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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 27)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(27) by Anne Bishop
  • Jared glared at both of them.

    “Lord Jared!”

    Jared winced, swore softly, and turned around.

    Thera stomped through the mud, her clenched hands swinging from stiff arms, her color high, and her green eyes blazing with temper.

    Jared glanced at Brock, who rolled his eyes but made no effort to get closer. Blaed, having turned back, swung to Jared’s left, close enough to look supportive but still far enough away not to be included in the discussion. Even Tomas stepped away from him.

    Were they giving him maneuvering room, or just trying to avoid getting hit by mistake if she tried to punch him?

    “Lord Jared,” Thera said again as she stomped up to him. “The Lady needs some entertainment.”

    Blood rushed into Jared’s face and drained out again, leaving him shaken. Thera didn’t have much tact, but even she should know better than to state it so baldly.

    Thera hesitated for a moment, puzzled. Then her eyes blazed even brighter. “Notthat , you fool. Although sitting on her may be the only way you’re going to get her to be sensible and stay off that leg.” She swiped at the hair that had escaped from the loose braid. “Hell’s fire, you’d think the woman had never had to spend a day in bed in her entire life! She’s so stubborn, so ... so ...”

    Jared bared his teeth in a smile. “So like in temperament?”

    He braced for the punch. He wouldn’t take it, but he’d dearly love an excuse to push her face into the mud.

    She made a noise, like steam escaping a kettle. When she finally spoke, her voice was dangerously controlled. “You’re the one who wears the Red, Warlord. So show some balls anddo something.”

    She brushed past him and started walking, her dark braid bouncing against her back.

    Brock raised his hands and shrugged, fighting hard not to laugh.

    Blaed bit his lip, rolled his shoulders, and finally said hesitantly, “I have a chess set, if that would help.”

    Using Craft, the Blood had the ability to call in and vanish objects, allowing them to carry things without being physically burdened with them. Sadi had described it once as an invisible cupboard, its size dependent on a person’s strength and how much power was siphoned off to maintain it.

    Jared didn’t ask what else Blaed—or any of the rest of them—might have that would be of interest to the group. When a man’s body was someone else’s property, material possessions could take on fierce importance and become emotional wounds if sharing them wasn’t done by choice. All too often these small treasures were taken by a stronger slave or by someone in the court who wanted the object. . . or simply wanted the slave to feel the loss of it.

    “It might,” Jared said, letting nothing in his voice or expression make any demands. There had already been too many demands made on Blaed, who was barely twenty and the only other male who had been used as a pleasure slave. Jared remembered too well how he had felt at that age, and the harsh lessons he’d learned when sexual pleasure had been turned into a twisted game.

    Blaed called in the chess set, protected by a cloth bag, and handed it to Jared.

    “Thank you,” Jared said. “I'll see that it’s returned.”

    Relief visible in his eyes, Blaed smiled his acknowledgment and hurried to rejoin Eryk.

    Jared trotted up to the wagon, which had passed him while he’d been “discussing things” with Thera. He wondered briefly why no one was riding the saddle horses, then shrugged off the thought. Either Thera and the Gray Lady were supposed to be riding this turn, or whoever was supposed to be had chosen to walk instead of being that close to two witches who were grating on each other’s tempers.

    He jumped to the bottom step, using a little Craft to keep his balance. Taking the muffled snarl that answered his knock as an invitation, he entered and closed the door quickly so he wouldn’t tumble out. The wide shutters at the front of the wagon were opened enough to provide a little fresh air, but not much light.

    A small ball of witchlight began to glow near the Lady’s head.

    Dressed in dark-gray trousers and a long, heavy gray sweater, she sat on one of the benches that acted as seats and beds, her back resting against the storage boxes stacked against the top side of the bench. A blanket was wrapped around her shoulders like a shawl. Her long gray hair, usually hidden by the hood of her coat, was pulled back in a loose braid. The dim light smoothed away the age lines in her face and made her look like the lovely young woman she once must have been.

    Desire nipped at him unexpectedly, making his heart beat a little faster, making his blood heat.

    He shouldn’t be feeling like this, not for an old woman who had bought him in the same way she had bought the wagon and the horses. But . . .

    Was there a man in Dena Nehele who found her touch exciting, who considered it a privilege and an honor to warm her bed? Did she have a consort or a lover, or did she use pleasure slaves? Would she enjoy having him caress her until his hands and mouth gave her release? What would she do if he kissed her until the desire humming through him consumed them both?

    Dangerous thoughts—and foolish ones. He was thinking like a man who would be granted equal pleasure in the bed instead of a slave who might use his experience and training to his own advantage.

    “What do you want?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire