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  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(53) by Anne Bishop
  • He used Craft to put on the pendant. The cool gold settled around his neck, then warmed against his skin.

    As he vanished the wooden box, Jared realized it was very quiet on the other side of the blanket.

    Quiet and tense.

    They knew he’d called in the Jewels. Even during her moontime, the one thing a witch continued to channel power through was the controlling ring linked to the Rings of Obedience. The controlling ring—and the males in the court who served her—were her only defense against slaves who would have taken advantage of her vulnerability to break free or destroy her.

    Right now it didn’t matter if the Invisible Ring was linked to the controlling ring. The Queen who wore that ring was in no condition to fight him.

    Which made him angry all over again.

    He pushed the blanket aside.

    Thera rose from the other bench, defiant.

    Ignoring her. he looked at the young Queen now dressed in a long gray skirt and gray sweater.

    “Even if we don’t push the horses, we’ll be able to get back to the clearing before dark,” he said.

    “No.” The Lady chewed her lower lip. “We have to go on.”

    “There’s nowhere else to go,” Jared said, biting back his temper. “Short of dragging them, you’re not going to get anyone to go back to that creek. This road didn’t branch off anywhere between here and the clearing. We won’t make it any farther before nightfall anyway. We’re going back.”

    “We have to go on,” she said stubbornly.

    Jared ground his teeth and tried to find something to say that he wouldn’t have to apologize for later.

    “Jared’s right,” Thera said after a moment. “We need time to rest—and to prepare. The clearing is the best place to do both.”

    “That attack might not have been meant for us,” the Lady said quietly.

    “Doesn’t really matter, does it?” Thera said just as quietly. “We were lucky this time. If we’re not up to strength and able to think clearly, we might not be as lucky next time.”

    The Lady sighed. “All right. We’ll go back to the clearing.”

    “Thank you, Lady,” Jared said testily. It galled him that she had argued with him but had yielded to Thera.

    Squeezing past them, he reached the door.

    “One thing,” he said, looking over his shoulder at Thera. “Since you’re not broken, what Jewels do you wear?”

    Thera looked amused. “I wear the Green, Lord Jared.”

    Mother Night.

    Two of a kind, Jared thought, flinging open the door. He strode to the bay gelding and mounted. “We’re going back to the clearing,” he told Brock. “I’ll take point. You and Randolf take the rear guard. Thayne, you lead the team. Blaed, you’re with me.” He looked at Eryk and Tomas, who were huddled in blankets, and little Cathryn, who was clinging to Corry. “You children ride inside the wagon.”

    Brock gave one pointed look at the Red-Jeweled ring on Jared’s right hand and nodded.

    As Jared nudged the gelding forward, he heard Tomas say, “You know, I thought she was kind of frisky for an old lady.”

    Great. Wonderful.

    Was he the only one who hadn’t figured it out?

    As soon as he passed the wagon, he urged the gelding into a trot, not waiting for Blaed.

    A minute later, he caught up to Garth. The big man hadn’t changed his wet clothes before heading back down the road. Jared slowed the gelding to a walk and waited for Garth to look at him.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire