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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 10)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(10) by Anne Bishop
  • Pleased that he’d managed to unsettle the man, Jared walked toward him and held out his hands as if bestowing a favor. “If you’re going to chain me, get on with it. The Gray Lady’s waiting to dance.” He hoped the escort would mistake the exhaustion in his voice for boredom.

    “She didn’t specify chains,” the man said grudgingly.

    “No, I didn’t think she would. She strikes me as a discreet Lady, and chains tend to call attention to themselves, especially when the sound they’re making becomes rhythmic. Don’t you think?”

    The escort’s lip curled in a sneer. “I’ve never worn chains.”

    “I wasn’t implying thatyou had worn them.” Jared waited for the insult to sink in and then shrugged. “Or that you needed them. I just thought that since you earned a living restraining people, you might know a few interesting positions that aren’t considered common in the courts. But perhaps not. Things like that are a bit like mounting a woman dog-style. It isn’t to every man’s taste.”

    Fury blazed in the escort’s eyes. “You know what I can do to you?”

    “Not a damn thing.” Jared bared his teeth and added softly, “Come on. Try it. Let’s see if this Ring really can hold the Red.”

    “Is there a problem?” Grizelle’s voice settled over both men like a cold rain.

    The escort reluctantly stepped into the hallway. “No, Lady.”

    “Then what’s the delay?”

    Jared gave the escort a smug smile, knowing it would infuriate the man because there wasn’t any way he could respond to it.

    Time to play the last act.

    Mother Night, don’t let my body fail yet.

    Jared stepped forward, forcing the escort out of the way. He bowed to Grizelle, making sure the bow was exactly what Protocol dictated as proper for a Red-Jeweled Warlord to make to a Gray-Jeweled Queen.

    If the Warlord wasn’t a slave, that is.

    The escort growled in anger.

    Grizelle stared at him, but Jared thought he caught a flicker of amusement in the hard gray eyes.

    So she liked balls and sass. Thank the Darkness.

    Draining the little psychic strength he could summon in order to project the feel of a sensual man eager to please, Jared offered his right hand, palm down.

    Grizelle hesitated a moment before lightly placing her left hand over his and allowing him to escort her out of the building.

    Jared bit back a grin. The escort was now trailing behind them like a resentful, forgotten puppy.

    It was full dark by the time they hired a pony cart and headed out of the auction grounds. Instead of going directly to the official landing place, they took a side road that circled around the low, flat-topped hill until they reached the ticket station, and the Coaches and drivers that could ride the Winds.

    “Wait with the others,” Grizelle said, as Jared helped her from the cart. She didn’t bother to look at either of them as she walked toward the ticket station.

    Jared held on to the cart, hoping the escort didn’t notice how much he needed to lean on that support to stay on his feet. He wasn’t sure his legs would get him to the Coach before they buckled.

    “I don’t know where the others are,” he finally pointed out.

    “This way,” the escort growled.

    As they walked toward the man’s partner, who had been guarding the other slaves, Jared glanced over his shoulder and saw a messenger boy hand a slip of paper to Grizelle just before she reached the ticket station. The boy ran off immediately, not even waiting for the usual coin.

    Feeling a warning prickle between his shoulder blades, Jared stopped and watched her read the message.

    So still. So silent. So gray. Nothing about her seemed different, so he didn’t understand why he instinctively opened his first inner barrier and sent out a delicate Red psychic tendril. Even if her inner barriers hadn’t been stronger than his, the tendril was too delicate to probe even surface thoughts, which meant there was less chance of it being noticed. But it would be able take a sip of her emotions and give him some warning about her temper.

    He wasn’t prepared for the blast of fear that raced back through the tendril and crashed into him.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire