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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(163) by Anne Bishop
  • “I’m parched. Can I have some water before I see the surprise?”

    “How did you know it was a surprise?”

    Hell’s fire. She wasn’t supposed to know that. “Since I don’t know what you want to show me, it must be a surprise.”

    As he rubbed a thumb over her cheek, he made one of those lightning shifts from boy to man.

    “You’re not hurt?” he asked.

    “No, Gray, I’m not hurt. I was up in the attic and lost track of time. I didn’t mean to worry you.”

    “Scared me, Cassie. That’s a lot more than worry.”

    “Yes, it is, and I’m sorry.”

    He shook his head. “There were too many years when someone going missing meant they weren’t coming back. Captured or killed. Sometimes Talon found what was left of them. Most times not.”

    “Oh, Gray.”

    He shook his head again. “Dena Nehele isn’t a safe place yet. It will be, someday, but for now it’s still not safe to go off on your own and not leave a direction for someone to follow.”

    “I’ll remember that.” I’ll miss you, Gray.

    “Let’s get you some water.”

    She drank her fill. Then Gray worked the pump for her so she could wash some of the grime off her face and hands.

    He called in a small towel and handed it to her, and there was a question in his eyes that she couldn’t figure out.

    “Close your eyes,” he said.

    When she obeyed, he put an arm around her shoulders and guided her around the garden.

    “Open your eyes now.”

    She looked at the flower bed and thought, Home. Then she looked more closely.

    “Common ground,” Gray said quietly. “Not quite the same, but similar. Not quite home, but it could be home—if you wanted to put down roots. And if you don’t, if you can’t, maybe I could put down roots in Dharo.”

    It was her mother’s garden, and yet it wasn’t.

    Then what he said sank in all the way.

    “Dharo?” she asked, finally looking away from the flowers. “You want to live in Dharo?”

    “I want to be with you.” He drew her into his arms.

    “Theran needs you,” Cassidy said.

    “And I need you. I know it’s not easy for you because your ways are so different from what we’ve known here, but maybe we can find some common ground there too. Can’t we try, Cassie? Can’t we at least try?”

    He kissed her slowly, deeply, as if she truly mattered.

    As if she were the only thing that mattered.


    She looked into his eyes. Not quite a man, but no longer a boy. She didn’t know if they had a future together, but she did love him—and wasn’t love the most fertile ground of all?

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire