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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 151)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(151) by Anne Bishop
  • “It’s time to start,” Thera said, rising.

    Silent, all the men except Jared, Talon, and Blaed left the room. When Lia rose, the three men formed a triangle around the two women, Talon automatically taking the point while Blaed and Jared each flanked his own Lady.

    “Prince Talon, your presence is required,” Lia said when they stepped outside. She moved out of earshot and waited for the Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord Prince to join her.

    Jared’s muscles quivered at the formal request. Before he could decide whether or not to insist on being part of that private conversation, Thera dragged him back inside the tavern.

    She gave him a brittle smile that was probably meant to reassure him but, instead, turned his guts to water.

    “I need some of your blood,” Thera said, holding up a small pewter cup. “For the web.”

    Power sang in the blood. Life sang in the blood.

    And trust, like love, was one of the heart’s songs.

    Jared pushed up his sleeve and offered his wrist.

    She was quick, gentle, and far more careful about healing the nick in his wrist than he would have been.

    Giving him another brittle smile, Thera put the cover on the cup and dashed to the Coach she and Lia were using to prepare this Queen’s gamble.

    Stepping outside again, Jared eased closer to where Lia and Talon were still standing.

    “If that’s what you want,” Talon said grimly, “a fast—”

    “I told you what I want from you,” Lia replied. “Exactly what I want. Will you do it?”

    Jared eased closer. The fierce unhappiness in Talon’s face made his heart beat strangely, as if it couldn’t decide to pound until it burst or just fade until it stopped.

    “Promise me, Talon.” Lia gave Talon’s hand an urgent squeeze.

    Talon looked at their clasped hands. His fingers curled around hers. When he finally spoke, his voice was heavy. “I swear by the Jewels and all that I am that I’ll do exactly as you asked.”

    Leaning forward, Lia swiftly kissed Talon’s cheek. “Thank you.”

    Then she noticed Jared and stepped back, blushing.

    Still watching Lia, Talon’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully. Then his attention shifted to Jared for a moment. “If you’ll excuse me, Lady, I have some preparations to make.”

    “Of course,” Lia murmured.

    As Talon walked past Jared, he muttered, “May the Darkness have mercy on me,” and kept going until he reached his Warlords.

    “Lia,” Jared said quietly, taking a couple of steps toward her.

    Lia retreated. “I—I have to help Thera.”

    There were shadows under her eyes from lack of sleep. There were shadowsin her eyes, hiding so many things.

    And there was thatsomething he should understand about Jewels and psychic links that was still teasingly just out of reach.

    “Lia, what is the Queen’s gamble?”

    “What it’s always been.” Lia licked her lips. “That the males she’s assigned certain tasks to will perform those tasks exactly as requested. That they won’t allow themselves to become distracted by whatever else is happening—or whatever else theythink is happening.”

    “Lia . . .”

    Her hand clamped on his forearm. “Jared, you must hold the web. Youmust . Everything depends on it.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire