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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(10) by Anne Bishop
  • “I’ll have it brought in. And I’ll see what I can find out about Prince Sadi.”

    The Hayllian walked out of the room—and Theran breathed a sigh of relief.

    The control required to close the door and walk away, leaving that little whelp’s mind intact, made Saetan’s hand tremble.

    I guess Daemon’s not the only one who feels overprotective at times, he thought ruefully.

    Feeling the other presence in the corridor, he made sure the door was firmly shut and stepped away from it as Geoffrey, the Keep’s historian/librarian, dropped the sight shield that had kept him hidden.

    “You heard?” Saetan asked.

    “Since you left the door open, it was hard not to,” Geoffrey replied.

    “See to the refreshments, will you? I’ll deal with the rest.”

    Geoffrey raised a white-skinned hand. “Just one question. Who is that jumping jackass?”

    Saetan rocked back on his heels. “Jumping jackass? What have you been reading?”

    The other Guardian wouldn’t meet his eyes.

    Saetan had seen over fifty thousand years. Geoffrey had been serving the Keep for much longer. The thought of discovering after all those years that Geoffrey’s choice of recreational reading leaned toward . . . Well, he wasn’t sure what category of fiction would use such a phrase, and he was almost afraid to ask anyone in order to find out. But the whole thing tickled him enough to push aside temper.

    Which, from the look in Geoffrey’s black eyes, might have been the point.

    “I’ll look after our guest,” Geoffrey said. “You look after your son.”

    The thought of Daemon owing anyone inTerreille was enough to prick his temper again, but out of courtesy to Geoffrey, he kept that temper leashed until he opened the Gate between the Realms and walked into the Keep that existed in Kaeleer.

    Daemon studied the food on the table.

    He could breathe again. He hadn’t set foot in the thrice-cursed Realm of Terreille for two years—since he’d gone to Hayll to play out some savage games in order to give Jaenelle the time she’d needed to gather her strength and unleash all her dark power, cleansing the Realms of the Blood tainted by Dorothea and Hekatah SaDiablo.

    Even here at the Keep, which was a protected sanctuary, he had felt the difference between Terreille and Kaeleer, had felt centuries of memories cling to him like cobwebby strands of pain and fear. When he’d lived in Terreille, he’d embraced the pain, and he’d met the fear by playing games that matched—or surpassed—the cruelty and viciousness that Dorothea had excelled in.

    He’d survived seventeen centuries of slavery and cruelty—but not without a price. His body was unmarked; the scars he bore he carried in his mind and heart.

    When he found Saetan in the library, he should have admitted his discomfort instead of trying to push it aside. He should have realized he could no more be in Terreille with his father than he could with his brother, Lucivar. Too many memories—and the last memories of them being in Hayll together still crawled through his dreams on occasion.

    His father in that Hayllian camp, being tortured. His brother in that camp, being tortured. And he, in order to keep them alive and get them out, had been the cruelest torturer.

    Daemon scrubbed his face with his hands and focused on the table. While he waited for Saetan to come back to this Realm, he needed to fix his mind on something else.

    “So what do we have?” Thick slices of rare roast beef. A vegetable casserole. Crusty bread and whipped butter. And . . .

    He lifted the cover off the last dish, raising an eyebrow at the puff of cold air that was released.

    Two bowls filled with . . .

    Daemon picked one up, gave it a thoughtful study, then picked up a spoon. Since it wasn’t anything he’d seen before, tasting it was the only way to figure out what it was.

    He took a spoonful, then closed his eyes as the flavors melted on his tongue.

    A sweetened cheese whipped into lightness. Little chunks of chocolate. Veins of raspberry sauce.

    He opened his eyes and licked his lips. Then he studied the table once more. There were two bowls of the stuff, so one of them must be for him. What difference did it make if he ate it before the rest of the meal or after?

    Pleased with the rationalization—in case one was needed—he dug in.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire