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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 45)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(45) by Anne Bishop
  • “I’ll check,” Surreal said, crossing the room, her hand curled in just the right way if she needed to call in her stiletto. But when she reached the sitting room doorway, there was only the caretaker in the hallway, turning away from the closed front door.

    “So discourteous,” he muttered as he walked past her. “Sodisobedient. Not what I expected.”

    “When does this tour begin?” Surreal asked him.

    He didn’t stop, didn’t turn. “Find the first clue, and you’ll know what to do,” he snapped. He slammed through a door at the end of the hallway.

    She was trying to be tolerant of this place because it was Jaenelle and Marian’s idea, but she was going to talk to them about that little bastard. Performance or not, if he tried that pissing contest with the wrong Blood male, he would end up very very dead.

    And speaking of Blood males…

    She headed for the front door.

    “Anything?” Rainier asked as he stepped into the sitting room doorway.

    “I’m going to check for late arrivals,” Surreal said. “You look for the first clue. It must be in the sitting room, since we were directed there by that little piece of walking carrion.”

    “Surreal.” Rainier tipped his head to indicate the children.

    She turned and gave him a look that had him backing up a step. Then she yanked the front door open—and stared at the brick wall in front of her. She reached out cautiously, sure her hand would pass through the illusion—or trigger something “spooky.” But it was solid brick against her palm.

    “Hell’s fire,” she muttered. “Guess we don’t leave through the same door we entered.” And now that the door was closed, that smell in the hallway was getting stronger—and more familiar.

    Near the stairs. But where…?

    Using a few drops of her Birthright Green power, she created a ball of witchlight—and frowned as a gong sounded somewhere in the house. But the sound was forgotten when the light revealed a door under the stairs. No obvious knob, but there had to be a latch that was easy enough to find and open. Otherwise, the space would have no use.

    As she moved closer, the smell got stronger.

    Yes, there was the latch, made to look like a knot in the paneling. She shifted the witchlight so she could see inside as she opened the door and…

    “Well, shit.”

    “Did you find the clue?” Rainier asked, crossing the hallway to join her.

    She pulled the door open a little farther so they could both see inside. “I don’t know if it’s a clue, but I did find a body in a closet.”


    Daemon approached the Consort’s suite with weary eagerness. He usually enjoyed the business side of ruling Dhemlan and taking care of the family property and wealth, but today each thing had felt like a handful of grit being sprinkled over him. Before he gave himself to the best part of the day—those hours he would have with Jaenelle—he wanted a long, hot shower. No. A bath. The luxury of soaking away all the nattering voices he’d dealt with throughout a long morning’s worth of meetings and all the paperwork he’d waded through during the past few hours. The Dhemlan Queens were still nervous about dealing with him, and he understood that. When Jaenelle’s life had been threatened by a witch obsessed with havinghim , he’d made it brutally clear what he would do to protect someone he loved. So he understood why the Province Queens were anxious to assure him that theydid have control over the territories they ruled within his Territory.

    But he really didn’t need to know all the damn details.

    And he really didn’t need anyone else trying to wheedle an invitation out ofhim to the private viewing of the spooky house, which everyone seemed to know about. Except him because, after all, why shouldJaenelle’s husband know about a private viewing? Hell’s fire! He’d come back to the Hall to find a note from Lord Khardeen, who wanted to talk to him about the damn place—and Khary lived on the other side of the Realm!

    Rumors, he reminded himself. Just rumors, which were to be expected. Everyone was curious about this entertainment Jaenelle and Marian had created.

    When he saw the envelope on the dressing table, he huffed out a sound that was part sigh, part annoyance. No doubt it was another invitation to some kind of autumnal festivity. He’d have to ask Jaenelle how many of these things she was willing to attend. Even better, he’d ask the High Lord how many the ruler of Dhemlan wasrequired to attend.

    He picked up the envelope, noting it was good-quality paper, then turned it over. Just a simple, decorative seal pressed into the wax. Nothing that belonged to an aristo family or a court. At least, not one he recognized. The writing had been done by an unfamiliar male hand.

    He opened the envelope and withdrew the invitation. Moments later, his anger arrowed toward one mind. "Beale!"

    While he waited for the Hall’s butler to answer the summons, he paced around the room, too upset to stand still and yet feeling more and more caged by his own need to move. Damn and damn and damn!

    The knock on the door was tentative, which told him how much his lash of temper had unnerved Beale.

    Since it was too tempting to rip through the door—and then rip through the man—he forced himself to stand still and used Craft to open the door with obvious control.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire