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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 25)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(25) by Anne Bishop
  • “Kiss me.” Not a request. A purring command.

    She trembled a little as her mouth touched his. As her tongue touched his.

    A soft kiss. A lingering kiss that soothed with the promise of fire at the end of the day.

    He eased back and shoved his brain and libido—and the Sadist—away from all the thoughts of what his body wanted to do with hers.

    “Am I forgiven?” he asked.

    “For last night? Yes. For eating the last bite of the seafood omelet? I’ll have to think about that.”

    He looked at the tray and realized they’d done a fair job of cleaning the plates. “I didn’t drink any of the coffee,” he muttered.

    Jaenelle bared her teeth in a feral smile and lightly pinched his cheek. “That’s why you still have all your fingers.”

    Daemon stepped out of the Consort’s suite and felt the dark presence in the rooms across the corridor. He shivered as he stared at the door to his father’s sitting room.

    As much as he’d told Jaenelle in an effort to explain last night, there was so much more he hadn’t said. Couldn’t say. Not to her.

    For one thing, he wasn’t stable, wasn’t sure he could be trusted around her—and that scared him to the bone.

    He crossed the corridor, knocked on the door, and waited for his father’s deep voice to give him permission to enter. Barely pausing to close the door, he hurried to the chair where Saetan was reading a book, and sank to his knees.

    “Father.”

    Saetan closed the book, then removed and vanished his half-moon glasses. “What’s wrong?”

    Jaenelle’s lack of anger and her willingness to understand had helped him maintain a crust of calm, a thin layer of control, that had hidden a seething ugliness for a little while.

    But here, now, he faced a man who wouldn’t hesitate to punish him if he needed to be punished, who wouldn’t hesitate to hurt him if that was needed to pay the debt. Who would understand the depth of what he’d done wrong.

    “Father,” he said, his voice breaking. “I hurt Jaenelle. I scared Jaenelle.” Those words would mean little to most people, but Saetan would know what it would take to frighten Witch.

    “Tell me,” Saetan said.

    He told Saetan everything. Everything. And when he was done, he pressed his face against his father’s legs . . . and wept.

    Hell’s fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful, Saetan thought as he stroked Daemon’s hair, the movement of his hand weaving a soothing spell around his son.

    It could have been worse. Could have been much worse. This was a painful reminder that Daemon’s mind and sanity had been shattered twice—and no matter how strong the man, no matter how well he healed, there were always scars, always permanent damage. But he could help his boy deal with the fears stemming from last night.

    “Are you ready to listen?” Saetan asked quietly.

    What worried him was the certainty that if he told Daemon to strip and lie on the floor to be whipped until there wasn’t any skin left on his back, Daemon wouldn’t hesitate, wouldn’t question—as long as the punishment came with the promise that Jaenelle would truly forgive him for last night.

    Daemon nodded, his face still pressed against Saetan’s legs.

    “I’m here because Jaenelle asked me to come—not because she needed me, but because you did.”

    “She needs a Healer,” Daemon whispered.

    And you need more than a Healer. And the witch who had the skill to mend what had been broken was currently in the suite across the hall. “I’ll see to it, and I will tell you what is needed. I’ll also find something to do with your guest.” And wouldn’t that be fun?

    “Now,” he said, giving Daemon’s hair a tweak, “you need some rest, so I want you to wash your face, strip down, and get into my bed.”

    He felt the jolt, recognized the reason. A Warlord Prince was what he was, and letting another male in his bed for any reason was an unspoken testimony of love. His bed had been forbidden ground, but every one of his boys had been allowed to have a nap there when they were feeling shaky or heartsore. Sometimes he had joined them, had held them while they whispered their little hurts and secrets; sometimes he sat in a chair by the bed, reading. Either way, his boys knew they were safe there, protected there. And sometimes knowing that was all they needed.

    “Really?” Daemon asked, with just enough doubt to rip at Saetan’s heart.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire