With the life of his sister and newborn nephew at stake, shapeshifter Ari is trapped in a castle and compelled to accept a situation he’d dreaded: he is forced to marry Lord Dagur, a man he’s never met. A man called “The Cruel.” A man he fears, and not just because he fancies someone else.
img alt="Rainbow Award Winner" height="175" src="http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu102/dreamspinnerpress/Award%20banners/WinnerMD.jpg" style="margin: 6px;" title="Rainbow Award Winner" width="175"
Winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards.
Fourth (tie): Best LGBT Cover – Illustration
Rage is a seasoned assassin, and he lives by his own rules. One of them forbids him to kill children, and at sixteen, his new target is definitely too young to die. Instead of breaking her neck, he kidnaps Lucinda of Babylon—and soon finds out the girl has the knack to annoy the hell out of him.
As if taking care of a stubborn girl isn’t enough of a burden, Lucinda’s best friend Keiran joins their escape. And falls in love with Rage. And totally ignores the fact that the man in black, who cannot and will not use magic even to save his own life, does not love him back.
Staying one step ahead of a madman who is desperate to end their lives, Rage and his unwilling companions travel to the Forbidden Monastery, a place where horrible magical experiments once took place. There are ghosts screaming for their blood and dangerous, wild magic is always ready to strike. At the end of the day, two people are dead, and Rage realizes with bitter clarity that his heart can break just as easily as it did when he was young.
Four years after Ari and Dagur’s forced marriage, not many know the man at the future king’s side. Dagur, the king’s nephew, is convinced secrecy is necessary for Ari’s safety. Ari, on the other hand, doesn’t mind that not many know of his existence, let alone what he looks like. But one day, everything changes. The king dies and Dagur is called to court—alone. When he’s attacked on the way, it’s up to Ari to find out who the enemy is. And if that’s not enough, he also has to figure out who wants the king dead, deal with a wayward healer, and find a missing fiancé.
Gabriel Jordan, part-time werewolf and full-time private investigator, should be living a happy life. Three years ago, he was a homeless thief; now he’s got a loving partner and a job he enjoys, he lives in a nice house, and he doesn’t have to worry about tomorrow. So why the sudden urge to cheat on Aleksei, the handsome and occasionally deceptive fae he loves? Why does Gabriel feel compelled to flee the life he’s built for himself?
Someone’s calling him. Someone’s looking for him. Someone holds his destiny in her hands. The portals to the hidden worlds have become unstable, even dangerous. Fear and madness linger in the dark. Panic and nightmares chase him, but Gabriel can’t fight an enemy he can’t see, and even turning into his wolf form may not be enough to save him.
Broken by the death of Keiran, Rage is lingering on the brink of suicide, but Lucinda refuses to accept that her best friend is gone. Stubborn as ever, she won’t allow Rage to sneak out of her life before he has solved a few critical issues. Together, they get back to the Forbidden Monastery, face the past, and find out Keiran is not as dead as he is supposed to be.
Their hope for peace and rest is not to be fulfilled. Keiran has to deal with the burden of unwanted magic his would-be killer has put on his shoulders. Lucinda has to face a murder trial, and Rage needs to seek out old allies in order to sort out the mess they are in.
They have to tread carefully in the empress’s city, a place humming with political obstacles and filled with plotting lords, grieving mothers, and one very crazy monk. The threesome stumbles upon a scheme to start a large-scale war and somehow must find a way to foil the plans. Slowly Rage comes to the realization that sometimes even the most important rules must be broken to save an entire kingdom.