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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 33)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(33) by Anne Bishop
  • Those dark eyes blazed with fury. He wasn’t backing down.

    *I don’t like her, so please let me hear her out and be done with this,* she told him.

    *You don’t need to waste another minute on her.*

    He’ll kill her,Cassidy thought, shocked by the truth. It was one thing tothink about standing aside and letting him rip into these people; it was quite another to let him do it for no better reason than feeling bitchy and upset.

    *No,* Cassidy said. *Prince Ranon, I’m asking you to step back from the killing edge. Let me deal with this, Queen to Queen.*

    He struggled to pull back, struggled to obey. Finally, *Your will is my life.*

    Words of surrender, of service.

    Having gotten that much of a concession from him, she knew he would hold the other men back. But she didn’t dare look at Gray because what she was picking up from his psychic scent wasn’t good. She could only hope that he wouldn’t do anything imprudent in the few minutes she needed to deal with Kermilla.

    As she walked out of the room, she brushed past Theran, who looked pale and dazed. Until she dealt with whatever trouble Kermilla had brought to Dena Nehele, she didn’t have the energy to wonder how much Theran had heard, or if it was her temper or Ranon’s that had shocked him. Either way, he said nothing; just watched as she led Kermilla to the smaller parlor that had become the “Ladies’ Room.”

    Theran stared at the beautiful young woman struggling to maintain her dignity as she followed Cassidy into the Ladies’ Room. Dark curls framed a triangular face with dainty features and expressive blue eyes.

    He felt a burn in his gut and a pull on his heart, and felt the breathless certainty that he had found the Queen he was meant to serve. Now he understood why Archerr, Shaddo, and some of the other Warlord Princes were so enamored with Cassidy. They’d been desperate to serve a Queen,any Queen, and had deluded themselves into believing they felt that burn for Cassidy because they’d had no opportunity to choose between her and another. But now he’d seen the Queen who should have come back with him, who could truly claim the loyalty of the men who formed the First Circle.She was the one he had hoped to find when he went to Kaeleer to beg Daemon Sadi for help.She was the Queen who should be ruling Dena Nehele.

    She was the answer to his hopes and dreams.

    A friend of Cassidy’s come for a visit? A long visit, he hoped. A lifetime visit, if he could convince the Lady to stay.

    “What are you doing here, Kermilla?” Cassidy demanded as soon as the other Queen shut the parlor door.

    “I came to see you,” Kermilla replied, her eyes wide and innocent—and on the verge of being filled with an expression of wounded dignity that was as false as everything else about the woman.

    Cassidy wondered if Jhorma had figured out by now that there wasn’t much substance once you got past the things that were directly related to Kermilla’s pleasure and personal gratification.

    Maybe that wasn’t fair. After all, a flighty young Queen could mature into a solid ruler. But Cassidy wasn’t much interested in being fair anymore where Kermilla was concerned.

    “Why?” Cassidy asked.

    Kermilla did her sexy pout, but the usual “aren’t I being naughty?” twinkle wasn’t in her blue eyes. “You didn’t answer my letters, so what choice did I have but to interrupt my own duties and come here?”

    “I didn’t answer because I have nothing to say to you.”

    Kermilla stamped her foot. “Queen’s gift, Cassidy. I need the money you owe me for taking over the court.”

    She hadn’t known she could be this furious, hadn’t known this much anger lived inside her. “I owe you nothing.”

    “You do! Queen’s gift—”

    “Is agift, not an obligation. And you didn’t take over a court from a retiring Queen, Kermilla. Youtook my court. There’s a vast difference, and if you can’t see that I suggest you have someone explain it to you.” Someone with big, hard boots that could leave an impression where it might do the girl the most good. “The village treasury has the same amount of marks as when I came to Bhak. A little more, in fact.”

    “But that’s thevillage treasury. Every copper spent from there has to be reported to the Province Queen. Those marks aren’t Queen’s income. I have expenses, Cassidy.”

    “So did I, and I had no more than you when I started. Merchants are willing to run an account for a Queen’s personal expenses and court expenses. Those accounts are billed quarterly and deducted from that merchant’s tithe.”

    “But they’re sendingbills !” Kermilla shouted.

    Which meant the girl had already spent past the summer tithe owed by those merchants. Once the tithe was met, a Queen and her court were expected to pay for goods like everyone else in the village.

    “Then I suggest you curtail your spending until the harvest tithe,” Cassidy said.

    “I’m not like you,” Kermilla snapped. “I know what it takes to look like a Queen and dress like a Queen andact like a Queen. Those things takemoney. ”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire