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  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(11) by Anne Bishop
  • Something had happened. Something had changed.

    The fear hadn’t been there during the ride here. He was sure of that. Hell’s fire, he’d touched her, sat beside her. Even she couldn’t have hidden feelings that strong while there had been physical contact between them.

    The message, then. The mes . . .

    As he watched Grizelle tuck her hands into the sleeves of her robe and walk into the ticket station, his waning endurance finally gave out. The world became fuzzy and slow.

    So hard to walk, despite the hand on his arm leading him. Words began smearing again, mashing together and stretching out until they became a language of nightmarish shapes. Bodies appeared in front of him, out of nowhere. Someone tugged on his arm. He stopped walking. The smells of blood-bright fear and sickly brown sweat oozed around the word shapes.

    Water.

    Why did that have to be the one word that still made sense?

    “She’ll be taking . . . west-going Coaches?”

    He thought that was one of the guards speaking, but couldn’t be sure since the voice kept fading in and out.

    “Bound to ... Territory’s west . . .TamanaraMountains.”

    “That’s what . . . figured . . . brought the rest . . . here.”

    Except they were walking again, endlessly walking, while the escorts swore under their breath and their blade-sharp anger cut into him.

    Where were his inner barriers? Where . . .

    Someone pulled at his arms.

    “Ssiiitt.”

    His legs folded under him.

    A gray voice. The word “water.”

    A cup at his mouth. Water trickling past his lips. He held it for a moment, savoring the wetness, before he swallowed. Then he tried to grab the cup and gulp, but hands pulled it away from him.

    “Sslloowlly.”

    He obeyed. It was so important to obey, so important that this female voice that wasn’t gray didn’t take away the water.

    Finally enough.

    Ballsansass. That was important, too, although he couldn’t remember why.

    He slid sideways. The water had melted his bones. He hadn’t known water could do that. Whiskey could, if you drank enough of it, but water? Who would have guessed?

    Then he was melting and sliding, melting and sliding, sliding, sliding away into the safety of the night, into the sweet Darkness.

    Chapter Four

    “She took the bait,” theFifth Circleguard reported with barely restrained eagerness.

    Krelis leaned back in his chair, dropping his hands below the desk to hide the trembling he couldn’t control. Dorothea’s compulsion spell must have worked, which made him feel easier about the other spells she’d woven for him—not that he doubted the High Priestess’s ability.

    “While she was in Raej, did the bitch buy anyone who might be of value to us?” Krelis asked, watching the young man who reminded him of himself not that many centuries ago.

    The blank look on the guard’s face only lasted a moment. Then he stiffened and focused his eyes on the back wall of the Master’s office. “My apologies, Lord Krelis. I didn’t think to obtain a list of the slaves she bought.”

    “Nor did Lord Maryk think to include it in your instructions,”‘ Krelis said smoothly.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire