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Kimberly Loth Books

The Dragon Kings Book Twenty-Two

The Dragon Kings Book Twenty-Two

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 74 reviews

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With Pierre dead, the guardians are in chaos. Several rise to take his place as leader, but Isa doesn’t trust any of them. She tries to force Drew into the role, but behind the scenes, they refuse to listen to him.
Liam needs to leave to hunt down the wizard, but there is no way he’s leaving Isa in the hands of the enemy. He mutinies and brings Drew and a few others with him.
But with the guardians divided, Isa is in even more danger….


Synopsis

With Pierre dead, the guardians are in chaos.

Several rise to take his place as leader, but Isa doesn’t trust any of them. She tries to force Drew into the role, but behind the scenes, they refuse to listen to him.

Liam needs to leave to hunt down the wizard, but there is no way he’s leaving Isa in the hands of the enemy.

He mutinies and brings Drew and a few others with him.

But with the guardians divided, Isa is in even more danger…

First Chapter

Isa’s feelings were a jumbled mess. Grace stood frozen, staring at her like Isa was a bomb waiting to go off. Maybe she was. This was a development she could’ve never foreseen.

Isa’s lungs constricted, and she could hardly breathe. She gripped the edge of the dressing table and caught a glimpse of her very pale face. Grace stood behind her, hairbrush in hand, her face equally white.

Isa couldn’t have Grace in the room right now. She had to think, and she couldn’t do that with Grace watching over her. The betrayal rocked her right to the core. How could Grace keep this from her? And Grace told Liam of all people, but she didn’t trust Isa. Isa’s chest tightened, and she was certain she would burst into tears at any moment.

“Get out.” She pointed to the door.

“But your hair.” Grace spoke in a soft voice, clutching at the hairbrush.

“Liam can finish it.”

He chuckled nervously. “Not sure I can.”

Isa stood and stalked toward Grace. “I don’t want a backstabbing wizard in my room. Get out.”

Grace recoiled as though Isa had slapped her. She dropped the brush on the dressing table and rushed from the room.

Isa didn’t mean it. They were the wrong words. What she really wanted to say was, “Why didn’t you trust me?” But her throat closed up, and she had to send Grace out of here before she lost it.

Isa stared at the door that Grace just raced through. A few tears slid down her cheeks. She wiped at them and squeezed her eyes shut, trying to pull herself together. Her very best friend in the whole world kept a secret she should’ve shared. A secret that changed everything. Wizards were feared by everyone, but Grace should have trusted her. Grace knew Isa loved her, and yet she kept this from her.

“That wasn’t very nice,” Liam said, his voice laced with disappointment. How dare he judge her.

She scowled at him. He knew all along. She was nearly as angry with him as she was at Grace.

“She’s a wizard. And you knew.” Isa couldn’t help the sharpness of her tone.

“I did.” He smirked at her. Oh, she wanted to slap that smirk right off his face, but she didn’t. Because the truth of the situation suddenly pressed in on her. Grace didn’t say anything because she was afraid of Isa. Why in the king’s name would she ever think that Isa would hurt her?

Isa ground her teeth, trying to find her bearings. Nothing made sense anymore, and Liam’s flippant attitude wasn’t helping.

She sank onto the chair at her dressing table. She had no clue what to do about Grace but should’ve seen this coming. Missy had all but told her, but the thought that Grace could be a wizard never occurred to her.

Grace never did anything wizardly. She was just her lady-in-waiting and best friend. She trusted Grace beyond anything, but Isa couldn’t believe she was one of them. If Isa were being honest, that wasn’t what bothered her. She didn’t want Grace to be a wizard, and they’d have to figure out the magic stuff later. However, Grace should’ve told Isa about this years ago.

Liam knelt in front of her, and she turned her face away so he couldn’t see how upset she was.

“I should kick you out too,” she muttered.

He reached for her and pulled her close, wiping a stray tear away with his thumb. She thought she’d gotten them all.

“But you won’t because you love me.”

She wiggled out of his embrace and stood in front of him, her arms taut at her sides and her fists clenched. If she relaxed, she’d lose it. “No. Because I need you to protect me.” She perched on the edge of her chair at the dressing table, her fists still tight in her lap. “Can you do a braid?”

He raised an eyebrow. “I can honestly say I’ve never done that in my life.” He shouldn’t be so cavalier right now. She’d basically found out that Grace wasn’t who she thought and that Isa was a horrible person because, otherwise, Grace would’ve told her.

Isa scowled and reached back and gave herself a sloppy braid. She was used to feeling betrayed—by both Liam and Pierre—but this was something else altogether. Grace was supposed to be her best friend, and best friends don’t hide who they truly are from each other.

Honestly, the disappointment was stronger than the anger. Grace should trust her like she trusted Grace, but that obviously wasn’t the case. And perhaps Grace was keeping other big secrets from her.

Maybe Isa didn’t know Grace at all. Her eyes stung with tears, but she brushed them away. 

Liam had flung himself onto the bed, so he couldn’t see her face.

Well, that boy was in for a rude awakening tonight. She took three deep breaths to compose herself. Then she faced him.

“You’re not sleeping there,” she said.

He put his hands behind his head and gave her his best grin, the one she fell for more often than not, but it wouldn’t work on her today.

“Come on, Isa, you know you want to snuggle.” He patted her blankets and blinked his puppy dog eyes.

She ripped a pillow off the bed and threw it onto the couch. “Not tonight, I don’t.” She pointed at the couch. “You’re sleeping there.”

He grumbled as he climbed off the bed. At least, he was cooperating. “For what it’s worth, I’ve been trying to get her to tell you for weeks.”

“I don’t care.”

She slid into bed and punched at her pillows to fluff them up. This was usually Grace’s job. Not that Isa cared if she had plump pillows or not, but it was one more reminder of Grace’s place in her life.

Grace was Isa’s favorite person in the whole world.

Yet, she didn’t trust Isa.

That hurt worse than a knife to the chest.

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