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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 6)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(6) by Anne Bishop
  • And she wanted him.

    No no no no no!

    “Thatone?” The escort sounded shocked. “Lady, that one killed the last Queen who owned him and attacked a guard last night, trying to escape. He’s going to the salt mines unless someone buys him for a killing sport.”

    Listen to him, Jared thought fiercely, trying to make her feel the words without risking a direct link.I’m tainted, twisted, past any hope. I’ll fight you with everything I am for as long as I can, and I’ll hate you long after that .

    The finger didn’t waver. The gray eyes didn’t blink.

    As he focused on the finger pointing at him, nine years of pain and fear began to crystallize into deadly, chilling hatred. He’d once believed in service and honor. Now all he believed in was cold hatred and rage. He was a Red-Jeweled Warlord from Shalador. He was Blood. He’d fight her, and die in the fighting. That was better than cringing and cowering while she tore him apart piece by piece.

    The wild stranger howled in distress and desire, fighting against the very rage it should have embraced, shattering it almost before it formed.

    “That one,” the Gray Lady said again.

    You will not have me, Jared thought as he watched the reluctant approach of the auction steward who had been summoned.I will not yield to you. Even if I can’t do anything else, I can still do that much. Will do that much .

    When a price was finally agreed upon, the steward bowed to Grizelle, then gestured to two of the guards inside the pen. “We’ll clean him up for you, Lady,” he said. His pompous smile died beneath that steely stare. “I’ll have him and the papers ready in ... an hour?”

    “Thirty minutes.”

    The steward paled. “Of course, Lady. I’ll see to it personally.”

    Offering no response, Grizelle and her unhappy escort walked away.

    They gave him no chance to fight. Not that he could have with the way his cramped legs screamed when the guards hauled him to his feet. They attached two chains to the wide collar and kept his hands tied behind his back. With a prissy smile, the steward increased the level of pain coming through the Ring of Obedience until Jared’s already unsteady legs buckled and breathing took all of his concentration.

    The short walk to the small building where lower-class slaves were delivered to their new owners took forever and ended too soon.

    The wash-down room contained a pump and half barrel, a wooden table that held a large chest, and two iron posts positioned on either side of a drain.

    Pain shot through the Ring at the same moment the guards untied his hands. By the time Jared could think again, his wrists and ankles were cuffed to the posts. One guard pumped water into the half barrel while the one who’d wanted to cut his eye rummaged through the chest. Jared’s gorge rose when the guard turned around and held up a wide strip of leather that had buckles on the ends and a leather ball sewn to the center.

    “Open your mouth, pretty boy,” the guard said with a sneering smile as he came toward Jared. “You know how to do that.”

    Jared clenched his teeth.

    Vicious pleasure filled the guard’s eyes as he held the gag in front of Jared’s mouth. “Open your mouth, or I’ll break your teeth.”

    The steward appeared in the doorway between the rooms and huffed with annoyance. “We’ve no time for this. She’ll be here soon. Besides, he’s already bought. If there’s any fresh damage, the bitch will demand compensation.” His voice shook a little, leaving no doubt about the kind of compensation the Gray Lady would demand.

    Another flash of pain came through the Ring of Obedience. Jared kept his teeth clenched and tried to ride it out, but it didn’t end, didn’t end, didn’t end until he opened his mouth in a breathless scream.

    With a satisfied grunt, the guard shoved the gag into his mouth and buckled the straps behind his head.

    The wide leather collar was too thick and stiff to yield to the pressure of bone, so opening his mouth had forced his head back. His tongue worked relentlessly to keep the leather ball from sliding too far back. His stomach twitched, threatening to respond forcefully if he choked. And his mind . . .

    It was during his third year as a pleasure slave, serving in a Black Widow’s court. She wasn’t Hayllian, but she’d been a protégée of Dorothea SaDiablo and had relished the lessons on how to cripple the male spirit. He remembered what it felt like to lie on his back, tied hand and foot to the bed, wearing a gag like this one. Already dosed withsafframate , a vicious aphrodisiac, he’d had no control over his body’s merciless need. He’d lain there, helpless, while she played with him and rode him until he screamed.

    Something had twisted inside him that night, and he’d felt the first flash of savagery. But it had taken six more soul-killing years before his father’s training and the ingrained honor and respect Blood males felt for the feminine gave way to hatred strong enough to let him fight back. Six years between that night and the night that savagery had broken free and he killed the Queen and her Prince brother. But two years ago, he’d secretly rejoiced when he’d heard that that Black Widow had played one game too many with the Sadist—and had lost.

    A slap on the belly brought him back to the wash-down room and the current source of pain.

    The guard bared his teeth in a smile. “Since you ain’t going to the salt mines now, the least we can do is bring a little of the salt mines to you.”

    The other guard grinned as he opened a large sack and poured coarse-grained salt into the half barrel of water. Using Craft, he raised the half barrel and guided it across the room.

    Jared closed his eyes as the half barrel floated toward him. He ignored his quivering body.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire