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  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(15) by Anne Bishop
  • “Your sister,” she panted as she gathered up rags and mops and brooms. “Those maggot-brained littlebeasts. ”

    He flinched a little over the word “maggot,” then shifted into a fighting stance. Just as a precaution. He wasn’t sure why looking at an old house would cause this reaction, but—Hell’s fire!—somethinghad her riled up.

    “My home is going to beclean. ”

    He wasn’t sure if that was a wail of despair or a declaration of war.

    “Our home is clean,” he said calmly.

    She turned on him so fast, he took two steps back before he was aware of moving.

    “Don’t you patronize me, Lucivar Yaslana. Don’t you dare!”

    He raised his hands chest high in a gesture of surrender and kept his mouth shut. There was no point trying to reason with her until she started sounding a little more like Marian and less like some hysterical, mop-wielding Harpy.

    “My h-home doesnot have cobwebs in the corners or rats skittering in the walls or decaying bodies.”

    Just as well he hadn’t told her about the partially eaten rabbit the wolf pups had left in one of the out-of-the-way rooms. He’d gotten rid of the carcass—and the maggots—hadn’t he? And he’d scrubbed everything down to get rid of the smell.

    Maybe he hadn’t scrubbed everything down quite well enough?


    Lucivar shifted just enough to block entry into the kitchen. Daemonar, who was pelting toward the opening, smacked into his leg.

    Before the boy could voice his displeasure, Marian wailed, “They think we live like that!” Then the wail changed to a snarl as she added, “I need to clean.”

    Since he’d spent the past few years teaching her how to defend herself with objects she would normally have at hand, he was looking at a pissed-off woman whose hands were full of potential weapons.

    “All right.” He nudged his son back with his foot. After Daemonar heard his mother snarl, instinct had kept the boy silent and cautious—and watching everything while hiding behind his father. “Why don’t I stop by The Tavern later and pick up something for dinner?” When she bared her teeth, he added, “It’s just a suggestion, Marian, not a criticism.”

    The wild look in her eyes finally faded enough for him to see the wife he loved in the riled woman standing before him.

    “That would be good,” she said.

    Still watching Marian, Lucivar crouched and picked up Daemonar. “We’ll get out of your way for a while.”

    He didn’t wait for an answer, just turned and headed back out to the yard. Once the door was closed and he was moving toward the far end of the lawn, he began to relax.

    That’s when he fully realized what he’d done, and he jerked to a stop.

    He was an Eyrien Warlord Prince. He wore Ebon-gray Jewels. He was the third most powerful male in the Realm of Kaeleer. And he’d just run from a hearth witch who wore Purple Dusk Jewels.

    Of course, the usual rules of battle didn’t apply to a wife, which put him at a distinct disadvantage when it came to dealing with her.

    A little hand pressed against his face, so he turned his head and looked at his son.

    “Mama was scary,” Daemonar said.

    “Ooooh yeah.” He gave Daemonar a smacking kiss that made the boy laugh. “Come on, boyo. We’ll just play outside for a while longer.”

    And, he hoped, wife and son would both be tired out in a few hours, so he could tuck them in before heading to the Hall for his chat with Daemon.

    “The house has a lot of potential,” Jaenelle said as she faced the mirror over her dressing table and fastened a sapphire and ruby earring to her left ear. Her eyes met Daemon’s as she smiled. “But I think the condition of the house had Marian a little upset.”

    Damn. He’d hoped the lovely hearth witch would be able to calm her husband a little before Lucivar got here. If Marian was upset, Lucivar would arrive at the Hall as a walking explosion.

    “So you’re going to do this.” He’d thought about it all afternoon. There wasn’t anything dangerous about this spooky house; it was just a silly amusement. The Darkness knew the Queens in Terreille had done some vicious things in the name of amusement, and this wouldn’t hurt anyone. But something about it bothered him. He just couldn’t figure outwhy.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire