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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(71) by Anne Bishop
  • “I told you to stay away,” Cassidy said. “You obeyed my orders.”

    “The first law is not obedience. Lucivar said so.”

    Thank you very much, Lucivar. Even if he was an adult, Gray was still an impressionable young man, and LucivarYaslana could certainly leave an impression.

    “How much time did you spend with Lucivar?” Cassidy asked.

    “Not long.”

    Long enough. There was a look in Gray’s eyes that hadn’t been there yesterday.

    “You can swear at me if you want,” Gray said with complete sincerity. “You can swear at me because I won’t let you have any tools.”

    For the first time, Cassidy appreciated the lessons in maintaining a dignified expression and a steady voice.

    “Thank you, Gray, but I don’t feel like swearing right now. I’ll take you up on that offer another time.”

    “Okay.” He sidled up until he was standing right next to her. Until his shoulder brushed against hers.

    Not wanting to wonder why he was standing that close, she stared at the flower bed. And frowned.

    “You cleaned it up, didn’t you?” she asked.

    He nodded. “You kept digging them up, but you stopped tossing the weeds out. Stopped picking up the rocks and tossing them out too.” He paused, then added softly,“Some of the rocks have your blood smeared on them.”

    She felt sick. She hadn’t noticed the blood.

    “So,” Gray said, giving her a light nudge as he pointed to the boulder she’d been digging around when Lucivar hauled her out of the garden. “What do you think? Should the rock stay, or should it go?”

    Talon walked toward the back of the garden as fast as his limping gait allowed.

    Connections. Yes, he knew about connections. But he hadn’t read the signs right this time. Hadn’t made the effort he should have over these past few days to find out more about the Queen who now ruled Dena Nehele. He had been disappointed by Cassidy’s lack of strength, hadn’t questioned Theran’s unhappiness that the one favor he could use hadn’t netted something better.

    Until today, he’d thought the connection had been between Sadi and Theran, because of Jared. Now he understood: Jared’s bloodline had gotten Theran an audience and nothing more. The only reason they had a Queen at all was Cassidy’s connection to Sadi and Yaslana.

    And he’d damn well better find out why two of the darkest-Jeweled males in the history of the Blood were taking such a keen interest in a Rose-Jeweled Queen they didn’t serve.

    Gray noticed him first, and even in the dusky light,Talon saw the queer look in the boy’s eyes. In another Warlord Prince, he would have called that look a challenge. Then it was gone, and he pushed aside the thought.

    “Lady,” Talon said.

    “Prince Talon,” Cassidy replied.

    “Gray, you should go on and get some supper,” Talon said.

    Gray didn’t move.

    “That was Prince Talon’s subtle way of telling you he wants to talk to me alone,” Cassidy said.

    “Do you want to talk to him?” Gray asked.

    Talon felt as if he’d stepped on ice but didn’t quite lose his footing.

    What in the name of Hell happened to Gray today?

    “I’ll see you tomorrow,” Cassidy said, nudging Gray with an elbow. “I should go back inside beforeVae comes out to find me.”

    “You’ll wear your hat tomorrow,” Gray said.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire