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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(114) by Anne Bishop
  • He’d never heard his cousin talk like this. “What would you do in Dharo?”

    Gray shrugged. “I’ll find work. Maybe I could work for Cassie’s father.”

    A Purple Dusk Warlord Prince working for a Warlord who wore Tiger Eye? What was Gray thinking?

    If he was thinking.

    If any part of this was actually Gray’s idea.

    Was Cassidy using Gray as a pawn in some kind of game? Wouldn’t be the first time a Queen had used one man in order to chain another.

    “Well,” Theran said, rising, “there’s plenty of time to think about all this. Right now, we both need to get cleaned up and properly dressed. For Cassidy’s sake, we want to make a good impression.”

    Gray’s eyes flashed with temper, turning a familiar face into a stranger’s. Then the temper faded, and the man looking at him was more like the boy Theran had known during these ten years since Talon rescued Gray.

    “Yes,” Gray said, “we want to make a good impression.”

    Ebon ASKAVI

    Settling on the arm of the sofa, Saetan crossed his arms as he studied his daughter.

    “I’m not sure what you’re looking for, witch-child,” he said. He’d listened to Jaenelle’s account of Daemon’s return from the visit to Lady Rhea’s country house, and he heard the concern in her voice. Since he’d already heard Daemon’s report about the incident, he didn’t understand why she was concerned.

    “I wasn’t hurt, and Daemon wasn’t hurt,” Jaenelle said. “Don’t you think his . . . punishment . . . is a bit harsh?”

    “On the contrary, I think it showed a remarkable amount of self-control.” Maybe too much self-control.

    She frowned at him, and he suppressed a sigh of annoyance.

    “What do you want me to say?” Saetan asked. “Do I think Daemon is entitled to his fury? I certainly do. Do I think his punishment was just? I’ve already said so. In fact, his solution probably will do nothing more than buy a little time for him to confirm what he already suspects about Rhea’s friend. I doubt she’ll live all that much longer. If Daemon doesn’t kill her, another Warlord Prince will.”

    “I understand that he’s uneasy about another woman being so attracted to him that she acts foolishly, but—”

    “Take off the blinders, Jaenelle,” Saetan snapped. “You’re being obtuse about this because it’s you and Daemon, and because of how he responded last spring when that witch tried to eliminate you in order to have him. But if Lucivar had found another woman in his bed, trying to play this particular game, and had shrugged the incident off instead of doing something about her, you would have pinned him to a wall, either as his Queen—”

    “Former Queen,” Jaenelle said.

    “—or as his sister. And before you use ‘former’ in front of ‘Queen’ again, Lady, I suggest you review what the term ‘life-time contract’ means.”

    She blinked. Shifted her weight from one hip to the other. Frowned at him. “You’re really feeling pissy about this.”

    Insulted because the word “pissy” dismissed his feelings in a way he wouldn’t tolerate, he let his temper slip from its sheath, sharp and lethal. He pushed away from the sofa, allowing himself one slash of power to relieve some of the rage.

    Jaenelle pressed her lips together and studied the pile of ash that, moments before, had been a sofa.

    “My apologies, High Lord,” she said quietly. “Please tell me what I’m not seeing.”

    The formality of the words no longer made this discussion personal. He appreciated that. He didn’t want to fight with his daughter, but he was more than willing to enlighten his Queen.

    “First,” he said as he prowled in front of the destroyed sofa, “you’re forgetting that when Daemon was a pleasure slave, the kind of gathering Rhea had arranged at her country house had been his hunting ground. Better than anyone else there, he would have recognized another hunter.”

    “Hunter.” She didn’t make it a question, which could be interpreted as doubt, but her tone asked for confirmation.

    “Indulge me for a moment in a possible scenario.” Saetan waited for her nod of consent. “Daemon walks into his room at the Province Queen’s country house and finds a woman waiting for him, a woman who has been openly flirting with him and now indicates that she wants the kind of attention a married man reserves for his wife. He demands that she leave, and she does, wearing his shirt. A month later, a package arrives at the Hall, addressed in such a way that you’re the most likely person to open it, even though it’s not blatantly aimed at you. And inside the package is your husband’s shirt, smelling of another woman’s perfume. Smelling of another woman. And there’s a note, carefully phrased, that says something like ‘Hope your wife didn’t notice that a shirt was missing.’ What would you do?”

    “Since she was clearly trying to hurt my husband by sending that package, I would find her, and we would have a little chat.”

    A razored chill in her voice. A look in her sapphire eyes.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire