by L. Penelope
(The Bliss Wars, #1)
Publication date: March 31st 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
For Talia, death is only the beginning of survival…
When a tragic accident cuts my lonely life short, instead of heaven or hell, I’m stolen away to a terrifying city of warring shifter clans—the Nimali and the Fai. The Nimali mistake me for their missing princess. Her father, the dragon king, is identical to my own. But in this world, he dotes on me with the love and affection I always craved. And in a land with no tolerance for outsiders, feigning amnesia and impersonating shifter royalty may be the only way to survive.
For Ryin, falling in love is the worst kind of betrayal…
As a Fai warrior in captivity, I’m forced to serve my enemy even as I plot their destruction. The lost princess returned much changed, now the heat between us crackles irresistibly. While helping her heal using my magical talents, I begin to question what I thought I knew about the Nimali. She remains as forbidden as ever, but she also might be the key to freedom for me and my people.
Caught between two enemy factions balancing on the knife-blade of annihilation, our lies are the only thing keeping us alive, but they just might be our undoing.
On top of the wall, silence reigns as the soldiers wait for word. We all stare toward the ground, anticipation a dark cloud suspended over us as sharp eyes scan the gloom for either a member of the scouting team that went out an hour ago or a Revoker, red eyes flashing and fangs covered in gristle and blood.
The first person who runs into view is tall and familiar and very much Nimali. His armor is blood spattered, but he appears uninjured. Others sigh audibly in relief, but my jaw tightens. Prince Shad. I wouldn’t have minded if he’d been grievously injured. My daimon silently chastises me for the unkindness, but I can’t help it. There are only two Nimali men who could have killed Dove, and he’s one of them. Until I’m certain it wasn’t him, I have to act like it was.
A bear and a lion are close behind him—part of the prince’s honor guard. The bear’s gait is hampered by a pronounced limp, though she still eats up the ground with long strides. Then my focus returns to the prince. He’s carrying something—someone—over his shoulder like a sack of beans. His bounding steps cross the distance easily, and then he’s at the rope ladder a soldier threw down. He climbs it with one arm while holding what I can see now is an injured woman.
Blood pours down her back from gashes that I’m sure were made by a Revoker’s claws. Her clothing is odd. A short, loose dress, oddly patterned and flimsy—I’ve never seen anything like it before, not on a Nimali or a Fai. Why anyone would go into No Man’s Land without battle armor is a mystery, but the woman is also barefoot. Begrudging respect bubbles up from my chest for the way the prince is able to negotiate the climb with that much dead weight, carried awkwardly. He could have shifted into his other form and flown up, but his own claws might have further injured her. And he is definitely treating her like something special.
The reason becomes clear when he finally gets to the top and one of the soldiers reaches out to help him with his burden. Prince Shad shakes his head and gently lays the woman down on her side, revealing her face.
I’m too far away to see at first, but when the soldiers in front of me gasp and immediately kneel, I get a glimpse. Princess Celena lies there, bloodied and battered. Her rich, chestnut skin is ashen, taking on an almost gray pallor. I’m frozen in place for a moment viewing her small form, her strange, tattered clothing, the odd way she’s braided her hair.
Then I’m shoved hard from behind, stumbling forward through the kneeling men and women.
“Where is the healer?” Prince Shad roars, but I’m already there, crouching down beside the princess. My daimon joins me seconds later, eager to fill me with its essence and lend me its healing power.
Celena’s back is ravaged, the wounds already bubbling with the poison from the Revoker’s talons. They look fresh, so it’s not too late to heal them if I’m quick about it. I hold out my hands and close my eyes, letting my daimon fully take over. Its energy flows through me, using my physical body as a conduit for its power.
Through my daimon, I sense the damage, the torn flesh and the toxins that have already entered her bloodstream. The healing energy pulls the poison out, a sticky black substance that leaks onto the stone of the wall. The flesh, layers of muscle and skin, is knit back together until there isn’t so much as a scar left. I silently thank my daimon and it retreats. Then I open my eyes.
Prince Shad is staring down at his sister. When the blue light of my power retreats, his dark eyes flick up to mine.
“I removed the poison,” I tell him.
“All of it?” I nod. His lips flatten into a grim line. “We’re taking her back to the Citadel. Come with me; the king will want to be sure.”
L. Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of fantasy and paranormal romance. Equally left and right-brained, she studied filmmaking and computer science in college and sometimes dreams in HTML. After living on both coasts, she settled in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents. Sign up for new release information and giveaways on her website: http://www.lpenelope.com.
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