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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 22)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(22) by Anne Bishop
  • Carrying the loaded breakfast tray, Daemon paused outside the bedroom door.

    Control it, damn you. Lock it away. Keep it leashed.

    He was Daemon Sadi, Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, husband of Jaenelle Angelline. This morning, that was all he was. All he would allow himself to be.

    Choked by that leash of self-control, he passed through the bedroom door and the shields still surrounding the room. When he’d crept out of the room at the first hint of dawn, he could have changed the locks and shields to Red, which would have kept Jazen out but allowed Jaenelle to leave. He hadn’t. So she was still in his bed, tucked under the covers, just as he’d left her.

    Not quite, he realized as he rounded the bed and saw her. She’d gotten up long enough to pull the shift on—and, most likely, to realize that he’d locked her in the Consort’s suite.

    Her eyes opened. He wasn’t sure who stared at him—Jaenelle, his wife . . . or Witch.

    “I’m still deciding if I should be very pleased with you or very pissed off at you,” she said.

    Cautiously hopeful, because he hadn’t thought there would be any chance of her being pleased, he raised the tray to catch her attention. “I brought you some breakfast.”

    “Did you bring coffee?”

    “Yes.” Of course he’d brought coffee. He wouldn’t have dared come back into the room if he hadn’t.

    He waited until she was sitting up and comfortably settled before he placed the tray across her lap.

    A pointed look from her had him sitting gingerly on the edge of the bed. He didn’t speak while she inspected the contents of the tray.

    “Vegetable omelet and”—her eyebrows rose as she cut into the other one—“seafood omelet.”

    “Took a little persuading to convince Mrs. Beale to give up some of the shrimp and cold lobster she’s using for the midday meal,” he said.

    She took a bite of the seafood—and didn’t look at him. “Did you eat?”

    “Wasn’t hungry.” He was so scared of what would happen now, even the thought of food made him queasy.

    “I’d like an explanation,” Jaenelle said quietly.

    “Sweetheart, I’m sor—”

    “An explanation, Daemon, not an apology.”

    He swallowed the words and closed his eyes. An apology would have been easier.

    “Something snapped in you last night, in a way I’ve never seen before. I think I provoked it—or was the final shove. I’d like to know why.”

    “You didn’t provoke anything,” he snarled as he met those sapphire eyes. “It wasn’t . . .” He wouldn’t let her take the blame for this, not even a crumb of blame. But how to explain? Where to begin?

    She sipped her coffee and waited.

    “The Consort’s room is a kind of sanctuary,” he began, choosing each word with care. “A place for a man to let down his guard. A place where he doesn’t have to perform.”

    She bit into a piece of toast and chewed slowly. “Do you feel like you have to perform, Daemon?”

    He shook his head. “No. Never. Not with you. But . . . for most of my life I’d had to perform, had to be on my guard except for the few precious hours each day that I had to myself. So even though things are different now—so very different now—I like having this private space. I’ll come up here sometimes in the afternoons, stretch out on the bed for an hour, and let my mind wander.” And know he was safe when he did it.

    She cut off a piece of the seafood omelet and held up the fork.

    His stomach cramped, but he kept his eyes on hers as he leaned forward and accepted the offering.

    “Nothing wrong with wanting a place for yourself,” Jaenelle said. “The cabin in Ebon Rih is my private place and seldom shared even with the people I love. So I do understand.”

    “All those years in Terreille, I had to fight hard to have a private place,” he said softly.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire