by Raven Kennedy
Book 3 in the Plated Prisoner Series
King Midas made me the woman I am today. Notorious. Unattainable. His.
The thing about being confined is that you believe it’s to keep the bad out... Until you realize it’s about keeping you in.
I’m now in a strange kingdom surrounded by liars, with no allies of my own, but I won’t sit idly by and let myself wither. No, there’s something that’s bloomed from the pit of my repression. Something dark. Something angry.
But the last thing I expected was for my anger to call out to him. King Ravinger.
He’s sinister and powerful and entirely too seductive. I’ve learned my lesson with trusting manipulative kings, so why does my chest constrict every time he’s near? I need to tread carefully, or I’m at risk of losing much more than just my freedom.
Regret and revenge war inside of me, and I need to figure out a plan fast before I get tangled up in the schemes of kings and queens.
Because I won’t be caught in a cage again. No, this time, It’ll be me setting the trap... I just hope my heart comes out of this unscathed.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Adult Fantasy WHOA
Gleam is the third book in the Plated Prisoner series, and while once again having multiple POV's, the main character is Auren, who is now back in King Midas's clutches, after trusting that he would give her more freedom. Gleam starts off right where Glint ends, with Auren finding out that Commander Rip, the fae male she felt intense feelings for, is actually King Slade (aka King Rot). Reeling from this information, and heartbroken that the Midas she knew wasn't real, Auren starts laying down plans to become free. But with Midas's noose getting tighter, and her feelings for Slade getting stronger, will Auren be able to free herself from the intricate web she finds herself in? This series just keeps getting better and better. Why, you ask? Because Auren finally decides to be in control of her own life. Yes, she does have moments where she is forced to do things she doesn't want to, but she does it to further herself to her ultimate goal of freedom. The character development for Auren was once again superb. Her constant reflection of herself, and those around her, have her making decisions that she never would have thought of before, and makes her a more well rounded character for it. And the romance? We finally got it! And the smut - delicious. King Slade is a dirty talker, and I am all for it.
Gleam, while a bit slow at some parts, really picks up pace in the end, and leaves the reader stunned with an epic cliffhanger. While I was questioning earlier one if this series was for me, after ending Gleam, I can't wait to read the next book, released next year.
Auren deciding it's time to "play the game"
Auren's ribbons wrapping around Slade against Auren's will
Slade catching Auren checking out his ass
Slade catching Auren when she collapses on the stairs, and proceeds to carry her to her room
My own good
"I'm choosing me"
Auren not bowing to Midas at the dinner
Slade catching Auren in his bed and all the glorious sex
Auren accidently telling Judd and the others that she has intimate knowledge of where Rip/Slade has spikes on his body
Auren visiting the army camp
Auren standing with Slade and his Wrath
Auren finding her edge.
Slade saving Auren
Auren: "You self-centered ass. You stand there and talk about how you couldn't trust me?"
Slade: "Careful. There's a saying about rocks and glass houses."
Auren: "I don't live in glass, I live in gold. So I can throw whatever damn rocks I want."
I don't know if Midas's eyes are on me, and I don't care. He's seen my naked body many times. I'm far more protective of what lies beneath my skin. What's inside of me - my mind, my heart, my spirit - those are the things I want to keep from his sight.
Auren: "By all mean, go do your super important duty of wall-watching, Captain. You're blocking my view."
Auren: "You caught me."
Slade: "I'll do that anytime you need catching, Goldfinch."
Auren: "I could've gilded you. Then you'd be a statue stuck right here on the stairwell, and I don't think gold's your color, Commander."
Slade: "I disagree. Gold has quickly become my favorite."
Slade: "You're very floppy."
I rest my head against his firm, muscled chest.
Auren: "You're very hard."
A rich, dark laugh slips from his mouth.
Slade: "You've no idea."
Slade: "You're ribbons seem to like me."
Auren: "Well, they don't have brains, so ..."
Slade: "My own good? My own good was stuck on a pirate ship, with an aura like a beacon that flared across the Barrens. My own good was cowered before men who were nothing - fucking nothing - in comparison to her. My own good hated me, fought me, argued with me, but I didn't care, because I watched her slowly come out of her shell, peeling back one layer at a time, and it was stunning."
He raises a finger in front of my face.
Slade: "I got one touch. One taste, and if it was an act of selfishness, then you should know, it certainly wasn't one-sided, Auren."
Auren: "What ... what are you saying?"
Slade: "I'm saying that you are my own good. And for you, I gave you a choice, but you chose him."
Auren: "I don't choose him. Not anymore. I'm choosing me."
Slade: "I'm glad you're choosing you."
Auren: "You are?"
Slade: "Yes, Goldfinch. Because I'm choosing you, too."
Across the table, the queen of Third Kingdom arches a brow at my exchange. At the very least, a full curtsy would've been proper, but I won't bow to him anymore. The only reason I'll be bending the knee for him again is to jerk it right back up to hit him in the groin."
Auren: "You don't hate me now."
Rissa: "I tolerate you."
Auren: "You're so warm and fuzzy."
Auren: "Midas was always different in private. In public, he was the king, and he acted like it. It was necessary, he said. It was necessary for him to marry Malina. Necessary to start calling me his favored gold-touched saddle. Necessary for appearances to use me like a shiny trophy to dangle in front of others. No matter that I was in love with him when he dragged me across the kingdoms and brought me to that horrible icy place. I put up with all of it because he was different in private. He said just enough of the right things. When we were alone, when there were no other eyes around, he whispered pretty words and swore grand promises."
Slade: "I don't understand."
Auren: "I told you to prove it to me, and yet you sat there at that table and you were a king."
Slade: "You're not pathetic. You just haven't found it yet."
Auren: "Found what?"
Slade: "We all have our edge, Auren. One day, you're going to find where yours is. You're going to find out just how far you can be pushed until you're tipped over. And when that happens, when you find your edge, just promise me one thing."
Slade: "Don't fall."
Time stands still as he leans in and places a kiss on my temple, lips turning to whisper into my ear.
Slade: "If I knew you had interest in tangling yourself up in my bed, I would've at least had the forethought to be in it already."
Auren: "You're not the villain in my story."
Slade: "I am. But I'll be the villain for you. Not to you."
Auren: "All my life, men have had me, but I have never had a man."
Slade: "I am no man."
Auren: "No. You're more."
Auren: "Are you going to say anything? I just admitted that I want you, and you're just standing there."
Slade: "I was processing."
Auren: "You process really slowly."
Slade: "I've wanted you since the moment I laid eyes on you, Goldfinch. I was just waiting for you to catch up."
Slade: "I want all of you. Every piece, every memory, every minute, every inch. This isn't going to be some casual dalliance. This isn't going to be temporary. I want you soul, mind, and body. I want your trust and your thoughts. I want your past, your present, your future. So make very certain that you want me for the right reasons. Be certain that you're choosing this, because once you do, there's no turning back."
Auren: "I want it."
A slow, wicked grin curls his lips, and my toes curl with it. When he looks at me like that, my skin seems to shimmer, though it has nothing to do with being gold.
Auren: "But I get all of you too. I won't ever again give myself to someone who doesn't give himself back to me. So make very certain that you're choosing this, King Ravinger. Because once you do, there's no turning back."
He chuckles, the sound like a gravelly baritone that's music to me ears and makes my own lips lift.
Slade; "Oh, I'm certain. I chose you the moment you called me a prick, and your ribbons tried to knock me on my ass."
A surprised laugh escapes me.
Auren: "That's when you decided?"
Slade: "Yep. No need to admit when you chose me. I know it was when you were admiring my ass outside."
Slade: "Love happens in all kinds of ways. Fast. Slow. In bits and pieces, or immediate. Filled with lust, one-sided longing, a snap realization never noticed before. Deeply. Thoroughly. Love is a whisper we didn't hear or a sound that drums in our ears and drowns out everything else."
Auren: "You're wrong, and you're also a presumptuous jerk, and I no longer want you, so I'm leaving now."
His grin widens
Slade: "And you're a gorgeous little liar, but that's okay."
Auren: "Good goddess. You're a crass one, aren't you?"
Slade: "Oh, Goldfinch, if you think that was crass, then you don't want to know the things I'm thinking, because they're positively filthy."
Slade: "Come on, Auren. I want to hear you tell me that you want my cock buried inside of you."
Her aura flares with hear. It's a challenge and we both know it. One last chance to back out.
Auren: "Great Divine, that mouth of yours."
Slade: "You'll like this mouth plenty when I lick your clit until you scream."
Slade: "Look at you, you've had my cock for two seconds, and you're already begging for more."
Her scowl is damned adorable.
Auren: "Are you going to let him come back inside? It looks cold out there."
Slade: "He's fine."
Fake Rip: "No, I'm not! It's fucking snowing again!"
Judd: "Poor guy, huh? Has to choose between spikes coming out of his ass, or magic lines down his ... unmentionables."
My brows pull together in a frown.
Auren: "He doesn't have magic lines on his -"
I cut myself off, but it's too late. Lu chokes on her wine.
Judd barks out a laugh.
Judd: "Ha! Told you! Pay up, Os."
Mortified, I bury my face into my hands.
Auren: "Oh goddess."
Auren: "If I could stop being the gold girl even just for a night, I'd jump at the chance to not be me."
Slade: "Never say that. The world would be a dreary place without your light."
Judd: "Shit. Rip is being fucking cute, and it's making me want to vomit."
Slade: "Hey, Lu?"
Lu: "Yeah, Commander?"
Slade: "Smack Judd for me."
Quicker than Judd can dodge, she smacks him on the back of the head, making him grunt.
Judd: "Ow! Why are you so violent?"
Lu: "Because it makes me happy."
Lu: "You got in trouble."
Auren: "Guilt doesn't assuage the guilty."
Auren: "You were the closest thing I had to a father. I knew I drove you nuts sometimes, but you always made me feel safe. And I never thanked you enough."
Digby: "It was always my pleasure to serve you, my lady. Any father would be damn lucky to have you for a daughter."
Midas: "You want to leave? To be the whore of King Rot?"
The low growl from Slade behind me sends a shiver down my neck.
Auren: "Better the whore to the man at my back than the favored to you."
Auren: "Don't. I won't let him make you into the villain."
Slade: "I told you, I'll be the villain for you."
Auren: "Yes. But so will I."
Auren: "You can't cut off the strings of your puppet and still expect it to move for you."
Check out the rest of the Plated Prisoner Series below