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  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(77) by Anne Bishop
  • Daemon let out a huff of laughter. “I guess I overstepped a few boundaries. Are you going to mention this to my father?”

    “That you’re looking into Falonar’s bloodlines? Why should I?”

    Messages received and understood, Daemon thought as he and Geoffrey went to the private section of the library.

    Geoffrey hadn’t shown him that parchment because he was the High Lord’s son. Geoffrey had shown him that parchment because he was the High Lord’s heir.

    EIGHT

    Her chest hurt like a wicked bitch, it was damn hard to breathe, and whatever she was lying on was too cold and too hard for any comfort.

    Surreal moved her hands slowly, testing the surface beneath her. When her left hand found an edge and then air, she carefully rolled to her side so she wouldn’t fall off whatever she was on. As she pushed herself upright, she felt an odd, painful pressure in her chest, and when she touched the spot . . .

    She ripped her shirt open and stared at the rough, swollen, black lump between her br**sts. Her muscles clenched, and the thing seemed to swell.

    “What in the name of Hell . . . ?”

    “Not Hell,” said a lilting, lyrical voice full of caverns and midnight skies. “This is the Misty Place.”

    Apt name, Surreal decided as she looked around. Mist and stone, and nothing else except the altar she was sitting on.

    “Where, exactly, is the Misty Place?” she asked.

    “In the abyss.”

    “I’ve never seen it before.”

    “Very few can survive this place, and none without invitation.”

    What walked out of the mist was female but not human. Medium height, slender, and fair-skinned. An erotically beautiful face framed by a gold mane that was somewhere between fur and hair. Delicately pointed ears and a small spiral horn. Human torso and limbs, but also a fawn’s tail and dainty horse’s hooves. Human hands that had cat’s claws instead of fingernails.

    Surreal didn’t recognize the body, but she recognized those sapphire eyes.

    Living myth. Dreams made flesh. Witch. This was the Self who lived within Jaenelle’s human skin.

    “You brought me here?” Surreal asked. “Why?”

    “Because of that.” Witch pointed to the black lump.

    “Poison?” She gingerly pressed the skin around the lump. Hell’s fire, it hurt.

    “Not a physical poison, but a poison all the same. A poison of the heart. You can’t see it in the physical world, but it will cripple you, Surreal—has been crippling you for months now. So it’s time to cleanse the heart.”

    Oh, that didn’t sound good. “Should I lay down so you can cut it out?”

    Witch shook her head. “This is up to you now.”

    “You expect me to cut it out of myself?”

    “Not cut. Push. A kind of birthing, if you prefer.”

    “I don’t prefer,” she muttered. “What if I don’t do this?”

    “You were in so much emotional pain, you broke the connection between your Self and your body in order to escape. If you don’t heal this now, you won’t be able to mend that separation, and your empty body eventually will wither and die.” Witch bared her teeth and snarled. “Show some balls and do this!”

    Surreal bared her teeth and matched Witch’s snarl. Then her chest muscles clenched. The skin at the top of the lump split, and a thick, black pus pushed out of the opening. When she forced her muscles to relax, the pus retreated.

    Shit shit shit.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire