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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(102) by Anne Bishop
  • Saetan’s gold eyes twinkled as he said dryly, “Isn’t it?”



    Cassidy sat back on her heels, looked over her shoulder, and wondered whom she was dealing with—Gray the boy, or Gray as the man he was becoming. Since she wasn’t sure, she said warily, “Yes?”

    “Do you think you’ve had enough for today?”

    Asking, not telling. But not a long step away from telling, and a much shorter step away from that bossy, fussy state of mind that was impossible to deal with when a Warlord Prince got stubborn.

    “I’ve got one more annual to plant. Then I’ll get cleaned up and meet with the Steward for Queen’s work,” Cassidy said. Which meant she would be sitting quietly for the next several hours, an activity that didn’t make Warlord Princes as temperamental as physical activity did.

    “All right,” Gray replied.

    Satisfied with each other’s answers, they went back to their respective work.

    Cassidy took her time planting the last annual just to stay outside a little while longer and take in how much had been done over the past three days.

    Lucivar had been a lesson in how one man could shake up a court. By the time she and Shira had joined the men, Lucivar had set down rules and boundaries that everyone had agreed to. All right, to be accurate, no one had dared to argue. Even Gray, who was clearly trying to deal with a side of his nature he’d never dealt with before.

    But Lucivar had done more than set boundaries. He’d knocked down boundaries the other men hadn’t been aware of building.

    “You have a problem with sweating?” Lucivar asked Ranon.

    “No,” Ranon replied.

    “Then get your ass out in the garden and help Gray. There’s no danger of frost anymore, plants need to be planted, and nothing will happen until that ground is cleared. Besides, the Healer probably would like to have a little garden of her own to grow at least some of the herbs she uses for her healing brews. And since she’s also a Black Widow, she’d appreciate some ground to grow the plants the Hourglass finds useful. If you’re going to warm the woman’s bed, it’s time to give her use of more than your cock.”

    Ranon might have been resentful about having any man say that to him if Lucivar hadn’t turned around and done a lot of the work himself, using a combination of muscle and Craft to clear out the old flower beds with ruthless efficiency. He’d shown the others that a Warlord Prince wasn’t just a warrior—and that serving meant taking care of small things that mattered and not just the big things other people thought were important.

    More than that, Lucivar had been both teacher and leash for Gray, calmly meeting Gray’s flashes of temper while demanding that Gray remain within the boundaries of Protocol when dealing with her or with her court. Three days with Lucivar had taught Gray a lot.

    Maybe more than she would have wanted him to learn.

    Cassidy patted the soil around the last little plant, put her tools in the basket Gray had bought for her when he and Lucivar had gone to town, then frowned as she picked up the watering can.


    Easy enough to walk over to the pump and fill the can.

    She glanced over her shoulder at Gray.

    Better to ask for help.

    “Gray? I need to get back to the house now. Could you fill the watering can and water this last plant for me?”

    “Sure, Cassie,” he replied, almost glowing with happy enthusiasm.

    Was that happy, boyish enthusiasm at the core of Jared Blaed Grayhaven, or would it be lost during this maturing process of becoming the Warlord Prince he should have been?

    She put her basket of tools away in the shed. When she turned around, Gray was blocking the doorway, and there was nothing boyish about the look in his eyes.

    She walked up to him, not sure of his intentions, but certain he wouldn’t hurt her.

    “You kissed me,” Gray said. “The day I brought you the blue river plants. Today it’s my turn.”

    A light kiss on the lips, soft and lingering. The lightest touch of his fingers on her hair.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire