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  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(77) by Anne Bishop
  • A growl, the voice barely recognizable as female.

    Mikal hunched his shoulders and wisely offered no opinion about the mousie in the glass.

    “I think I have everything I need,” Daemon said. “Thank you, Mikal.”

    Mikal slid off his chair. Then he hesitated, leaned across the table, and said in a loud whisper, “Did Tersa tell you about the beetles?”

    Surreal held her hands under the water running from the faucet, cleaning them as well as she could. Then she cupped her hands to fill them with water and took a cautious sip. No obvious foulness. Of course, if the water supply had poison or drugs dumped into it, she may have already done enough damage to kill herself.

    That being the case, she drank another mouthful of water before turning off the taps.

    She rubbed her wet hands over her face, trying to shake off the fatigue.

    Shouldn’t be this tired, she thought as she dried her face and hands on her shirt.Shouldn’t be this tired.

    She created a tight shield-with-access around her body and tried not to think about another exit closing because she had used Craft.

    Then she heard it again. That funny little rattle coming from the bathtub drain.

    With one hand resting on the sink, she turned toward the tub, wincing when the move tugged at her wound.

    A little black beetle crawled out of the drain. It hustled toward the other end of the tub, making its little beetle noises.

    It’s just one,she thought as she tried to get her breathing under control.It’s just one, and it can’t get out of the tub.

    A movement caught her eye.

    Another little black beetle climbed out of the drain.

    And another. And another.

    Hell’s fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful.

    She could put her hands on a body covered in maggots. She could cut up a man using nothing but a dull ax. She could skin a man and not shiver. She could scoop up a head that had been ripped off by a pissed-off cat and dump the damn thing in a bucket while the warriors around her wouldn’t even touch it.

    But she didn’t like beetles. Didn’t like the look of them, didn’t like the clacking sound of their bodies. And especially didn’t like the crunch they made when you stepped on them.That sound always made her stomach drop and filled her knees with jelly.

    Her little secret. Everyone was entitled to one or two irrational fears.

    Rattle. Rattle rattle rattle.

    She watched them swell as they filled the tub, more and more of them coming out of the drain. Watched them swell, bigger and bigger, until they were the length of her palm and almost as wide. Bigger and bigger until…

    POP! POP POP POP!

    They burst. Their shells split down the middle and…

    A sensation. On her hand. A light sensation, since it was against the shield and not her skin.

    She looked at the hand resting on the sink. It was covered by a beetle.

    Just one beetle.

    She flung her hand up, sending the beetle flying through the air. And shescreamed.

    That piercing scream.

    What in the name of Hell could makeSurreal scream like that?

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire