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  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(72) by Anne Bishop
  • “Wounded because I didn’t shield and got separated from my escort,” she said as she warily entered the bathroom. “Lucivar is going to beso pissed.”

    Interesting. Why was the witch so concerned about the opinion of a male who wasn’t there? It wasn’t like she was ever going tohear what he thought of her mistakes.

    Yes. That was a thought. Those pointed ears would make a fine trophy. Something to remember her by when she was absorbed into the spells of this house.

    And then she wouldn’t have to worry about hearinganything.

    Somewhere in the house, a gong sounded twice.

    "Surreal?"

    No answer. Nothing but a strange, gray blankness.

    "Surreal!"

    Rainier held his position. Waiting. Listening. Then he wove between the children and stopped at one of the hallway’s openings and held out the lamp, trying to get a better look at the room.

    Not a room. It was the front hallway.

    He looked at Kester, then tipped his head to indicate the other children. “Stay here. Keep them together.”

    No sass from the boy. No arguments. No comments. Maybe it was finally sinking in that the children needed to do what they were told in order to survive.

    He moved toward the front staircase. Could Surreal still be downstairs?

    “Surreal?”

    He peered over the banister. No sign of light down below.

    The gong had sounded twice. One time would have been for the witchfire she needed to create in order to light the candle. The other?

    She’d sensed something. Or someone. The second time the gong had sounded. Was that for a weapon or a shield?

    Should have shielded when they first realized something was wrong. They had gambled on the degree of danger they were facing—and had underestimated their enemy.

    She’d been coming up last, watching their backs. Should have been the safer position, since they’d already checked the kitchen.

    Should have been.

    What had changed in that moment between the last girl’s starting up the stairs and Surreal’s following her?

    The last girl.

    Rainier turned toward the opening leading to the back hall. Seven children had come up the stairs with him. But there shouldn’t be seven anymore. The fourth girl. The last one to come up the stairs. She wasn’t one of the children who had come into the house with them.

    “Mother Night,” he whispered.

    He rushed to the back hallway and stopped at the opening when he saw four children clustered around a closed door that Kester was trying to force open by slamming against it with his shoulder.

    No sound. No warning of trouble. The girls had their mouths open and were probably yelling or screaming. The front hallway wasn’t that big. He should have heard Kester trying to break down the door.

    As soon as he crossed the threshold, he heard the screams.

    Hell’s fire.

    “Get back!” Rainier shouted. He kept moving, building momentum with every stride. Kester saw him at the last moment and dove out of the way as Rainier turned the last stride into a leap and kick.

    The door crashed open, revealing a room emptied of furnishings…but not empty.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire