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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(9) by Anne Bishop
  • A sharp-edged chill suddenly filled the room, a different kind of cold from the one coming from the open glass door.

    “I am a Warlord Prince who outranks you,” the man said too softly. “Now, puppy, you can brush off your manners and try again—or you can go back to wherever you came from.”

    He’d fixed on the man’s race instead of paying attention to the Jewels that did outrank his own and the psychic scent that left no doubt the other man was a Warlord Prince.

    “My apologies, sir,” Theran said, trying to sound sincere. The sun would shine in Hell before he sincerely apologized to a Hayllian—for any reason. “I find this place a bit overwhelming.”

    “Many do. Let’s see if we can’t settle your business quickly so that you can be on your way.”

    “I’m not sure you can help me.” I don’t want you to be the one helping me.

    “I’m the assistant historian/librarian here at the Keep. If I can’t help you, no one can.”

    If I won’t help you, no one will. That was the underlying message.

    Pissy old cock, Theran thought.

    He hadn’t meant to send that thought along a psychic thread, and was almost certain he hadn’t. But judging by the way those gold eyes were starting to glaze, something in his expression must have conveyed the sentiment clearly enough.

    “Let’s start with your name,” the man said.

    Because the man was Hayllian,Theran choked on the thought of giving the old bastard his family name.

    “Let me put it this way,” the man said. “You can offer the basic courtesy of your name and where you are from—or you can go to Hell.”

    Theran shivered, because there was something about the soft thunder in that deep voice that warned him his choices were very literal.

    “Theran. From Dena Nehele.”

    “Since the mountain didn’t fall down around us and your head didn’t explode, I’m delighted that the consequences of revealing so much information were not, in fact, dire.”

    He wasn’t used to being slapped down. Not by a stranger. A response scalded his throat, but he choked it back. He didn’t like the Hayllian on principle—and the Hayllian didn’t seem to like him. But the man was the only way of getting the information he sought.

    “There has been reason for secrecy,” Theran muttered.

    “Then your lack of manners can be understood—if not forgiven.”

    Cold voice, cold eyes, cold temper. If he’d ruined this chance...

    “I understand you’re looking for someone,” the man said. “Who?”

    Maybe there was still a chance.

    “Daemon Sadi,” Theran said.

    The chill in the air gained a sharp edge. The man asked too softly, “Why?”

    None of your business. Theran bit his tongue to keep from saying the words. “He owes my family a favor.”

    He wasn’t sure that was an accurate assessment of the message that had been handed down to the males in his family, but it was sufficient explanation for this librarian.

    “I see.”

    A long silence while those gold eyes stared at him.

    “I’ll have some refreshments brought in for you,” the man said.

    “I don’t need anything.” Hell’s fire! Remember some of the manners you were taught! “Thank you. Something hot to drink would be most welcome.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire