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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 32)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(32) by Anne Bishop
  • “Nobody is going to be scared of a Sceltie,” Marian said as the two illusion-spell dogs—one black with tan markings on his face, the other brown and white—trotted into the dining room and stared at the humans, their expressions just a little too gleeful.

    “That’s because these people don’t live with a Sceltie,” Jaenelle replied.

    Marian studied the illusions, whose tails began to wag now that she focused her attention on them. “How complex a spell is this?”

    “They’ll be able to interact with the visitors in the most usual ways.”

    A wicked cheerfulness shivered through Marian. “In other words, they’re going to herd the landen children going through the house.”

    “They can touch you; you can’t touch them,” Jaenelle said, tipping her head toward the dogs. “Your hand will pass right through, but you’ll certainly feel it if one of them nips you.”

    She was starting to like this house better and better. Those landen boys wanted to see how the Blood lived? They thought it was all cobwebs in the corners and rats in the walls? Ha! Let them try to deal with the kindred!

    “Howdid we end up with Sceltie ghosts?” Marian asked.

    A blush stained Jaenelle’s cheeks. “When I went to Scelt to ask Fiona to polish up the little story bits we wrote, Ladvarian and Shadow heard us talking. And since Kaelas got to be the snarl in the cellar and the ghost cat that’s seen from one of the upstairs windows…”

    “They nipped at you until you gave in, didn’t they?”

    “Badgered. There were no teeth involved. Mine or theirs.”

    Oh, the sour note in Jaenelle’s voice.

    Marian turned away to hide a grin. The powerful men in Jaenelle’s life didn’t often win an argument with her. On the other hand,she seldom won an argument with Ladvarian. Did it annoy Lucivar, Daemon, and Saetan to see a dog that didn’t come up to their knees cornering Jaenelle into agreeing to things when they couldn’t get her to budge, or were they grateful thatsomeone could successfully herd their darling Queen when herding was required?

    “All right,” Jaenelle said briskly. “We have one more room that needs significant work.” She left the dining room and led the way to the room that must have been a parlor. “This will be the scariest room in the house.”

    Marian looked at the furniture and wallpaper and thought the room qualified without their doing anything to it. “What’s going to be in here?”

    Oh, the look in Jaenelle’s eyes as she said softly, “A promise.”

    Entering one of the small parlors that were in Witch’s private section of the Keep, Daemon used Craft to move another cushioned footstool next to the one that held Saetan’s socked feet. Then he sat down and studied his father as Saetan closed the book he was reading and took off the half-moon glasses.

    “Nice sweater,” Daemon said dryly, eyeing the long black sweater Saetan was wearing over a white silk shirt.

    “Nice shirt,” Saetan replied just as dryly, confirming Daemon’s suspicion that Saetan owned the sweater for the same reason he now owned this shirt. “The gold looks good on you.”

    “I have other clothes besides white shirts and black trousers,” Daemon grumbled.

    “If you don’t, you will.” Saetan smiled. “Have any of your silk shirts found their way into your Lady’s closet?”

    “No.” Daemon felt amusement bubble up. “My shoulders are broader than yours, so my shirts don’t fit as well as yours did. I gathered this was a disappointment. In terms of the shirts, not the shoulders.”

    “Lucky you.”

    He grinned at the sour note he heard in Saetan’s voice. Then his amusement faded as he called in a packet of letters tied with a rose-colored ribbon. “Sylvia wrote these,” he said softly. “There are a couple from the boys as well. I told her I would offer them, but you don’t have to take them.” Especially now when he could see the pain gathering in his father’s gold eyes. “I can keep them, or destroy them, or read them if you feel someone needs to know the contents. I will do with them whatever you want me to do.”

    “I can’t take them,” Saetan said, his voice strained. “It’s selfish, I know that, but…”

    Daemon vanished the packet and rested a hand on Saetan’s ankle. “You’re entitled to make that choice.”

    “There are reasons why the demon-dead have their own Realm. There are reasons for the dead to step back from the living. And those same reasons apply to Guardians.”

    Step back from whomever you must,Daemon thought.Except me. Except Lucivar.

    “You and Lucivar…” Saetan smiled that dry smile. “When I first told the two of you I was retiring from the living Realms, I heard the unspoken warning about what you’d do if I tried to shut myself too far away from all of you. And I wouldn’t have tried to shut you out. Not my children. Not you or Lucivar or Jaenelle. Not from the coven or the boyos, since they, too, are my children in a way.”

    “They’ve taken the lessons and the love and gone on with their lives. They aren’t placing any demands on you. Just small expectations, when there are any at all.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire