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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 10)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(10) by Anne Bishop
  • Marcus said words that were not in keeping with the spirit of the season. Then he ate two fruit tarts and a nutcake, wiped his hands on a napkin, and opened his leather case, a clear indication that they were changing the subject.

    They worked steadily through the lists of people employed by the SaDiablo family, with Daemon mostly confirming the amount Marcus suggested for each bonus. Neither said a word when Daemon doubled the amount of Marcus’s bonus. After all, at this time of year, it would be rude to call a bribe a bribe.

    Marcus sighed as he put all the papers back in his leather case. “I’ll send on the packets to the other houses, and bring the packet for the Hall myself.”

    “And you’ll bring your daughter?”

    “I’ll bring her.” Marcus sighed again. “You drive a hard bargain, Prince.”

    Daemon smiled. “It could have been worse, Marcus.”

    “How?”

    “She could have asked for a cat.”

    FOUR

    “Come in,” Daemon said, glancing up from the paperwork on his desk as the study door opened. Leaning back, he crossed his legs at the knees and steepled his fingers, resting two of his long black-tinted nails against his chin as he watched Rainier limp to the visitor’s chair and sit down with exaggerated care.

    That autumn Rainier and Surreal SaDiablo, along with seven landen children, had been caught in a trap meant to kill members of the SaDiablo family.

    The spooky house. Daemon still wasn’t sure whether it was arrogance or a kind of madness that had led a writer who had discovered his Blood heritage to try a pissing contest with the darkest-Jeweled Blood in the Realm. Realizing how close they’d all come to being caught in that trap had been a sobering lesson. If Lucivar hadn’t been an Eyrien warrior backed by the strength of his Ebon-gray Jewels, Surreal and Rainier wouldn’t have gotten out of that damn house. As it was, three of the children were killed, not to mention all the other people who had been killed so that they would be the predators in the game. Surreal had been wounded, and the poison still hadn’t worked its way out of her body completely. And Rainier . . .

    He was a dancer, Daemon thought sadly. Then he added, Everything has a price.

    “How’s the leg?” Daemon asked, even though anyone could see the healing wasn’t going the way it should. Hell’s fire, Rainier had been walking better a few weeks ago when he’d joined them for a viewing of Jaenelle and Marian’s spooky house, an entertainment for children that had been one of the reasons Jarvis Jenkell had created a deadly version of the place.

    Rainier shrugged, but his face was pale and strained despite his effort to smile, and there was a fear in his green eyes that he couldn’t quite hide. “Some days it’s better than others. I wanted your opinion of something.”

    Trying to change the subject, boyo? All right, I’ll let you lead this dance. For the moment.

    Using Craft, Rainier called in a rectangular box and floated it over to the desk, placing it directly in front of Daemon.

    Jewelry box, Daemon decided, leaning forward to study the flowers and leaves carved into the top. The box itself was excellent in craftsmanship and sufficient as a Winsol gift, so when he opened the lid, he whistled softly.

    A gold metalwork gauntlet. Delicate-looking, if you ignored the talons on the ends of the articulated fingers. A weapon disguised as a pretty.

    “It’s a Winsol gift for Surreal,” Rainier said. “Do you think she’ll like it?”

    “It’s beautiful and deadly,” Daemon replied. “She’ll love it.” He closed the box and returned it to Rainier before offering the man a brandy.

    Something was wrong here. Very wrong.

    Rainier had been a dance instructor for years. Hell’s fire, he’d been Jaenelle’s dance instructor—a young Warlord Prince who had been able to hold his own with Jaenelle and the coven of young Queens who had been her closest friends.

    Now Rainier worked for him, and he paid the man a generous salary. But he recognized Banard’s work. The jeweler made some pieces that wouldn’t beggar an ordinary man’s pocket for a year, but that custom-made gauntlet wasn’t one of them.

    What was Rainier trying to prove?

    “What are your plans for Winsol?” Daemon asked.

    “I’m going to Dharo to spend some time with my family,” Rainier replied, his smile looking sicker than before.

    Why? Daemon wondered. They usually prefer that you keep your distance. Hadn’t Rainier made a family visit a few weeks ago? Right around the time when something began to go wrong with the healing of his leg?

    “Unless there’s something you need from me,” Rainier added.

    “No, I don’t—” A thought occurred to him, and he didn’t think he’d get an honest answer without inflicting some pain. So he would inflict the pain.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire