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  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(54) by Anne Bishop
  • “This afternoon. It was brought up to the room instead of being delivered to me.”

    “And if ithad been delivered to you, you would have dropped everything and run to obey.”

    “I love you,” Daemon shouted. “What in the name of Hell is wrong with wanting to please you?”

    “What’s wrong with it is that you never considered it odd that I would send such an invitation,” Jaenelle shouted back. “Instead of using your brain, you would have obeyed and walked into that house! Now open the damn door!”

    Because he couldn’t think of anything else to do, he released the Black lock and opened the door. He was wrong. He still didn’t know why, but somehow he was wrong.

    She barely waited for the door to open before she was out of the Coach—and he was barely a step behind her. He grabbed her arm, knowing full well another kind of woman would rip his face for touching her during a quarrel.

    “Jaenelle…” He loosened his hold, making it easy for her to pull away from him if she chose. Angry and confused, he wasn’t sure if he should fight or surrender. And he wasn’t sure what either choice might cost him. “You’re angry because I would have answered the invitation?”

    “Yes.”

    The ice in her voice chilled his heart. “Why? Please tell me why.”

    She pointed at the house across the street from where they stood. “Because that’s not my spooky house.”

    ELEVEN

    Cloaked in a sight shield, he watched them from the peepholes in the portrait, secure in the knowledge that he would remain undetected. These hidden corridors and his little hidey-holes weren’t bound by the spells constricting the use of Craft in the rest of his “entertainment.” He’d made sure of that before he settled his account with the Black Widow who had added the final, deadly layer to his version of the spooky house. Of course, she hadn’t intended to become part of that final, deadly layer.

    Now that he’d taken care of all his “partners,” there was no one to connect him to this place. Well, he’d taken care of almost all of them.That one hadn’t shown up for her payment. Just as well. He’d sweated through the whole business of dealing with the Hourglass Coven, butthat one had been creepier than the others. Still, even if she did talk about making illusion spells for a spooky house, who wouldlisten to her, let alone believe her?

    “All right,” Surreal said, hooking her hair behind her ears. “Someone has cast us as the lead characters in a mystery about a house that’s trying to kill us. Does that about sum it up?”

    “The house itself is wood, glass, and stone,” Rainier said. “It’s not trying to do anything. But based on the clue and the witch in the glass, it does seem like someone is trying to kill us. Hurt us at the very least. That same someone hired a Black Widow to create illusion spells—and probably other things—that we’ll assume will try to harm us while we look for a way out.”

    More than one Black Widow,Surreal thought. That was something she was going to keep to herself a little while longer. After all, she could be wrong.

    Sweet Darkness, please let her be wrong.

    “We’ve got two lamps and the witchlight,” Rainier said.

    “And one weapon,” Surreal said as Rainier handed her the poker. “I didn’t put much power into the witchlight when I made it, so it won’t last long.”

    Rainier picked up a small box that had been next to one of the lamps. When he opened it, he frowned thoughtfully at the contents.

    “Those are matches,” Kester said, rolling his eyes. “You scratch one on the rough side of the box to get a little fire to light the lamp or kindling.”

    “I know what matches are,” Rainier said, slipping the box into his coat pocket. Then he looked at Surreal. "Do we shield?"

    If they didn’t, they were vulnerable. If they did…

    "Just us or the children?" she asked. The landens wouldn’t have any control over the shield or be able to replenish the power in it, but she and Rainier could place one around each child to protect them from the first few attacks. Except…

    "If we shield everyone, that’s nine more uses of Craft. Counting the times we’ve already used Craft, that would eliminate more than half the possible exits from this place," Rainier said, saying exactly what she had been thinking.

    "And most likely, the easier exits to find are the ones that will close first." Like the front door. And the window there in the sitting room. “How many rooms?” she asked. “I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, but the house looked like it was a good size without beingthat big. A dozen rooms in all?”

    Rainier nodded. “Plus attic and cellar.”

    Was there another exit in that room?

    "If the intention is for us to face the traps, there won’t be more than one or two exits in the front rooms," Rainier said. "And if thisis based on a mystery story, we’ve already seen the clue and been shown a sample of the danger that will be triggered if we find an exit and try to use it."

    Unfortunately, she agreed with him. No one would have gone to this much trouble to create this place and then risk the possibility of their finding an exit quickly.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire