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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 115)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(115) by Anne Bishop
  • This conversation was going to kill him. He just knew it. “Your move,” he said a bit desperately, wanting to distract her.

    She looked at the game board. “No, it isn’t.”

    “Is.”

    “Isn’t.”

    “Is.”

    “Isn’t.”

    “Move anyway.”

    She moved a Blood male pawn.

    He pounced on it with a Warlord.

    Her pained gasp broke his heart.

    He caught her as she stumbled away from the table. “I’m sorry,” he said, wrapping his arms around her. “Lia, I’m sorry.”

    “He’d still be alive if it wasn’t for me,” Lia sobbed. “If I hadn’t bought him, he’d still be alive.”

    “Maybe,” Jared said. He gently stroked her back.

    “He would.” She clutched his shirt and pressed her face against his shoulder. “He would.”

    “Listen to me, sweetheart.” Jared gave her a little shake. “Listen to me. You may have heard the women the Gray Lady brought out of Raej talk about being enslaved and the brutality they endured, but you don’t know what it’s like for the males. You can’t.”

    “I’ve heard—”

    “You’ve heard nothing,” Jared said, sharpening his voice enough to prick her pride and make her raise her head and look at him. “You’ve heard what they would admit to, what the scars on their bodies won’t allow them to deny. But they aren’t going to tell you about the other kinds of wounds or the deep scars you can’t see.No man would tell a young Queen about the kinds of twisted games that are played in those courts. We’re all scarred, Lia. We’re stripped of our honor and our pride. We’re punished when we act like Blood males and punished when we don’t. Dorothea SaDiablo and the Queens who dance to her tune don’t just rape a man’s body, they rape his soul. They take what’s good in a man and twist it out of all recognition.”

    Jared captured Lia’s face between his hands. “As bad as it is for a Jeweled male, it’s ten times worse for a Blood male whose inner barriers can be pried open by any Jeweled female who wants to toy with him. And half-Blood males, who have no barriers at all, don’t have any kind of a chance. Unless they’re sired by an aristo male, most of them never reach maturity. They’re used until they start showing signs of becoming men, and then—” Jared stopped. Took a deep breath. “Tomas might have lived another year or two. But if you hadn’t bought him, he never would have known kindness, never would have known what it was liked to serve a Lady who cared about him.”

    Fresh tears spilled down Lia’s face. “He didn’t know he wasn’t a slave,” she choked out.

    Jared wiped away the tears with his thumbs. “He served, Lady Ardelia. He was too bright not to understand the difference whether you actually said the words or not. He deserved more time. He deserved a better life. But he didn’t die because of you, Lia. He died because of Dorothea’s greedy ambition to devour the entire Realm of Terreille. If you want to avenge Tomas, continue to be the strong Queen you are. Don’t let Hayll’s shadow fall over Dena Nehele.”

    Lia leaned against him, wrapping her arms around his waist.

    Jared swayed back and forth, rocking her as he softly sang an old song that Reyna used to sing when he needed comforting.

    “That’s nice,” Lia murmured.

    Jared sank the fingers of one hand into her hair. “Yes, it is.”

    “You’ve got a pleasing voice. Deep but smooth.”

    Jared smiled. “My father always said I got my mother’s voice but an octave lower.” His arms tightened around her. “Lia, we have to leave in the morning, and I’ve been thinking . . .”

    Lia raised her head and studied his face. “Why does that sound like something I should worry about?”

    Jared frowned at her. “There’s nothing wrong with my brains.”

    “That’s true,” Lia agreed thoughtfully. “Your being so bossy when you start fussing has nothing to do with your brains.”

    “What?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire