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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(29) by Anne Bishop
  • “Inform Prince Theran that someone will be available in an hour if he wants to discuss anything.”

    “Very good, High Lord.”

    There was a look in Beale’s eyes that told him plainly enough that the butler wasn’t going to inform Theran about who would be available for that discussion.

    What was it about the Dena Nehele Warlord Prince that raised the hackles of Kaeleer males?

    Still wondering about that, he walked back into his bedroom and found Daemon tucked in his bed. The body belonged to a full-grown man, but the eyes that watched him, so full of despair, belonged to a boy.

    He sat on the side of the bed. “She’s all right,” he said softly. “In better shape than you are, actually.”

    “There were bruises,” Daemon whispered. “On her wrists. I saw them.”

    Saetan nodded. “Yes, there are. And there are a few love bites, which I didn’t see. And her leg muscles are sore, but you and Nighthawk are being given equal blame for those.”

    “Oh.”

    The smallest twitch of lips; a hint of amusement in the golden eyes; the tight muscles in the shoulders beginning to relax one breath at a time.

    He knew the signs, had watched this son struggle to repair himself once before when he’d believed Jaenelle had been lost forever.

    “Now,” he said, “you and Nighthawk may be equally to blame for the sore muscles, but you’re the only one with hands, so I suggest that you be the one who offers to give Jaenelle a back rub this evening.”

    An unspoken question hung in the air. He waited.

    Finally Daemon gave him the tiniest nod. The Steward of the Dark Court wouldn’t tell the Consort to take care of the Queen if there was any doubt about the Consort’s welcome.

    Having done as much as could be done for the moment, Saetan called in a book, opened it to the table of contents, and pointed to the titles of two stories. “Which one would you like to hear?”

    “Both?”

    The answer made his heart ache—and also gave him hope that Jaenelle was right and Daemon was emotionally battered right now but not truly broken.

    Daemon didn’t remember giving the same answer so many times as a boy that it had become a ritual between them. But he did. And because he remembered, he called in his half-moon glasses, took his time settling them on his nose just so, and completed the ritual with the same words he’d always said. “Yes, I think we can read both this time.”

    CHAPTER 6

    KAELEER

    Agitated and feeling reckless, Theran rapped on the study door and walked in before he was invited.

    “Hell’s fire, Sadi. Are you serious about these conditions you’ve set?”

    The man sitting behind the blackwood desk wasn’t Daemon Sadi. It was the pissy old c**k from the Keep. The assistant historian /librarian—who no longer looked like a somewhat benign clerk whose Red Jewels and caste could, mostly, be ignored.

    Now he saw the resemblance between Sadi and the Hayllian Warlord Prince, who set a piece of paper on the desk and removed the half-moon glasses, whose gold eyes never left Theran’s face.

    Fear shuddered through Theran when he noticed the Warlord Prince’s right hand, with its long, black-tinted nails and the Black-Jeweled ring.

    “You managed to hone my temper before I walked into that sitting room at the Keep, so we never did finish the introductions. I’m Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, the former Warlord Prince of Dhemlan—and still the High Lord of Hell.”

    Theran’s legs buckled. He hit the edge of the chair in front of the desk and grabbed the arms to push himself back in the seat.

    “I—” What was he supposed to say to the High Lord? Apologize for not being more courteous when he’d been at the Keep?

    “I’m assuming by the way you entered the room that you want to discuss the terms Prince Sadi set for having a Kaeleer Queen rule Dena Nehele.”

    “Sadi . . .”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire