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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(78) by Anne Bishop
  • “I won’t know that until I—”

    “No,” he said, his voice sharpened by a certainty he couldn’t explain. “They’re not strong enough yet, Cassie. Not for digging in ground that hasn’t been tended for too many years.”

    She looked bewildered—and hurt—that he would snap at her like that.

    He couldn’t stand to see her hurting, so he added quickly, “But you could plant.”

    “Plant?”

    Gray stepped to one side so that Cassie could see inside the wheelbarrow.

    “Oh,” Cassie said, picking up one seed pot. “What are they?”

    No longer sounding hurt. Now she sounded curious and excited—the seedlings of happiness.

    “Don’t know the fancy name for it, but the common name is blue river,” Gray said. “It’s a delicate trailing plant that has small blue flowers. Starts blooming in late spring and into summer. If you cut it back some at that point, it will have a second blooming season. I was thinking about that boulder you weren’t sure of.”

    Still looking at the plant, Cassie nodded. “It has that funny hole in it.”

    “I figure that hole is about the size of a good-size pot. So if you plant one blue river in that hole and the others in front of the boulder . . .”

    “It will look like a waterfall tumbling down rocks into a river. Gray, that’s a wonderful idea.” She gave him a quick kiss, right on the mouth, before she turned back to the wheelbarrow and began crooning to the little plants.

    Gray stood frozen. She had kissed him. But not in a mean way. Not in a way that meant he was going to be tied down and hurt. Not the way the other Queen had done.

    And not quite like a man-and-woman kiss. At least, he didn’t think so. It was done before he’d known it had started.

    He wouldn’t mind trying a man-and-woman kiss if the woman was Cassie.

    Would she want to try that kind of kissing with him?

    “Gray?”

    “Huh?”

    “Where did you go?”

    “Huh?”

    Cassie stood in front of him, holding two of the seed pots, smiling at him, and looking a little puzzled.

    “You have the strangest expression on your face,” Cassie said. “What are you thinking about?”

    Oh, no. He knew better than to answer that question. “Did you ask me something before?”

    Cassie studied him for a moment, then shook her head. “Males are very strange.”

    Not half as strange as females, Gray thought.

    “I asked where you got the plants.”

    “Oh. There are a couple of women in town who grow plants for sale. They have greenhouses and everything. And there are two sisters who grow a lot of the plants Healers need for their brews and salves. So when Shira and Ranon went to look at plants yesterday, I went with them. And I found these.”

    “I’d like to take a look at what’s available,” Cassidy said. “Maybe we could go back to those places tomorrow morning or the day after.” She wrinkled her nose. “I haven’t been in the town yet; things have been so busy here.”

    “We?” Gray asked, wondering why his heart was feeling funny all of a sudden.

    “You and me. Oh, and I suppose I’ll need an official escort as well just to keep everything proper.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire