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  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(42) by Anne Bishop
  • *Gray?*

    *No. It’s . . . complicated. She was going to leave us, Grandfather. I convinced her to come here instead.*


    *The boardinghouse.*

    *Go slowly, grandson. Give this old man a little time to prepare. I will meet you at the house. Janos will come too.*

    *Thank you.*

    Yairen broke the link. Ranon slowed the Coach to the pace of an ambling walk—and hoped Cassidy wouldn’t ask him why the Coach was suddenly wobbling so much.

    By the time he set the Coach down on the street in front of the boardinghouse, there were lamps shining in the windows of several rooms, and doors and windows were open to let in cool night air.

    “We’re here,” he said, holding out a hand.

    She slipped her hand in his, still saying nothing as she followed him out of the Coach and into the house.

    His grandfather waited for them in the front parlor.

    “The Rose has come back to us,” Yairen said, smiling. “It grieves me to know you sorrow, but you are among friends here.” He gestured to two chairs and a table. “Come and sit with an old man.”

    She sat, and she seemed so empty Ranon wondered if he’d brought more than a husk to Eyota.

    Yairen waved a hand over the table. Two mugs and a carafe appeared. Using Craft, Yairen poured dark, steaming liquid from the carafe into the mugs.

    “This is a special drink,” Yairen said. “I usually make it when strong men need to speak of things that are troubling their hearts, but I think tonight your heart could use this.”

    “I don’t think I can speak,” Cassidy whispered.

    Yairen smiled gently. “Even silence has a voice. Drink. Perhaps we will talk. Perhaps not. Perhaps I alone will talk and tell you more about the music of my people, even give you the first lesson in how to play a drum.”

    Cassidy took a sip of his grandfather’s special brew of spiced whiskey and coffee. She took another sip. “I would like to hear more about your music.”

    “Good.” Yairen looked at Ranon. “Are you still here, troublemaker?”

    “Troublemaker?” Cassidy asked.

    “Bah.” Yairen waved one hand gently in front of his face. “The stories I could tell you about that one. Go on, now,” he added, pointing at Ranon. “Leave us to talk without your bothersome presence.”

    Cassidy snorted and took another, larger sip of the brew.

    *Tend to your business, grandson,* Yairen said. *The Rose will be safe here among us.*

    *Don’t tell her too many stories.* He looked at Cassidy. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

    “You promised to give me back my trunks when we got here,” Cassidy said.

    “Oh. I did, didn’t I?” This time his smile wasn’t forced. He called in her trunks and set them at the other end of the parlor.

    “See?” Yairen said, laughing. “Troublemaker.”

    An hour before sunrise, most of the First Circle gathered in a meeting room.

    Ranon had figured he would face anger. He’d figured he would face temper.

    What he faced was so much worse.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire