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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 88)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(88) by Anne Bishop
  • “A weapon,” Lia said.

    Thera shook her head. “The explosion happened because Jared tried to probe them—or maybe because I cut through the tangled web closing around Jared’s inner barriers.”

    Lia paled, and Jared felt a swift, light brush against his inner barriers—a feminine touch seeking reassurance that he was all right.

    “The buttons must have had another use,” Thera said. “The explosion and the tangled web were there to prevent anyone who didn’t have the key from finding outwhat they were being used for. I wish we had one of them intact to study.”

    A chill went through Jared. “Could they be used to track us?”

    Thera shrugged. “Sure. A drawing spell, a summoning spell. Either of those can be fine-tuned so that anyone who wasn’t looking for a specific signal wouldn’t notice it.”

    Lia nodded thoughtfully. “And using a button is very clever. Even if someone noticed it, who would think twice about a brass button lying beside the road? You’d just think it fell off someone’s coat. You might pick it up—”

    “No.” Jared realized he’d been rubbing his hand against his thigh. “They feel slimy. No one would keep it after touching it.”

    “Garth did,” Lia pointed out.

    Jared took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. “Garth had one the day we left the clearing. The day we reached the creek. Randolf had been trying to get it away from him. Garth had his hand closed, behind his back. I don’t know if Randolf knew what Garth was holding or simply wanted to be difficult because he hates Garth.”

    “What happened to the button?” Thera asked, watching him sharply.

    “Garth gave it to me. Then Randolf took it out of my hand and threw it into the bushes. He said Garth was tainted. He said maybe Garth wasn’t as mind-damaged as he seems.” Jared swallowed hard. “I began to wonder about one of us being a pet even before—” He stopped, remembering in time that Lia hadn’t told anyone else about the wrongness she felt.

    “I think it’s time I had a little talk with Garth,” Thera said grimly. “But I’ll need an excuse to be alone with him, something that won’t make anyone wonder why I want to see him right after the explosion.”

    “He was bleeding,” Blaed said quietly.

    “That would do it. The bad-tempered Queen making me patch up the male hurt by my careless spell.”

    “A tangled web like the one that almost entangled Jared means a fully trained Black Widow,” Lia said softly.

    “I know,” Thera replied.

    The two women stared at each other.

    “I didn’t mean what I said about your not having skill,” Lia said. Then she glanced at Blaed. “I didn’t mean any of what I said.”

    A wicked twinkle lit Thera’s eyes. She slanted a look at Jared. “And I didn’t mean what I said about your interfering with the spell—or being a sexless bitch.”

    When Thera didn’t add anything, Lia blushed.

    Jared decided that Thera had being a younger sister down pat. “I’d feel better if we could put some distance between us and anyone who might become curious about an unleashing. Can we move the wagon while you’re doing this?”

    Thera nodded. “Keep the others away from it though. In case I trigger something.”

    Blaed jerked. “What do you mean—” He snarled at Lia when she started pulling him toward the door.

    Jared snarled at him.

    “Well,” Thera said dryly, “a pissing contest between you two ought to keep everyone occupied.”

    As soon as Lia was clear of the steps, Jared pushed Blaed out the door. Then he looked at Thera, said, “He gets to fuss tonight,” and closed the door before she could throw something at him.

    Thayne had joined the children and the saddle horses, trying to soothe all of them—not an easy task since Randolf kept pacing and throwing dark looks at the wagon and Garth. Blaed stood an arm’s length from Lia, looking sulky. Still and silent, Brock kept his distance from everyone.

    Jared met Brock’s eyes for a moment, then turned his attention to Lia, who was staring at Garth as if she’d like to gut him.

    “Garth!” Lia’s voice had a whiplash sharpness that made every man flinch. “Into the wagon. That arm needs tending.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire