Damn her. Where did she…

Turning to leave, he spotted the glass on the floor near a padded bench. Crouching, he studied it. Most of the liquid had seeped into the carpet, but the few drops left in the glass were enough.

*Surreal!* His temper flared.*Surreal*

No answer. Not even an irritable flicker that would have helped him pinpoint a direction.



*Have you seen Surreal?*

*Not since I danced with her earlier. Is there a problem?*

*I'm not sure yet. See if you can find her. I'm going out to widen the search.*

Rainier hesitated. *Are you going to contact Prince Sadi?*

Now Lucivar hesitated. *No. Not yet.*

He left the party and spent hours soaring over Amdarh, searching, hunting, calling.

No answer. No way to find her.

As night gave way to the first hint of dawn, he flew back to the family town house. Daemon knew Surreal better than the rest of them. It was time to call him into the hunt.



A roar of fury and frustration that sounded like Lucivar in a mood rattled Surreal's mind, jolting her awake. Her head pounded, and her stomach felt queasy. And that pissed her off.

Moving slowly, she rolled to her side and opened her eyes. The soft predawn light revealed enough to confirm she was in an unfamiliar room. A pillow under her head and a sheet beneath her hand told her she was in a bed. And her psychic senses told her she wasn't alone.

Pushing herself upright, she swung her legs over the side of the bed… and swore silently as the bed seemed to lift and dip under her. Apparently, her body hadn't worked through all the effects of the drug, which was still playing nasty games with her sense of balance.

A chair creaked. A large body moved to a lamp on the table near the window. The sudden flare of light as he used Craft to engage the candlelights made her squint.

"They said you wouldn't wake up until sometime this afternoon," he said, giving her a mean smile. "Glad that's not the case. It was getting boring, just watching you sleep."

Since the skirt of her gown was shoved up to the tops of her thighs, she figured his self-restraint had more to do with not wanting to soil his c**k with moon's blood than using an unconscious woman for sex.

She knew his type, had seen enough men like him when she was a child living in the meanest streets of a city in Terreille, whoring to earn enough to buy a day's food and, maybe, some shelter for the night.

"Just so you don't go getting any ideas, Greenie, there's a Sapphire shield around this room and a Sapphire lock on the door. So you don't go anywhere unless I say you can."

Greenie? She'd never advertised she wore the Gray when she'd worked in the Red Moon houses in Terreille, and while she hadn't made it a secret since coming to Kaeleer, there weren't many of the Blood beyond those who had been in Jaenelle's First Circle and the ones who lived in Ebon Rih who knew she wore a Jewel darker than her Birthright Green.

Which meant there might be a few other things the bitch who arranged this didn't know about her.

"What… What do you know about me?" she asked. The shakiness in her voice was due to the drug her body was still shaking off, but it made her sound afraid and, right now, that suited her just fine.

"I know you're a Green-Jeweled witch who's caused some trouble for a fine aristo Lady, who paid me a generous sum to make sure you don't cause her any more trouble. And I've heard you were an expensive whore who only worked out of the best Red Moon houses until you came to Kaeleer and managed to talk yourself into an influential family." He stared at her mouth and leered. "Or maybe you did something besides talk to convince them you'd be handy to have around."

Bastard.Her legs wobbled when she stood up, but she steadied quickly as the last of the drug, meant to subdue a Green-Jeweled witch, was burned off by a body that was a vessel for the Gray.

She walked up to him, keeping her gait unsteady. "What do you want?"

His big hands clamped on her shoulders, pulling her against him. "You be good to me, and I'll be good to you."

"I can be good." Her right hand curled in preparation for calling in her stiletto. "Sugar? There's one thing your Lady forgot to mention."

"What's that?" he asked as one hand groped her breast.

The stiletto was in her hand and through his ribs before he realized she'd moved. His eyes widened.

Surreal bared her teeth in a smile. "I earned more as an assassin than I ever made as a whore." She rammed the stiletto into him up to the hilt, piercing his heart.

He hit the floor with a hardthud .

Surreal yanked the blade out of him, cleaned it on his shirt, then vanished it. Her "housekeeping" completed, she studied him.

"I think it takes a few hours to make the transition to demon-dead, but it would be best to make sure you don't wander off before we have a little chat," she told him. Not that he could hear her. Yet.

Calling in her Gray Jewels, she broke his Sapphire shield and lock, replaced them with Gray, and left the bedroom to see if she could find the tool she needed.



Daemon stirred, then snuggled closer to Jaenelle.

*Come on, Bastard. Wake up.*

Lucivar. Hell's fire. Just because the man was usually up before the sun didn't mean everyone wanted to be.

But he got out of bed, pulled on a robe, and slipped into the hallway. "What is it?" he asked, his voice rough from sleep. Then he noticed that Lucivar looked furious and exhausted. That woke up all his fighting instincts. "What is it?"

Lucivar raked his fingers through his hair. "Surreal is missing."

The three of them sat at one end of the dining table, the remains of a small, hastily made breakfast in front of them.

"If she was drugged, we'll find her as soon as she wakes," Jaenelle said after Lucivar related his search…and his failure to find Surreal.

"If they didn't kill her," Lucivar snarled.

"Then we'd better start looking."

"No," Daemon said. He poured them all more coffee. "I want you to go back to the Hall."

A feral anger that excited and chilled him came into Jaenelle's eyes.

"She's my family, too," Jaenelle said in a voice that warned him he was close to crossing a line he might never be able to cross back over.

He laid a hand over hers, needing her to understand. "I know she is, but they've already tried to hurt you, and if they're confident they're strong enough to take on a Gray-Jeweled witch, they aren't going to hesitate to go after you."

"They?" Jaenelle asked too softly.

"I know who's behind this. I'll take care of it."

Anne Bishop Books | Science Fiction Books | The Black Jewels Series Books
Source: www.StudyNovels.com