Circle. Because of a quirk in the way Jaenelle had made the first Ring of Honor—the one Lucivarstill wore—the First Circle males in the Dark Court had the same means of gauging the Queen's mood. Did she, or any of the coven, really want to deal with males who were even more attuned to feminine moods than the boyos already were? Was a little emotional distance worth not having a means of sending a warning that couldn't, in any way, be blocked? "They should be linked with the First Circle males."

    "I'll get the Rings made as soon as possible," Jaenelle said quietly.

    "Thank you, Lady," Karla replied, acknowledging the Queen rather than the friend.

    Another silence filled the room.

    "Anything else?" Jaenelle finally asked.

    Karla took a deep breath, let it out slowly. "I don't like your relatives."

    "Nobodyhere likes my relatives," Jaenelle replied, but there was a sharp edge underneath the amusement—and sorrow. Then she added very quietly, "Saetan formally requested my consent for their executions."

    "Did you give it?" Karla asked neutrally. She already knew the answer. She had been in the same position five years ago when she became Queen of Glacia. She had exiled her uncle, Lord Hobart, instead of executing him, even though she strongly suspected he had been behind the death of her parents and Morton's.

    Jaenelle, if pushed, would choose the same.

    "If it's any consolation, I do like your sister," Karla said when Jaenelle didn't answer the question. "She'll adjust to living in Kaeleer just fine if she can stop being scared long enough to catch her breath."

    Jaenelle looked a little pained. "Lucivar got her drunk. She offered to brush him."

    "Oh, Mother Night." When the laughter finally fizzled out, Karla groaned her way off the couch, said good night to Jaenelle, and headed for her own suite.

    In the privacy of her bedroom, she indulged in a few grunts and moans as she got ready for bed. No matter how much she exercised when she was home, it always took her a few days to adjust to the workouts Lucivar put her through. But she wasn't about to miss a chance to get a little extra training from him. Especially now.

    Later, as she was drifting off to sleep, it occurred to her that Jaenelle, who was a strong and very gifted Black Widow, might have had her own reasons for agreeing to the favor.

    7 / Kaeleer

    With exaggerated care, Daemon tied the robe's belt. The hot bath had warmed and loosened his tight, tired muscles. A large quantity of brandy would blur the mental sharp edges. Neither of those things would ease a bruised, bleeding heart.

    Jaenelle didn't want him. That was becoming painfully clear.

    When she had come looking for him last night, he had thought she had been pleased to see him, had hoped that they could begin again. But today she had shied away from him whenever he tried to approach her, using Lucivar or Chaosti or the whole coven as a buffer. It had forced him to realize that she had given him the title of Consort out of some sense of obligation, but she didn't wanthim.

    How long, he wondered as he walked into his bedroom, could he stand watching her interact with the other males in her court while he was being shut out of her life? How long could his sanity hold together when, day after day, he was close enough to touch her but wasn't allowed to? How long...

    Seeing the mound in the dim light, he thought someone had come in and dumped a white fur cover over his bed without smoothing it out.

    Then a head lifted off his pillows and muscles rippled under the white fur as the huge cat shifted position.

    The front paws, dangling over the side of the bed, flexed, displaying impressive claws. Gray eyes stared at him as if daring him to do more than breathe.

    Even if he hadn't seen the Red Jewel lying against the white fur, Daemon would have had no doubts about who was sprawled on his bed.

    We all try not to upset Kaelas,Lucivar had said.

    Hell's fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful.

    With his heart pounding in his throat, Daemon cautiously backed toward the door. Saetan's suite was right across from his. He could...

    Something large thumped against the other side of the door just as his hand touched the knob.

    Kaelas curled his lips in a silent snarl.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire