Published: 20th September 2016
Author: Deborah Cooke
Once, in the Kingdom of Incendium, there were twelve princesses of the realm, each a dragon shifter. Each fiery and passionate. Each possessed of an appetite for pleasure that only her destined mate can satisfy. Twelve men are expected in Incendium, each with special powers of his own, each with the gift to claim one dragon princess’s heart forever.
Engaged to Prince Urbanus of Regalia, Gemma knows that her fiancé ordered the assassination of her best friend—but has been told that he’s her HeartKeeper. Caught between her destiny and her moral duty, she decides to take vengeance upon Urbanus after the wedding night. Gemma’s not counting on more dark revelations about Urbanus, much less his beguiling charm. Alone in his palace, Gemma can only rely upon herself to ensure her survival—or can she trust the mysterious stranger who pledges to aid her, for reasons unknown?
Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book set on another planet. You have Regalia and its sister planet Incendium where the dragons rule. Well it’s time to see how Gemma’s plan of revenge for her murdered friend Arista plays out. She might have a plan but Urbanus is a sneak and has a few of his own, ones she won’t see coming. Good job she gets a helping hand from a friendly toad then isn’t it? One only we know the true name and nature of – Venero.
It seems years ago an astrologer told Gemma that she would marry the future King of Regalia and he would not only be the carrier of the seed but also her HeartKeeper. She might have been concerned when her sister Drakina was set to marry Cantos, the first-born son of Queen Arcana, but well we all know how that turned out. The second in line was Urbanus but from knowing what he had done with the assassination of her best friend you can’t believe it to be true. It seems not everything is as it seems though but somehow everything played out just as it was meant to. With a little hop along the way.
So Gemma’s plan is simple enough. Thinking that the astrologer can’t be wrong she means to marry Urbanus, let him get her pregnant, as he is meant to be the carrier of the seed, and then kill him in his sleep. Leaving before anyone is the wiser. Helps that he had a honeymoon home of sorts built away from prying eyes. The stories of magic that Regalia holds and how Queen Arcana is meant to have passed gifts to each of her sons doesn’t cause too much concern at the start but it seems she should have held more faith in it as it could be her undoing.
Venero has a plan to be returned back to human. That plan is to get the help of who he perceives to be the airhead of a bride that has married his twin Urbanus. He can think of no other reason why someone of sound mind would do so, even if her King asked her to. His opinion isn’t changed when he sees her for the first time as she comes giddily into the room he’s hiding in. That is until she is alone and her whole persona changes in a second. He can tell with one look that she is different and has the overwhelming need to help and warn her of what his brother is really capable of. Well it seems she knows he’s not someone to be trusted but doesn’t know much about magic and spells. So it’s not good when Urbanus does a slight of the hand to cast one on her. Seems Venero needs to lend a hand, or more precisely hop, to help her out this time. Crashing into a few things so his brother is knocked out for the moment seems to work but he still needs to get Gemma to safety. Yes he wants to use her for his own reasons but feels a need to protect her more, something that unsettles him.
Escape is what’s needed for Gemma, her palver cat like creature and hop along friend, one who doesn’t give her a name to start with. Spells and trouble follow if they don’t run fast enough. Gemma is still a little confused by it all and can’t shake the feeling that her heartbreaker and carrier of the seed are closer than she thinks. Seems her dragon can sense him but because of the spell is trapped from fighting. Not good when that’s what she was looking for.
Seems Gemma and Venero need each other to get their end goal but could there be more that binds them together? The secret of why he was cursed being aired might shed some light and also see forth to have the future told correct. If a princess kisses a frog her prince shall arise but what of kissing a toad? Not much from what Gemma thinks but then could that be the answer to all she really seeks?
Mystery and intrigue with many vying for different outcomes with what they seek. Got to love these dragon princesses, as they are a force to be reckoned with. You do not want to get in their way and certainly want them on your side. Something Venero is learning and starting to like. I liked the funny friendship that came with the two of them and the passion you know will follow, something else these dragons are known for. Well they do have fire so can get very heated. Liked the flow of this one right from the start and keeps you hooked till the end.
5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.