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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 141)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(141) by Anne Bishop
  • At first she’d worried that the coldness was her fault. After some internal debate, and with Marian’s encouragement, she’d told Sadi why she’d been so pissed off with him about the bitch he’d bedded shortly before Titian was born. He’d accepted her explanation, even said he understood. But he began withdrawing from physical contact with everyone but the family.

    She had been available whenever he needed a companion for a social obligation, and that had kept the bitches who lusted for ambition away from him. Had her presence also kept away the women who lusted for him?

    Sadi hadn’t had sex in three years? Well, neither had she. That wasn’t the point. The point was he’d begun building a wall between himself and everyone else since the day he knew his father was leaving them, and she was worried about what would happen to him if that wall became so thick that no one could reach him.

    But right now, there wasn’t anything she could do. Daemon was closed off with the Warlord who was supposed to be their driver, and she didn’t want to think about anything except her own aching heart and the man who had been a wonderful father to all of them.

    He had managed the SaDiablo family’s wealth and estates for close to a century. He had been the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan for almost as long. And he had explored a Realm that few among the living had seen—and fewer still could survive. But until a few hours ago, he had still been a son, had still been the heir, had still had the illusion that he could hand all the duties and responsibilities back to the man who had shouldered them for a very, very long time.

    Now the illusion was gone and it was time to officially shoulder two other titles: patriarch of the SaDiablo family—and High Lord of Hell.

    Daemon escorted Surreal to the large sitting room in the family wing of the Hall. He thought she’d been steady enough when they’d left the Keep, but maybe he shouldn’t have left her alone in the Coach. Maybe she’d been pushing grief away as fiercely as he’d been.

    This sitting room had a lived-in shabbiness seen nowhere else in the Hall, a kind of broken-in comfort. Only family and close friends were invited to this room. Bookshelves held the books of immediate interest, cupboards held toys for Titian and games for Daemonar and Mikal, and there were separate cupboards for the Scelties’ toys and chewies. There was a hodgepodge of sofas, chairs, lamps, and tables, and a round table that served as a game table as well as a place to have a light meal.

    It was a private room that wasn’t meant to be seen by any but the most trusted.

    “Beale is bringing up something to eat,” Daemon said, watching Surreal weave around the room, barely avoiding the furniture. The last time he’d seen her this way, the last time he’d spent time with her in this room while she’d cried and sworn and ripped a chair to pieces before she’d fallen into an exhausted sleep, was the night after Rainier died and was taken to the Keep to make the transition to demon-dead.

    “I’m not hungry.” Her voice was stripped of emotion.

    “I’m not either, but we should both try to eat.”

    She moved as if she were drunk, but that lack of grace was caused by exhaustion and the grief finally breaking through her control.

    “Do you remember the first time the High Lord kicked you out of his study?” Daemon asked.

    “He kicked you out too,” she grumbled as tears slid down her face.

    “Because of you.”

    “It wasn’t my fault Kaelas helped Graysfang get past the shields I’d put around my bedroom.”

    “You didn’t see Saetan’s face when you said you’d rather have a wolf in your bed than a man because a wolf could lick his own balls.”

    She laughed a little and wiped at the tears, but they kept flowing. “He let me be family. I wasn’t, not by birth or blood, but he didn’t care about that. He treated me like family, hugging and scolding and . . .”

    The effort to hold back a sob seemed to break her completely.

    “Surreal.” Daemon gathered her up and held her close. Not a child who needed protection. Not anymore. If he’d protected her at times in her life, she had also protected him. And Jaenelle. They had circled around it for a lot of years, but he recognized that he and Surreal had developed a partnership committed to Jaenelle.

    “That stupid bastard!” Surreal cried. “I want to kick his ass for dying on us!”

    “So do I,” he said, holding her tighter as his eyes filled with tears. “So do I. But it was time for him to go.”

    “That’s not the point.”

    That little bit of snarl helped her regain some emotional balance. When she eased back, he let her go—and felt strangely hollow.

    “Surreal . . .”

    She scooted around him, heading for the bathroom adjoining the sitting room. “I’m going to wash my face. If Beale hears me sniffling, he’ll have ten Healers up here trying to listen to my chest. My lungs healed decades ago, but if I so much as sneeze, he’s there with sweaters and blankets. And Helton is even worse about . . .”

    Whatever else she said was lost when she closed the bathroom door.

    Calling in a handkerchief, Daemon wiped his own face and was sufficiently tidy when Beale brought in the tray.

    “It’s done?” Beale asked.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire