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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(33) by Anne Bishop
  • Jaenelle just looked at her—and Cassidy felt a shiver run down her spine.

    “I do not idly weave a tangled web of dreams and visions, Lady Cassidy,” Jaenelle said with a hint of midnight and lightning in her voice. “Within the next year, Dena Nehele will begin to heal or it will break beyond all saving. You’re my choice to stand as their Queen. Whether you will be their choice . . . That is up to them. Whether you go . . . That is up to you.”

    She was Witch’s choice. Because of a web of dreams and visions. How could she not try?

    “In that case, Lady,” Cassidy said, “I’ll see you in seven days.”

    CHAPTER 7

    KAELEER

    *Theran? Theran! Wait! These are good smells!*

    Theran hunched his shoulders and walked faster. When he was ten years old, he’d spent a week sulking and pining because Talon wouldn’t let him have a dog. Why in the name of Hell had he ever wanted one of the damn things?

    *Theran!*

    And how was he supposed to shake free of this one? Maybe, once he was in the village, she’d get distracted by another of those damn smells and he could slip away, and she’d lose the trail, the scent, whatever. Maybe she’d latch on to some other unsuspecting man.

    Of course, there would be the little problem of going back to the Hall without her, but she’d find her way home, wouldn’t she? Eventually?

    *Theran!*

    When he got home, he was going to apologize to Talon for being such a whiny little prick about not having a pet. Sure, that was seventeen years ago and something Talon had shrugged off, but the man had raised him and now with the wisdom of maturity—and less than an hour’s worth of actual experience—he knew Talon’s decision had been the correct one.

    *Theran!*

    He caught sight of the village of Halaway and forgot about the dog.

    The road was the main street of a small, prosperous-looking village. Confident that he would go undetected at the depth of his Green Jewel, he sent out psychic tendrils to get a feel for the place. For a moment, he thought he detected a ripple of power under the strength of the Green, but it was gone before he could be certain.

    The village smelled clean. There was no underlying psychic odor of fear that was typical in Dena Nehele’s villages. These people were practically on the doorstep of SaDiablo Hall, but they weren’t afraid of the power that lived there.

    He wanted this for his own people, he thought as he strolled down the sidewalk, glancing into shop windows. He wanted this for the town of Grayhaven. He watched how the people moved, noticed the lack of wariness and tension when men and women passed one another on the sidewalks.

    Then a door opened a couple of shops up. The woman who was leaving said,“Yes, I’ll watch for that” to someone in the shop and didn’t notice him until she stepped right in front of him.

    He didn’t particularly like the gold eyes that were typical of the long-lived races, but she would have been an attractive woman if she hadn’t cropped her black hair so damn short. What was it about the women here that they tried to look unappealing? Sure, men served and women ruled the bed, but at least back home the women knew that arousing a man was the first step to their own pleasure.

    “Prince,” she said, sounding cautious—as she should when addressing a male of his caste, especially one who wore a dark Jewel.

    He frowned at her, not bothering to hide his disapproval of her appearance.

    Then he caught a whiff of her psychic scent and thought, Oh, shit, just before he was surrounded by hard-eyed, grim-faced men who seemed to come out of nowhere—including a Red-Jeweled Warlord who was holding a sledgehammer and was big enough to be a wall without any help.

    “Gentlemen,” the Queen said, tapping the Red-Jeweled wall on the shoulder.

    No clean psychic scent in the village now. These men were pissed off, insulted that he’d frowned at their Queen.

    “Gentlemen.”

    They didn’t yield, didn’t obey—and Theran recognized a fight he couldn’t win.

    Then . . .

    *Theran!* Annoyance rang through a broad psychic thread, followed by a muttered, *Stubborn sheep.*

    A vein of amusement suddenly flowed through the anger surrounding him. The circle shifted—and he didn’t need to see the Queen peer around the large Warlord and smile to know that the dog was standing next to him.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire