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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 32)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(32) by Anne Bishop
  • And she sensednothing that would explain the reaction of any of the men—until she began to probe the mansion and picked up psychic scents that were familiar . . . and painful.

    “You have visitors, Lady,” Dryden said. “From Dharo. They arrived two days ago. I did inform the Lady that you were not at home, but she said she was a friend and insisted that you were expecting her. Her Consort and escorts confirmed the invitation.”

    There was a pleading look in Dryden’s eyes, but it was a struggle just to breathe, and whatever he was trying to tell her was beyond her ability to comprehend.

    “Cassie?”

    The violence that vibrated in Gray’s voice woke her up, snapped her out of her own bog of disbelief. If he, who was still learning to fit into the skin of an adult Warlord Prince, was that close to attacking her “visitors,” Ranon must be a heartbeat away from slaughter.

    And because a part of her wanted to step aside and give Ranon a target for his barely leashed temper, she said briskly, “Since they’ve been here this long, I won’t keep my visitors waiting. Lady Shira, with me, please. Gentlemen, if you two will stand escort then the other men can settle in.”

    Having Gray and Ranon with her would be bad enough without the rest of them crowding into the room. Thank the Darkness Theran was still in the Coach. She didn’t needhim witnessing this meeting.

    As Dryden stepped aside to let them enter, she felt the full weight of male temper at her back and realized that even a direct order now wouldn’t stop any of her First Circle from coming in with her.

    She walked into the large parlor and her heart clenched so hard she feared it would stop beating.

    The woman who sprang up from one of the stuffed chairs looked as pretty and dainty as ever. The man standing beside her was as handsome as she remembered, but shouldn’t Jhorma look more satisfied? After all, he was pleasuring the woman he’d lusted after. The other three men who had served in her previous court looked embarrassed.

    As well they should.

    “Lady Kermilla,” Cassidy said with frigid courtesy.

    “Oh,la, Cassidy,” Kermilla said. “Is that any way to greet a friend?”

    “We aren’t friends.”

    Kermilla blinked and looked taken aback.

    “Lady Cassidy, it’s a pleasure to see you again,” Jhorma said.

    “Since you were never pleased to see me, a lie dipped in honey is still a lie,” Cassidy snapped.

    Hell’s fire. Who was this bitch who had taken control of her tongue?

    *Cassie? Cassie! Gray wants to know why we don’t like this Queen.* Vae paused. *Ranon wants to know too.*

    “Oh,” Kermilla cooed. “Is that a Sceltie? Oh, Iso envy you having one of the kindred.”

    Vae snarled, and the Craft-enhanced sound rumbled through the room.

    The men tensed. Kermilla’s smile wobbled.

    The thought of locking Kermilla in a room with Vae for a few hours provided just enough humor to smooth out a few of the rough edges of Cassidy’s temper. But not enough of those edges for her to hold on to civility.

    “Come with me, Kermilla. I’ll grant you a few minutes of my time, and you can say what you came to say.Privately. ” Cassidy turned and looked at Ranon to make sure he got the message.

    He didn’t like it.Hated her being in a room alone with a stranger who might be an enemy. But he gave her a curt nod to indicate he would stand aside. Then he focused on the four men who had come with Kermilla, and Cassidy understood the danger. Ifanything went wrong, those four men were forfeit. The Warlord Princes in Dena Nehele had survived the twisted Queens who had ruled here, and they had survived two years of war against the landens. They wouldn’t hesitate to tear her former court apart.

    They might attack anyway if they realized those menwere from her former court. Warlord Princes were possessive and territorial, and no one had been prepared for this visit.

    “Kermilla, with me,” Cassidy snapped as she turned and walked to the door.

    “May I remind you that I outrank you?” Kermilla snapped back.

    “May I remindyou that you don’t addressour Queen in that tone of voice if you want to keep your tongue?” Ranon snarled. “And if rank is the pissing contest you want to have, then you may outrank her butI outrankyou. ”

    *Ranon,*Cassidy said, putting as much steel in her voice as she could.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire