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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(135) by Anne Bishop
  • “No,” Collyn replied. “My wife and I were the last to retire, and when we were about to go upstairs, our butler mentioned that one of our guests left in a hurry and was very upset. Having heard about what had happened at Lady Rhea’s country house”—he shot a nervous look at Daemon—“my wife went up to confirm that my ‘friend’ was in the guest room that had been assigned to her. She wasn’t, of course, so my wife came to this room . . . and found her. I don’t know what she could have been thinking. It was clear Vulchera was dead, but Rosalene touched the body. That’s how she hurt her hands.”

    “What’s wrong with her hands?” Daemon asked.

    “The Healer isn’t sure.” Another nervous glance at Daemon.

    “Or doesn’t want to say. But she’s tried everything and hasn’t been able to heal the wounds.”

    “I’ll look at them in a few minutes,” Jaenelle said. “Examining the body won’t take long.”

    *How do you know that?* Daemon asked on a private psychic thread.

    She didn’t answer him. Instead, she removed her flowing, calf-length black jacket and vanished it. “You’ll want to air walk when you’re in this room.”

    “I’ve walked on blood-soaked ground before.”

    “That may be, Prince, but you don’t want the scent of blood on you. Not this blood.”

    He watched her walk into the room, standing on air a finger’s length above the floor. He made sure he was standing the same distance above the floor before he walked into the room.

    Jaenelle circled the body slowly. Once. Twice. Thrice.

    He circled the body too, and was almost certain they weren’t picking up the same information. At least, not all the same information.

    If he’d come across a body like this when he’d lived in Terreille, he would have recognized there was nothing gentle about this death, despite there being no sense of violence in the room. That would have made him sufficiently wary to back away. Because it took more than control and power to do what had been done in this room.

    Jaenelle crouched on one side of the body and stared at it. He crouched on the other side, trying to make sense of the pieces of information he could glean.

    He put a Black shield around his hand, then reached for the shirt, intending to pull back the collar enough to see if there was a tailor’s label.

    Jaenelle grabbed his wrist. *Don’t touch the shirt. I’m fairly certain the spell wasn’t triggered until she put the shirt on, but now that the silk has been saturated with blood, I think it will hook into any flesh.*

    *My hand is shielded.*

    She looked at him, just looked at him. A chill went down his spine.

    Releasing his wrist, she held one hand above the witch’s chest. The Twilight’s Dawn Jewel in her pendant changed to Red edged with Gray. The Jewel in her ring was the equivalent of Ebon-gray with veins of Black.

    He couldn’t tell what spell she used. The power that flowed out of her felt like nothing more than a puff of warm air.

    But when that power flowed through the fabric, silvery strands shone in the blood-darkened silk. Silvery strands that had nothing to do with clothing and everything to do with a different kind of weaving.

    *Tangled web,* Jaenelle said.

    The silvery strands faded.

    *Can we remove it?* Daemon asked.

    *No.*

    *Can we destroy it?*

    She looked grim. *Yes. It . . . offers the answer to destroying it. But the Darkness only knows what that will unleash.*

    *Jaenelle . . . *

    *We need to talk about this. About all of this. But not here. Not now. Right now, I want you to walk out of this room and close the door.*

    *Why?*

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire