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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 46)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(46) by Anne Bishop
  • “Prince?” Beale said when he entered the room. No sign of nerves in voice or stance, but in the eyes…Yes, there were nerves. After all, a Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince could do a vicious amount of damage to a Red-Jeweled Warlord—especially if the intent was to maim rather than kill.

    “Explain this.” Daemon held out the invitation.

    Beale came forward just far enough to take the invitation and read it. Then he glanced at the small clock on the dressing table. His skin turned gray as he looked at Daemon in horrified apology.

    “I have been down in my study doing paperwork for the past several hours,” Daemon said through gritted teeth. “I was home, Beale. I have no excuse for ignoring this invitation.” Summons, actually. They both understood what the wording meant.

    “The messenger was quite specific,” Beale said, stammering.

    “The invitation was to be delivered to the Consort’sroom . He specified a place, not the person. So I thought, since it was for theConsort , the Lady was planning a private evening and had asked a friend to address the envelope so the contents would be a surprise for a little while longer.”

    Hell’s fire. Beale was a romantic. Who would have guessed? He’d brought up the message thinking the Queen wanted a sensual evening with herConsort.

    Daemon took a moment to consider the implications of that. “Dinner?”

    “Since we weren’t expecting you downstairs this evening—”

    Or even out of bed,Daemon added silently.

    “—Mrs. Beale planned some dishes that would not be spoiled if the meal was…interrupted.”

    He really didn’t want to think about Beale and Mrs. Beale discussing his sex life.

    “Iam sorry, Prince,” Beale said. He turned his head, and the slight change in his expression indicated he was talking to someone on a psychic thread. Then he relaxed a little as he turned back to Daemon. “Mrs. Beale is packing up the meal. I had already selected some bottles of wine, so she’ll pack those as well. You will arrive a little late, but perhaps a celebratory moonlight picnic will be sufficient apology?”

    They both heard it at the same time—the sounds of someone moving around in the next room.

    Jaenelle was home. The fact that she was here instead of overseeing the first viewing of her precious entertainment meant his absence had been noticed and he was in for a rough night.

    Don’t do that,he warned himself.Don’t smear her with the memories of how other women would have reacted.

    It was a fair warning, but it didn’t lessen his feelings of bitter unhappiness.

    “I will explain to the Lady,” Beale said, squaring his shoulders.

    “No.” Daemon took the invitation. “No matter the reason, I’m still the one who is accountable.”

    “But—”

    “No.” He hesitated. “I do appreciate the offer, Beale.”

    He waited until Beale left before he approached the connecting door and knocked.

    “Come in.”

    As he walked into the room he usually thought of as their bedroom and now hesitated to think of at all, Jaenelle gave him a puzzled look, then turned her attention back to the dress box on the bed. “I stopped in Amdarh on the way home. I wanted to see if the dress was finished, and it was.” She seemed happy and excited as she tossed the top of the box aside. “Why were you knocking?”

    “I wasn’t sure if I would be welcome.”

    She stopped unwrapping the dress, straightened up, and faced him. Her sapphire eyes were filled with a chilling blankness.

    They were still working through some difficult patches in their relationship, raw spots created during the months she had been healing—when neither of them had been sure of still being wanted by the other. So his words were a warning that he had done something that could end with her locking him out. Forever.

    “Meaning what?” she asked too softly.

    He felt a desperate need to hold her, to assure himself that it was, after all, a small mistake. But it wasn’t. Not for a Blood male who wore a wedding ring. Not when the marriage was so new he still wasn’t accustomed to the feel of that ring on his finger—or the joy of knowing that it was there at all.

    So he couldn’t touch her as he wanted to. Couldn’t even beg to be forgiven until he received some sign from her that she would permit him to beg. Because it wasn’t just his wife he had disappointed; it was his Queen.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire