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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 25)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(25) by Anne Bishop
  • No, Saetan thought,not Gray. Jared Blaed . Two sides of one person. Gray was the man who loved Cassie and gardens. Jared Blaed was the Warlord Prince committed to his Queen.

    “Who?” Jared Blaed asked too softly.

    “She’s of no importance,” Saetan replied. “Neither are the men who chose her over Cassidy. Whatis important is that the hurt still festers inside Cassidy.”

    “She’s trying to prove to us that she has something to offer?”

    “I think so. That’s why a simple thing that Queens do all the time in Kaeleer almost turned into a tragic error.”

    “Just a mistake,” Gray said softly.

    “Yes.”

    “Because she cares so much.”

    “Yes.”

    Gray sighed.

    Crisis over,Saetan thought, draining the goblet.Until the next time. “Eat. Then go home and smooth things over with Cassie.”

    Gray gave him a sideways look. Assessing. Measuring. “It would smooth things over a lot faster if Cassie and I could have sex.”

    Saetan said dryly, “Boyo, we’re pretty sure Marian is pregnant, and she’s very queasy today. Daemonar senses there is something wrong with his mama and is acting out, and Lucivar is ready to chew stone trying to deal with his misbehaving boy. Today isnot the day to ask him about sex.”

    A pause. “If we hadyour permission . . .”

    He laughed softly. “Not a chance, puppy. Lucivar had good reasons for setting firm boundaries for what you and Cassie can and can’t do, and he’ll be the one who decides when you’re ready for the next stage.” It didn’t sound like Gray needed as much emotional protection as he’d needed a few weeks ago, but that didn’t mean he had the maturity yet to be a Queen’s lover.

    Still, the fact that the boy was starting to question those boundaries was a good sign that Gray was growing into a healthy man instead of remaining a wounded boy. Knowing how firmly the leash needed to be held while a young Warlord Prince made the transition to adult male, Saetan added, “And from where I’m sitting, boyo, those reasons still apply.”

    “Oh.” Gray looked disappointed, but only for a moment. Then he gave his attention to the plate floating beside him and ate every bit of food with a young man’s enthusiasm.

    Vae appeared on the edge of the courtyard. *Gray? Gray! Draca says it is time to go home. The High Lord will open the Gate for you. Then he needs to sleep because this is his sleep time.*

    Gray sprang to his feet. “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to keep you from your rest.”

    Saetan hesitated. In some ways, what he was about to do was a small thing, a simple choice. But the offer, and all of its underlying significance, would ripple through Dena Nehele if it was accepted. “You can call me Uncle Saetan, if you like.”

    The words were absorbed. The significance was understood. And one more inner layer of defense that had protected Gray the boy but hobbled Jared Blaed the man was sloughed off.

    On the walk through the Keep to the Dark Altar and the Gate, Gray talked about the Shalador village and the people he’d met there. It was clear that Ranon was becoming a good friend and that he and Gray were settling into a working relationship that was typical of a strong, healthy court where the males liked and respected each other—the kind of working relationship he’d seen in the Dark Court.

    What wasn’t clear was how Theran was responding to any of the drama taking place in Eyota.

    TERREILLE

    Theran tried to ignore the sick feeling in his gut—and tried not to think about the last time Gray had disappeared. Judging by the tight expression on his face and the grim look in his eyes, Talon was trying not to think about that too.

    “You’re sure he’s not in the village?” Talon asked for the third time.

    Ranon shook his head. “We’ve looked. I even checked the house that accommodates unattached males. He’s not here.”

    Mother Night. “Should one of us go back to Grayhaven?” Theran asked. “That’s the only place he knows in Dena Nehele.”

    “He might have gone back to the rogue camps in the Tamanara Mountains,” Talon said.

    “Maybe,” Theran said. “But he couldn’t have gone alone.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire