Moments after that came the knock on the door between his bedroom and Jaenelle’s.

He ignored it, so moments after that, Jaenelle opened the door just enough to stick her head in the room.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“You do not want to step into this room,” he snarled, knowing his eyes were glazed and his temper was lethal.

It didn’t matter if she wanted to enter his room or not. He didn’t want her there. Not now.

“That doesn’t answer the question,” she said.

She pushed the door all the way open but stayed on her side of the threshold, which infuriated him even more. Especially because she was wearing one of his white silk shirts over a pair of slim black trousers—and her feet were deliciously bare, revealing toenails painted an enticing rose color.

The only reason she painted her toenails was that he enjoyed seeing them that way—and since she did it rarely, it never failed to catch his attention.

She must have painted them as a “welcome home” surprise for him, which only stoked his fury. Warlord Princes were passionately violent and violently passionate. Trouble was, he was spinning between violence and passion too fast to know which emotion would dominate if anyone gave him the slightest push.

He wanted to pounce on her. He just didn’t know which kind of pouncing he wanted to do. Which was her fault, actually, because she’d painted her damn toenails, but it was clearly Jaenelle the Healer rather than Jaenelle the Wife who was studying him.

And because he knew why the Healer would be asking the question, he let his temper slip the leash for a moment.

“I’m not sick, I’m not damaged, and as sure as the sun doesn’t shine in Hell, I’m not feeling fragile in any damn way,” he roared. “What I am feeling is angry. So leave. Me. Alone.”

Those sapphire eyes stared at him. Stared through him.

She stepped into the room.

Not sure if he was acting on temper or sheer possessiveness, he slapped a Black shield around the room, sealing her in with him.

If she noticed, she didn’t react. She just took another step toward him.

“You’re riding a lot of temper, Prince,” Jaenelle said. “But something was the cause of that temper, and that something is going to be dealt with one way or the other. If we have to work through all the temper first, so be it.”

Hot. Cold. One moment he was Daemon, feeling furious and cornered; the next he was the Sadist, wanting to step up for this dance. And, oh, how he wanted to dance!

That particular truth scared him enough to be furious with her, so he dropped the Black shield and punched up his temper for the kind of fight that would get her angry enough to storm out of the room. Which would be the safest thing for both of them.

Turning his back on her, he removed his black jacket.

“You don’t want to be in this room right now,” he said in the cold, brutally dismissive voice that used to flay women’s feelings so successfully.

“Why not?”

Her tone was so snippy, he saw the room through a red haze and stopped thinking.

“Because you can’t defend yourself against what I am!”As he said the words, he swung the jacket at her, intending to smack her with it and prove that she shouldn’t be in a room with him when his temper was barely chained.

Her right hand lashed out.

Hell’s fire.

Daemon stared at the slices that went all the way through the back of the jacket. He flicked a look at her right hand. Had he really seen claws instead of fingernails for just that moment when she lashed out?

“Tell me again I can’t defend myself,” she said too softly.

Not while he still wanted to live.

His temper fizzled and a giddy joy filled him as he acknowledged that truth.

It was completely ruined, but he hung the jacket on the clothes stand to have something to do.

Mother Night, those claws were impressive. She was impressive. And such a vital, needed part of his life.

How could some bitch think a few superficial tricks could make her a substitute for Jaenelle?

That thought brought his temper roaring back to a cold, deadly edge.

Which his Lady recognized—and chose to ignore.

“You went to visit two of the Province Queens,” Jaenelle said. “You came home a day early and furious. What happened?”

He vented some of his temper in sheer volume. “This evening when I walked into my room at Lady Rhea’s house, that bitch Vulchera was wearing one of my shirts!”

There was a look in her eyes he’d never seen before, a kind of pissed-off incredulity.

“When in the name of Hell did you get so damn possessive about a shirt?” she yelled. “If you don’t want me wearing one of your precious shirts, say so. Or have Jazen tell me, since he seems to be just as possessive of anything that resides in your closet.”

“That’s not—”

She ripped open the shirt, sending the buttons flying. Stripping it off, she scrunched it up and threw it behind her.

He wasn’t sure what she was wearing under the shirt, except that it was a combination of sheer fabric and lace that veiled her ni**les without hiding them.

His mouth watered, and his mind went wonderfully blank of everything that didn’t concern having their two bodies come together in particularly delicious ways.


Which was a problem, since he’d finally managed to get her well and truly angry with him.

You started this fight, old son, so pay attention.

Besides, the sooner he figured out a way to end the fight, the sooner he could apologize for being an ass and they could put all that energy and emotion to better use.

“Let’s start with some basic truths, Prince,” Jaenelle said.

He winced at her tone of voice.

“You’re a beautiful man, Daemon. It’s more than your face. It’s the way you move, and the timbre of your voice, and the sexual heat that comes off you even when you’ve got it leashed. All of those things are part of what you are. And women are going to be drawn to you because of it. Hell’s fire, I was drawn to you because of those things. I still am, you ass.”

His lips twitched, trying to smile.

“And you can’t deny that the times when you walk into the bedroom wearing leather pants and nothing else, you aren’t looking for the reaction you get.”

Just remembering her reaction was making him hard. Harder.

“No, I can’t deny it.” His voice turned husky, almost a purr.

“A lot of women are going to want the body they see. Some of those women will also want the man who lives inside it.”