From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nicole Blanchard comes a new Beauty and the Beast retelling!
I had to mate a beast to save my kingdom.
Unlike the rest of my kind, I was unable to shift into an animal form rendering me ineligible for the throne I’d been raised to inherit.
I was banished to a temple to remain in isolation until the day would come for me to fulfill a promise.
A promise brokered by my family to protect our people from the growing threat from mortal humans: marry the last remaining dragon—a man so violent and untamed some say he killed his first mate in a fit of rage.
Was it possible for a man to be both a beast and beautiful?
Powerfully built, deadly handsome, and gifted with limitless magick and strength, my mate wanted for nothing.
Except an heir.
He believed I could provide him with a son and break the curse that infected all of shifter-kind.
I soon learned there were bigger worries than a dragon’s teeth. The real threat…was capturing his heart.
Deal with the Dragon is the first in a trilogy of paranormal fantasy novels with a fairytale retelling twist. It is complete at 65,000 words and may be read as a standalone.
“What about you, Elena? You could have stayed in the human temple, out of sight and out of mind and refused to be bound. You know the ceremony requires the agreement from both parties to prevent an unwilling union.”
I met his gaze straight on. “My father is ill, my brother’s position at court is tenuous at best, and my own life would be at stake unprotected. Either I accept you as a mate or fail my family again. There are no other options.”
For some reason, instead of infuriating him, my answer pleased him. Though there was no hint of it on his lips, his eyes seemed to smile. “Then we have an understanding,” he said with a nod as though my response answered all his questions.
I, however, was left with more questions than when I started. Servants appeared in the hall, their arms loaded with platters heavily laden with food. The scents of buttered vegetables and roast pig wafted throughout the hall. My mouth watered as the first course was served and wine poured. Even Lord Blaque’s presence didn’t dull my appetite.
The routine of food tasting was so ingrained I barely paid any mind to the men who were tasked with ensuring my food wasn’t poisoned. I didn’t know the identity of the castle guard who stepped forward to test my plate. He sipped my fresh glass of wine and tasted the course of roast pig and vegetables. When nothing happened, I took the glass of wine greedily, hoping to calm my nerves. As I brought it to my lips, I felt Lord Blaque tense beside me.
Before the wine could bathe my tongue, he ripped the goblet from my grasp, knocking the cup against my teeth and splitting my lip. Wine spilled, staining my dress and soaking my plate of food. I frowned at the ruined meal for a moment. Gasps went up from the tables closest to us and murmurs broke out.
Puzzled, I turned to Lord Blaque who’d gotten to his feet, his blue eyes brightening unnaturally as though he were filled with lightning. Recognition speared through me and before I knew it, I was on my feet and putting distance between us, reacting purely on instinct.
But he wasn’t focused on me. His gaze was on the guard who’d tasted my food. “Who sent you?” he demanded.
Confused, I glanced to the guard whose face had gone pure white. The first strains of unease trickled through me.
Lord Blaque vaulted over the high chair with staggering ease and slammed the guard to the ground with one hand on his throat. With his other, he reached for my goblet of wine and looked inside. A small swallow remained in the bottom. Beneath him, the guard gulped convulsively.
“Who sent you?” Lord Blaque repeated.
The guard could only shake his head. With his face set in an impassive mask, Lord Blaque brought my wine goblet to the guard’s lips and forced him to swallow. Within seconds, blood poured from the guard’s ears and nose. White froth bubbled from his lips.
Lord Blaque got to his feet and looked to me. “We complete the binding ceremony immediately,” he said. “Before the person who tried to assassinate you succeeds, and I bury my mate instead of bedding her.”
Marriage of Convenience, Beauty and the Beast retelling, Fated Mates, Romantasy, Dragon Shifter
Monsterf*****, Graphic sex and violence