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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 160)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(160) by Anne Bishop
  • Talon smiled. “Boy’s got as much energy as a Sceltie, and he’s almost as good at herding.”

    Is she working him hard?Not a question he could ask out loud since Cassidy was a sore subject between them.

    Still smiling, Talon shook his head. “When he wasn’t working in the Queen’s gardens, he was overseeing the restoration of the small public gardens and parks in the village. Since Cassie, Shira, and Vae all insisted that he balance that with quiet work, Powell put him in charge of helping villages establish loaning libraries. I’ve never seen him happier.”

    “Won’t he miss having you with him for Winsol?” Theran asked.

    “Nah. Cassie’s parents and her brother are staying for Winsol. Along with the First Circle, he’s got plenty of people around him.” Talon gave him a long look, then asked quietly, “What about you? Why are you alone tonight?”

    “I’ve attended more parties, winter picnics, musical evenings, card parties, riding parties, you-name-it parties in the past six days than I’ve ever seen. I had a choice of attending four Winsol parties or having a quiet evening at home. I chose to stay home.”

    “And Kermilla?”

    He ignored the ache caused by the sound of her name. “She had Winsol commitments to fill in Dharo.”

    Cassidy’s court didn’t know that Kermilla was gone for good, and he wasn’t about to say anything that would lead Talon to think that. Besides, he didn’t know for certain she was gone for good. Correne’s death and the reason the little bitch had died had shaken Kermilla. It would have shaken any woman with a sensitive heart. Once she had some time away, she might realize that her influence as Dena Nehele’s Queen would curb the younger Queens and could prevent another tragedy like the one that had left a boy so horribly maimed.

    As pleased as he was to see Talon, it was unfortunate that Cassidy’s Master of the Guard had learned that Kermilla wasn’t currently in Dena Nehele. Without Kermilla’s presence, Cassidy would solidify her claim as Territory Queen next spring without a challenge. He still didn’t think she was the best Queen for Dena Nehele, so he saw no reason to surrender the field to her until he had no other choice.

    Talon stared at the fire, saying nothing. Then he shook himself out of whatever thoughts had pulled him away. “Didn’t intend to disturb your quiet evening. I just wanted to stop by and give you these.” He called in two wrapped packages, one large and one small.

    Theran’s face burned. With the way they’d parted, he hadn’t expected to see Talon or Gray, hadn’t expected to be remembered. So, feeling the pinch in his purse, he hadn’t bought anything for them. “Talon . . .”

    Talon waved a hand dismissively. “Freely given. Freely taken.”

    The words Cassidy used the first time she had offered Talon blood from her vein. Apparently the phrase was being used for other kinds of gifts as well.

    Setting aside the smaller gift, Theran opened the larger package, then exclaimed in delight as he lifted the winter coat out of the tailor’s box. He slipped it on.

    Talon nodded. “You and Gray are the same size, so we thought it would fit you. There are gloves in the box as well.”

    Theran found them and tried them on. Fine leather. Excellent workmanship.

    “I don’t know what to say except thank you.”

    “You’re welcome. The coat and gloves are from Gray and me. The other is from Cassidy.”

    Something burned in his throat as he removed the coat and gloves and carefully set them aside. He swallowed that burning and opened the other gift.

    “A book?” He opened it to the title page and stared.

    “She had the account of Jared and Lia’s journey made into books so that the people in Dena Nehele would know their story. She thought you should have one.”

    Theran closed the book. His fingers stroked the leather cover. “I’ll send a proper thank-you after the holidays, but please convey my thanks. This is . . . special.”

    “Well.” Talon pushed out of the chair. “I guess . . .”

    “Could you stay?” Theran set the book aside and looked at the man who had raised him.

    “Were you lying about those parties or the invitations for tonight?” Talon asked.

    “No, I wasn’t lying. I really didn’t want to attend another party tonight. But I’d like to spend some time with you. Maybe play some cards or a game of chess?”

    “You going to serve the blooded rum at midnight?”

    “I am.”

    Talon smiled. “In that case, let’s see if you’ve learned anything about chess.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire