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  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(140) by Anne Bishop
  • “No.”

    Didn’t think so.

    “You’ll also work with Daemon and Lucivar.”

    “We’ll let him practice with Jaenelle,” Lucivar said. “When he can keep up with her—and keep track of her—for half a day, he’ll be able to make the run with any other Queen.”

    “That’s settled then,” Saetan said.

    “What happens when Theran breaks Cassidy’s court?” Gray asked.

    “If Theran has the same misunderstanding about courts that you do, he’s in for a rude awakening,” Saetan said. “Except when a court is first formed, not everyone joins at the same time. People come in, people move on.”

    “And sometimes timing can be a delightful knife rammed up someone’s ass,” Daemon purred. “The moment Theran announces his intentions to make Kermilla the Queen, Cassidy can demote him to a regular escort in her First Circle and you can sign a contract to serve as First Escort. That gives her thirteen males in the First Circle. If Cassie chooses not to dismiss him, Theran has to fulfill his contract to the last minute. Next spring, she already has a court that stands, and he’s left trying to build one around a Queen of questionable morals.”

    Gray looked at Daemon. “Did you know he would do this when you let Cassie come to Dena Nehele?”

    Daemon stared at him for a long time. “If I’d known, I would have buried him in a grave that could never be found. But that’s done now, and we have to let this play out as it will.”


    He looked at the three men who watched him with such predatory patience and knew the answer.


    If Jaenelle thought Cassie could win against Kermilla without direct help from these men, then she could win. Would win.

    In the next few months, he was going to learn everything he could from these men to make sure of it.

    “When do we start?” he asked.

    “Since we’re all here, now would be a good time,” Saetan replied.


    Cassidy glanced out the window again. Gray had left very early that morning, and no one had seen him since—or knew exactly where he’d gone.

    “He had to have told someone where he’d gone,” she said to Talon. “Could he have told one of the Scelties? Someone we didn’t think to ask?”

    “Ranon received a message from Gray around midday saying that he had an appointment and would be back late this evening,” Talon replied. “Cassidy . . .”

    “But he didn’t saywhere he would be! That’s not like him, Talon. You know that.”

    “I’ll send word through the rogue camps. Maybe he’s up in the mountains somewhere.”


    After a couple of nights in her bed, was he already looking for a way to leave?

    “Cassidy . . .”

    She finally heard it. She’d been so preoccupied about Gray, she’d ignored the obvious. Talon had something to tell her, and he wasn’t comfortable saying it.

    “I made a promise a long time ago,” Talon said, “and twice a year I keep that promise. It means I’ll be gone for a day. Maybe two.”


    “I can’t tell you. Saying more would break a long-standing trust.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire