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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 41)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(41) by Anne Bishop
  • He looked at her. She looked at him—and knew they were both picturing that elegant, beautiful man moving across a ballroom with lethal, feline grace. If Daemon had been forced to display himself during the years he’d been a pleasure slave, he would have done it right. Nothing garish for Sadi. Seed pearls and silk. Maybe a small ruby strategically placed to catch the light—and a woman’s eye. A fatal lure that promised unimagined pleasures, despite his lack of arousal. But the look in Sadi’s golden eyes and his cold, cruel smile would have made a very different kind of promise—andthat was the promise the Sadist always kept.

    Andthat thought got her moving up the broken, weedy flag-stone walkway at the same moment a man came out of the house and lit the lanterns that hung on either side of the door.

    “Think that’s the equivalent of the houselights going down in a theater?” Rainier asked as they stopped at the gate in the fence.

    “Could be.” A movement near the edge of the property had her dropping back a step, giving Rainier fighting room as she turned.

    “Just children,” Rainier said, turning with her. “One of them must have been keeping watch. Or else they planned to meet here at dusk.”

    “Makes sense. After all, they’re probably the ones who provided the inspiration for this place.” And imagining them all getting close enough for her to give each one of them a hard whack upside the head as payment for that inspiration pleased her so much she smiled and waved at them.

    “Don’t encourage them,” Rainier warned. “They’ll think you’re inviting them to come with us.”

    “Don’t be daft. Landens stay away from…Hell’s fire.” Theyhad taken her wave as an invitation.

    “Told you,” Rainier said, grabbing her arm as he pushed the gate open. It swung easily enough but creaked as if it hadn’t been used in years.

    “How was I supposed to know?” Surreal grumbled, caught between going through the gate, which she didn’t want to do, and being trapped against the fence by a pack of children.

    “You were that age once.”

    “I wasn’t like them at that age.”

    Rainier made a scoffing sound. “Being Blood doesn’t make usthat different when we’re young—at least in terms of behavior.”

    That wasn’t what I meant.But she didn’t contradict him because the children were approaching too fast—and because her relationship with her ex-lover Falonar had taught her that a man who could accept she’d been a whore might have a problem when he discoveredwhen she’d become a whore.

    There weren’t many outside of the family who knew the details of her past, and she preferred it that way.

    “Let’s get inside,” she said.

    They went through the opening. Then Rainier swore fiercely. So did she as she wiped her face. Nothing there, but the sense that she’d walked into a big cobweb lingered.

    “I guess the fun begins even before we get into the house,” Rainier said, sounding cross.

    “It explains why the fence is here instead of bordering the edge of the property,” Surreal said. “Jaenelle and Marian must have moved it so they could attach this illusion spell to the gate and still leave some open ground where visitors can gather.”

    “Maybe getting a face full of cobwebs is meant to discourage people from going farther?” He sounded like he’d be quite happy to be discouraged from going farther.

    “Are you telling me an Opal-Jeweled Warlord Prince is going to be put off by a few cobwebs?”

    He just looked at her.

    “Right. We’re here—and we’re stuck.” Surreal rubbed her hands over her face to get rid of the lingering feeling. Then she sighed. “And we should accept this as part of a performance.” A glance at the children, who were hovering on the other side of the gate and seemed to be rethinking the wisdom of approaching two of the Blood. But once she and Rainier reached the house, it was a fair bet that the children would come through the gate to get a closer look. After all, this place was probably irresistible to their maggot-filled little minds.

    As she and Rainier walked up to the covered entryway, she listened for the squeals. Landen or not, those children weren’t going to shrug off getting a face full of cobwebs.

    “Well, that’s a bite in the ass,” Rainier said, looking back when they reached the steps. “Damn illusion stopped us cold, and they didn’t even notice.”

    “Maybe that says more about landen housekeeping than about the illusion,” Surreal replied before giving her attention to the man who had lit the lanterns and now appeared to be waiting for them.

    “A good evening to the Lady and gentleman,” the man said. “Or a frightful, fearsome evening if you’re not careful. Strange things go on in this house.” A hard look at the children who were now standing close enough to hear him. “Yes, strange things.”

    Nervous giggles from the girls in the group.

    "If we really want to scare them, we shouldn’t bother with this spooky-house stuff," Surreal said on a psychic thread, tipping her head to indicate the children. "We should just throw a couple of them into the kitchen at SaDiablo Hall."

    "While Mrs. Beale is in there?" Rainier asked. "That’s vicious."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire