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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(82) by Anne Bishop
  • Mutters. Murmurs. Shira shuddered.

    “I can ask how it’s done—if you want to know,” Cassie said, looking at Shira.

    “I—Grayhaven?” Shira said, looking at Theran.

    “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know if . . . I don’t know.”

    Cassie nodded. When she shifted position, Theran offered a hand to help her stand up.

    Gray got to his feet, wincing a little and pretending he didn’t see the way Shira was studying him before Ranon pulled her up.

    “We’re going to clean up that ground,” Cassie said.

    *Gray and Cassie need to rest,* Vae said.

    “Yes, they do,” Shira said. “Lady Cassidy’s hands are still fragile, and if she’s going to stay out here and supervise, I want Gray to stay close by and keep her company. But I’d like to help clean up that part of the garden.”

    “So would I,” Ranon said.

    “Gray?” Theran said. “Do you have tools we could use?”

    Gray called in the tools he’d vanished, handing them out as Theran, Ranon, and Archerr came up to claim them.

    “The short-handled claws would work better for the tight places,” he said. “They’re still in the shed.”

    “I’ll get them,” Ranon said, handing the hoe to Shira.

    They worked in the garden the rest of the morning, moving carefully between plants that now held a different meaning.

    Gray watched them, frustrated because all he could do was watch. There was an odd comfort in knowing Cassie was just as frustrated that she couldn’t help.

    And there was no comfort at all in the way Theran kept looking at Cassie when he thought no one was watching.

    CHAPTER 16


    “I don’t know which one is harder to get through,” Cassidy muttered a couple of days later as she stomped to the garden to work off a little frustration. “A man’s head or ground as solid as rock.”

    The day they’d all worked together to clean up the part of the garden filled with witchblood, she’d thought she and Theran had finally settled into some kind of understanding, that he might actually listen to what she was saying instead of telling her it couldn’t be done “that way.” Hell’s fire! Anyone with a pebble’s worth of brain could figure out Dena Nehele couldn’t be ruled in “the ordinary way.” They didn’t have enough Queens to rule in “the ordinary way.” That had been the point! And there was nothing unusual about males ruling on a Queen’s behalf. It was done all the time in Kaeleer. Her cousin Aaron ruled Tajrana, the capital city of Nharkhava, on his Queen’s behalf. And Prince Yaslana ruled Ebon Rih. And she knew there were Warlords assigned to be a Queen’s representative who, in essence, ruled their home villages.

    How in the name of Hell was she supposed to decide which available Queens might be able—and willing—to rule more than their little villages if she couldn’t talk to them? But Prince Grayhaven kept finding reasons for her not to travel and see other parts of Dena Nehele, and he was just as quick with the excuses for why the other Queens—even with an escort of Warlord Princes—couldn’t come to Grayhaven to talk to her.

    And none of the other Warlord Princes challenged his asinine statements because he was Grayhaven.

    “The man farts every time he opens his mouth,” Cassidy muttered as she reached the big stone shed.

    She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and blew it out. “And Poppi would whack your butt if he heard you say that,” she scolded herself.

    “I’m Grayhaven.”

    Cassidy took a step closer to the shed’s open door. Nobody in the part of the shed she could see. Most of the tools were stored neatly now, except for that jumble of things in the back left corner.

    She looked at the old blanket that separated Gray’s room from the rest of the shed.

    “I’m Grayhaven.”

    “Gray?” she called softly. Theran was still in the house, so who was talking to Gray? The voice sounded familiar, but it was muffled too much for her to be sure, except it sounded male—and young.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire