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  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(46) by Anne Bishop
  • “The Ring of Obedience,” Jared snarled.

    “No.” She tried to pull away from him. “You wear the Invisible Ring. That’s sufficient.”

    “It’s not going to be sufficient for long. I’ll fight you with everything I am. You’re not going to own me. Not that way.” She had to strike back now. Shehad to. No witch would allow a slave to state bluntly that he was going to fight without punishing him for it. And once that pain blazed along his nerves, he would know for certain the Invisible Ring existed and she hadn’t played him for a fool.

    She didn’t strike back. Instead, she snapped, “You presume a great deal, Warlord. What makes you think I want to own you in any way?”

    “A bill of sale, Lady.”

    For some reason, his response upset her. She yanked her arm out of his grasp, stumbling back a couple of steps. “Is wearing the Invisible Ring making you suffer?”

    “Yes!”

    “Good!”

    He opened his mouth to blast her with the foulest language he knew . . . and tasted something in the air that shouldn’t have been there.

    Wariness and fear shadowed her eyes as he stared at her. She slowly backed away from him.

    Jared shook his head. “You can’t—”

    The scream came a second after he felt a surge of power.

    Whipping around, Jared saw Eryk standing on top of the boulders, his arms windmilling frantically to keep from falling backward into the creek. Tomas held on to the front of Eryk’s coat, leaning back and pulling hard, trying to keep the older, heavier boy from falling.

    There was no sign of Corry.

    Before Jared could move, another surge of power hit the boulders, shattering the rock and tossing both boys into the air. They screamed as they fell into the rushing water.

    Garth burst out of the bushes at the same moment, holding up his trousers as he raced downstream and leaped into the water.

    “CORRY!”

    Jared whipped around again, responding to the Gray Lady’s voice.

    She was running—running!—toward a break in the trees a little ways downstream from the bridge.

    Jared watched her for a moment in frozen disbelief. Then, swearing viciously as he gave in to instinct, he took off after her, counting on his longer legs, the difference in their ages, and her inexplicable moontime to stop her from doing something courageously foolish.

    She must have used Craft somehow to make her knee work as if it were fully healed. And, Mother Night, she had speed!

    In that moment, when he knew he wouldn’t catch her in time, he would have admired her if he hadn’t been so furious with her.

    Instead of scrambling down the slope to the water’s edge, she lengthened her stride for the last few paces and made a Craft-enhanced leap, flying over the sloping dry land and new shallows. As she neared the middle of the creek, a blast of power struck her, spinning her round and round, smashing through the Craft she’d used.

    She hit the water on her back and disappeared.

    Thera’s voice, shrill and furious, filled Jared’s mind in the same instant the Gray Lady hit the water. *Don’t use Craft!Don’t use Craft ! There’s a spell here that twists it and turns it back on you!*

    Jared veered to the right, downstream, pushing himself harder. Using Craft, he could have lifted her out of the water as soon as he caught sight of her and floated her to dry ground. Instead all he could do was try to get ahead of her and think of something then.

    He plunged down the slope, grabbing at trees to stay on his feet. As soon as he had a clear view of the creek, he stopped and scanned the water, looking for some sign of them. He spotted Corry thrashing helplessly, slowly drifting toward the tangle of branches and debris.

    Slowly. As if something was holding the boy back. As if someone’s feet were digging into the creek bottom.

    Damnthat woman. This wasn’t a chess game!

    Muttering vile promises of what he was going to do when he finally got his hands on her, Jared looked around for something, anything he could use to reach them. Then he bared his teeth in a feral smile.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire