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  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(54) by Anne Bishop
  • “It’s not a betting game,” Surreal replied. “Some game called hawks and hares.”

    Children’s card game. Daemonar was just learning to play it.

    “And his so-called muzzy head, which might be somewhat genuine, is a result of Jaenelle’s healing brews. They’ve also sneaked him sips of ale. Not much, and within the limits Jaenelle told Merry he was allowed to have.”

    He let the play continue while he drank his coffee and ate the sandwich Merry put in front of him. Then he waited until Hallevar looked his way. He made a twirling motion with one finger.

    “Last hand, boys,” Hallevar said loudly enough to carry back to the bar. “We all need to get some rest.”

    The only man who didn’t glance his way was Rainier, who studied the cards in his hand with heightened intensity. It was so like Daemonar’s response to the first “bedtime” call, Lucivar almost laughed out loud.

    He wasn’t sure if Endar deliberately lost that round to finish up quickly, or if Surreal was right and Rainier was nowhere near as muzzy-headed as he was allowing people to think, but the game ended fairly soon after and the Eyriens departed, making a point of thanking Merry and Briggs for the hospitality.

    “Do I have to go upstairs now?” Rainier asked woefully.

    “It’s bath night.”

    “I don’t need help taking a bath.”

    “No, but my boy does.”

    “Ah.”

    Rainier shifted his left leg. Merry and Surreal rushed toward the table. Lucivar gave them both a look that had them pulling up short.

    “Give the man some room,” he said firmly.

    Two pairs of female eyes narrowed at him.

    Ah, shit. “Do not give me any sass.”

    The eyes narrowed a little more.

    *Can we get out of this room, please?* Rainier asked, studying the women.

    *Yes, if you make some effort.*

    He got Rainier upright and felt those eyes watch him until they reached the stairs that led up to the rooms.

    Since Rainier cooperated, it didn’t take long to get him settled for the night. Sitting beside the bed, Lucivar called in a jar of ointment.

    “What’s that?” Rainier asked.

    “Healing salve.” After putting a tight shield around his hands, Lucivar scooped out a generous amount of salve and began smoothing it over Rainier’s left leg from hip to knee.

    “I can do that.”

    “Not tonight, you can’t. Right now, Jaenelle wants someone else getting a careful feel of those muscles, and that someone is me.”

    Rainier said nothing for a few minutes, letting him focus on the leg. The ointment was laced with spells—warming spell, numbing spell, he didn’t know how many others. His fingers carefully followed the lines of muscles, feeling a ridge at the spot where they were originally severed and then repaired so many times.

    “Lucivar?”

    “Hmm?”

    “Is there any honorable work a young Eyrien male can do except fighting? Or does he have to be permanently wounded badly enough to be a liability in a fight before he can do something else without shame?”

    Lifting his hand from Rainier’s leg, Lucivar gave the other man a long look. “Why do you ask?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire