The Dragon King (Blade and Rose #5)

Darkness stirs in the heart of Courdeval. And in the heart of its very king. But she’ll fight until her last breath to save them both.

After Jon’s near brush with death, Rielle couldn’t be happier when he awakens. As he resumes his duties and his normal life, however, it becomes clear he is changed--perhaps forever. There is a power in him, and a darkness, that threatens to consume him… for all time.

With the Order of Terra and the Tower of Magic now serving the Crown, Emaurria is stronger than ever, but the threats it now faces might lead to the kingdom’s undoing. Locked in open war against the Divinity of Magic, Emaurria is in grave danger and, worse, divided at its core. The Houses see opportunity in a withdrawn king, and Rielle, Brennan, and Olivia fight to keep stability as they try to reach Jon, while Leigh finds himself damned and looks for the strength to save himself before he can save the world from the Rift.

As the Houses and the war poke a sleeping dragon, they invite flames that could char Emaurria to mere glowing embers. Can Rielle and her friends reach Jon before it’s too late, or will he be lost to the darkness, and Emaurria to the flames of dragon fire?

If you like the fantasy romance of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the dark intrigue of the Black Jewels series, the epic adventure of Game of Thrones, and a heroine who never gives up, you'll love this romantic epic fantasy series.

Dive into a medieval world sensual and dark, full of magic and greed, love and blades, where factions vie for influence and there are no easy choices...

Excerpt:

Divine’s flaming fire, it had worked. It had actually worked. The lifebond.

Rielle covered her mouth, holding her breath, while Jon stared at the massive four-poster bed’s canopy and shifted slightly beneath the red-and-gold silk coverlet. His chest rose and fell with ragged breaths, and he blinked sluggishly beneath a creased dark brow.

But he was alive. Praise the Divine, he was alive.

“Jon,” she whispered. She took his hand in hers and pressed his palm to her cheek. “You’re awake.”

He turned his head to her and narrowed his eyes, studying her for a long moment before he reached for her, pulling her into an embrace. A warm, close embrace, a thing she might’ve never had with him again but for the rare turn of good fortune that woke him.

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Wrapped in his arms, her face against his bare shoulder, her eyes watered and her lower lip trembled. She bit it, some futile attempt to keep the tears in. For three days, she hadn’t left his side, waiting for him to wake up, praying for it. She’d sat in a bedside chair until her legs had numbed, these quarters her home and he, her everything, while the sun had risen and set, risen and set, risen and set...

He was alive. Divine, after three days, he was finally back. Finally.

“Rielle,” he said, slowly, carefully, his voice a low rasp.

Water. He needed water.

Hastily, she grabbed the silver goblet and carafe on the nightstand and poured, then held it out to him encouragingly. “Let me help you.”

Although she offered him a hand, he shook his head. Bracing an elbow on the mattress, he sat up, frowning.

His fingers rubbed against the sheets, a fine linen, brushing it languidly. His nostrils flared as he breathed deep, closing his eyes for a long while before opening them anew. His gaze lingered on a sheer curtain swaying, a golden drawer pull, a bedpost carved with roses, as if seeing the world for the first time. She swallowed. As if coming back from the dead.

He took the offered goblet, peering down at the unsettled surface of the water reflecting his countenance, and with a shake of his head, proceeded to drain its contents. As he did, he looked out the window toward the city’s crimson roofs and squinted. After three days of fever, he had to be exhausted.

She tucked her hair behind her ear and licked her lip. “How do you feel?”

His fingers curled tighter around the silver goblet, and he took a deep breath. In and out.

“I feel strong,” he replied solemnly, then handed her the empty goblet. “Stronger than I have ever felt.” With wide eyes, he scrutinized his arm, flexing and turning over his hand.

It was the lifebond—it had to be—but she didn’t feel any weaker herself. Yet she’d managed to supplement his life force with hers? Somehow it was even more miraculous than she and Olivia had hoped for, then.

Her eyes didn’t lie, but she could still scarcely believe them… He was awake. Alive. Back. And this fullness inside of her responded, somehow bigger than her body, reaching out to him. Everything she had in her heart... and somehow more.

She climbed into bed and knelt next to him, following his line of sight to the gray autumn skies above Courdeval. “It’s been quiet ever since the battle. But everyone’s been on edge, nervous. Now that you’ve awoken, things will settle down.”

The entire coast was rebuilding after being decimated by Vazzana, including—disproportionately—so many homes. No thanks to Kieran’s choice to abandon the city in favor of defending the palace.

Doubtless Jon would make that right, but in this moment, the last thing she wanted to do was pile on.

She took his hand again, and the warmth of it… had changed. Before the fever had broken, his skin had been hot, but now… maybe not as much, but the fever’s heat still remained. “Your temperature,” she breathed. “Are you sure you’re—”

“Do you love me, Rielle?” he asked, turning abruptly to her and holding her gaze with a steely intensity.

He’d asked so boldly once before, the night of Spiritseve, when he’d confessed his royal lineage and reaffirmed his feelings for her. Her heart had swelled at it then, and it did again at the thought now.

She huffed, drawing in her chin. “With all my heart. What kind of question is that?”

Those steely eyes sparked, his palm stroking roughly against hers, and his gaze lowered to her lips and lingered. A corner of his mouth curled up, and it was all she could do to stay in her own skin as he leaned in and kissed her.

His kiss was gentle at first, soft, and he shifted closer, smoothing his hands over her hair and down its length with a dimpled smile. “Have you been here all this time?”

Her cheeks warmed. “I—of course—”

He rubbed his thumb across her lower lip, watching it with a glimmer of amusement. “I have great plans for this kingdom. Radical plans, even, to ensure its strength and security. Will you help me achieve them, Rielle?”

Eyes barely open after three days, and he was already thinking about work. Yes, that was Jon all right.

“Of course,” she breathed with a laugh, “but you’ve only just awoken. You should be resting. Don’t you want—”

He held a finger to her lips, halting her words. “Of course I want,” he said with a mischievous smile. “But there’s work to be done, and it won’t wait.” With a last grin, he pulled aside the coverlet and climbed out of bed, heading straight to the washbasin.

Frowning, she rose hesitantly. “And this work needs to be done right this minute?” she asked, while he washed up. “Aren’t you hungry? Or tired at all? And what about your heart? Shouldn’t we check with Olivia to see—”

“I can feel it. My heart is fine,” he said over his shoulder with a laugh. “I don’t need a healer to confirm that. And we’ll have dinner together later. Anything else?” he challenged playfully, holding her gaze as he raised an eyebrow.

Her mouth fell open, but she shook her head, and he returned to washing and dressing.

She pressed her lips together and poured herself a goblet of water. Nothing about the lifebond? They hadn’t even discussed it yet, but didn’t he feel it? And what about the Dragon King? What had happened in those last moments of his consciousness?

She sipped her water slowly. Maybe now wasn’t the best time to ask him to relive his near-death experience. He’d tell her in his own time.

But this work he referred to—he’d called it radical. What exactly did he have in mind?

Booted footsteps approached her from behind, and Jon’s palms grasped her shoulders before sliding down her upper arms, imparting his warmth.

“I’ll see you tonight,” he said softly, then lightly kissed her cheek.

As she turned to him, he stepped away, fastening the last of the toggles on an intricate black-and-gold doublet.

She followed a few steps after him. “Are you going to meet with Olivia and let her know you’re all right at least? Or the Grands?”

He laughed under his breath. “I’m going to call a meeting of Parliament. It’s time we declared war on the Divinity of Magic.”

War? They were still smarting from the attack on Courdeval.

She left the bedchamber, but the door to the hallway closed. He’d just woken up and was already decided on this? Had something happened before he’d lost consciousness to convince him of this course?

Emaurria wasn’t ready for all-out war. Not even slightly. The Crown’s control over the Tower and the Order was still so new, barely tested. Kieran, now Lord Sage of Emaurria, seemed to defy anything he believed she supported.

And while Jon had centralized the kingdom’s power domestically, Emaurria’s lack of alliances was still a problem. Should the balance of power tilt—or, Divine forbid, topple—there would be no one else to turn to. Samanta Vota would win.

Never.

Jon wouldn’t let that happen, and neither would she. One of the Grands would convince him.

And if not, then when he returned tonight, she would.

COLLAPSE

About a month ago, I wasn't happy with the state of The Dragon King. For about two decades, I've simmered on the world of Blade and Rose, and Rielle's story. And I knew this book, similarly to By Dark Deeds, was going to be a difficult draft. Amazon's policies allowed me to postpone the release one month, and I did that, assuring myself that one month would be all I'd need to bring the book to order. I was the author, the book was the book, and what I said goes... right?

Wrong. The book grabbed me by the collar, shook me hard, and told me there was one boss of this book, and it was not me.

I've had a good year and change of being an author and producing at the rate I plan for. I tell myself I'll write X pages or words, and it happens. It happened so well and so reliably that I took it for granted, and now, with my ninth(?) publication, there's a wrench in the gear, and it turns out I'm not the machine I thought I was, or a machine at all.

What does this mean, dear readers? Well, for one, Bright of the Moon is still releasing as planned. The Celestial War series is still releasing as planned, but for the time being, The Dragon King will no longer be available for preorder. It will be released sometime this year (hopefully in the next couple of months), after extensive revision, critique, and editing, once I am happy with it and can be confident you will be, too. It's against my nature to not set a date, but I don't want to set a firm date and not know for certain that it'll be ready. So it could be May, or it could be July.

I know this isn't good news, but I will do my best to keep you updated so you are the FIRST to know when it does release.

From the bottom of my heart, I apologize. This is completely my sole responsibility and my failure, but I hope you will pick up the book when it does release and know it's only gone out with my complete confidence.

That said, I do have something special for you. Two things, actually. They won't make up for this, but I hope they'll be something for you to enjoy and bring a smile to your face.

#1: The long-requested and long-awaited Character List. If you aren't caught up to Queen of the Shining Sea and Blood of the Wolf, please don't read it yet as it will contain spoilers. But if you want a quick refresher of who everyone is and where, this is it!

#2: The first five chapters of the current draft of The Dragon King. They are subject to change, but if you've been waiting for a taste of what happens next, here it is. 🙂

Sincerely,
Miri

Comments

  1. Alice says:

    I love these series please continue I’m waiting for the next book.

    1. Miranda Honfleur says:

      The series will continue! I just have to continue it the best way possible! 🙂

  2. Montana says:

    Why did this book disappear from amazon and cancel the preorder? I was already disappointed with the release date moving back. Can’t wait for this installment

    1. Miranda Honfleur says:

      Hi, Montana,

      I’m so sorry I haven’t put the word out on social media – I sent an update to my mailing list, but I realize not everyone is on there. The Dragon King is still coming this year, but it’s delayed. Here’s the full information: https://preview.mailerlite.com/g7v8y5

  3. Dione says:

    Very disappointed to see this mail today from Amazon today: The release of the item in the order below has been canceled by the publisher and we have canceled your pre-order.

    1. Miranda Honfleur says:

      As I explained above, I’m so sorry Dione! The story just isn’t where I wanted it. I want you guys to have the best. The Dragon King will come this year, the date just isn’t set yet.

      Explained better here: https://preview.mailerlite.com/g7v8y5

  4. Krissy McDonald says:

    Wish I knew why my pre-order was cancelled by publisher. I really really hope it was a mix up. There should have at least been some sort of announcement, because I have been counting down the days. So disappointed.

    1. Krissy, I haven’t made an official announcement on social media yet. I did in my email, but I realize not everyone is signed up.
      The Dragon King is coming this year, but it just wasn’t ready. I want to do the best for my readers. That means pulling the book from pre-order and writing and editing it in my own time. To make it the best for you.

      More information here: https://preview.mailerlite.com/g7v8y5

    2. Miranda Honfleur says:

      Krissy, I’m so sorry!

      It was cancelled because it just wasn’t ready yet. I don’t want to put anything out into the world that isn’t up to the level I know it can be. The Dragon King just isn’t what I needed it to be. I don’t want to disappoint my readers, or myself with this book. I pulled it for that reason.

      I hope you can understand.

  5. Kristi Bagwill says:

    What’s up? I had my pre-order cancelled. Rarely do I pre-order anything but did not want to miss Dragon King. Patiently waited for the release, then the date was moved out 30 days, then cancelled altogether. No reason given, no word from anyone. Not a very smart marketing move.

    1. Samantha says:

      same thing happened to me! I have no idea now what’s going on. Was really looking forward to this.

  6. Angela Taylor says:

    Just saw about the pushback on the release date. Although I’m disappointed I have to wait, I’m glad you are making this book what you want it to be. Never settle! Looking forward to reading it later this year.

    1. Miranda Honfleur says:

      There will be more stories coming! I just don’t want to rush this series for my readers or for myself. I’ve sat on this story for a long time, and I have to take the time to make it right.

      Thank you!

  7. Linda Sluder says:

    Waiting for as long as it takes. Talent like yours should never be rushed. Thrilled with all the books in the “Rose” series. Love your intense style. Hoping for future projects.

    1. Miranda Honfleur says:

      Thank you so much Linda! Your kind words mean the world to me. I’m so blessed to have readers like you!

    2. Miranda Honfleur says:

      There will be more stories coming! I just don’t want to rush this series for my readers or for myself. I’ve sat on this story for a long time, and I have to take the time to make it right.

      Thank you!

  8. Niki Chew says:

    Hi Maranda,

    Thank you for the books up to ‘Queen of the Shining Sea’. I cannot put the series down & had hoped to see the full story to the end as soon as possible. But I also agree with you – you need to get it right, the way you want it & I WILL wait for it to be published … with abated breath, I must add. Enjoyed the series completely, nail biting, suspense and all the intrigues along the way! Keep writing & I will always keep an eye out for your books! Look forward to Dragon King & Immortelle … soon … very, very soon … fingers crossed.

    Cheers, Niki

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