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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(69) by Anne Bishop
  • Which made him even more curious to observe the formal give-and-take between a Queen and the male triangle.

    Assuming, of course, the Queen was going to show up.

    "Did anyone tell Cat she's supposed to be here?" Lucivar asked, echoing Daemon's thought.

    Saetan gave Lucivar a bland look. "I told her. However, Lord Ladvarian had already cornered her to discuss a couple of things. I expect she'll be along as soon as she can talk herself around whatever he and Kaelas have in mind." That bland look was then aimed at Daemon.

    Daemon met that look with one equally bland while his heart rate kicked up to a gallop—because he had the distinct feeling that whatever Ladvarian and Kaelas wanted to discuss with Jaenelle had to do with him.

    He was trying to think of a reasonable excuse to drag Lucivar into the great hall for a minute to ask him why the kindred were so interested in the Consort when Jaenelle rushed into the room.

    "Sorry I'm—" She checked when she saw them, and her rush suddenly became cautious. "Is this family or court?" she asked warily.

    "Court," Saetan replied.

    Fascinated, Daemon watched the subtle shift from woman to Queen.

    "And what is the court's pleasure?" Jaenelle asked quietly.

    No hint of a sneer or sarcasm in her voice, Daemon decided as he recognized one of the ritual openings for discussion.

    "I received a message from Lord Jorval," Saetan said with equal calm, although his eyes seemed a little too carefully blank. "A person from a prestigious aristo family has come to Kaeleer seeking the assistance of a Healer for an illness that has baffled all the Healers in Terreille. Since you're known to be the best Healer in the Realm, he urgently requests that you come to Goth to offer your opinion."

    Lucivar snarled quietly but viciously. A small, but sharp, hand gesture from Andulvar silenced him.

    "Jorval also says that, while he's been assured that the illness is not contagious, it does seem to afflict only males. And since he doesn't want any harm to come to the males of your court—"

    This time Andulvar snorted.

    "—he has offered to provide you with an escort while you're in Little Terreille."

    "NO!" Lucivar exploded into movement, pacing furiously. "You arenot going into Little Terreille to do a healing without a full escort of your own males. Not again. Never again. If this person wants to see you so badly, why doesn't he come here?"

    "I can think of a few reasons," Jaenelle said with dry amusement as she watched Lucivar.

    Daemon's blood sang when her eyes met his for a moment. Then it chilled when he glanced at Saetan and saw something flicker at the back of those golden eyes. What was the High Lord trying to hide behind that deliberately blank gaze—and what would happen if the leash holding it back snapped?

    "Did Jorval mention where this person is from? Or anything else that might be useful?" Jaenelle asked, turning back to Saetan while Lucivar paced and swore.

    "Only that the short-lived races seem most affected." Saetan said.

    Jaenelle's lips softened in a hint of a dreamy smile that was malevolent enough to make Daemon shiver. "The races from the western part of Terreille?" she asked in her midnight voice.

    "He didn't say, Lady."

    Jaenelle nodded thoughtfully. "I'll think about it."

    "There's nothing to think about," Lucivar snarled. "You're not going. You may not remember much of what happened seven years ago,but I do. We're not going through that again, especially you."

    Daemon studied Lucivar. Behind the fury was fear bordering on panic. He suppressed a sigh, not happy that his first official act as the Consort might be opposing his Queen. But anything that spooked Lucivar so badly wasn't something Daemon was going to easily agree to.

    Then he noticed Jaenelle's face as she turned toward Lucivar—and wondered how any man would dare oppose Witch now that she had reached maturity and had come into her full.power.

    Lucivar froze in midstride as those sapphire eyes fixed on him. His body trembled, but he met her gaze, and his voice was steady as he said quietly, "The only way you're going into Little Terreille is by going through me."

    Then he walked out of the study.

    Jaenelle's shoulders slumped for a moment, then straightened again as she turned to face Daemon. "Please go with him."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire