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  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(124) by Anne Bishop
  • “I told Cassie that Khollie woke up,” Gray said. “She wants to cry by herself for a little while.”

    “Shira is crying too.” Maybe it wasn’t fair to ask, but there was no one else he could ask. “Will Khollie be all right, Gray?”

    Those green eyes held too much knowledge. Then Gray said, “We’ll help him be all right.”

    CHAPTER 25


    Saetan sat on the wide arm of a stuffed chair and watched a storm gather in one of the Keep’s sitting rooms.

    The first warning of trouble had been the two Warlords who arrived at the Keep a couple days ago. They wanted passage through the Gate in order to return to Dharo—and they brought the body of another man.

    The second warning had come in a note from Daemon yesterday, requesting his presence at a meeting. Official, careful wording. Not a message from son to father but from Consort to Steward.

    When Jaenelle was pissed off about something, she didn’t seem to remember that she no longer had an official court.

    And no one was ballsy enough to remind her. Including him.

    The third warning was Daemon’s note to Draca, asking the Keep’s Seneschal to accommodate several overnight guests.

    Saetan wanted to believe the meeting was being held at the Keep to accommodate Lucivar, who still felt uneasy about leaving Marian on her own for too long. But when the others began to arrive, he knew why Jaenelle had chosen the Keep: It was the Sanctuary—and lair—of Witch.

    Jaenelle and Daemon arrived first. She wore a cobwebby, spidersilk dress known as Widow’s weeds, and her Jewel was mostly Gray with streaks of Red and Sapphire—and a single thread of Black. Daemon wore a face that revealed nothing of his thoughts or feelings. He wasn’t there as Jaenelle’s husband or Consort or as the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan. He was in that room as the Queen’s weapon.

    Lucivar walked in. “Cat, what’s this—” He looked at Daemon’s face and didn’t finish the question.

    Sabrina came in next, tense and nervous, followed by Aaron, Morghann, and Khardeen.

    Four of Jaenelle’s childhood friends,Saetan thought as he watched Sabrina greet the others.Four people who had served in Witch’s First Circle. Will they still be friends when this discussion is over?

    Jaenelle sat on a half sofa across from several chairs. Daemon sat beside her, his right arm stretched out over the sofa’s back, looking calm and lazy.

    Saetan watched the way Lucivar prowled the room without ever turning his back to Daemon and felt a shiver of fear.

    The women sat. Aaron and Khardeen remained on their feet, tense and alert.

    Then Karla walked into the room.

    “Kiss kiss. Sorry I’m late.” She made her way to the chair closest to Saetan’s. “I was trying to undo an . . . incident . . . that turned a large white cat into a bright pink and blue cat.”

    A flash of warm humor from Jaenelle flowed through the room. “Did you fix it?”

    “When I left, KaeAskavi was an evenly tinted mauve cat—and he wasnot happy.”

    That produced a few chuckles, but the humor quickly faded as all their attention focused on Jaenelle.

    “I received a letter from Cassidy yesterday,” she said. “I felt you should all know what happened and that we should come to an agreement about what will—and will not—be done.”

    She called in the letter and handed it to Daemon. Lucivar immediately came around to the back of the sofa to read over his brother’s shoulder.

    Daemon read the letter and handed it to Khardeen. That beautiful face revealed nothing, and there was nothing Saetan could detect on a psychic thread, even at the level of the Black. Daemon had his emotions tightly leashed.

    But the room grew cold.

    Lucivar, on the other hand, began swearing softly, viciously in Eyrien as he resumed his prowling.

    Hot anger. Cold fury. The room filled with temper as, one by one, the friends who had been First Circle in the Dark Court at Ebon Askavi read Cassidy’s letter. Finally Karla read it and passed it to him as he called in his half-moon glasses.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire