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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 166)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(166) by Anne Bishop
  • Taking one last look around, Jared left the traveler’s inn.

    It was time to go to Grayhaven.

    It was time to take the risk.

    Chapter Forty-two

    “Excuse me,” Jared called. He urged the bay gelding closer to the kneeling woman and bit back his impatience. He’d spent the past hour wandering around the Grayhaven estate, following the vague directions he’d been given. Lady Lia, he’d been told, was out gathering a few plants. Just follow the path there and he’d come to her by and by.

    He’d followed that path and several offshoots. Every person he’d seen along the way had cheerfully pointed him in a different direction.

    Well, the woman who hadn’t answered him seemed intent on the same task so, hopefully, he was getting closer. Maybe she was a servant who had accompanied Lia. A lower servant, he decided, raking his eyes over the shabby clothes and the wide-brimmed straw hat that looked as if it had been run over by a couple of heavy wagons.

    “If I could have a moment of your time.” Hell’s fire, any servant accompanying a Queen should dress better—

    The woman stood, pulled off her hat, and turned around.

    Jared stared at the flowing gray hair, at the gray eyes, at the Gray Jewel hanging from the gold chain around her neck.

    Dismounting, he said meekly, “I beg your pardon, Lady. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

    The air around him chilled. The gelding snorted, and backed away as far as it could.

    “You must be Lord Jared,” Grizelle said coldly.

    Jared swallowed hard. “You’ve heard of me?”

    “You’re the Warlord whose courage and honor helped a young Queen survive a dangerous journey.” Grizelle’s voice became knife-sharp. “And you’re the ass who made my granddaughter cry.”

    Jared hunched his shoulders, but his heart leaped in hope. He kept his eyes focused on the ground between them. “I needed time, Lady. I needed to shed my slave skin.” He glanced up.

    Grizelle studied him from head to toe. “It seems you succeeded.”

    There was no softening in her expression or her voice.

    Jared felt a shiver start in the soles of his feet and work its way up his body. This was the Gray Lady, who was still the Queen of Dena Nehele and who could banish him from her Territory.

    And this was the family matriarch who would decide if he could even try for the future he hoped for.

    “Why are you here, Warlord?”

    “I—” Jared took a deep breath. “I came to see Lia.”

    Grizelle narrowed her eyes. “Are you planning to leave again and add a few new bruises to an aching heart?”

    “No!” He forced himself to meet her eyes. Better to know now before he hoped too much. “I was a pleasure slave, Lady.”

    Grizelle’s eyebrows rose. “Oh?” she said mildly. “I gather that means you know how to keep a bed warm on a cold winter night.”

    Jared opened his mouth. When his tongue started to dry out, he closed it.

    Grizelle tipped her head to one side and eyed him curiously. “It’s very tempting to ask you to recite your qualifications as a consort, but I’ve noticed that young men can be rather prudish about discussing their sexual skills. They either look like they’re about to faint or they start babbling nonsense. Fortunately, Harland is mature enough to be more forthcoming.”

    Afraid his legs would buckle, Jared locked his knees.

    Fainting sounded like a very good idea right now.

    “You’re not this shy with Lia, are you?” Grizelle asked.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire