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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 9)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(9) by Anne Bishop
  • “Did we have an appointment?” Daemon asked.

    “Not exactly,” Marcus said. “I came in the hopes you could spare an hour or two for me to review some things.”

    An hour or two. Mother Night.

    “Of course,” Daemon said. “Holt? Please ask Mrs. Beale for a tray of coffee.”

    “There’s some fresh baking,” Holt said. “I’ll ask if she’ll add a bit to the tray.”

    “Thank you.” He’d been lured to that part of the Hall because he’d passed a stairway and caught some delicious scents rising up from the kitchen. But when he got to the doorway and heard Mrs. Beale snarl about “them who try to snitch the treats before the pans were cool,” he decided he liked his balls better than nutcakes. Realizing he needed some excuse if his presence near the kitchen was discovered, he had ended up in the butler’s pantry—and now had his musical assignment for the festivities.

    Which made him wonder if the scents coming up from the kitchen had been a Craft-enhanced lure. And damn it, he’d swallowed the bait without getting a taste of anything else.

    “Have you come to add to my list of things to do?” Daemon asked as he led Marcus into his study and settled into one of the chairs on the informal side of the room.

    “Afraid so.” Marcus set a bulging leather case near his feet. “I was informed, discreetly, by both Beale and Helton that the bonuses traditionally given at Winsol are usually distributed on the first evening so that the servants who are spending a few days with their families at the beginning of the holiday have some extra spending money.”

    “I see.” He’d presented the envelopes on Winsol Day last year, and no one had said anything to him. Apparently this was another part of his duties he was ready to assume in the correct way.“All right. Do you have the lists of people working at each SaDiablo residence or estate?”

    “I have them.” Marcus hesitated. “May I make a suggestion?”

    “This seems to be the day for them,” Daemon said dryly. “Go ahead.”

    “You should hire a secretary.”

    “Feeling overworked, Marcus?”

    “A bit, but that’s not the point. I take care of your investments and check on the property you personally own here in Kaeleer, and you have the firm that worked with your father looking after the rest of the investments for the SaDiablo family, but I think you need someone who can help you take care of day-to-day business. Someone with sufficient rank and polish to be your representative at the SaDiablo estates or at a Queen’s court. The High Lord, I believe, had your elder brother, Mephis, working in that capacity. You should consider hiring someone for the position.”

    Daemon almost dismissed the idea out of hand. Then he realized he already had someone working for him who would fit the criteria—if Prince Rainier was willing to take on that kind of work.

    “I’ll think about it.”

    Marcus looked surprised and pleased—until they heard the jingling and howling outside the study door. Then he looked like he’d swallowed something sour.

    “Is there something else I should be aware of?” Daemon asked.

    Marcus shook his head and wouldn’t meet his eyes.

    Concerned now, he pushed. “Your wife and daughter? They’re well?”

    “Yes.” Marcus glanced at the study door and winced.

    Daemon weighed what he knew about Marcus’s girl against what was outside the study door and asked innocently, “Have you finished your shopping for Winsol? Gotten all your gifts?”

    Marcus shifted uncomfortably. “My daughter wants a puppy, but we haven’t decided on the breed—or if we’re going to get one at all,” he added hurriedly.

    Fortunately, Holt brought in the tray of coffee and baked goods. Daemon focused his attention on the tray and hoped his expression would be mistaken for eagerness to indulge in the treats.

    “You’ll be coming by again before Winsol Night, won’t you?” he asked, working to keep his voice neutral. “Why don’t you bring your daughter with you the next time?”

    Apparently he hadn’t kept his voice neutral enough, because Marcus’s hand froze over the plate and he looked up, alarmed.

    “No,” Marcus said. “She’s been hinting that she’d like to have a kindred Sceltie live with us, but I don’t need a bundle of fur that could end up being the highest-ranking member of the household.”

    Considering the Sceltie pups who were still in residence, that was a distinct possibility.

    “Think of the advantages of having a playmate who could also be a good protector,” Daemon soothed. “And I would consider it a personal favor if you brought her with you to look at the pups. Consider it a gift from you to me. Besides, just because your daughter sees the puppies doesn’t mean she’ll take to any of them.” Or that any of them will take to her.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire