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  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(156) by Anne Bishop
  • From his position at the tavern window, Jared saw Thera slip out of the Coach and dash for the nearest building.

    What was she doing? he wondered as he watched her dart from building to building, moving up the street. If she had further instructions for Talon, why didn’t she send them on a psychic thread?

    He shifted position to keep her in sight. Why was she heading east? The only things in that direction were the dance ring and the Sanctuary. She couldn’t reach either of those without trying to slip past the Hayllians. Even Thera wouldn’t be that foolish.

    And why had she left Lia alone?

    He looked in the other direction. He could just see the closed door of the Coach Thera and Lia had been using.

    Jared hesitated a moment, then stepped outside. He looked east.

    Thera had vanished.

    He looked at the Coach.

    He shouldn’t be out here. But surely they had a minute left, didn’t they? A minute to check on Lia, make sure she was all right. A minute to silently tell her what he wouldn’t say out loud now because he didn’t want to distract her.

    He took a step toward the Coach.

    “Warlord!” Krelis’s Craft-enhanced voice thundered. “Your time’s up, Warlord!”

    Jared looked longingly at the Coach before retreating into the tavern. He took a deep breath, let it out slowly. Took another. Following Thera’s terse, final instructions, he began to fill the psychic web with his Red strength. Slow and steady. No pulses of power that could overwhelm the non-Jeweled Blood in the web. Slow and steady.

    Randolf. Blaed. Talon.

    He used them as touchstones because they had been the last three added to the web and he could still recognize them. He used them because feeling Talon strongly through the web let him know the web was fully engaged.

    They were as ready as they could be.

    Any Hayllians coming up from the landing place would have to pass the Coaches, would have to pass by him.

    Jared bared his teeth. “Come on, bastard. Let the battle begin.”

    Chapter Thirty-eight

    Hearing Lord Krelis’s voice thunder over the village, one of the Hayllian guards who was watching the east end of the village rubbed his hands in anticipation.

    Now Hayll would teach another of these inferior races what it meant to be Blood. Now he’d have a chance to bring himself to Lord Krelis’s—and the High Priestess’s— notice.

    Maybe he’d even have a chance to show one or two of these Shalador bitches what it was like to be mounted by areal man.

    He glanced over his shoulder at the slope that led down into that dirt circle. His grin faded. He shuddered.

    What had they used that circle for? Some kind of witches’ celebration? Some bestial rite that the males feared?

    He’d thought of exploring that circle, maybe even dropping his pants and taking a squat to defile it. But when he’d reached the top of the slope, he’d hit a wall of cold air that made him certain that any male who walked through it would end up with shriveled balls and a permanently limp cock.

    So he was here, at the bottom of the slope, waiting for the signal to move forward. The bloodletting would have to wait. The commanders had been very firm about that. Full psychic shields to protect themselves and controlled strikes to wear down the Jeweled Blood and drive them all to the center of the village.

    However, once the little bitch-Queen was caught . . .

    Something passed by him, a few yards to his left, and headed up the slope.

    Immediately, he extended his psychic probe and started searching.

    The answer that came back from that probe was more subtle than a thought:Nothing there .

    Uncertain, he sharpened his probe. If any of the villagers managed to slip past the Hayllians surrounding this privy hole, it wasn’t going to be nearhim .

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire