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Kimberly Loth Books

The Dragon Kings Book Ten

The Dragon Kings Book Ten

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Liam finally gets settled into life at the castle and while he doesn’t trust anyone—save Grace—he’s not on edge either. That is until someone tries to kill Isa. Now finding the one who is framing her becomes even more important.

But he risks alienating everyone he’s come to befriend.Meanwhile, back in Yellowstone, Sid is getting anxious to have his son return. The council is ready to attack and Jens is critical of his stalling.

On an outing to distract Jens, Aspen lets out a big secret and Jens is livid. When Jens threatens them all, Sid questions everything he knows about the danger Liam is in….

Synopsis

Liam finally gets settled into life at the castle and while he doesn’t trust anyone—save Grace—he’s not on edge either.

That is until someone tries to kill Isa. Now finding the one who is framing her becomes even more important. But he risks alienating everyone he’s come to befriend.

Meanwhile, back in Yellowstone, Sid is getting anxious to have his son return. The council is ready to attack and Jens is critical of his stalling. On an outing to distract Jens, Aspen lets out a big secret and Jens is livid.

When Jens threatens them all, Sid questions everything he knows about the danger Liam is in….

First Chapter

Liam dropped the dagger and put his hands up. The tip of Isa’s sword bit into his back. “This is not what it looks like.”

He tried to keep his breathing even. She could put the sword through him if she was as deadly as her people claimed. He swallowed. He had to play this right.

“It looks like my guardians were correct about you.” Her voice was low and deadly. Maybe he was wrong about her. He’d really thought she was a good person.

“Can I explain?”

“You better, quickly.”

He shifted forward and turned around to face her. This wasn’t much better as the sword pointed straight at his heart. She stood tall and confidently. He had no doubt that if she chose, she’d run that sword right through him. Her angry eyes penetrated him, made more visible with her hair pulled away from her face. His breath caught. He’d always found her beautiful, but this was different. This woman was a warrior, not a queen.

“I got into a fight with one of your guardians. I need to be able to protect myself. I know you threatened them, but they aren’t afraid of you.”

“You have no marks on you. You’re lying.” She did not move the sword at all. He thought about pushing it away, but he was afraid he might lose his arms. He spotted Missy behind Isa but kept his focus on the woman with the sword.

“It wasn’t a long fight, and they got me in the gut, not the face.” He hoped she wouldn’t go asking the guardians about the fight because this was a lie, and he needed her to believe.

Liam watched her eyes. He could see her thinking. He could try to convince her that he wasn’t lying, but it might be better to let her think it through. She threatened her guards, which meant she didn’t trust them completely either.

“Who did you fight with?” she finally asked.

“I can’t remember his name. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m not comfortable wandering your castle unarmed. I want to carry a dagger. Just in case.”

She lowered her sword a little. “I don’t want you carrying a weapon no one can see, but perhaps you are right about being armed. Do you know your way around a sword?”

“Yes, very well.”

“Fine. Put the dagger away and choose a sword instead. If you are to be armed, everyone will know it. Nothing hidden.”

He let out a breath of relief. He preferred the dagger, but he’d take the sword and live to see another day.

“Thank you.”

She gave a stiff nod. “Know this. If you plan on hurting me, I am a master at swordplay. You won’t win.”

He felt a grin forming on his face. “Yeah, perhaps we should spar and see who’s better because I’m pretty skilled myself.”

“Pick your sword, pretty boy, and then you can walk me to my room. We’ll see about sparring. I think you will be sorely disappointed.” She smirked at him.

He perused the room, still fully aware that Isa had not put her weapon away. He selected a long sword he could wield with one hand if he wanted. He much preferred short swords, but if he would be carrying it in the open, the long sword looked more threatening. It had a blue hilt and glimmered in the light coming in from the upper windows. He still found it odd that it was light in the middle of the night.

He sheathed the sword and strapped the belt around his waist. He’d never carried one like this before, and it would take some getting used to.

He followed Isa out the door, and they walked quietly to her room. Missy trotted next to him.

Told you she was one of the good guys.

You didn’t say much when she had a sword to my back.

I knew she wouldn’t hurt you.

Liam didn’t though. He wanted to say something to Isa, anything, but he felt like he should wait for her to speak. He was a guest in her home, and she was the queen. Sure, his dad was a king, but here in this castle, things felt different. The people here revered her, and they treated her like royalty. His dad liked things informal.

He’d never been up to Isa’s room, and he wondered why she brought him here. She stopped just before she opened the door. He glimpsed Baden hovering above her head. Liam shook his head. Baden should be out spying on the guardians, but instead, he was following Liam. They would have to have a talk about that later.

“Thank you for walking me back. I don’t like wandering the halls late at night on my own.”

He wanted to bring up that she had been on her own when she found him in the weapons room, but he kept that to himself.

“You’re very welcome. I will see you tomorrow at breakfast.” He gave a small bow and turned to go. She opened the door, and Liam heard the unmistakable click of a crossbow, a sound he’d been trained to hear by Felix.

He dove at Isa.

They landed hard, and Isa’s head cracked on the floor. “Dragon’s Teeth!” she yelled.  

Liam was more concerned about the crossbow than her head. He jumped up and put a hand on his sword, ready to fight the one who wielded it. But no one was there.

A gleaming black crossbow perched on a stand. Liam stepped toward it and glanced at where it shot. A bolt was lodged between two stones in the hallway.

Isa stood, rubbing the back of her head.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

She nodded and came to where he stood examining the crossbow.

Isa circled it, concern etched on her face. Then she snatched the crossbow off the stand and threw it into the fire. She marched into the hall, wrenched the bolt out of the wall, and tossed it into the flames as well. Her eyes blazed.

“Should I go get Pierre?” he asked her. He had no idea what to make of this. If he hadn’t been here, she’d be dead.

She shook her head violently. “Don’t tell anyone about this. Swear on the queen’s name that you will keep my secret.”

“Why?” How could he keep this to himself? She was in danger. The guardians were supposed to be her protectors. They couldn’t do that if they didn’t know about this.

“Because they’ll assume it’s you, for one thing. And for another, I don’t want to get locked back up. Whoever is after me can get into my room, so there is nothing the guardians can do that will protect me. I’m grateful you were here with me. I will be more cautious on my own. Swear.”

“Isa, I worry for your safety.” There was no way he could keep this a secret.

“I can protect myself. Promise me you won’t say anything.” Her eyes pleaded with him.

He didn’t like this. Sure, he’d saved her life now, but he was just one person. “I won’t tell your guardians.” But he would be telling someone. Someone was trying to kill the queen and make it look like it was him.

He stared at the crossbow in the fire. “What does this mean?” he asked.

“It means there is an assassin in the castle.”

He was the only new person here, so whoever the assassin was, they’d been here for a very long time, just biding their time.

Isa might not feel a need to do anything, but she hadn’t been trained as an assassin. He had.

And he knew that the assassin wouldn't stop until his mission was complete.

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