The Dragon and the Queen of Ice

Title: The Dragon and the Queen of Ice
Series: Fire Dragons of Grieghern #1
Published by: Amber Jantine
Release Date: August 13, 2017
Contributors: Amber Jantine
Genre:
Pages: 120

Description:

A freak accident has turned into a death sentence for a young queen. A magical shard of ice has lodged in Kyra's eye, blinding her. Worse, the ice is spreading. Unless she falls in love before her heart freezes, she will die. She is the last in her family line and must find a husband to give her an heir or else her country will fall into chaos. Even now, rebels are eager to take advantage of any perceived weakness in her. But no human man can bear to touch her and the one who said he would try turned out to be a deceptive traitor...

An unexpected solution comes from the dragon world. Fire-dragon Jodan is immune to the ice under her skin and his gentle touch fires more than her passions. But after previous betrayals, she's not certain she can trust him. Nor will she risk breaking his heart when she dies...

Jodan Grieghern knows the dangers of falling in love. Very few dragons can survive the death of a life-mate, so falling for a woman who is cursed to die is not in his plans. But his beautiful wife's bravery and strength still touch his heart. He has no hope of her loving him in return, even if that is the only way to save her life.

Treachery and betrayal continue to threaten their fragile alliance just as their marriage of convenience begins to turn into something more. Will the woman who refuses to trust and the dragon who doesn't want to love have a chance at forming a permanent bond? Or will the ice end up freezing Kyra's heart forever?

The Dragon and the Queen of Ice is a sexy paranormal romance inspired by the fairytale of "The Snow Queen."

Excerpt:

“I don’t know why they won’t allow you to meet your bride before the ceremony,” his brother complained.

Jodan Grieghern tightened his coat around his waist then pulled the collar more tightly against his neck as a chill wind blew into his bedchamber. He was so far from home and the clime was so foreign, he wondered again how he would ever adjust to the change. “Seems fair to me. I think the queen requested it that way, so that she won’t be only one marrying someone she’s never seen before.”

Rergyn sighed. “You’re remarkably calm about this.”

“We’ve lived our entire lives with the knowledge that we would end up in arranged matches anyway. Why should this be any different?”

“At least your bride-to-be has some dragon blood in her. Or so it is said.”

“That doesn’t matter and you know it.”

“True. Especially since there are so few female dragons now. I guess we should be grateful that we can actually mate with these humans, so our kind doesn’t die out completely.”

“Still worried about who Mother and Father are planning to choose for your bride?”

“The rumors are not… good.”

“I’m sorry.” Jodan had heard the talk as well. The proposed bride had a formidable reputation, having outlived two other husbands. “But there’s still a chance that the match will not be finalized.”

“I cannot hope to be as fortunate as you, brother. From what I’ve heard of Queen Kyra, she sounds quite exceptional. Regardless of whether she has dragon blood or not.”

“True.” Which was part of what had eased his nerves about his pending wedding.

Jodan stepped back into his room as a group of servants entered. They were members of the queen’s household and were obviously doing their best to avoid his gaze. The scent of their fear was strong and better, making his nose twitch.

If we were not about to start the ceremony, I might consider changing into my dragon form right now. Rergyn spoke directly into his mind. A guaranteed way to ensure that no one would hear what they were discussing. The corner of his mouth twitched in a faint smile. That would really give them something to be afraid of.

“Stop it, Rergyn. You can hardly blame them for being uneasy.” Though he would not be crowned king, he would still be the queen’s consort. That was high enough of a rank for the humans to be uncomfortable.

He shrugged out of the heavier overcoat and finished adding the ceremonial belt and sword that had been his engagement present. He could not help laughing a bit at the latter. For so many centuries, his kind had been on the wrong end of the humans’ blades and now he would be wearing one as he prepared to marry one of their queens.

They were escorted down into the courtyard of the palace and into a carriage. To his surprise, the vehicle was heated, and the scent of coals under the floorboards quickly told of how it was done.

It was a surprising innovation and was probably considered quite a luxury as well. But he supposed that living with such cold temperatures would give these humans the incentives to be quite resourceful.

The main cathedral was already quite full. Mostly with humans, subjects of Queen Kyra, of course. The only other dragon besides himself and his brother was their cousin. The Ice Dragon of the North, Ozeir. He was the one who had suggested the match and had done all the arrangements.

Jodan and his brother took their place near the altar. Despite everything he had tried to tell his twin, he could not help feeling a twinge of nervousness. His stomach tightened and did a funny little flip as organ music swelled through the massive building, heralding the pending appearance of his bride.

The audience rose, then bowed their heads in respect to their monarch. The double doors opened at the front of the church, revealing a young woman who stood alone.

Jodan’s nervousness faded away as another emotion took precedence. Part surprise, part something more. He had been told that Queen Kyra was quite beautiful but somehow, he had expected it to be an exaggeration. Not much more than the flattering talk normally used by courtiers.

The woman currently making her slow way up the aisle was more than beautiful.

She was magnificent.

But there was no way to ignore the signs of the curse she was under. She carried a jeweled scepter in one hand, using it as a sort of cane to tap out her way. Her chin was held high, her full lips set in a straight line as if daring anyone to speak unkindly of her weakness.

Her eyes were large, but it was impossible to tell what color they were. At the moment, they were rather silvery and pale, like those of an ice dragon, but Jodan had heard that their current appearance had been caused by the magic shard that was embedded in her, the one that had caused her blindness.

Her hair must’ve been pure brown, as rich as sable at one point, but now was heavily streaked with white. Making her look, at a distance, much older than her years. Yet her face was unlined, though there was no mistaking the shadows in her expression.

This was a woman who had been through much, had suffered much.

Jodan wanted to run up the aisle to her, to take her into his arms. He couldn’t say that it was a wholly protective instinct that urged him to do so.

The bright blue gown hugged her body, clinging to the curves of her breasts and narrow waist before flaring out into a full skirt. The top of the bodice was cut low, exposing the upper swells of her breasts, which were quite generous and large.

Soon, very soon, he would have the right to touch her, to explore her in every way.

That time could not come soon enough.

It seemed to take an eternity before she was at his side. She held out one hand, and he took it. Felt her jump at his touch. Even though she was wearing gloves, he could feel how cold she was. Another effect of her curse.

And the reason that she had chosen to marry a dragon.

He had been told that she had nearly wed another. A human. But the man had been unable to bear touching her bare skin. Had nearly been frozen from the contact.

His loss was most definitely Jodan’s gain.

Throughout the ceremony, as they spoke their vows, he could not help noticing that she was trembling the whole time. Was she afraid of him? There were many scents of fear in the room, but he couldn’t tell if any of it came from her.

It seemed unlikely. Something told him that this was a woman who would never be cowed. It must have taken remarkable strength to endure her curse to this point, much less…

The human priest declared them to be man and wife. They turned to face each other.

Jodan bent down and touched his lips to hers. Despite the cold, they were very soft and parted on a gasp as if she had been caught by surprise with the gesture. Or maybe she felt the same thing he did. The spark of fire that had leapt between them.

He bent his arm, tucking her hand into his elbow before escorting her out of the church. Outside, the guards raised and crossed their swords over their heads, the metallic click of the blades quickly lost under the roar of the waiting crowd. Waiting for them was another carriage. Older, but no less fine than the other, and clearly emblazoned with the royal family crest.

They stepped inside and the door was closed behind them.

It was their first time to be alone.

He sat across from her rather than beside her, sensing that she needed time to get used to having him around. “I think that went rather well. Don’t you, Your Majesty?”

Her lips curved up into a slight smile. “Did you expect someone to object?”

That had been one of the questions during the ceremony, a moment when the priest had asked if anyone had any reason why this marriage should not take place. “I’ll admit that I did worry a bit when the question came up.”

“I hope it is not because my subjects have made you feel unwelcome.”

“Not unwelcome, no. But it is very obvious that they are not used to having a dragon around.”

“The ice dragons tend to keep to themselves, though we have lived in peace with them for these last few generations.”

“But I imagine they do not spend much time around your palace.”

“No.” She turned her face toward the window of the carriage, waving to the crowd that lined the streets even though Jodan knew she couldn’t see them. “At any rate, I think it was a good idea to postpone any talk of your coronation. To give them time to get used to you first.”

“True.” He knew it was more usual for that ceremony to take place immediately after the wedding. But that was if the queen had married a human suitor. No one was certain if they wanted to give a dragon such power. And potentially a claim to the throne.

The only reason this match had been made was that the queen needed an heir. And thanks to her to curse, only a dragon could touch her bare skin without fear of frostbite.

He reached across the carriage and took her free hand in his. Though he was still touching her through the glove and not skin-to-skin, she let out another gasp. And he wondered how long it had been since anyone had touched her at all.

The curse had not started like this, or so he had been told. First, the shard had taken the sight from the one eye it was lodged in, before spreading to the other, completely blinding her. Then the cold had spread through her body.

Eventually, it would take her heart. Stopping it. The best physicians in her land said that it would be a year. Maybe a little longer, judging by how long it had taken to spread this far, but certainly not more than two years.

The only cure, it was said, was for her to fall in love.

Jodan didn't believe in love. He had been taught that such an emotion was a weakness. Duty and honor were all that truly mattered in the world, and with that, he could offer his new bride the next best thing. A chance at having her heir so that her kingdom would not fall into chaos over the succession.

Her fingers closed around his, giving it a light squeeze. He was a little shocked by the way his body responded, how his erection swelled and his body heated.

Just from that small gesture.

He might not be able to fall in love, but he would truly enjoy being wed to this woman in the time that they would have together. And he would do everything in his power to make sure that she enjoyed it too.

He would start with another kiss.


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