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Series: Dark Kings #18
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 25, 2020
"I knew what I wanted. And nothing was going to stop me."
King of Dragon Kings. Driven, ruthless, shrewd. The weight of survival for Constantine and his brethren has pushed him to set aside his own yearnings—for now. He’s the most powerful of all Dragon Kings, and Con will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who dares to threaten his existence.
For years, Con has hidden his pain—his desperation—for there is one smoldering beauty that he craves above all else, even if he feels he doesn’t deserve her. However, his enemies are at every corner. There is no one left to trust. But none of that matters anymore: There is only one thing that Con wants. With this one woman by his side, he can fight for the freedom of his fellow men-in-arms. All Con has to do is get her to surrender her heart…and be his for all time.
USA TODAY bestseller!
Amazon September Editor Top Pick Romance!
"...when the book hit my front porch, I was quickly lost in probably the best storytelling of the whole series, and that is saying a lot." - Fresh Fiction
4.5 Stars! "INFERNO is an exhilarating conclusion to a spellbinding and fascinating series. I am relieved this is not the end of the dragon kings." - Romance Junkies
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I knew what I wanted. And nothing was going to stop me.
From his earliest memory, Constantine had been mesmerized by the beauty of the world. It didn’t matter where he went, every inch of it was stunning. From the vast deserts full of sand, to the snow-covered peaks reaching high into the clouds. The grass that stretched endlessly from horizon to horizon, to the deep blue seas that constantly beckoned him to explore, and all the places in between.
Hot or cold. Wet or dry. He didn’t care. He loved the realm with every fiber of his being.
But not even that could compare to his devotion to the dragons.
His father had brought him from the cave the day after he’d learned to fly and told Con to look up. As soon as Con did, the sun was blocked by the numerous Golds that had taken to the sky to honor their new King.
Con’s father joined them in their flight. Not wanting to be left out, Con eagerly flapped his small wings and found a current. His mother remained beside him, helping Con reach his father so the three of them could fly together.
In that instant, in that very moment, Con knew that he would be the King of Golds one day. He didn’t know how or when, or even where the thought had come from, but he was certain
Years passed. Good years, and not-so-good years. He found friends, trained hard, and soaked up every bit of wisdom he could from those around him. The more knowledge he gained, the more he wanted.
Before he knew it, his mother was gone. It was just him and his father. Con grieved deeply, but during that time, he felt the first stirrings that he was meant for something more. It didn’t take him long to realize what it was—he was to be the King of Golds.
Con said nothing to his father. Instead, he began watching the current King. He did it for as long as he could until Con could no longer ignore the insistence of the magic within him that demanded he claim what he had been chosen for.
He and his father flew over their territory to watch the sunrise as they had for many years. As they reached the spot where they always turned to head back, Con instead remained on course and went straight to the King without telling his father what he planned.
The King had seen Con watching him. He was a smart King, a good King. And he knew.
The battle was savage, violent. The King was ruthless.
Constantine knew the magic had chosen him. He trusted that and didn’t give up, no matter how deep his wounds or how badly he ached.
By the time Con reared back to deliver the killing blow, the King was ready for it. Con saw it in his eyes. Even so, Con hesitated. He didn’t want to kill. He loved life and protected every living thing around him. And he remembered flying in recognition of this very King so long ago.
It appalled him to have to take a life to become King.
“It’s our way,”
Con closed his eyes as he ended the dragon’s life to become the King of Golds.
When he lifted his lids, his father stood before him, pride shining in his eyes. After rejoicing for a moment, Con made sure that they gave the previous King a proper burial, a memorial as he deserved.
The next years were busy, but every morning, Con made sure to meet his father for their flight. Yet there was no denying that his sire was lonely and still grieved for his mother, deeply.
One morning, his father hadn’t wanted to end their flight at their normal time. Despite the duties awaiting Con, he remained with his sire for the rest of the day. By the time the sun had set, his father’s soul had joined his mother’s.
Leaving Con alone.
Except he wasn’t totally alone. He had friends. The first to visit was Ulrik. They didn’t say a word. Simply sat in silence. It was enough that Ulrik was there. The brother he’d never had.
Ulrik was the only one who knew that Con wanted to be King of Dragon Kings. While others were finding mates and having families, Con had turned his focus on his clan. They were the strongest of the dragons, the ones others sought to have as allies. Con strengthened them more, tightening bonds between friends, and creating new allies.
When the day came that he felt the call of the magic inside him once more, he knew what it meant. This time, he was prepared. He’d spent his years as King of Golds, watching the King of Kings. So, when the magic pushed him, he didn’t hesitate to challenge their leader.
And when he stood over the fallen dragon and watched as every Dragon King on the realm stood before him and lowered their heads in deference, he knew this was his destiny.
Life was good. Very good. As well as extremely busy, but Con loved every minute of it.
“You have females trying to get your attention,”
Con turned his head from watching dragons train as Ulrik landed beside him. “I’m aware.”
“Do none of them appeal to you?”
Con sighed. Ulrik had asked this many times, and quite frankly, Con was tired of answering it. “You know they doona.”
“I’m hoping you’ll finally tell me why.”
Con looked toward the Dragonwood. “Come with me.”
He flew off with Ulrik right behind him. Con didn’t stop until he found the clearing in the wood where the magic felt the strongest to him.
Once they landed, he faced Ulrik and said, “I can remember being just days old when I joined my parents in flight to celebrate our new King.”
“Aye. You’ve told me about it,”Ulrik said, his obsidian dragon eyes observant.
“What I didna tell you was that, on that day, I knew I’d be King.”
“Most younglings want to be King.”
“I didna want it. I knew it. There’s a difference.”
“I see. And your current role?”
Con shrugged but didn’t look away. “What would you say if I told you that I also had a feeling some time ago that I would be King of Kings?”
“I know you’ve wanted it for some time. It was obviously meant to be yours.”
“Then I hope you will understand what I’m about to tell you. I will have a mate.”
Ulrik chuckled softly. “I sincerely hope so. There’s many a female dying for you to pick them.”
“It willna be a dragon.”
Ulrik’s smile died. “How is that possible?”
“I can no’ explain it. It’s just something I know. Here,” Con said and touched his chest where his heart was.
Ulrik blew out a breath. “Looks like we better prepare for the future, because if your mate isna a dragon, then something is coming.”