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  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(108) by Anne Bishop
  • Lucivar waited. Listened.

    The house felt oddly empty, the way a house feels when you’ve had a big gathering and the last guest is gone.

    Had Surreal and Rainier gotten out? Was the game ended?

    No. The game hadn’t ended becausehe was still here. Which meant the little writer-mouse had been scurrying to herd all his predators to one particular spot.

    But not in this house. And not in the first house. Pointless to drive Surreal and Rainier back to the starting point when there was one last possibility—the third house.

    Lucivar opened his mouth and breathed in.

    A taste in the air, coming from…that direction. Up there. In the third house.

    He smiled and rolled his shoulders to loosen the muscles.

    There was a killing field in this place after all.

    They had followed the children into one of the rooms. Thecildru dyathe had gathered in the adjoining bedroom, cutting off that possible escape. The Eyrien Warlord and the two Black Widows were standing in the doorway, savoring the moment when the fight began.

    “So,” Surreal said as she shifted to stand on Rainier’s left and support his weak side as long as she could. “This is where we die.”

    Rainier shifted slightly to defend against thecildru dyathe. “Yeah. This is where we die.”

    TWENTY-FOUR

    "You have to shield again," Surreal told Rainier, shifting her weight as the predators moved forward, savoring the moment of attack. She cut him off when he started to protest. "We’ll survive longer if you’re shielded. Maybe long enough for Lucivar to join the fight."

    "That may not work to our advantage," Rainier said. But he created an Opal shield around himself.

    She didn’t hear the gong. What did that mean? That it no longer made a difference if they used Craft? That the last exit had closed? That they were trapped in this house forever?

    Forever meaning until Daemon unleashed the Black against this place and tore it all apart—and everyone still in it.

    A sideways glance at Rainier. He was sweating heavily, his face tight with pain.

    He was a dancer. And that leg…

    The tight shield around his thigh was acting like a brace, which was the only reason he was still on his feet. She couldn’t think about what it was going to cost him to fight.

    "Have you ever seen Lucivar on a killing field?" Rainier asked.

    "I’ve seen him when he’s riding the killing edge. Hell’s fire, your caste of male rises to that edge as easy as you breathe. Maybe more so."

    "Not the same thing. I saw him, once, when he walked off a killing field." Rainier swallowed hard. "May the Darkness have mercy on us if he sees us as an enemy."

    Not something she wanted to hear—especially when it was being said by one Warlord Prince about another.

    A door suddenly appeared in the wall and swung open—and the demon-dead walked out. A dozen of them. None of them wore Jewels, but that didn’t matter. Not in this fight.

    "Now I know why we couldn’t find any weapons," Surreal said. "The demon-dead were hoarding them."

    Knives. Pokers. Clubs.

    She spared one thought for the four children pressed into a corner behind her and Rainier. She hadn’t liked most of them, wouldn’t have spent an hour with any of them by choice except for…

    She glanced at the children. Sage gave her a wobbly smile that seemed all the more brave because of the wobble.

    Her chest ached.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire