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  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(82) by Anne Bishop
  • And, damn her, she had hurt him. The witches who had owned and used his body had never been able to hurt him as deeply as she had.

    He watched Blaed canter toward him. He must have fallen so far behind someone had started to worry. Not Lady Ardelia, of course.

    He liked Blaed, but he wished it had been Brock who had come looking, a man closer to his own age. Then again, despite pleasure slaves being at the top of the slave hierarchy, most other slaves seemed to think that once a man was used in bed he couldn’t remember what the word “honor” meant, let alone live by it.

    Maybe Lia thought the same thing.

    Well, he’d take whatever company he could get. He was tired of sulking by himself.

    Thera swung down from behind Blaed.

    Jared swore under his breath.

    Blaed wheeled the roan mare and cantered back to the wagon.

    Thera fell in step beside Jared. “Want some company?”

    “No.” He lengthened his stride.

    “Too bad.” Since she wasn’t tall enough to throw her arm over his shoulders, she settled for wrapping both arms around one of his, forcing him either to slow down or drag her.

    He slowed down. Reluctantly. “Let go.”

    She ignored the snarled order. “Being an only child, I don’t have any firsthand experience, but it’s been my observation that one of the duties and privileges of a younger sister is to be a ripe boil on her older brother’s backside.”

    “Well, you certainly qualify for that,” Jared growled. “Though you should keep in mind that the way to get rid of a boil is to lance it.”

    They walked in silence for a few minutes.

    “What went wrong in the village, Jared?”

    Jared looked at the cool eyes watching him so intently. Then he looked away. “Nothing went wrong in the village. We left to get some supplies. We came back.”

    Thera tucked some stray hairs back into her braid. “Lia was glad to see you.”

    “Of course she was.”

    Thera nodded as if something finally made sense. “I don’t think Brock or Randolf would have come back.”

    Which had nothing to do with anything. Lia should have knownhe would come back. Damn her.

    Thera waited a minute; then, when he didn’t say anything, asked, “What do you think will happen once we get to Dena Nehele?”

    Jared clenched his teeth. Damn damn damn.

    “Lia’s asked me several times, privately, if I had finished my formal training. Each time, when I told her that I hadn’t, she mentioned that her mother was a Sapphire-Jeweled Black Widow who would be very pleased to have a Green-Jeweled apprentice or journeymaid.”

    “Mother Night,” Jared muttered.

    “Only a cruel person would say that to a slave—unless the slave was never intended to be a slave. Don’t you think?”

    Jared bit his tongue.

    Thera nodded as if he’d answered. “That’s what I thought, too. You know what else I think? I think she had a reason for the choices she made in Raej, that she chose each of us because she felt she had something to offer us. Except you.”

    Stung, Jared stopped walking. “She has something to offer anyone with the sense to see it.”

    “That’s what Blaed said.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire