He’d never felt dirty about making a kill. Until today.
Because it wasn’t personal. The game he’d played with Jenkell? Yes, that was personal. He’d shaped the Sadist into a shadow and let him slip the leash. But the pain and terror he’d wrung from Jenkell during the execution…That hadn’t been for himself. Hadn’t even been for Rainier or Surreal. That had been done for those unknown people he had agreed to protect when he became the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan.
He hoped with all his heart that it would be decades before he had to do something like that again.
Since water would get his body clean but wouldn’t cleanse his heart, he finished up and did his best to mentally prepare for the next part of the evening.
Jazen was waiting for him when he walked back into the Consort’s bedroom.
“No costume?” Daemon asked, looking at the clothes laid out on the bed.
“The Lady felt your regular attire would best suit her plans for the evening.”
On the other hand, this was better than he’d expected.
“Consider yourself off duty for the rest of the evening,” Daemon said.
“Go. Or you’ll be the next person who volunteers to help with the spooky house.”
On behalf of his wife, he felt a little insulted at the speed in which Jazen left the room.
He dressed with care and even added some face paint to subtly enhance his eyes and make his lips more sensual. That wasn’t for his participation in the spooky house; that was for the woman.
When he opened the connecting door and went into Jaenelle’s bedroom, he was glad he’d made the extra effort. And he was glad there wasn’t another male in this wing of the house because one look at her made him edgy and needy.
He chained lust, but it simmered in his blood. He chained need and let his senses feast on the woman before him.
The material looked like watercolors spilled over moonbeams that were then shaped into a gown. So vibrant and yet so delicate—he wasn’t sure if it was real or an illusion. She wore a skin-colored sheath underneath the gown, but that, too, was so sheer he could see the shadows of her ni**les through both layers of cloth.
He didn’t dare look below her waist because that, he was sure, would bring him to his knees and break his self-control.
Her golden hair was long again and unrestrained, as it had been before she’d been injured last year. The hair was an illusion, and intriguing, but he was a trifle disappointed that it hid the spot on her neck that he found so enticing.
He crossed the room and stopped when he was close enough to touch her. But he didn’t touch. Not yet.
“What do you want from me?” he asked, his voice having more of a seductive edge than usual.Please want something from me.
“I want you to help me keep a promise. Dance with me, Daemon.”
He brushed his fingers over the sleeve of her gown—and still wasn’t sure if he was touching something real. “That’s all?”
She took the step that erased the distance left between them. Then she touched her lips to his in a kiss that was as warm as a dream and as soft as a wish.
“For the spooky house, yes, that’s all.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and added a little more heat to the kiss. “Afterward, we can have a late supper and a quiet evening alone to do whatever kind of dancing you want.”
Heat flashed through his blood before he got himself under control again. “Promise?”
She smiled and linked her hand with his as she took a step back. “Promise.”
Surreal had plenty to say to the man who walked into the sitting room.
“You have to talk to your brother.”
“I talk to my brother all the time,” Daemon said mildly. He crossed the room and stood next to the footstool in front of her chair.
“I mean it, Sadi. He’s being unreasonable.”
“Lucivaris being unreasonable? How can you tell?”
Smug, arrogant bastard. He was laughing at her.
“You don’t know what it’s like,” she grumbled. “He comes here every day—every single day—and stares at me like I’m a roast and he’s checking to see if I’m done.” Which, she’d discovered, wasexactly what Lucivar was doing. “He showed up earlier today and said that, after Winsol, I have to go to Ebon Rih and work with him to hone my fighting skills—especially defensive tactics.”
Sadi looked politely interested, but it was hard to tell if his brain was really in the room.
“Hesaid I can stay at The Tavern down in Riada, and he’ll pay for room and board—as if I can’t afford to pay for my own room—but if I get bitchy about this, he’ll chuck me into a guest room at the eyrie and put shields around the room to make sure I stay there.And he’ll chuck Daemonar in there with me. That’s blackmail.”
“No, darling,” Daemon said. “Blackmail would be telling you that if you don’t agree to Lucivar’s terms, you will not only have to deal with him but with the rest of the males in the family who are unhappy because you got hurt. And that includes Chaosti.”
Shit shit shit. Chaosti was the Warlord Prince of the Dea al Mon. Kin on her mother’s side. Chaosti would be just as bad as Lucivar. Maybe worse.
Not worse.No one could be worse than Lucivar. Not individually. But if they ganged up on her…
“You’re as useful as a bucket of piss,” she growled.
Daemon just smiled. “Rainier is equally thrilled. He’ll be joining you. You can whine together in the evenings.”
She considered several extremely vile things to say to and about him, but he held out a white box tied with gold ribbon and she decided to wait and see if the bribe was worth holding her tongue.
“Chocolate fudge,” Daemon said.
Hell’s fire. She’d even be nice to Lucivar today for a box of fudge.
“If you don’t want it…”
“You try to leave with that box, you’ll be leaving without all of your skin.”
Daemon grinned. “That’s the witchling we all love. Now I know you’re feeling better.”
He laughed and handed her the box. Then he handed her a familiar-sized envelope. “I’m delivering these in person.”
Her hands trembled as she opened the envelope and read the invitation to the premier showing of Jaenelle and Marian’s spooky house.
“You don’t have to go,” Daemon said gently. “We’ll understand.”