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  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(123) by Anne Bishop
  • No one had planted this year. He felt the absence of laughter as keenly as he felt the land’s wounds. Flower beds that had dazzled him with color when he was young held a few wind-seeded flowers that looked spindly and faded.

    Jared took a hesitant step toward the house. Took another. He raised his voice. “Mother?”

    Another step.

    He saw the smears of old blood around the front door.

    Hurrying now, he flung the door open. “Mother!”

    Sweating and freezing, he rapidly explored the downstairs rooms the family used. Then the healing rooms. Then the stillroom. Out the back door to the greenhouse. He didn’t notice anything except that there was no one there.

    “MOTHER!”

    Inside again, he took the stairs two at a time, checking his brothers’ rooms first.

    Davin’s room was bare of personal belongings. Janos’s looked as if someone had hurriedly searched through it and had left the clothes and books where they’d fallen.

    No one in the second-floor guest rooms.

    No one in the third-floor rooms.

    Back to the second floor.

    His clothes no longer hung in the wardrobe, but his books still filled the low bookcase next to the writing desk that had stood in front of the window for as long as he could remember. The same quilt covered the bed that had once felt so huge and that he now knew would be a snug fit for two people.

    One room left.

    His hand shook as he opened the door to his parents’ room.

    Pain and grief entwined with love hit him at the threshold.

    He closed his eyes and clung to the doorframe, unable to step back, unable to go forward.

    Walls remembered. Over time, wood and stone absorbed the feelings of those who lived in a place and could be sensed by anyone with power.

    This was different. Stronger. As if ...

    Jared opened his eyes and looked at the large double bed that Reyna had shared with Belarr—the bed that a male child, no matter how young, didn’t climb into without his father’s permission.

    At first, he thought Reyna had bought a new quilt for the bed, but he couldn’t figure out why she, who loved bright things, would choose such a dull color.

    Then he saw a patch of blues and greens at the bottom corner, and then he realized the quilt had been soaked with blood.

    Jared staggered toward the bed, fighting the sickness that churned in his stomach.

    Blood sings to blood. That’s why the feelings were so strong. They weren’t in the wood and stone, they were in the blood.

    His hand shook violently as he reached for the quilt.

    The blood was old, but there was so much of it. All he had to do was open his inner barriers and touch it, and he’d know.

    “Jared,” a gravelly voice said.

    His hand hovered over the quilt. Another inch. Just another inch.

    His hand wouldn’t move.

    “Jared.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire