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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 192)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(192) by Anne Bishop
  • Theran stood on the terrace, enjoying this teasing hint of the days to come. It was still too early in the season for the land to shrug off winter altogether, but this was a day to savor.

    And there, tucked in the shelter of the terrace’s raised beds, was the little honey pear tree, which had survived the winter.

    He heard the terrace door open and knew without turning who was there. Her psychic scent was irresistible even on a day like today when her physical presence had less than no appeal.

    “Theran?”

    Dredging up a smile, he turned toward the door. Kermilla was wrapped in a shawl and a sulky mood.

    The shawl wasn’t one he’d seen before, and he wondered if that was because it was something she tended to wear in the spring or if he was going to receive an apology and a bill from one of the merchants.

    “Why are you wasting time?” Kermilla asked. “Why aren’t you bringing the Warlord Princes here so that I can choose my court?”

    “It’s complicated, Kermilla.” He’d been trying to work out a way for everyone to get something, even if he couldn’t give her what she really wanted.

    “It’s not complicated, Theran. Justtell them.” She walked over to the table where he’d set a few papers down. Giving him a defiant look, she moved until she could read as much of the top page as was visible around the fist-sized rock serving as a paperweight.

    “I can’ttell them anything.”

    Since it wasn’t interesting, she gave up on trying to read the top page. “You’re the darkest-Jeweled Warlord Prince in this miserable excuse of a Territory. Of course you can tell them.”

    He bristled, insulted on behalf of his people and his land.

    Then he tightened the leash and forced himself to keep his temper out of this conversation.

    “You think it’s simple,” he said with strained patience. “It’s not.”

    “Keeps you in control, doesn’t it?”

    He stared at her. Where was that bitterness coming from?

    “You control the money, so I can’t buyanything without coming to you first,” she said.

    “Would you like me to show you the accounts and how much is still owed the merchants from the last time you went shopping without being ‘controlled’?” he asked.

    “You control access to the other Warlord Princes and the aristo families, so I can’t make friends on my own or establish any bonds with other men that don’t go through you.”

    “That’s not true.”

    “You treat me like a child, but I’m not a child.”

    “Kermilla—”

    “I’m a Queen, damn you!I’m a Queen, and I’m the one who should be controlling the purse and the men and the land! Me! Not you!” She grabbed the rock. “Not you!”

    She threw the rock.

    He didn’t know—would never know—if her aim had been bad or if she hit exactly what she had intended to hit.

    The rock missed him completely and struck the old wish pot that held the honey pear tree.

    For a long moment they stared at each other.

    She looked magnificent in her fury, and he wanted, more than anything, to yield to her temper and her will.

    Then he looked down at the pot that was now in pieces and the honey pear tree lying in the spilled dirt, its roots exposed to the too-cold air.

    “Julien!” he shouted. “Julien!”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire