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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 151)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(151) by Anne Bishop
  • She nodded. She’d do anything to keep that voice stroking over her, petting her. And maybe tomorrow—or next month—she’d figure out why feeling that way should piss her off. For now, she let him settle her on the leather sofa in his study and tuck a light blanket around her.

    “Rest, Surreal,” he said quietly as he ran a hand over her hair.

    Rest, he’d said. So she obeyed.


    Happy to have a few minutes when she wasn’t required to smile at women she wanted to knife, Surreal sat alone at a table near the ballroom windows, watching her husband partner one of the Province Queens in a dance.

    Sadi hadn’t insulted anyone’s intelligence by pretending—or implying—that the reason the marriage had been planned with such speed was that he had suddenly fallen in love with his second-in-command. Besides, no one, male or female, who had participated in a pregnancy and saw the way Sadi and Yaslana responded whenever anyone came near her had any doubts about why Daemon was getting married again.

    Some of the Province Queens who attended the brief ceremony and were now staying for the afternoon-long reception resented Surreal for standing between them and Sadi all those years, certain she’d done it so that she would be in position to snag the coveted title of lover or the more lucrative title of wife at a time when Sadi might be emotionally vulnerable—like, for example, the day his father finally became a whisper in the Darkness. Other Ladies were noticeably relieved that Daemon had remarried and had chosen someone whose temper and ambitions weren’t likely to give anyone unpleasant surprises. A few were genuinely happy for her.

    All the Queens’ Consorts were hearty in their congratulations since her new title of “wife” meant their Ladies would no longer dare look in Sadi’s direction—which meant their own positions in the courts were secure at least for the duration of their contracts.

    But whether they resented her, were relieved for themselves, or were happy that the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan had a steady sexual companion, they had all been careful of how they approached her.

    Not because they felt threatened by her, Surreal thought with a dollop of resentment, but because the consequences of pissing off Daemon or Lucivar right now were bound to be painful—and messy.

    “Am I interrupting?”

    Surreal smiled at Lady Zhara. “Not at all. Please join me.” She and the Queen of Amdarh had had their share of disagreements over the years, but despite that, they had become friendly and worked well together.

    Zhara set a plate on the table. “I thought you might be feeling up to a little nibble now that the ceremony is over and your nerves have settled. When I was pregnant with my first child, I found that a bite or two every couple of hours was easier to handle than a meal, especially in the early stages.” She studied Surreal. “But if seeing or smelling food makes you queasy, I’ll remove the plate right now. Is that why you’re sitting so far away from the feast?”

    Surreal selected a triangle of toast that held a bit of chopped beef. “I wasn’t sitting away from the food; I was sitting close to the windows and fresh air. And, actually, I could use a bit of food now. Breakfast didn’t stay down this morning.”

    Zhara made a sympathetic face. “It will get better.” She selected a slice of fruit from the plate and tipped her head toward the center of the room. “I’m surprised Prince Sadi isn’t dancing attendance on you instead of dancing with the guests. Especially since you weren’t feeling well this morning.”

    Snarling, Surreal selected a cube of cheese. “After the wedding ceremony and well-wishing were completed, I went to the bathroom to pee. Just to pee. And he followed me inside the room and intended to stay so that I wouldn’t—I don’t know—fall over in a faint and crack my skull or some other such nonsense. After I tried to punch him, I told him if he didn’t stop fussing and give me some breathing room, he would have the distinction of being married and divorced on the same day. Which is why he’s currently over there and I’m over here.”

    Zhara swallowed hard. Surreal couldn’t tell if the woman was appalled or amused.

    “Mother Night,” Zhara finally said. “But he did respect your wishes.”

    “You think so? The bastard sicced the Scelties on me!”

    *He did not sic us.* The duet of voices came from under the table. *We volunteered.*

    Zhara pressed her lips together and stared at the ceiling. Her shoulders shook.

    Surreal pondered the plate of food. That flash of temper seemed to clear up the last of the morning wobbles, so she began eating with more enthusiasm.

    Holt wandered by, set two wineglasses on the table, and wandered off.

    Zhara picked up a glass and sniffed. “I’m guessing this one has water.” She set that one in front of Surreal, then took a sip from the other glass and nodded her approval. “Your ring is lovely. The design looks like something Banard would do, but I’ve never seen a stone like that.”

    “It’s called earth’s moonlight,” Surreal said, holding out her hand so that Zhara could get a better look. The stone was a translucent dove gray that looked like it held streams of light. The ring, made of yellow and white gold, swirled around the center stone and had small diamonds.

    “The design is like the moon and stars,” Zhara said.

    Surreal felt a funny little twitch in her chest. “The stone is only found in Dea al Mon, which is why most people have never seen one.” Which meant Daemon had gone to the Dea al Mon, her mother’s people, to purchase that stone for her ring.

    “None of your kinsmen are here today?” Zhara asked.

    Nothing sly about the question, no digging for gossip. She heard delicate concern in the older Queen’s voice.

    “We decided to do three small gatherings instead of one large one,” Surreal said. “The Queens from Kaeleer’s other Territories will be coming next week for an informal afternoon, and the following week, Daemon and I will spend a day with my mother’s clan.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire