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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(147) by Anne Bishop
  • He shook his head.

    “If ladies aren’t supposed to know about it, why were those things in the shop window?”

    “Formal and informal,” Theran said, getting that Warlord Prince turning stubborn tone in his voice.

    Fine. She’d just make note of the shops nearby and she’d come back with Shira one day soon.

    “When a Queen is going about her own business in her home village, she’s treated like everyone else.”

    “I doubt that.”

    “All right, she might get a little extra attention from the shopkeepers, but the people we’ve passed . . . I don’t know how to respond to them.”

    “They don’t know how to respond to you either,” Theran replied. “I don’t think any of them has experienced an ‘informal’ visit from a Queen.”

    “The Queens declared Protocol to go shopping?”

    He stopped walking. Since she didn’t want to upset anyone else, she focused on his shoulder.

    For the first time since she’d met him, she saw genuine amusement.

    “We’re standing in front of a bakery,” he said. “You won’t cause a scandal if you look in the window.”

    She knew her face was turning bright red, but she dutifully shifted positions so she could look in the window.

    “I can’t say for a fact,” Theran said, “but I don’t think any Queen has walked around this town informally in years. Might not be Protocol in the strictest sense, but the Queens didn’t walk among the people casually.”

    “They’ve never done that here?”

    “Not since Lia.”

    He frowned so fiercely after he said that, Cassidy ended up giving him a nudge with her elbow.

    “If you keep glaring at those pastry things, you’re going to turn the sweet cream sour,” she said.

    Oh, the expression on his face when he focused on what was in front of him!

    His eyes slid sideways and looked at her. “Maybe we should buy a few, just to save other folk from that soured cream.”

    “Maybe we should,” she agreed too politely.

    Boy. Bakery. Memories of Clayton, the time he’d gone into a bakery with a fistful of coins and no parent to hold him back.

    Ah, well. Theran wasn’t eleven. Surely he had enough self-discipline to avoid eating himself sick.

    When they entered the bakery, she wasn’t sure if the baker was going to fawn or faint, but they walked out with a box of treats that Theran was more than happy to carry.

    The morning was turning out better than he’d expected—although he probably shouldn’t have eaten that last cream-filled pastry. But, Hell’s fire, he’d always had a weakness for the damn things, and it had been a long time since he’d eaten one with any enjoyment.

    Twelve years, as a matter of fact.

    A boy who was hunted couldn’t afford to have weaknesses—or habits that people noticed and would share for the right price.

    There had been a handful of villages near the Tamanara Mountains that had been considered safe ground. Places where the rogues would get supplies, visit lovers or whores, collect news. Armed camps of a different kind, where people were trusted because they were loyal to Dena Nehele rather than the puppet Queens.

    But everything has a price—including information about a boy with a weakness for cream-filled pastries.

    Except, at fifteen, the lure of a woman proved stronger than the lure of a box of treats.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire