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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 138)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(138) by Anne Bishop
  • “And me?” Daemon asked. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

    Saetan took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. “Because you are your father’s son. You put aside mourning, as Jaenelle wanted you to, but you didn’t let her go enough to take up your life.”

    Cold rage whispered in his blood. “Be careful, old man.”

    Saetan smiled. “Yes. That look in your eyes. That’s why I didn’t tell you. You weren’t ready to accept another loss because her absence still haunts you, still hurts you.”

    “I’ve ‘taken up my life,’ as you put it,” Daemon snarled.

    “You’ve given in to your body’s needs and had sex with a woman on occasion, but you haven’t had a lover,” Saetan countered. “When loneliness eats at you enough, you respond to an invitation that offers more companionship than sex—at least for a while.You might even feel some affection for the woman once you do get to the bedding stage. But she’s still not a lover. Not to you. Then one day she stops drinking the contraceptive brew and comes to you ripe and fertile—and you can scent it in her body and in her emotions. That’s the day you walk away from her without a second thought. Because you don’t—can’t—love her, and while you trust a few women enough to have sex with them, you don’t trust them with the possibility of having your child. And some part of you is afraid that if you ever do trust a woman that much, she will be the wrong woman, and you’ll end up betrayed just as I was.”

    Daemon said nothing.

    “I knew that when you were ready to face my leaving, we would have this conversation,” Saetan said gently.

    “And now we have.” The words came out colder than he’d intended. He had escorted many women over the past few years while fulfilling his obligations as the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan. But he’d bedded damn few of them, far fewer than Saetan assumed. He could get physical relief well enough without a partner, so he’d given in to the craving to touch another body only a handful of times since he’d last kissed his wife. And the last invitation he’d accepted, the one that seemed to offend Surreal for some inexplicable reason, had scratched at memories of being a pleasure slave. Instead of bringing some comfort, the sex had left him feeling dangerously mean. Because he knew too well what the Sadist wanted to do to that woman, Beale now had strict orders to keep the bitch out of the Hall, and Holt, his secretary, now checked the guest list for her name before accepting any invitations on behalf of his Prince.

    Pushing aside his personal life, Daemon considered his duties. “When you decided to retire from the living Realms, you taught me what I needed to know to take over the family estates and fortune. Are you going to teach me what I need to know about Hell, or is that something I’m expected to learn for myself?”

    Saetan studied him for a long moment. “I’ll teach you. It’s the least I can do for my heir.”

    FOUR

    “ Would you like to hold her?” Marian asked.

    “No,” Surreal said quickly. Maybe. Where was this yearning to hold a baby coming from? “I think my mother would have been flattered that you named your daughter Titian.”

    “And you?”

    “I’m . . .” She sighed. “As the Shaladoran people say, my heart is too full for words.”

    Marian smiled at Surreal. Then she looked at Titian. “This little bundle is asleep, and Daemonar will be in school for a couple more hours. Why don’t we go into the kitchen? I seem to be outeating my men since the birth. It’s a little scary.”

    Surreal laughed softly as they walked from the parlor to the kitchen. Having arrived in time to help clean up the carnage Lucivar and Daemonar called breakfast, she didn’t think anyone could outeat those two, but she’d been told to encourage any desire Marian had for food.

    Setting the baby’s basket at one end of the kitchen table, Marian rummaged in the cold box.

    “Looks like there’s a couple good servings left of this vegetable casserole. And there’s a beef soup, and . . .” Marian looked over her shoulder. “Just tell me what you have a taste for. I can probably find it in one of these dishes.”

    Surreal looked at the overflowing counters and the cold box that didn’t have room left in it for a spoon. “Is it traditional to provide this much food to a new mother’s family? Seems a little excessive.”

    “How many dishes did you bring with you this morning?” Marian asked.

    She set her teeth in a smile. “I suggested waiting a week to send the offerings from the Dea al Mon, the Hall, and my house. I was overruled—and anyone who thinks hearth witches are gentle, fuzzy-hearted women has never dealt with Mrs. Beale.”

    “Mrs. Beale is an excellent cook, but she isn’t a hearth witch,” Marian countered.

    “I don’t care.”

    Chuckling, Marian pulled covered dishes out of the cold box. “We’ll have the vegetable casserole and some of that crusty bread.”

    “Suits me.”

    “And after we eat, you can tell me what’s wrong.”

    “Nothing is wrong. Hey hey hey! You’re not supposed to be using Craft yet!”

    “Keep your voice down,” Marian warned, glancing at Titian’s basket. Then she raised the dish. “It’s just a warming spell. Basic Craft. Nothing that requires power on the level of my Jewels, or any Jewel for that matter. Even Lucivar doesn’t fuss about me using this much Craft, and he fussed about everything through the whole of this pregnancy.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire