Updated: Jan 22
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated
Novella 2 of 3 in A Wicked Trilogy
As Caden and Brighton's attraction grows
despite the odds stacked against a happily ever after, they must work together to stop an Ancient fae from releasing the Queen, who wants nothing more than to see Caden become the evil Prince once feared by fae and mortals alike.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Adult Emotional
The King by Jennifer L Armentrout is the second of three novellas set after the events of A Wicked Trilogy. The King starts up a couple of weeks after the end of The Prince, where it is revealed that Caleb has ascended, and is now king of the Summer Court. Despite this, the attraction grows between the forbidden pair as they try to stop an Ancient fae from both their past from releasing the Queen from the Otherworld.
This book was CRAZY.
I literally couldn't put it down. Currently suffering after only getting a couple of hours of sleep.
So much happens in this novella, and I can't say ANY of it, because it will spoil it for you. All I can say, is that it is action packed, emotionally gripping, and well written. The story grabs onto you right away, and will not let you go until you finish. It ends in a cliffhanger, which I think Jennifer Armentrout takes pleasure in.
The most important character in this book is Brighton herself. Without going into a lot of detail, she goes through something horrific for a long time, and it changes her. She is probably the strongest character in the series, and that's saying something. Caden also goes through a bit of an arc, even though we don't see him too much. By the end of the book, he seems pretty determined to ... spoiler alert, sort of ... be with Brighton, and screw the consequences.
For other characters, the big bad, Aric, is probably one of the most psychotic characters I have read to date. He truly disgusted me. Ren and Ivy are back from their special mission, and I was slightly disappointed in their reaction to finding out Brighton has been hunting. That being said, it's nice to see them again, married and happy. We get less of Tink. WAY less. He ends up going to Florida with his boyfriend Prince Fabian for a couple of months, and his humor is greatly missed.
Wow. This is one of the hardest reviews I have ever written, mostly due to the fact that so much happens in a freaking novella, that I can't say anything and not spoil it for you. I mean, look at the book description above. It barely says ANYTHING to what goes on in this little book. Seriously, you need to read this novella series. The King pulls you in, and I won't be surprised if, like me, you read it from cover to cover.
From here on out there are spoilers, so don't read below unless you have already read the book!
Top 3 Favorite Moments
Caden promising that he wouldn't let Brighton get herself killed
Caden and Brighton's fight that turned into some hot sex
Brighton killing Aric
(bonus) Caden, Ivy and Ren finding Brighton
(bonus) Caden choosing to be with Brighton when she is ready, instead of another fae, no matter the consequences
(bonus) Brighton finding out she is pregnant
Where to Buy
Tink: "The black knee-highs would complete your I-charge-a-lot-for-sex look."
Caden: "You want to know about Aric. I think you're being this way because of us."
Brighton: "There's no us."
Caden: "You're right."
The sharp slice of pain returned, cutting through me as if he'd jammed a knife into my chest. His nostrils flared, and he took a step toward me.
Damn it, he was sensing what I was feeling. There were a lot of things that annoyed me when it came to Caden, but this was probably in the top three. The King looked away, jaw hard.
Caden: "I'm -"
Caden: "I'm sorry."
Brighton: "I don't care."
Caden: "But you do."
Brighton: "And that's the problem, right? You know, I do have something to say to you. You led me on. Bit for what reason? That's what I don't get. What did you have to gain by pretending you ... wanted me? Were you just bored and decided to mess with me head?"
Caden: "That was not it."
A deep, hidden part of me wanted to be hunted by him.
And that was so wrong.
Caden: "Go home. There's nothing here for you."
I flinched at the double meaning.
Brighton: "Don't tell me what to do."
He folded his arms
Caden: "I'm not. I'm giving you a choice."
I laughed as I mimicked his stance, crossing my arms
Brighton: "Really? Sure doesn't sound like it."
Caden: "Oh, but it is. I'm telling you to go home, and I'm giving you the choice to do so all by yourself. Or, I could pick you up, put you in my car, and drive you there."
My mouth dropped open.
Brighton: "I would love to see you try to do that. Seriously."
His head cocked to the side, and then he unfolded his arms, taking a step forward.
I threw out my hand
Brighton: "If you so much as touch me, I will cut off your nuts and stab you in the face."
Caden: "Damn. That's aggressive."
Brighton: "I'm feeling really, really aggressive."
Caden: "Hmm. Normally when I touch you, you want to do other things to my balls."
My lips parted on a sharp inhale. A dozen different things I could do to his balls danced like really weird sugarplums in my head, and none of them included kicking him.
Then I saw the way his jaw had softened and noticed the curve to his lips. He was ... amused. Fuck that.
Brighton: "You know what? You're right. There was a whole lot os things I wanted to do to them. Kiss them. Lick them. Suck them."
His humor vanished as his gaze sharpened on me. An almost predatory glint filled his eyes, making them luminous.
Brighton: "I wanted to get so familiar with them that we were on a first-name basis. But that was before. Not anymore. Now, I'd rather cut them off."
Caden: "You sure about that, sunshine?"
Brighton: "He's done terrible things to you. To me. He's dangerous, and he's evil. But I've always known that about him. I know that I -"
Caden: "That you will most likely die seeking vengeance? A slow, most definitely agonizing death? Is revenge truly worth that?"
Brighton: "I think you of all people know the answer to that."
A muscle flexed along his jaw
Caden: "Brighton, please -"
Brighton: "There's nothing you can say. Nothing you can do -"
My words ended on a sharp inhale as he moved too fast for me to track. He was suddenly over me, his arms caging me in against the headboard. I inhaled, drowning in his citrusy scent. My heart thumped against my ribs as his warm breath coasted over my lips.
Caden: "I won't do it."
Brighton: "Do what?"
I whispered, shivering as he lifted a hand, placing his palm against my cheek.
Caden: "I won't do it."
He repeated, sliding his thumb over my lower lip. I gasped. His hand slipped down my throat and over the bare skin of my shoulder.
Caden: "I too am capable of just about anything. And I will not let you get yourself killed."
My eyes flew open, but the King was already gone.
Brighton: "You son of a -"
Tanner: "Ms. Jussier. He may not be your King, but you will respect him while you're here."
Brighton: "And when I'm not here? Can I disrespect him then?"
Ivy: "You're out there, but yourself, without anyone knowing what you're doing?"
Brighton: "Obviously, the King of all douchebags knows."
Brighton: "Did you forget how to button a shirt?"
Caden: "Actually, I was going to change it. However, I was interrupted by someone banging on my door like a madwoman."
Brighton: "Oh, I am definitely a madwoman. How could you do that?"
Caden: "Do what?"
Brighton: "Don't pretend like you have no idea why I'm here."
Caden: "Is it because I outed you? For your own safety?"
Brighton: "My own safety?'
Caden: "There seems to be an echo in here."
Brighton: "There's about to be an ass-kicking in here."
Brighton: "Oh my God. Do you think this is amusing?"
Caden: "How mad would you be if I said yes?"
My nostrils flared
Caden: "Very mad, I see. I can't help it."
A full smile appeared.
Caden: "You're ... adorable when you're mad."
I stomped my foot
Caden: "See. Just there. It's cute."
Brighton: "I am going to physically harm you."
Caden: "Verses mentally?"
Caden: "You left me no choice. You would not stop. I thought maybe they could talk some sense into you."
Brighton: "Guess what? They didn't."
I smirked when his jaw tightened.
Brighton: "And I'm going to repeat this for, hopefully, the last time. You do not get to tell me what I can and cannot do. Even if you and I were thing, which we're not, you still would not get to tell me what to do. I don't know who you think you are -"
Caden: "The King?"
Brighton: " - but you have no say over what I do. Stay out of my way and out of my life. I mean it. There is no reason for you to interfere."
The king looked away, a muscle thrumming in his temple. Having said my piece, I started toward the door
Caden: "Has it ever occurred to you that I am trying to protect you? That I'm trying to keep you safe?"
Brighton: "No. It hasn't. For a multitude of obvious reason. And besides that, I don't need you to keep me safe or to protect me."
Caden: "Everyone needs someone to protect them."
He tipped back his head, his eyes closing.
Brighton: "Even you?"
Caden: "Even me. I do not want to see harm come to you. I do not have to be with you to want that."
Caden: "If you knew that someone you ... you looked fondly upon was doing something that would surely lead to their demise, would you not try to stop them?"
Brighton: "Are you saying you look fondly upon me, King?"
His head tilted, and then he looked away.
I laughed, but the sound lacked any real humor.
Brighton: "Yeah, okay. But to answer your question, I wouldn't stop you, even if I knew it was dangerous."
The King's gaze cut back to mine
Caden: "But you'd still look fondly upon me."
I gave him a tight-lipped smile.
Brighton: "No. Because it would get you out of my hair."
Caden: "Now, Brighton, you and I both know that's a lie. If something were to happen to me, you'd be devastated."
Brighton: "You value yourself a little too highly."
Caden: "And you don't value your life enough."
Brighton: "I've said what I needed to say. You don't have to lie that I'm out there, but you can't stop me. If it ends with me getting myself killed, then so be it. And I don't say that because I don't value my life. I say that because at least I would die taking back what they stole from me."
Caden: "I can ... I can respect that. But I won't."
Brighton: "You won't?"
He shook his head as he approached me
Caden: "I will watch you. I will have others watching you. Every time you step foot on that street in some silly disguise or near any location where Neal has been sighted, I will intervene. I will become your shadow, always present. That is what I'll do."
Brighton: 'You ... you are ..."
Caden: "Determined to keep you alive? Yes."
Brighton: "You are out of your mind!"
Caden: "You drive me insane."
He growled, sliding his hand down my throat
Caden: "And even worse, I think I like it."
Brighton: "There is something wrong with you."
Caden: "You haven't been with someone in a while, and I wasn't ... particularly gentle."
Brighton: "It was . .. you were perfect."
Caden: "What? Is that a compliment? From you? The same person who threatened to cut off my balls?"
Brighton: "Can I take that back?"
Caden: "The cutting off my balls part?"
Brighton: "No. The compliment part."
Brighton: "You don't think you deserve to be King, so you? Because of what you did while under the Queen's control."
Caden: "There are a lot of things I don't think I deserve because of that, but the kingdom is not one of them."
Brighton: "But -?"
Caden: "But, this?"
His hand slid around to my ass. He squeezed, wringing a gasp from me.
Caden: "I don't think I deserve this either. Knowing that hasn't stopped me."
He shifted suddenly, and I felt his hardness against my hip a moment before he rolled me onto my stomach.
Caden: "And knowing what I do, it isn't going to stop me now."
My fingers dug into the sheets as I felt his mouth on my spine. He trailed a path of kisses down to my ass before he lifted my hips.
Caden: "I'm selfish. I don't think you realize that.
Caden: "What else did they take from you that night?"
Brighton: "Ivy and Ren don't think I'm capable enough to be out there hunting. Like, at all. Not even run-of-the-mill fae. They just want me to be the Brighton I was before, one who was content to be on call doing research. I was happy that way."
Caden: "And that changed?"
Brighton: "Yeah. They took that. My contentment. My happiness with the way things were. I saw value in my purpose before, and they took that, too. And they stole what I thought I knew about myself."
Caden: "Were you happy before? Truly?"
I opened my mouth, but I found I couldn't answer that question
Caden: "You were afraid. You were afraid of me before. You helped my brother, but you were afraid of him, too. Even Tink. You blended then. Or at least tried to. You didn't want to be seen. You just wanted to exist in your own corner of your world. Afterward, you were no longer afraid. You stopped trying to blend in. Now, you're seen, and you're heard. You stand up for yourself. You're living. They did take a lot from you, Brighton. Your mother. Your contentment. But it also seems you gained a lot. Not from them, but from yourself."