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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(131) by Anne Bishop
  • What in the name of Hell was going on?

    She walked over to the mirror to get a better look. The shirt was clinging to her shoulders. As she reached the mirror, she pressed her fingers on a patch of now-dark silk.

    When she raised her fingers, they were wet—and red.

    She was sweating blood. How could she be sweating blood?

    The shirt. Had to be something in the shirt.

    She grabbed the fabric with both hands, intending to tear the shirt off.

    Blood gushed from her hands.

    She released the fabric and stumbled toward the door.

    Help. She needed help.

    The door wouldn’t open.

    She pounded on the door, leaving bloody handprints.

    “Help me! Somebody, help me!”

    No response from the other side of the door.

    “They can’t hear you,” a deep voice said in a singsong croon. “They won’t help you.”

    She turned toward the voice coming from the dark side of the room. “My lover will be coming up to bed at any moment.”

    Movement. Then a man appeared on the edge of the dark side of the room. Most of his face was still in shadow, but his smile was viciously gentle. “The Warlord? No, my dear, he won’t be coming up here. He was encouraged to leave and is, by now, on his way home.”

    “What do you want?” she cried.

    The shirt got wetter and heavier, clinging to her skin. Her legs trembled with the effort to remain standing.

    “Odd how much terror can be produced by a piece of cloth,” he said in that singsong croon. “Don’t you think it’s odd? A simple shirt can destroy a person’s life. How does it feel to be on the receiving end of that fear?”

    She heard the splat of blood dripping off the shirt and hitting the carpet.

    “I’ve learned my lesson. Do you hear me? I won’t play with married men ever again.”

    “I know you won’t.” There was nothing gentle about the gentleness in that deep voice.

    “Why are you doing this?” she screamed. “I never played with you!”

    He took a step closer. Got a good look at her face.

    And felt something inside him snap.

    A man’s anguish. What was left of a child’s face. A ceremony. A betrayal. Rage.

    Memories collided, spun, became a twisting storm that hurled him over the border and into the Twisted Kingdom—where a terrible, and familiar, clarity waited for him.

    “Who are you?”

    She knew. How could she not know? But he would play her game a little longer, since it would be the last time.

    “I’m the Prince of the Darkness, the High Lord of Hell. And Daemon Sadi’s father.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire