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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(76) by Anne Bishop
  • Lucivar thought for a moment, then shook his head. “Not yet. But I’ll tell you this: if that boy decides to wake up, the Master of the Guard is going to have his hands full.”

    CHAPTER 15


    As the last bandage came off, Shira studied Cassidy’s hands, then sighed in relief.

    So did Cassidy.

    “You’ll need to work them gently,” Shira said,“and I do mean gently. There’s still healing going on under the skin. And the skin itself is still fragile. Pulling on a tough blade of grass could be enough to slice it open.”

    “Are you telling me not to work in the garden?”

    “I’m telling you to be very careful about how much you do for the next few days,” Shira said. “And you should put a tight shield over your hands to protect them. And wear gloves.”

    Cassidy rolled her eyes. “Now you sound like my father.”

    “Maybe you should have listened to him.”

    They glared at each other. Then Shira looked away, as if suddenly realizing she’d crossed some line.

    And she had.

    “I guess we’ve become friends,” Cassidy said, noting the look of surprise and pleasure in Shira’s eyes.

    “I guess we have,” Shira replied a little cautiously. “So, what are you going to do first now that you can do things again?”

    “It’s not the first thing I’ll do, but tonight I’m going to take a long, hot bath and soak until all of me wrinkles.” To her way of thinking, being given sponge baths because she couldn’t wash herself had been sufficient punishment for ripping up both hands. And needing someone’s help with even more personal needs . . .

    Which made her think of the other thing she needed to discuss with Shira.

    “Do you know a brew to delay a moontime?” Cassidy asked.

    Shira frowned. “Why would you want to do that? It will only make the next one a lot worse.”

    Cassidy wasn’t sure how to explain without sounding insulting. Because wanting to delay this was insulting.

    “You don’t trust them, do you?” Shira asked.

    “Trust who?”

    “Your First Circle. You don’t trust them to protect you. You don’t trust them not to turn on you.”

    She didn’t want to admit it, but she wasn’t going to deny the truth. A witch was vulnerable during the first three days of her moon cycle because she couldn’t use her own power to protect herself. And she felt far more vulnerable here in Dena Nehele than she had back home in Dharo.

    Shira gave her a considering look. “You can trust Ranon. He won’t hurt you.”

    “He’s not sure he wants to serve me.”

    “No,” Shira said thoughtfully, “he’s sure of that. He’s . . . puzzled . . . by his response to you.”

    A flash of understanding, especially when she realized Shira was acting more like a woman trying to brace herself for a truth that would wound.

    “He wants to sniff my neck,” Cassidy said.

    Shira hesitated, then nodded.

    “And he’s not sure if that means something sexual.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire